Pre-PMA 2009: Panasonic has also introduced the DMC-FX48 ultra-compact digital camera (FX40 in Europe). It incorporates a 12.1MP sensor, 2.5 inch LCD and a 25mm wide-angle lens with 5x optical zoom (25 - 125mm equiv). The FX48 also sports Panasonic's latest Venus Engine V processor and includes features such as Intelligent Auto mode, Face Detection with Face Recognition, Mega O.I.S. (Optical Image Stabilizer) and Intelligent Scene Selector.

Press Release:

Sleek and Super Slim Profile – Panasonic’s DMC-FX40
featuring Face Recognition

27th January 2009: Panasonic is pleased to introduce the new Lumix 12.1-megapixel DMC-FX40 with astonishing 25mm ultra-wide-angle* LEICA DC lens and powerful 5x optical zoom (equivalent to 25mm to 125 mm on a 35mm film camera), which captures almost double the viewing space at the same shooting distance compared to ordinary 35mm cameras, resulting in remarkable images with unprecedented width and depth. The world-acclaimed FX series pursues high picture quality and unique features in an urbane, sophisticated profile to which the DMC-FX40 proudly joins.

Looking at the Lens
The 12.1-megapixel DMC-FX40 packages a 25mm Leica DC VARIO-ELMARIT high-quality lens with 5x optical zoom, offering F2.8 brightness*1. Comprising 7 elements in 6 groups, including 4 aspherical lenses with 6 aspherical surfaces, this advanced lens unit passes Leica's stringent standards and delivers an exceptional optical performance.

Notably, an unevenly thick concave meniscus EA(extra high refractive index aspherical) lens makes it possible to achieve the 25mm ultra-wide-angle high optical performance while keeping the lens unit thin and the body slim. The 25mm ultra-wide-angle lens records almost double the viewing space at the same shooting distance compared to ordinary 35mm cameras. Further, in 3-megapixel resolution mode, the Extra Optical Zoom function provides additional magnification, extending the zoom power to 9.8x by using the center part of the CCD.

Newly Added Face Recognition
Panasonic incorporated Intelligent Auto mode in pursuit of the ultimate ease of operation and the reduction of misshots.  Building on the success of the award winning DMC-FX37, the FX40 enjoys further improvements with the inclusion of Face Recognition*2 feature – a function that ‘remembers faces’.

When a familiar face is recorded several times, the camera will prompt you to register the face*3. Once complete, if the familiar face appears into your frame again, the camera will display the name you specified for that person and prioritize focus and exposure so that the registered face is bright and in sharp focus. Perfect for group shots for example – this new feature will give auto focus and auto exposure priority to a single person, ensuring their loved ones face will be captured beautifully.

During registration, you can change the icon that indicates when the registered subject is in focus – for example you can attach a love heart to your partner. You can also manually register a persons details and the camera will remember them whenever you take a photo.

To further add to its appeal, you can also specify the age of the registered subject and have both the name and the age of the subject stamped onto your photos. When babies under 3 years-old are registered, the camera will automatically switch to Baby mode if the baby appears into the frame. In playback, you can choose to display only photos that contain a specific registered face using Category Playback – so you can search for all photos of your Aunt Maude, for example - perfect for compiling a surprise birthday collage. 

You can also view image slideshows of only a selected person. Face recognition makes sorting archiving incredibly easy. This advanced face detection system also digitally corrects unwanted red-eye during recording.

In iA mode the camera does all the work, activating AF tracking, Face Detection with Face Recognition, Mega O.I.S. (Optical Image Stabilizer), Intelligent ISO Control, Intelligent Scene Selector, and Intelligent Exposure. This leaves the user free to simply compose the shot and press the shutter button, with the assurance that the image will be clear, beautiful and properly exposed.

The Venus Engine V
The high-speed, high-performance Venus Engine has been re-engineered and reborn as the even more powerful Venus Engine V. Apart from the conventional imaging engine, the Venus Engine V has twin CPUs to boast approx. 2.4x processing capability. In addition, this high performance LSI elevates the artificial intelligence of the camera, making it possible to “recognize” the human faces individually.

