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Panasonic unveils Lumix DMC-FZ35/FZ38 super-zoom

By dpreview staff on Jul 27, 2009 at 15:03 GMT

Panasonic has released the Lumix DMC-FZ35 (DMC-FZ38 in Europe) super-zoom digital compact camera with AVCHD lite HD video recording. Successor to the DMC-FZ28, it features an 18x optical zoom lens (27- 486mm equiv.), the new Power O.I.S image stabilizer and a faster Venus Engine HD processor. The 12.1 MP camera also features a Quick AF system that claims to be two times faster than that of the DMC-FZ28.

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Press Release:

High Quality Photo and High Definition Movie with 18x Zoom – The DMC-FZ38 12.1-Megapixel Hybrid Super zoom Compact Camera Featuring New POWER O.I.S(Optical Image Stabiliser)

July 27, 2009 : Successor to the multiple award winning DMC-FZ28, Panasonic is pleased to introduce the Alumni DMC-FZ38 digital still camera, featuring an AVCHD Elite high-definition movie recording capability combined with powerful 27mm wide angle 18x optical zoom high quality LEICA DC VARIO-ELMARIT lens*1. Joining Panasonic's highly regarded FZ series of cameras that pack a high-powered zoom and a host of creative options including manual operation into a compact body, the FZ38 also boasts an upgraded O.I.S(Optical Image Stabiliser) the newly named POWER O.I.S. and ultra high-speed AF together with other enhanced features that boost user fun and convenience.

Hybrid Superzoom
The demand for digital cameras that can record higher-quality movie has grown in step with the trend toward larger HDTV screens and new technologies of movie recording. Now, in addition to Motion JPEG images, the DMC-FZ38 can record high-definition motion picture in AVCHD Lite*2. It features almost doubling the recording time in HD quality compared with the conventional Motion JPEG format. The FZ38 also features Dolby Digital Stereo Creator to record high quality audio, so you can match the beautiful motion images with outstanding stereo sound. A single model that performs admirably as both a camera and camcorder, while achieving smooth, easy operation in both modes.

The DMC-FZ38 packages a 27mm wide angle LEICA DC VARIO-ELMARIT lens with F2.8 brightness and powerful 18x optical zoom*1 together with a 12.1-megapixel CCD into a compact body. Taking advantage of the versatile 27mm wide angle powerful 18x optical zoom lens, the FZ38 allows users to record both photo and movie with exceptional creative freedom.  The lens unit comprises of 11 elements in 8 groups, including 3 aspherical lenses and 2 ED lenses. Notably 2 ED lenses minimize the chromatic aberration that is likely to occur in telephoto images. This set of lenses secure picture quality high enough to pass Leica's stringent standards and delivers exceptional optical performance.

The super-powerful 18x zoom lens makes it easy to pull in subjects from far away or to take dramatic close-ups. For an added boost, zoom power can be increased to 35.2x with the Extra Optical Zoom function*3. The 27mm wide-angle feature is ideal for both broad landscapes and tight indoor shots, letting photographers capture a wider view. The 12.1-megapixel resolution allows photos to be greatly enlarged while still retaining outstanding detail, or edited by trimming and enlarging parts of the photo to print.

Panasonic’s iA Mode Just Keeps Getting Better – with new POWER O.I.S and Face Recognition
With the DMC-FZ38 taking great photos is that easy. Panasonic incorporated the Intelligent Auto mode in pursuit of the ultimate ease of operation and the reduction of misshots. In iA mode the camera does all the work, leaving you free to compose shots and capture moments. Just press aim, and shoot.

Panasonic's Intelligent Auto now includes new POWER O.I.S.(Optical Image Stabiliser) – a feature that helps prevent handshake even when using high-powered zoom. The new POWER O.I.S clearly captures subjects in the ultra-telephoto range, which used to require a tripod.

With twice the shake suppression capability of previous models, the new POWER O.I.S is particularly effective when shooting at night with a low shutter speed for example, whilst also greatly improving the quality of shots taken indoors where a flash cannot be used or where a photographer doesn’t want to use a flash because it would spoil the mood. Thanks to POWER O.I.S, beautiful photos can be taken in situations that previously resulted in blurring.

