Panasonic 2012 Olympics cameras and camcorders hands-on
Panasonic has unveiled a range of Olympics-branded products for the 2012 games in London and we were able to get our hands on some of them for a sneak preview.
The new product lineup is set to include cameras, camcorders, headphones and SD cards and will be headed up by an Olympics-branded version of the DMC-G3 Lumix G compact system camera (sadly, the only product from the new lineup that we didn't get to see - check out the press shot below).
You'll need to get in quick when the products launch as Panasonic has made just 2,012 of each model and each one comes with commemorative £5 coin from the Royal Mint.
The limited edition Lumix G3 sports the most sober design of all the products, with a subtle gold London 2012 logo. The sub-£100 DMC-S3 Lumix compact will also feature in the range, and will be available in black or white. Both versions of the camera sport the 2012 logo with black model featuring slightly more demure aesthetics compared to the white version with its bright pink and green graphics. Both cameras pack the maker's Intelligent Auto (iA) mode, making it easy for you to snap away withouth having to worry about altering the settings, and they're also capable of HD movie capture. The compact chassis means they're very lightweight and easy to slip into a pocket.
The maker will also be launching a white Olympics-branded version of the HDC-SD90EB HD camcorder with the finish lending a glossy, premium look to what is already an excellent sub-£500 product. What's more, it can be paired up with Panasonic's VW-CLT1 lens so that you can record in 3D - ideal for capturing some sporting action at the games, if you were lucky enough to get tickets. For those that want something a little more affordable, Panasonic is also launching a white version of the pistol-grip HX-DC1 HD camcorder which is not only cheaper, but more compact and features the same Olympic styling as the HDC-SD90EB.
The new collection also features four sets of headphones, the RP-HJE120, RP-HS200 and RP-HS33 all sporting an in-ear design. We only managed to catch a glimpse of these in the packaging but they had a very sporty look about them, and are designed to be sweat-proof, linking in well with the Olympic them. The RP-HX45 are lightweight headphones that feature a glossy, white finish, but we've yet to see these ones up close and personal.
The range also includes four special edition SD cards (4, 8, 16 and 32GB) which will all feature the official London 2012 mascot, Wenlock.
Panasonic's Lumix product manager, Mark Robinson, told us that "We have a long heritage when it comes to Olympics colloborations - we've been an official sponsor since the 1988 games in Seoul, so launching a branded range of cameras and camcorders for the London games was a natural step".
We were only given a short amount of time to check out the new products, but at first glance, the new designs looked very slick indeed - the glossy white finish is actually much nicer than it sounds. It might have been nice to see some new models with dedicated sports capture modes, but as the Olympics doesn't take place until 2012, there's still time for more products to emerge. We'll keep you posted.
The 8, 16 and 32GB memory cards are on sale now, with the rest of the products due to follow imminently. The DMC-G3 will top the price list at £999.99, with the HDC-SD90 coming in at £549.99 and the HX- DC1 costing £179.99. The RP-HX45 headphones come with a price tag of £39.99, while the earphones will start at £9.99 for the RP-HJE120 and £10.99 for the RP-HS33, while the RP-HS200 will cost £24.99. SD card prices start at £19.99 for the 4GB, going up to £40.99 for 8GB, £81.99 for 16GB and £162.99 for 32GB.