Panasonic has announced the new 8.1-megapixel DMC-LS85 camera, the successor to the LS80.

Running on AA batteries and claiming to offer "ultimate ease of use" with an "Intelligent Auto" mode, the LS85 offers a 4x optical zoom and a F2.8 LUMIX DC VARIO lens equivalent to 33mm-132mm on a 35mm film camera.

The Intelligent Auto mode boasts ISO control, face detection, intelligent scene selection and image stabilisation.

The LS85 gets Panasonic's new image-processing LSI, Venus Engine IV, that the company says features advanced, fast signal processing technology for rendering high quality images and is capable of 4.5 shots per second.

The DMC-LS85 incorporates a 2.5-inch 230,000-dot high-resolution LCD that adjusts brightness automatically, and can do in-camera slideshows complete with music.

As far as movies go, the LS85 can record VGA and WVGA (848 x 480) pictures at 30 frames per second at 16:9 ratio.

Other specs include 9 AF points, 50MB internal memory, battery life for 270 shots and the camera comes bundled with PHOTOfunSTUDIO 3.0 software.

The DMC-LS85 will be available from March and will come in a choice of silver or black. Pricing not revealed.