Not everyone needs their compacts to be compact and Panasonic is looking to serve that market with the launch of the Lumix DMC-FZ100 hybrid snapper.
It comes with 24x optical zoom, Full HD movie recording and claims to be the fastest in its class with the ability to shoot 11fps with its mechanical shutter at full 14.1-megapixel resolution.
The Leica DC Vario-Elmarit lens pans out wider than the previous top model, the FZ35, to 25mm equivalent and you can even set the thing to rattle off 60 frames in one second if you don't mind dropping the resolution down to 3.5 megapixels. There's also a similar advantage of going up to 220fps in movie mode to capture incredibly high speed action but with the considerable caveat of just QVGA footage (non-smartphone screen size).
With the improved zoom comes a need to be able to focus the thing properly, so Panasonic has added a Motion Deblur function on top of the powered OIS to keep results crisp. There's also the usual collection of AF tracking, face tracing, Intelligent Auto modes, Intelligent ISO and the ability to go completely manual as well using the same jog wheel also added to the LX5.
As before, the FZ models have kept both the dedicated quick movie buttons on the camera body and the 3-inch swivel screen LCD boosted up to 480,000 dots for better viewing. There's also a stereo microphone built in to complete the video capture picture.
The company claims it's the most powerful hybrid in its field but, if you don't need all the trinkets, you can always opt for the newly announced DMC-FZ45 instead. It has the same lens with 25-600mm effective zoom capability, the same image sensor and much of the identical technology, but the 1080p movie capture becomes 720p and the real gut punch is that the 11fps shooting drops through the floor and down to 1.8fps - and only for 5 consecutive shots as well. The 3-inch display is also at half the resolution of the FZ100.
Both cameras are out in the autumn and we'll have prices for you as soon as they're announced.