New Panasonic Digital Camera Features Optical Image Stabilization And 12X Optical Zoom

Panasonic has introduced the latest of their "super zoom" models, the six-megapixel DMC-FZ7. This compact camera features a Leica DC VARIO-ELMARIT lens system, a 12x optical zoom (equivalent to 36mm to 432mm on a 35mm film camera lens) with aperture of F2.8 to 3.3, and Panasonic's MEGA Optical Image Stabilizer.

This compact model is Panasonic's most "anti-blur" camera ever, addressing the two major causes of blurred images: hand movement and subject movement. The DMC-FZ7 incorporates Panasonic's MEGA Optical Image Stabilization technology, which uses a gyrosensor to detect and compensate for hand movement by shifting internal lens elements. It is a true optical system; the image is not electronically processed so there is minimal degradation and exceptional picture quality. MEGA OIS is especially important when utilizing the 12x optical zoom of the DMC-FZ7. At the greatest zoom, even the smallest hand movement could ruin the shot. With MEGA OIS, the image remains steady.

Additionally, the new DMC-FZ7 features a new High Sensitivity Mode which suppresses blur caused by quickly or unpredictably moving subjects, especially when shooting indoors with fast shutter speeds. The MEGA O.I.S. feature and High Sensitivity Mode allow the user to shoot with a maximum ISO 1600 setting.

Panasonic's LSI Venus Engine II handles image processing, LCD functions, and writing to the memory card simultaneously, making the DMC-FZ7 incredibly responsive with a release time lag of 0.008 seconds minimum and shutter interval of approx. 0.5 seconds minimum. The LSI also enables fast consecutive shooting capability, capturing sequential shots at a rate of up to 3 frames per second at full resolution. An unlimited consecutive shooting function allows the user to take photos in succession until the memory card is full. The LSI also improves horizontal, vertical and diagonal resolution.

Users may choose from selectable AF settings. In addition to the 9-point, 3-point high speed, 1-point normal speed and Spot autofocus, the DMC-FZ7 can be set to 1-point high-speed autofocus. This setting nearly eliminates the time lag that often occurs with high-magnification zoom shots, letting users capture those great, spontaneous moments. An AF Assist Lamp provides extra lighting as a focusing aid for slightly dark situations where AF focusing would ordinarily be difficult.

The DMC-FZ7 also includes a new, large 710 mAh battery to help extend the amount of pictures taken on one charge; 16 scene modes; 4x digital zoom; color viewfinder; 2.5-inch LCD monitor; and normal (640 x 480) and wide (848 x 480) VGA motion image recording. Optional accessories include ND filters, AC adaptor, MC protector, close-up lens, wide conversion lens and tele conversion lens.

The DMC-FZ7 is scheduled for March delivery and will have a suggested retail price of $399.95.