Panasonic has today launched two new eight megapixel FX series digital cameras, the DMC-FX55 and FX33. These two cameras are essentially the same albeit for the FX55's little front grip and larger three inch LCD monitor. Both cameras feature a 3.6x wide angle (28 - 100 mm) zoom lens with optical image stabilization and ISO sensitivity of 100 to 1600 at full image size (or for the very brave ISO 6400 'binned'). New features include an auto-brightness LCD (although it judges this from scene brightness, not a secondary sensor), face detection and 'Intelligent Auto Mode' which does almost everything (automatically selecting the correct scene mode, sensitivity, face detection etc.) except say 'cheese'.

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Panasonic’s new DMC-FX55 and DMC-FX33

Intelligent Cameras with Panasonic’s unique Intelligent Auto Mode

Not one to rest on its laurels, Panasonic is pleased to introduce two new additions to the award winning Lumix range.  Belying their remarkably compact and slim size, the DMC-FX33 and DMC-FX55 feature a wealth of technological features, including a 28mm wide-angle LEICA DC lens, optical image stabilizer, face detection and intelligent scene selection to name but a few. Continuing to push the boundaries, the FX33 and FX55 go one step further to include Intelligent Auto mode – a feature unique to Panasonic Lumix cameras.  Technology rich yet remaining inherently easy to use – the best photographs are taken with a Lumix camera.

The bigger picture with the LEICA DC wide angle lens

With the DMC-FX33 and FX55, Panasonic has packaged a 28mm wide-angle LEICA DC VARIO-ELMARIT lens with f/2.8 brightness and a 3.6x optical zoom (equivalent to 28-100mm on a 35mm film camera) plus an 8.1 megapixel CCD into a body that is slim, stylish and conveniently compact. 

Comprising seven elements in six groups, including five aspherical lenses with six aspherical surfaces, this advanced lens unit passes Leica's stringent standards and delivers an exceptional optical performance.  The zoom ratio can be extended up to 5.7x in 3-megapixel resolution mode with minimal deterioration thanks to the Extra Optical Zoom.  By using the central part of the CCD, this powerful zooming function allows you to easily capture and magnify distant subjects. 

Intelligent Auto Mode – the camera does the hard work so you don’t have to!

For more simple and more intelligent operation than ever, Lumix is offering the ideal automatic shooting.  Building on the success of Simple Mode and I.ISO Mode, Panasonic’s unique Intelligent Auto Mode is newly incorporated and introduces a new concept to photography – the ultimate auto mode.  With Intelligent Auto Mode, the camera automatically selects the most appropriate setting according to the situation without any user interface.  Designed for ease of use, simply select Intelligent Auto mode from the dial and the camera will automatically detect motion (Intelligent ISO), shake (MEGA O.I.S), face (Face Detection) and scene (Intelligent Scene Selector) and select the settings accordingly.  These multi-capable functions happen automatically, so you can shoot without the bother of adjusting settings every time conditions change.  Lumix and its powerful Intelligent Auto Mode do all the work for you.  Now anyone at any technical level of photography can take beautiful pictures with ease.

The technologies that Intelligent Auto Mode Covers

Panasonic incorporates both MEGA O.I.S (Optical Image Stabiliser) to compensate for handshake and Intelligent ISO control system to detect and suppress motion blur into all Lumix cameras, which are the industry’s most advanced countermeasures against blurring.

In addition to these two paramount anti-blurring technologies, Intelligent Auto Mode also features Face Detection and Intelligent Scene Selector.  Intelligent Scene Selector automatically sets the appropriate scene mode, from the most frequently used modes such as - portrait, scenery, macro, night scenery and night portrait - according to the scene you’re going to take.  With the new scene selector, the camera automatically sets the most appropriate scene mode and adjusts the detailed picture quality setting according to its detecting exposure, metering focus distance, face of the subject and motion of the subject. 

The Face Detection system helps the camera to recognise a human face and adjust AF/AE - allowing portrait photos to be taken effortlessly.  Up to 15 human faces can be recognised simultaneously – perfect for group shots.  The quick AF system allows the camera to start focusing on the subject even without pressing a shutter button halfway, to get the best result out of a shutter chance by minimising the AF time. 

Unique to Panasonic, the new Intelligent Auto Mode does the hard work, so all you need to do is choose the shot you want! 

