Panasonic has updated the firmware for its LX5 high-end enthusiast compact. The update promises faster AF times and improved noise reduction for images shot at ISO 1600 or 3200. White balance under artificial light has also been tweaked, as well as a series of operational and handling improvements being made. There are revisions too for image stabilization in movie mode, the addition of a 'Miniature mode' processing mode. Coming 13 months after the camera's launch, the move continues Panasonic's habit of continuing to invest in its enthusiast models well into their lifecycle. The firmware will be available from September 13th.

Press Release:

Panasonic announces firmware updates for its popular LUMIX DMC-LX5 digital camera

SECAUCUS, NJ (August 26, 2011) – Panasonic today announced new firmware updates for the LUMIX DMC-LX5 digital camera. The version 2.0 firmware, available on September 13, will help to improve performance and enhance usability by upgrading key camera functions.

Software updates include a redesigned algorithm which will speed up autofocus time, giving the LUMIX LX5 extremely fast AF speeds. The High ISO Noise Reduction Mode is a new feature that will offer deliberate noise reduction for images shot at high ISO 1600/3200 sensitivity. There will also be a significant improvement of the performance of auto white balance adjustment in low light situations. 

For functional upgrades, the LUMIX LX5 Active Mode will be integrated into the effective hand-shake correction system POWER O.I.S., helping users shoot more stable video even while walking. Expanding on the My Color Mode settings, the popular Miniature Effect Mode will provide the ability for a user to focus on an object and blur surroundings; a technique that can be applied in both photo and video. Also, the conventional 60-second shutter speed limit will be extended to the max 250 seconds, which will assist in shooting illuminated night sky and darkened scenery.

Additional enhancements include improved shutter operation to incorporate continuous focusing with half-shutter and full-shutter shooting. Using both autofocus and manual focus will be made even easier in situations where focus precision is desired. For instance, once a focus area has been set it can easily be retrieved, making this a convenient function for tripod shooting. Finally, the brightness, contrast/saturation and red/blue tint of the LCD monitor and external viewfinder will be adjusted to reproduce color settings which are more true to the subject.  

The new firmware will be available worldwide on September 13, 2011 at 1:00am ET at the following http://panasonic.jp/support/global/cs/dsc/.  For more information about Panasonic LUMIX digital cameras, please visit www.panasonic.com/lumix.