This news is among the ones missed last week due to traveling in Iceland.
Last week, Panasonic unveiled their new flagship ultra-zoom, the Lumix DMC-FZ200. While it looks very similar to the FZ150 which precedes it, the new model boasts and incredible constant-aperture 24X optical zoom lens, equivalent to 25-600mm F/2.8!
Years ago, camera lenses used to dim slightly as they zoomed to their longest focal-length, making something like a 28-200mm F/2.8-3.5 relatively common. Then to increase reach while saving costs, manufacturers make lenses which slowed down much more, like the 28-200mm F/2.8-5.6 found on the Nikon P7100. Only a few high-end models boast better constant aperture zooms, with Panasonic have a 12X optical zoom lens with constant F/2.8. That was then. Now, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ200 introduces the very first 24X F/2.8 zoom.
In practical terms this means that the FZ200 can shoot at lower ISO or faster shutter-speeds compared to other ultra-zooms shooting at the same focal-length. Compared to most modern cameras, this gives a 2 stop advantage towards the end of the zoom!
Panasonic has also resisted the urge to increase resolution again, giving this camera a respectable 12 megapixels CMOS sensor capable of a whopping 12 FPS continuous drive. This is a full-featured ultra-zoom and comfort was not neglected either with the inclusion of a 1.3 megapixel EVF, making this only the third fixed-lens camera to have an EVF with one megapixels or more.
A second level ultra-zoom was also introduced simultaneously, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ60 which also features a 24X optical zoom lens but not a constant aperture one. As a more consumer oriented model, the FZ60 features a higher-resolution 16 MP sensor and fewer features internally. Its EVF also has a paltry 200K dots instead.
Pricing and availability of either cameras has not been announced yet.