The power of the Venus Engine III

The DMC-FX33 and FX55 feature the Venus Engine III, Panasonic’s advanced image-processing engine that boasts outstanding response time.  Spontaneous moments can easily be captured thanks to an impressively quick 0.006 second shutter release time lag (the time between pressing the button on the camera and the photo being taken) and shutter interval as short as 0.8 seconds.  The burst shooting mode boosts the capability of sequential shots to a rate of 3 frames per second at full resolution.  In High-Speed Burst shooting mode the FX33 and FX55 fire off an incredible seven shots per second.  If this wasn’t enough, you also get unlimited consecutive shooting - which allows you to take photos in succession up to the capacity of the memory card or built in memory.

The Venus Engine III greatly improves noise reduction, with picture noise removed in stages during image processing.  Critical noise is analysed, and chromatic and luminance noise are reduced separately.  The chromatic noise, which has greater effect on picture quality, is then selectively suppressed, resulting in clearer images. 

The Venus Engine III also supports a new High Sensitivity mode that lets the DMC-FX33 and FX55 record at a setting of up to ISO 6400 – sensitive enough to capture subjects in near-total darkness without using a flash.  This advanced processing engine is also energy efficient – its low power consumption means you can shoot around 280 images on a single charge, for a full day of shooting fun.

As easy as LCD

The new models boast a 230K pixel high resolution, 3.0” large LCD (2.5inch, 207k pixels high resolution LCD for the FX33) so you can effortlessly capture and playback your pictures. 

The Intelligent LCD of both models detects the light condition and automatically boosts the LCD backlighting by 40% when shooting outdoors in bright sunshine, and boosts signals by mixed-pixel readout method when shooting under low-lit situation to secure a clear image in any circumstance.  The High Angle mode, which can be accessed quickly and easily via a dedicated button, makes the LCD screen extremely easy to view when the camera is held high, such as to shoot over a crowd.

Bright and beautiful motion pictures

With TV screens getting bigger and picture definition increasing, consumers want to be able to shoot higher-quality still images and motion pictures.  With the DMC-FX33 and DMC-FX55, you can shoot hi-definition 1920 x 1080 pixel photos that are ideal for full-screen viewing on a wide-screen (16:9) TV.  Panasonic also offers the DMW-SDP1 HDTV photo player, which makes it easier to view a slideshow of Lumix photos in full 1080i high-definition quality. 

Not only can you capture beautiful still images – these new models also record stunning wide aspect WVGA (848 x 480) motion images at 30 frames per second.  Fitting a wide-screen television perfectly, these wide-aspect motion images captured by the DMC-FX55 and DMC-FX33 make for extremely impressive viewing. 

A camera that works with you

Approximately 27 MB of built-in memory is provided, and the cameras accommodate large-capacity SDHC memory cards.   Building on the success of the baby mode and pet modes, Panasonic has gone one step further to include the new Title Edit function, which allows users to input text on the picture, such as names of children or pets and travel places.  When combined with Text Stamp function, the DMC-FX55 and FX33 can show on which day of the trip a photo was taken together with the place you went to, in addition to showing the date a photo was taken for pictures using Travel Date function.  It can also stamp your baby or pet's age in months on a photo together with his/her name, after you've taken the shots. These dates, which can be helpful when making a photo album, can be stamped on photos whether you print them yourself at home or have them printed.

The DMC-FX55 and FX33 also provide Category Playback function, which sorts images into such categories as portraits, scenery, night scenery, events, baby, pet, food, travel date-stamped and motion pictures, so you can play back or make slideshows of a particular type of image.  The DMC-FX55/FX33 also offers a Clipboard function that lets you use the camera to hold and retrieve useful information on a trip. For example, you can quickly and easily take shots of a map or train schedule, and view them when needed.  The FX33 is compatible with a marine case** with which users can shoot underwater while scuba diving etc.

The tiny proportions of these cameras belie the wealth of innovation.  Small enough to slip neatly into a pocket – these cameras offer superb performance and impressive quality can be carried anywhere at any time.   Highly technically specified with the 28mm wide-angle LEICA DC VARIO-ELMARIT lens, and newly incorporated Intelligent Auto Mode, the new additions are an investment in your photographic future.  Available from September 2007.

