Panasonic has announced the launch of five new cameras at CES in Las Vegas and Pocket-lint has already had a play with them.
Headlining the new cameras for 2012 is the introduction of the Panasonic DMC-SZ1 and DMC-SZ7, two cameras that take the popular TZ models stylish and slim.
Both models offer the a 10x optical zoom, Full HD video recording and a 25mm ultra wide-angle Leica DC lens equivalent to 25-250mm in old 35mm money.
Hoping to appeal to those who like to put their camera in their pocket (we know we've done it already), the new models are 21mm in depth, including the lens barrel meaning they are only ever so slightly thicker than your smartphone, and considerably slimmer than the TZ range already on sale.
But they're not just about being thin. The new models boast a bevy of new technology too that should ensure those with a camera phone are still likely to be interested.
The DMC-SZ1 comes with a 16.1-megapixel CCD sensor, Panasonics latest Venus Engine (VII HD) and Sonic Speed AF. The DMC-SZ7 features a 14.1-megapixel MOS sensor. Both offer 50i 1080p video recording.
In an ode to the smartphone user, both the SZ7 and SZ1 offer USB power charging so users can connect the camera to their laptop to recharge.
That might sound dull, but that is likely to make a big difference to those who want to ditch the charger when travelling.
As you might expect Panasonic has included its iA Zoom (Intelligent Zoom) feature as well as adding an iHDR scene mode that can automatically set the right settings to achieve the best HDR pictures possible claims Panasonic.
Other "artist modes" include Creative control and Creative retouch. That means Instagram effects like "Toy Effect" that makes your images look like they've been taken with a toy camera, Soft Focus, Dynamic Monochrome, High key, retro, and Expressive.
The SZ7 and SZ1 also include Auto Retouch function that adjusts the contrast and brightness automatically with just a press of a button.
The DMC-SZ7 will be available in black, white and brown and the SZ1 will be available in black, silver, blue, red and violet. The new SZ models will be available from March.
In the hand the cameras are as thin as they sound from the spec sheet and were quick and responsive to turn on and snap.
Sadly we were in a room with no windows and the models were pre-production so we aren't able to comment on the picture quality, although judging by what we saw we aren't expecting any major issues come launch day.
A point of note is that Panasonic seems to have taken a leaf out of Sony's book and added a panoramic sweep function for panoramic images. Like the Cyber-shot models all you have to do is press the shutter button and move the camera in the direction you want to capture the scene.
The models certainly are slim and stylish.
Those not looking for a full flagship experience could opt for three lesser models: the DMC-S5, the DMC-FS45 and DMC-FS40.
The DMC-FS45 will come with 16.1 megapixels while the DMC-FS40 will offer 14.1 megapixels.
For the first time, Panasonic’s FS range of cameras now feature a 24mm ultra-wide angle F2.5 Leica DC Vario-Summarit lens - previously only available on Panasonic’s higher specification models.
The new Panasonic DMC-S5 bolsters the company's entry-level range of cameras coming in bright red. The 16.1-megapixel DMC-S5 packs a 28mm wide-angle Lumix DC Vario lens with 4x optical zoom (35mm camera equivalent: 28-112mm).
All will be available from March.
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