Panasonic has announced the launch of its new digital still camera, the LUMIX DMC-FZ7 boasting a 12x optical zoom, Leica Dicomar lens and its Optical Image Stabiliser (OIS) technology.

The LUMIX DMC-FZ7 is equipped with a 6.0-megapixel CCD and a LEICA DC VARIO-ELMARIT lens offering a powerful 12x optical zoom (equivalent to 36mm to 432mm on a 35mm film camera) with an aperture of F2.8 to F3.3. With a new joystick control for manual adjustment of focusing and exposure setting, the DMC-FZ7 offers high end specification and portability.

The DMC-FZ7 follows on from the 5.0-megapixel DMC-FZ5 and a key improvement is the newly incorporated High Sensitivity mode in which the camera shoots up to ISO 1600.

In addition, the DMC-FZ7 also includes a 2.5-inch screen (increased from 1.8 inch) and will be available from March in the UK. Panasonic has yet to set a price.

We will keep you posted.