For further information, please visit www.panasonic.co.uk/lumix/

Panasonic DMC-FX55 and FX33 specifications

 
Lumix DMC-FX55
Lumix DMC-FX33
Sensor

• 1/2.5" Type CCD
• 8.3 million pixels total
• 8.1 million effective pixels

Image sizes • 4:3: 3264 x 2448, 2560 x 1920, 2048 x 1536, 1600 x 1200, 640 x 480
• 3:2: 3264 x 2176, 2560 x 1712, 2048 x 1360
• 16:9: 3264 x 1840, 2560 x 1440, 1920 x 1080
Movie clips • 4:3: 640 x 480 / 320 x 240, 30 / 10 fps
• 16:9: 848 x 480, 30 / 10 fps
File formats

• Still: JPEG Exif v2.21
• Still with sound: JPEG + Quicktime
• Movie: QuickTime Motion JPEG

Lens • 28 - 100 35 mm equiv
• 3.6x optical zoom
• F2.8 / F8.0 (Wide), F5.6 / F16 (Tele)
Image stabilization MEGA O.I.S. (Mode1 / Mode2)
Conversion lenses No
Digital zoom Up to 4x
Focus • Auto Focus System, Normal/Macro (Dial)
AF area modes • Face
• 1 point
• 1 point high speed
• 3 point high speed
• 5 point
• Spot
AF assist lamp Yes
Focus distance • Normal: 50 cm - ∞
• Macro: 5 cm -∞ (Wide), 30 cm - ∞ (Tele)
Metering Intelligent Multiple
ISO sensitivity • Auto ISO
• Auto ISO 1600 - 6400 (High sensitivity mode)
• ISO 100
• ISO 200
• ISO 400
• ISO 800
• ISO 1250
• ISO 1600
Exposure compensation • +/- 2EV
• 1/3EV steps
Exposure bracketing 1/3 EV-1EV, 3 frames
Shutter speed • 8-1/2000 sec
• 15, 30, 60sec (Starry Sky Mode)
Aperture F2.8 / F9.0 (Wide), F5.6 / F18 (Tele)
Modes • Scene
• Intelligent AUTO
• Playback
• Normal Picture
• Macro
• Motion Picture
• Print
• Clipboard
Scene modes • Portrait
• Soft Skin
• Self-Portrait
• Scenery
• Sports
• Night Portrait
• Night Scenery
• Food
• Party
• Candlelight
• Baby 1
• Baby 2
• Pet
• Sunset
• High sensitivity
• Hi-Speed burst
• Starry Sky
• Fireworks
• Beach
• Snow
• Aerial photo
White balance

• Auto
• Dayligh
• Cloudy
• Shade
• Halogen
• White Set

White balance fine tune • +/-10steps, except for auto set
Self timer 2 or 10 sec
Continuous shooting • Full resolution: 3 fps, 7 images (Standard compression)
• High-speed burst: 7 fps (2 MP)
Image parameters • Contrast
• Sharpness
• Saturation
• Noise Reduction
• 3 levels (Low, standard, high)
Flash modes • Auto
• Auto with Red-eye Reduction
• Slow Sync with Red-eye Reduction
• Forced On
• Forced Off
Flash range • 0.6 - 6.3 m (Wide / Auto ISO)
• 0.3 - 3.1 m (Tele / Auto ISO)
Viewfinder No
LCD monitor • 3.0" Polycrystalline TFT LCD Display
• 230,000 pixels
• Auto Power LCD mode, Power LCD mode, High angle mode
• 2.5" Polycrystalline TFT LCD Display
• 207,000 pixels
• Auto Power LCD mode, Power LCD mode, High angle mode
Connectivity • DC input
• AV output (NTSC/PAL)
• USB
Print compliance • DPOF
• Pictbridge
Storage • SD/SDHC/MMC card
• Internal memory (27 MB)
Power • Li-ion battery (3.6v, 1000 mAh)
• Charger included
• AC adaptor (optional)
Weight (no batt) 143 g (5.0 oz) 132 g (4.7 oz)
Weight (with batt) 165 g (5.8 oz) 154 g (5.4 oz)
Dimensions 94.9 x 57.1 x 22.8 mm
(3.7 x 2.3 x 0.9 in)
94.9 x 51.9 x 22.0 mm
(3.7 x 2.0 x 0.9 in)

Additional images