Panasonic just unveiled 4 new digital cameras for CES 2014. Like Fuji, these are all ultra-zooms but Panasonic is aiming at smaller models. Among the new units is the world’s first premium travel zoom.
The unique 18 megapixels Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS40 is the first travel-zoom to feature dual control-dials and an EVF. This advanced camera brings a powerful 30X ultra-wide-angle zoom, equivalent to 24-720mm, in a body which is a mere 34mm (1.5″) thick! This remarkable achievement is unmatched by any other digital camera on the market.
The ZS40 offers full manual-controls, including manual focus and choice of metering systems, plus a 10 FPS continuous drive and 1080p video capture at 60 FPS. It even has AEB and HDR capabilities, plus a GPS and WiFi with NFC. The compromise is a longer zoom than any other premium models yet with a much slower lens.
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS35 continues the line of traditional travel-zooms with full manual-controls a 20X ultra-wide-angle lens, equivalent to 24-480mm, in an equally compact body as the ZS40. This model will cost a good amount less than its high-end sibling.
This places the ZS35 second in the Panasonic lineup of travel-zooms. Like the ZS40, it brings Wifi but no GPS. This one records 1080p video at 30 FPS which is inline with mainstream offerings.
The next model is an ultra-compact ultra-zoom for those who prefer the convenience of a pocket-size camera above all else. The Panasonic Lumix DMC-SZ8 one fits a 16X ultra-wide-angle lens, equivalent to 24 – 288mm, in body 27mm thick.
This ultra-slim digital camera features a 16 MP CCD which captures 720p HD video. While it is a bit slower and under-powered, this fully automatic camera still manages to include built-in WiFi.
The last model of the day is the large Panasonic Lumix DMC-LZ40 which is part of Panasonic’s mid-range ultra-zoom series. The LZ40 packs an enormous extremely wide 42X stabilized optical zoom lens, equivalent to 22 – 924mm, which makes it incredibly versatile, particularly for architecture and large interior shots.
This ultra-zoom is built around a 20 MP CCD with 720p HD video capture. It offers full manual-controls and a 3″ LCD with 460K pixels to frame images but no EVF.
Finally, Panasonic unveiled the world’s brightest stabilized lens. The Leica DG Nocticron 42.5mm F/1.2 for Micro Four-Thirds. This incredibly bright lens is equivalent to an 85mm lens on a full-frame camera yet is much lighter and potentially brings improved hand-held low-light shooting to cameras without built-in stabilization.
The premium Nocticron is scheduled to be available in March 2014 for $1599 USD.