Panasonic announces DMC-ZX3 digital compact camera
Jan 26, 2010 at 06:00 GMT
Panasonic has announced the Lumix DMC-ZX3 compact with an 8x optical zoom lens starting at 25mm equiv, made possible by super thin 0.3mm lens elements. Successor to the DMC-ZX1, the ZX3 features the company's new 'Happy Mode' that optimizes the color, saturation and brightness of both photos and videos. It offers AVCHD Lite video recording, SDXC support and Power O.I.S. lens stabilization, and comes with a 14MP sensor and a 2.7 inch LCD.
Introducing the Super Compact and Versatile DMC-ZX3
January 26, 2010: Panasonic Lumix cameras go from strength to strength with technological advancements designed to offer the ultimate in picture performance and convenience. Successor to the highly regarded DMC-ZX1, Panasonic’s new DMC-ZX3 is the latest addition to the award winning Lumix range of cameras. Offering style and compactness whilst also boasting a powerful 8x optical zoom, and newly added AVCHD Lite movie recording function – the new hybrid addition is perfect for day trips, business and leisure.
Ultra Compact Zoom
Streets ahead of its competitors, the new ZX3 offers unparalleled features – incorporating an impressively powerful 8x optical zoom into a slim and compact body. Featuring such a powerful 25-200mm high performance lens in a diminutive sized body is made possible by the lens unit comprising of 0.3mm super thin aspherical lens and 0.3mm spherical lens. Highly technically specified, yet astonishingly slim and compact – the ZX3 is a photographers dream!
The DMC-ZX3 features a 25mm ultra wide-angle LEICA DC VARIO-ELMAR lens and powerful 8x optical zoom (equivalent to 25-200mm on a 35mm camera) together with a 14.1-megapixel high resolution CCD into a compact body. The lens unit comprises of 9 elements in 7 groups, including 4 aspherical lenses with 6 spherical surfaces.
Thanks to the newly incorporated Intelligent Resolution technology, the new Intelligent Zoom is available with the ZX3 which extends the zoom ratio by approx.1.3x maintaining the picture quality even when using a digital zoom. This means the 8x optical can virtually extend to 10x equivalent. Furthermore, the Extra Optical Zoom function extends the zoom power to 16.9x (at 3-megapixel resolution) by using the center part of the high resolution CCD to bring subjects even closer.
Intelligent Resolution Technology Assures High Picture Quality for Both Photo and Movie
The high-speed, high-performance Venus Engine HD has been re-engineered to compile the new image processing technology “Intelligent Resolution”. It enables the recording of beautiful photos and high-definition movies with higher quality signal processing.
With the Intelligent Resolution technology, 3 areas –outlines, detailed texture areas and soft gradation areas are automatically detected. The outline parts are enhanced effectively to give edges more clarity while giving a moderate accentuation to the texture areas to look more finely detailed. To the soft gradation part, superior noise reduction process of the Venus Engine HD II is applied to make it smoother. Apart from the uniform enhancement of sharpness, the innovative Intelligent Resolution technology precisely performs signal processing pixel by pixel in the most effective way for it. As a result, images are naturally clear and crisp in both photo and movie recording.
At the same time, the multi-task image-processing engine Venus Engine HD II supports a super-fast response time. The shutter release time lag is as short as approx. 0.005 seconds and the camera's quick response makes it easier to capture sudden, spur-of-the-moment photo opportunities together with the Sonic Speed AF (Auto Focus) that lets you lock on the subject minimum in approx. 0.26(wide-end) / 0.31(tele-end) seconds*1 and the short startup time of approx. 1.1 seconds. The high performance Venus Engine HD II is also more energy efficient compared with the conventional Venus Engine HD II, extending the battery life up to 330 shots (CIPA) per a single charge.
Record High Definition Motion Images Thanks to AVCHD Lite
In addition to Motion JPEG images, the DMC-ZX3 can record high-definition motion picture*2 in AVCHD Lite. It features almost doubling the recording time in HD quality compared with the conventional Motion JPEG format. The picture quality is greatly enhanced thanks to the newly added Intelligent Resolution technology. The ZX3 also features Dolby Digital Creator to record high quality audio, so you can match the beautiful motion images with outstanding sound.
The popular iA (Intelligent Auto) mode is now also available in motion image recording. Optical Image Stabilizer (O.I.S.) helps prevent handshake when using high-powered zoom. Face Detection automatically detects a face in the frame and adjusts focus, exposure, contrast, and skin complexion on it so it always turns out beautiful. Intelligent Exposure continually checks the ambient light level and adjusts the exposure setting as conditions change to prevent blown highlights and blocked shadows. And Intelligent Scene Selector automatically switches between Normal, Portrait, Macro, Scenery, and Low Light modes according to the situation to optimize visual quality.