The iA mode is even further advanced with the inclusion Face Recognition*4, a function that "remembers" faces. When a familiar face is recorded several times, the camera will prompt you to register the face. Once complete, if the familiar face appears into your frame again, the camera will display the name you specified for the person and prioritise focus and exposure so that the registered face is bright and in sharp focus. Up to six people’s faces can be registered, and up to three can be simultaneously recognized to show their names once registered. Three images of each face can be registered for every person, to dramatically raise the detection accuracy. And when the angle of view is changed horizontally, the name display also rotates for easier reading.

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. 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. With AF Tracking, the FZ38 can lock onto any subject and keep it in focus even if it moves - making it easy to get beautiful, clear shots when a great photo opportunity suddenly arises. Simply aim, lock, and shoot.

In addition to the advanced functions mentioned above, the iA mode inherits fundamental functions users need in a good digital still camera. These include Intelligent ISO Control, which reduces motion blur by adjusting the ISO sensitivity if the subject moves as the shot is taken. Intelligent Exposure optimizes the exposure for each part of an image, preventing blocked shadows and blown highlights and helping ensure that gradation and details are reproduced beautifully.

It now features an automatic backlight compensation function that activates whenever the camera detects the subject is in backlight. Intelligent Scene Selector automatically detects the five most common shooting situations - Portrait, Night Portrait, Scenery, Night Scenery and Macro - and switches to the appropriate Scene mode. Demonstrating it’s true hybrid capabilities, the iA mode is also available in motion image recording.

Outstanding Performance thanks to new Ultra High-Speed AF
The common concept shared by all new LUMIX products for 2009 second half is that of  seamless operation, which is indispensable for stress–free photography. Panasonic’s new industry-leading, ultra high-speed AF is twice as fast as its predecessor DMC-FZ28 while the start-up time is dramatically shortened too

To realize the ultra high-speed AF, a number of re-engineering and improvements are made including the adaptation of higher-speed actuator, the optimization of algorithms and the parallelization of software processing element.  The result is ultra high speed yet accurate AF performance for users to enjoy the airy shooting that has experienced never before.  Panasonic also replaced its linear program processing with parallel processing to achieve an ultra high-speed start-up of 1.2 second, a remarkable 20% decrease from previous models.

The Quick AF system helps keep focus on the subject while the camera is in recording mode even before pressing the shutter button halfway. This improves the chances of getting the shot because the focus is always near the subject and AF time is minimized. The user can activate all of these useful, convenient shooting-assist functions by simply selecting iA mode.

The Venus Engine HD
The high-speed, high-performance Venus Engine HD has been re-engineered to support the recording of beautiful, high-definition motion images in AVCHD Lite. With its twin CPUs, Venus Engine HD boasts approx. 2.4x processing capability, greatly improving the speed of camera operations.

In image processing, luminance noise and chromatic noise are reduced separately before and after signal processing. This is further refined by separating noise two-dimensionally into high-frequency and low-frequency noise. The circuits then effectively reduce only the low-frequency noise to minimize the unwanted noise and help produce beautiful, sharp still and motion images.

This multi-task image-processing engine has a super-fast response time. The shutter release time lag is as short as approx. 0.007 seconds, making it easy to capture sudden, spur-of-the-moment photo opportunities. In burst shooting mode, the FZ38 can snap approx. 2.3 shots per second at 12.1-megapixel full resolution*5. In High-speed Burst shooting mode, it fires off an incredible approx. 10 shots per second*6. Newly added Flash Burst mode makes it possible to take consecutive shots with continuous emissions of the flash*7.

Despite its outstanding performance, the high performance engine is also more energy efficient to extend the battery life up to 470 shots (CIPA) per a single charge*8.

Perfect for filming
Motion image recording*9 can be started by pressing a dedicated one-touch button on the camera's back panel - an extremely quick, convenient way to start motion image recording. Most of the camera's settings will be carried over when switched to motion picture recording. The powerful 18x optical zoom is available in movie recording, too.  

A Wind Cut function is also available to block out most of the noise from background wind. The FZ38 also provides a Custom Colour mode and carries over 18 different scene modes from photo scene modes in movie recording. In AVCHD Lite*10 recording, you can select from three levels of motion image quality: SH (17 Mbps), H (13 Mbps) and L (9 Mbps).

The DMC-FZ38 concept goes much further than simply recording HD movies. Setting it aside from the movie recording capability of conventional digital cameras, the DMC-FZ38 also features a Creative Movie mode, which lets the user set the shutter speed and aperture manually to make even more impressive movies. Changing the shutter speed brings special effects to movies, which is especially suitable for shooting fast-moving subjects. The ability to control the aperture is convenient when there are several subjects at different distances and it is desired to have each of them stand out. Creative Movie mode gives the user a wider range of expressive possibilities to explore.

