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Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ15

By dpreview staff on Jul 21, 2004 at 14:35 GMT

Here's a new Panasonic digital camera which slipped under the radar as it wasn't included in our intial press pack. The DMC-FZ15 will be available only in the US, it's based on the FZ20 body and has the same twelve times optical zoom lens, the main difference is it has a four megapixel CCD (just like the FZ10) and no flash hot-shoe. This makes six the total number of new digital cameras announced by Panasonic today.

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Panasonic Lumix 12x Zoom Models (USA)

Model Availability MSRP
DMC-FZ3 (3 mp, 1/3.2" CCD) Late summer 2004 $399.99
DMC-FZ15 (4 mp, 1/2.5" CCD) Late summer 2004 $499.95
DMC-FZ20 (5 mp, 1/2.5" CCD) Late summer 2004 $599.95

Press Release (Panasonic USA):

THREE NEW 12X ZOOM MODELS WITH OPTICAL IMAGE
STABILIZER LEAD OFF PANASONIC’S LUMIX™
DIGITAL CAMERA LINE

First Company to Utilize Leica Lenses in Digital Still Cameras
Is Also First To Combine 12x Zoom with an Optical Image Stabilizer

Secaucus, NJ (July 21, 2004) - Panasonic introduces the first digital cameras to combine 12x optical zoom with an optical image stabilizer. Integrating unrivalled optical and digital technologies with ergonomic design, Panasonic’s three new 12x zoom Lumix™ models achieve a level of performance never before seen in digital cameras. New models DMC-FZ3 (3-Megapixel), DMC-FZ15 (4-Megapixel) and DMC-FZ20 (5-Megapixel) feature a versatile, high-performance Leica DC VARIO-ELMARIT lens with powerful 12x zoom (equivalent to a 35 – 420mm zoom lens on a conventional 35mm film camera) and F2.8 brightness throughout the entire zoom range. With their extraordinary telephoto features and precision image stabilizers, these cameras are engineered to capture every detail of distant or quick-moving subjects with superb brightness and clarity.

Panasonic’s MEGA Optical Image Stabilizer automatically detects and optically compensates for hand movement by shifting internal lens elements, enabling the user to capture crisp, clear, distortion-free ultra-telephoto or macro shots of distant or moving subjects, even in low lighting conditions.

“Photographers, especially those who shoot sports, wildlife or live performances, know that it’s difficult to get sharp images if they are using a long lens on a handheld camera. The zoom accentuates every little movement of the hand,” commented Monica Helmer, Marketing Manager for Panasonic. “We’ve incorporated the technology we developed for our camcorders to create Panasonic’s MEGA Optical Image Stabilizer, a true optical image stabilizer that uses the full capacity of the camera’s CCD to compensate for hand jitter.”

These cameras also feature an extra-low dispersion (ED) lens to minimize color aberration (color bleeding) - a common problem in high-magnification / large aperture lenses. ED lenses are typically exchangeable lenses designed for single-lens reflex cameras and high-end, professional cameras.

Panasonic has also improved its innovative Venus Engine LSI, the “brain” of the camera that converts the optical data into digital information. The new Venus 2 Engine LSI handles all image processing functions simultaneously - from displaying the image on the LCD to writing data to the memory card - as soon as the CCD captures the image signal. This simultaneous, parallel processing results in a quick start-up, increased shutter speed and reduced lag time. The improved LSI also allows faster consecutive shooting than its predecessor. If desired, the camera will keep shooting until the memory card is full.

A conventional LSI generates a luminance signal from the green component of the incoming light. Panasonic’s Venus 2 Engine LSI generates the signal from the red and blue components, as well as the green. This rich information in the luminance signal helps to boost the diagonal, horizontal and vertical resolution, resulting in superb images. The system also uses a low-pass filter to accurately handle the borders between colors and a noise-reduction circuit to help boost image sharpness and clarity.

All three cameras also include a host of sophisticated features such as MEGA BURST consecutive shooting mode, real-time histogram, auto bracketing, color viewfinder and much more.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ15 specifications

Sensor

• 1/2.5" Type CCD
• 4.3 million pixels total
• 4.0 million effective pixels

Image sizes • 2304 x 1728
• 1600 x 1200
• 1280 x 960
• 640 x 480
• 1920 x 1080 (16:9 HDTV)
Movie clips • 320 x 240 (10 / 30 fps)
• No audio
• Limited only by storage
File formats • Still: TIFF, JPEG (EXIF 2.2): Fine / Standard
• Movies: MOV (Motion JPEG)
Lens • 36 - 432 mm equiv. (12x zoom)
• F2.8 (throughout zoom range)
• MEGA OIS (Mode 1 / Mode 2)
• "LEICA DC VARIO-ELMARIT"
Image stabilization Yes, optical, two modes
Conversion lenses Yes
Digital zoom Yes, up to 4x
Focus • AF mode
• Normal/Macro(Dial)
• Continuous AF On/Off
• Manual Focus(Ring)
• One-shot AF
AF area modes • 1 point
• 3 points
• 9 points
• Spot
AF assist lamp Yes
Focus distance • Normal: 0.3 m - Infinity
• Macro: 5 cm
Metering • Intelligent Multiple
• Center weighted
• Spot
ISO sensitivity • Auto
• ISO 64
• ISO 100
• ISO 200
• ISO 400
Exposure compensation • +/- 2.0 EV
• 1/3 EV steps
Exposure bracketing • 3 frames
• 0.3 to 1 EV steps
Shuttter speed 8 - 1/2000 sec
Aperture F2.8 - F8.0
Modes • Program (with shift)
• Aperture Priority
• Shutter Priority
• Manual
• Macro
• Simple
• Moving Image
• Playback
Scene modes • Portrait
• Sports
• Landscape
• Night Landscape
• Panning
• Night Portrait
• Fireworks
• Party
• Snow
White balance • Auto
• Daylight
• Cloudy
• Halogen
• Flash
• Manual
White balance fine tune Yes
Self timer 2 or 10 sec
Continuous shooting • Full resolution: 4 or 2 fps
• Full resolution: max 7 images (standard mode), 4 images (fine mode)
• Infinite consecutive (unlimited but slower shooting rate)
Image parameters • Contrast (Low, Standard, High)
• Sharpness (Low, Standard, High)
• Saturation (Low, Standard, High)
• Noise reduction (Low, Standard, High)
Flash • Built-in
• Modes: Auto, Auto with red-eye reduction, Slow sync, On/Off
• Range: 7.0 m
Viewfinder • 0.33" EVF (electronic viewfinder)
• 114,000 pixels
LCD monitor • 2.0" TFT LCD
• 130,000 pixels
Connectivity • USB 1.1
• A/V out
• DC-IN
Print compliance PictBridge
Storage • Secure Digital / MMC card
• 16 MB SD card supplied
Power • Lithium-Ion rechargeable battery
• Charger included
Weight (no batt) 520 g (1.1 lb)
Weight (inc batt) 556 g (1.2 lb)
Dimensions 128 x 87 x 106 mm (5.0 x 3.4 x 4.2 in)

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