The powerful 8x optical zoom is also available in movie recording. With the newly added Video Divide function, users can divide the video into two sections to shorten or to delete the unwanted half on the spot in the camera. You can cutout a still image from a movie in the camera. The Intelligent Resolution makes it possible to produce 1920x1080 still images from 1280x720 HD movies even recorded in AVCHD Lite. A Wind Cut function is also available to block out most of the noise from background wind.
Still or motion images recorded in AVCHD Lite on SD Memory Cards are easy to view on a Panasonic VIERA TV*3. Simply insert the card into the VIERA Image Viewer (SD Memory Card slot) on VIERA TV or DIGA Blu-ray Disc Player to playback your contents. Alternatively, you can use an optional mini HDMI cable to output the still and motion images you took from the ZX3 directly to the TV for VIERA Link. You can take maximum advantage of Lumix camera's playback functions including the slideshow in which both still and motion images are integrated in the timeline, category playback according to the scene mode you used or calendar display and so on. All control is possible using only the TV's remote control.
In addition, with the included software PHOTOfunSTUDIO 5.0 HD Edition, it is easy to view and edit your recorded contents. You may also choose to upload your videos to YouTube or burn them to a DVD disc for archiving.
iA (Intelligent Auto) Mode Further Enhanced with New POWER O.I.S
Following in the footsteps of the award winning ZX1, the ZX3 of course includes Panasonic’s iA (Intelligent Auto) mode – a hallmark of Lumix cameras – featuring Face Recognition, AF Tracking, Intelligent ISO Control, Intelligent Scene Selector and Intelligent Exposure. Additionally, the new model also features new POWER O.I.S (Optical Image Stabilizer) which features a double the repression power compared to the conventional image stabilization system, MEGA O.I.S.
The hand-shake component, which is physically generated when pressing the shutter button or when shooting at night with a slow shutter speed, is recognized as a low-frequency vibration, for which the new POWER O.I.S. is particularly effective. This greatly improves the quality of shots taken at night or indoors where a flash cannot be used, or where the photographer doesn't want to use a flash because it would spoil the mood. It captures beautiful photos in situations that previously resulted in blurring. The Face Recognition function remembers registered faces to give an appropriate AF/AE on the people.
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.
In addition, newly incorporated Intelligent Resolution technology is always activated in the iA mode which results in the clearer and higher picture quality in every photo and movie with extended zoom range equivalent to 10x optical zoom by the Intelligent Zoom.
Once you enter the iA mode, these functions happen automatically together with other powerful shooting-assist functions -- AF Tracking, Intelligent ISO Control and Intelligent Exposure -- so you can shoot without the bother of adjusting settings every time conditions change. You can enjoy easy, trouble-free shooting in any situation and get the satisfaction that comes with capturing clear, beautiful images.
The new Happy Mode, a color mode option in the iA mode, optimizes color, saturation and brightness to make both photos and movies more vivid and true to the colour of the scene you memorized.
Other Versatile Functions Adding to the Photographic Enjoyment
The ZX3 is equipped with a 2.7-inch, 230,000-dot Intelligent LCD with super high resolution and a wide viewing angle. The screen brightness automatically adjusts in 11 steps as the surrounding brightness level changes, ensuring easy visibility at all times. The big screen reflects fine details, making it easy to check the focus before shooting. It also serves as a small photo and video viewer, allowing the user and friends to enjoy viewing the still and motion images together.
Scene modes, which are optimized for a variety of still-image shooting situations, are now available for motion images as well. Thanks to a rich variety of 28 scene modes for photo and 18r movie (Portrait, Soft Skin, Transform, Self portrait, Scenery, Low light, Food, Party, Candle light, Sunset, Beach, Snow, Aerial, High Sensitivity, Pin hole, Film grain, High Dynamic and Underwater), capturing beautiful movies is effortless with the ZX3.
The optional marine case (DMW-MCZX3) is available for underwater photography even to 40m taking advantage of 25mm to 200mm wide shooting range.
In addition to the conventional SD/SDHC Memory Card, the DMC-ZX3 accepts next-generation SD format SDXC (SD eXtended Capacity), that features high potential in both capacity and data transfer speed. The DMC-ZX3 is compatible with Windows 7.