My Colour mode, which was popular in the Lumix G Micro System cameras, is a special option that gives free reign to the user's creativity. In My Colour mode, the colour, brightness and saturation parameters can be freely adjusted while seeing how the adjustments affect the picture lively on the monitor. This makes it easier and more fun to create interesting, expressive images. The user can adjust the settings that best suit the shooting conditions and his or her expressive intent, for greater photographic control.

The High Dynamic mode is newly added to the existing scene modes. This mode helps to capture a scene with moderate exposure even though the scene contains both bright and dark area together. The user can select either of three options, Standard, Art, or B/W, depending on the desired effect and personal taste to make the photo look natural to artistic.

The adoption of AVCHD Lite lets users enjoy watching not only still images, but also HD movies by simply inserting the SDHC/SD Memory Card into the VIERA Image Viewer (Bulit-in SDHC/SD Memory Card slot) on any compatible Panasonic Viera HDTV or DIGA Blu-ray Disc Player. Alternatively simply connect the camera via an option HDMI cable to a VIERA link-equipped TV and use the TV’s remote control to run slideshows including both still and motion images. 

In addition, with the included software PHOTOfunSTUDIO 4/0 HD Edition, it is easy to view and edit your recorded content. You may also upload your videos to YouTube or burn to a DVD disc for archiving.

Inheriting the highly regarded features found in the FZ series, the FZ38 continues to push the boundaries, offering further advancements including the new POWER O.I.S, ultra high-speed AF and AVCHD Lite motion recording. Available from September, the FZ38 offers exceptional creative freedom – perfect for beginners through to serious amateur photographers.

*1 35mm film camera equivalent: 27-486mm

*2The "AVCHD" is a high definition (HD) digital video recording / playback format jointly established by Panasonic Corporation and Sony Corporation. The "AVCHD Lite" is a subset of the "AVCHD format" for HD digital video cameras with HD video recording restricted to 720P. The new "AVCHD Lite" Logo and the "AVCHD Lite" License are restricted to devices within the AVCHD Video Camera category. Digital cameras have been added to the AVCHD Video Camera category.

*3 In 3 megapixel recording

*4 Turn Face Recognition item ON and resister the person with full-face portrait on the shooting menu in advance.

*5 Max. 5 images in standard mode / 3 images in fine mode.

*6 3-megapixel (4:3), 2.5-megapixel (3:2), 2-megapixel (16:9) recording. (approx.10 fps in Speed Priority mode / approx.6 fps in Image Priority mode)

*7 Max. 5 images. In 3-megapixel (4:3), 2.5-megapixel (3:2), 2-megapixel (16:9) recording.

*8 Based on CIPA standard

*9 1)When you set the picture quality to HD, WVGA or VGA, we recommend using a high-speed card with "10MB/s" or greater displayed on the package. 2) Motion pictures can be recorded continuously for up to 15 minutes in some countries. 3)Continuous recording exceeding 2GB is not possible when recording motion JPEG. Remaining time for continuous recording is displayed on the screen.

*10 AVCHD Lite motion images recorded onto an SD Memory Card or a DVD disc cannot be played from a device that does not support the AVCHD standard.

Panasonic DMC-FZ38 specifications

Sensor

• 1/2.33" Type CCD
• 12.7 million pixels total
• 12.1 million effective pixels

Image sizes

• 4:3 Aspect Ratio: 4000 x 3000, 3264 x 2448, 2560 x 1920, 2048 x 1536, 1600 x 1200, 640 x 480
• 3:2 Aspect Ratio: 4000 x 2672, 3264 x 2176, 2560 x 1712, 2048 x 1360
• 16:9 Aspect Ratio: 4000 x 2248, 3264 x 1840, 2560 x 1440, 1920 x 1080

Movie clips

• HD: 1280x720
-NTSC Mode: NTSC: 60p / PAL: 50p
 -(AVCHD Lite, SH: 17Mbps / H:13Mbps / L:9Mbps ) / 30fps (Motion JPEG)

• 4:3: 640 x 480 pixels, 320 x 240 pixels @ 30 fps
• 16:9: 848 x 480 pixels @ 30 fps
• Quick Time Motion JPEG