In the image processing, parallel noise reduction in both luminance signal and chromatic signal processing systems is performed. Then, the luminance noise is further two-dimensionally separated into high-frequency and low-frequency noises and only the low-frequency noise, which tends to be conspicuous, is eliminated without affecting the high-frequency noise that greatly influences resolution.

The multi-task image-processing engine Venus Engine V supports super-fast response time. The shutter release time lag is as short as approx. 0.007 second and the camera's quick response makes it easier to capture sudden, spur-of-the-moment photo opportunities.

In burst shooting mode, the DMC-FX40 can snap approx. 2.3 shots per second at 12.1-megapixel large full resolution.*4 And in High-Speed Burst shooting mode,*5 it fires off an incredible approx. 10 shots per second.*5 You also get unlimited consecutive shooting which lets you keep shooting until the memory card is full*6. Flash Burst mode makes it possible to take continuous shooting with continuous emission of flash*7.

In addition to outstanding performance, the high performance engine is also superior in its energy efficiency by approx.16% compared with the conventional Venus Engine IV to extend the battery life up to 350 shots (CIPA) per a single charge.

Wide Viewing Angle 2.5-inch LCD for Easy Shooting and Playback
The DMC-FX40 incorporates an easy-to-see, large, 2.5-inch 230,000-dot high-resolution LCD. The Intelligent LCD function featured in the FX40 detects the light condition and automatically boosts the LCD backlighting by Max. 40% if needed.

Detecting the lighting condition precisely and automatically controlling the brightness with a total of 11 fine steps, this function gives the display the most appropriate clarity in any situation without using extra energy. Together with the panel which boasts a wide viewing angle, it secures comfortable viewing while both monitoring shots and playing back the results in any circumstances.

Menus now look clearer and easier to navigate, even for seniors, thanks to the new Display Size option.

Thanks to the Venus Engine V, smooth image playback at very high speeds is now available, approx.17x faster for thumbnail and approx. 4x for single image even though the image resolution is as high as 12.1-megapixel.

The Fun of Photography

Highly specified, yet remaining easy to use – the new FX40 includes a variety of features to expand the fun and convenience for users. For example, the new scene mode for shooting still images includes the Panorama Assist mode, which allows you to create powerful panoramic images - both vertically and horizontally.

Simply align your shots according to a guide which overlaps the frame when you shoot, then use the included PanoramaMaker software to create your panorama images.

With the new Macro Zoom function, the user can pull subjects even closer than ever before with the wide-angle setting by using 3x digital zoom to capture dramatic close-ups.

Included software
The latest version of exciting software PHOTOfunSTUDIO 3.0 comes bundled with the DMC-FX40. The PHOTOfunSTUDIO 3.0 allows the user to edit or organize a collection of photos with more ease and fun. It features Face Recognition function that recognizes the faces in the picture stored in your PC to sort the photos by faces.

Conventionally, you had to pick up one by one out of hundreds of photos when you only want the picture of a specific person. But with the PHOTOfunSTUDIO 3.0, the software automatically does it once the face is registered regardless of the camera type you used – perfect for digging out all photos of Aunt Bessie for her birthday surprise for example!  On the sophisticated interface, you can also enjoy emotional slideshow with a variety of effects. Motion pictures (MOV or MPEG2) can also be upload directly to YouTube*8.

The sleek and slim DMC-FX40 – available in a choice of black, silver or red – combines an elegant combination of both technical specification and style, making it the perfect camera for any occasion. The FX40 will be available from April 2009

*1 35mm film camera equivalent: 25-125mm
*2 Depending on background and facial expression, camera may not recognize a registered person. For family members with similar facial features, camera may not correctly identify the intended subject.
*3 A maximum of six people can be registered.
*4 Max.5 images in standard mode / 3 images in fine mode.
*5
In speed priority mode. 3-megapixel (4:3), 2.5-megapixel (3:2), 2-megapixel (16:9) recording. (6 images in Picture Priority mode).
*6
The consecutive shooting speed varies with the memory card, image size, and image compression mode. The number of shots depends on the memory card size, battery life, image size and image compression mode.
*7
Max. 5 images. In 3-megapixel (4:3), 2.5-megapixel (3:2), 2-megapixel (16:9) recording.
*8 YouTube is the registered trademark of Google Inc. All other company and product names are trademarks of their respective corporations.