Included Software PHOTOfunSTUDIO 5.0 HD Edition
The latest version of exciting software PHOTOfunSTUDIO 5.0 HD Edition comes bundled with DMC-ZX3. With quick start-up and fast read-in of images, the PHOTOfunSTUDIO 5.0 HD Edition makes it possible to sort and organize photos not only of those newly taken but also of those stored in your PC. The Face Recognition function recognizes faces in the picture to automatically sort the photos by the registered faces without having to sort through each photo one by one when you only want pictures of a specific person. You can also enjoy slideshows with a variety of effects and use your iTunes music library as background music and burn it onto a DVD disc in MPEG2. Motion pictures can be uploaded directly to YouTube using the built-in YouTube uploader even in HD (High Definition) quality. It also lets you create a 360-degree rotation panorama file in MOV, which is especially easy if Panorama Assist mode in the camera is used. The software is of course compatible with the Windows 7.
Elegantly finished with a high quality aluminium texture which resists fingerprints – you can choose from a wide range of colours (red, blue, black and silver). With its slim, compact, pocket-fitting size and impressive specifications, the ZX3 is a great partner for travelling or for everyday snapshots. The ZX1 will be available from mid March so there’s not long to wait!
*1Using 1-area AF
*2Motion pictures can be recorded continuously for up to 29min 59 sec in some countries. Continuous recording exceeding 2GB is not possible when recording motion JPEG. Remaining time for continuous recording is displayed on the screen. Use a card with SD Speed Class with”Class4”or higher when recording motion pictures in [AVCHD Lite]. Also, use a card with SD Speed Class with”Class6”or higher when recording motion pictures in [MOTION JPEG]. SD Speed Class is the speed standard regarding continuous writing.
*3AVCHD 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.
1/2.33" Type CCD
4:3 Aspect Ratio: 4320x3240(14M) / 3648x2736(10M) / 3072x2304(7M)
|Movie clips|| 1280x720 pixels
NTSC Mode: NTSC model: 60p(CCD output is 30p) / PAL model: 50p(CCD output is 25p)
(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
|File formats|| Still Image: JPEG(DCF/Exif2.21)
Motion picture: QuickTime Motion JPEG
8x optical zoom
|Image stabilization||Power O.I.S lens-shift stabilization|
|Digital zoom||Yes, up to 4x|
|AF area modes|| Face / AF tracking
1-point high speed
|AF assist lamp||Yes|
|Focus distance|| Normal: Wide 50cm - infinity, Tele 200cm - infinity
Macro / Intelligent AUTO/ Clipboard: Wide 3 cm / Tele100cm - infinity
|Metering|| Intelligent Multiple|
|ISO sensitivity|| Auto
High Sensitivity Mode : Auto (1600 - 6400)
|Exposure compensation||± 2EV, 1/3EV steps|
|Exposure bracketing||± 1/3 EV ~ 1EV step, 3 frames|
|Shutter speed|| 8-1/1300 sec
Starry Sky Mode : 15, 30, 60sec
|Aperture|| F3.3 - 5.9/ 2-Step (F3.3 - 10 (W) / F5.9 - 18 (T))|
|White balance|| Auto
|Self timer||2, 10 sec|
|Continuous shooting|| Full-Resolution Image
1.8 frames/sec Max. 5 images (Standard mode), Max 3 images (Fine Mode)
High-speed Burst Mode:
Approx. 6.0 frames/sec (image priority)
Approx. 10 frames/sec (speed priority)
(recorded in 3M for 4:3, 2.5M for 3:2, 2M for 16:9)
|Image parameters||Standard, Vivid, Natural, Black & White, Sepia, Cool, Warm, Happy (only in iA Mode)|
|Flash|| Auto, Auto/Red-eye Reduction, Forced On, Slow Sync./Red-eye Reduction, Forced Off
0.6 - 5.3m (Wide/ISO Auto), 1.0 - 2.9m (Tele/ISO Auto)
|LCD monitor|| 2.7" TFT LCD Display
Field of View : approx. 100%
AUTO Power LCD mode, Power LCD mode
|Connectivity|| USB2.0 High speed
AV Output (NTSC/PAL)
|Print compliance|| PictBridge
|Storage|| SD/SDHC/SDXC Memory Card
40MB internal memory
|Power|| Li-ion battery
AC adaptor (optional)
|Weight (no batt)||137 g|
|Weight (with batt)||159g|
|Dimensions||98 x 55 x 26 mm
(3.85 x 2.15 x 1.02 in)