File formats • JPEG (DCF / Exif2.21)
• RAW
• AVCHD Lite (Motion picture)
• QuickTime (Motion JPEG)
Lens • 18x optical zoom
• 27 - 486mm (35mm equiv.)
• f=4.8-86.4mm
• F2.8 - 4.4
• LEICA DC VARIO-ELMAR
• 11 elements in 8 groups (3 Aspherical Lenses / 2 ED lenses)
Image stabilization Power O.I.S lens-shift stabilization
Digital zoom Yes, up to 4x
Focus

• Normal
• Macro
• Quick AF On/Off (On in Intelligent Auto)
• Continuous AF On/Off
• AF/MF Switchable
• Manual Focus(Joystick)
• One Shot AF
• AF Area Select
• AF Tracking

AF assist lamp Yes
Focus distance • Normal: Wide 30cm - infinity
• Macro / Intelligent AUTO : Wide 1 cm / Tele 200 cm - infinity
Metering • Intelligent Multiple
• Center-Weighted
• Spot
ISO sensitivity • Auto
• 80
• 100
• 200
• 400
• 800
• 1600
• High Sensitivity Mode : Auto (1600 - 6400)
Exposure compensation ± 2EV, 1/3EV steps
Exposure bracketing ± 1/3 EV ~ 1EV step, 3 frames
Shutter speed • 60-1/2000 sec
• Creative Movie Mode : 1/30 - 1/20,000 sec (1/8 - 1/20,000 sec on MF operation on Manual mode)
Aperture • F2.8 - 4.4
Modes

• Intelligent AUTO
• P(Program) mode
• A(Aperture Priority) mode
• S(Shutter Priority) mode
• M(Manual) mode
• Creative Movie mode
• Portrait mode
• Scenery mode
• Sports mode
• Night Portrait mode
• Close-up mode
• Scene mode
• My Color mode
• Custom

Still Picture Scene modes

• Party
• Candle Light
• Baby1
• Baby2
• Pet
• Sunset
• High Sensitivity
• Hi-Speed Burst
• Flash Burst
• Panning
• Starry Sky
• Fireworks
• Beach
• Snow
• Aerial Photo
• Pinhole
• Film Grain
• High Dynamic (Standard, Art, B&W)
• Photo Frame
• Panorama Assist

Movie Picture Scene modes

• Portrait
• Scenery
• Low Light
• Flower
• Intelligent AUTO
• Soft Skin
• Food, Objects
• Party
• Candle Light
• Sunset
• High Sensitivity
• Panning
• Beach
• Snow
• Aerial Photo
• Pinhole
• Film Grain,
• Creative Movie(P, S, A, M) mode

White balance • Auto
• Daylight
• Cloudy
• Shade
• Halogen
• White Set 1
• White Set 2
• Color Temprature
Self timer 2sec / 10sec / 10sec [3 pictures]
Continuous shooting • Full-Resolution Image
2.3 frames/sec  Max. 5 images (Standard mode), Max 3 images (Fine Mode)
• High-speed Burst Mode:
Approx. 10 frames/sec (recorded in 3M for 4:3, 2.5M for 3:2,
2M for 16:9)(Speed Priority)
Approx. 6 frames/sec (recorded in 3M for 4:3, 2.5M for 3:2,2M for 16:9)(Image Priority)
Image parameters Standard, Natural, Vivid, Black & White, Sepia, Cool, Warm
Flash • Auto, Auto/Red-eye Reduction, Forced On, Slow Sync./Red-eye Reduction, Forced Off
• Range: 0.3 - 8.5m (Wide/ISO Auto),  1.0 - 5.4m (Tele/ISO Auto)
Viewfinder • Yes
• 0.20" Color EVF (201.6K Pixels equiv.)
• Field of View : approx. 100%
• Lens 19.6x
LCD monitor • 2.7" TFT LCD Display
• 230K dots
• Field of View : approx. 100%
• AUTO Power LCD mode, Power LCD mode
Connectivity • USB2.0 High speed
• AV Output (NTSC/PAL)
• miniHDMI
• DC Input
Print compliance • PictBridge
• DPOF
Storage • SD Memory Card, SDHC Memory Card
• 40MB internal memory
Power • Li-ion battery
• Charger included
• AC adaptor (optional)
Weight (no batt) 367 g
Dimensions 118 x 76 x 89 mm
(4.6 x 2.9 x 3.5 in)

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