CES 2006: Panasonic has announced two new cameras to replace the budget DMC LZ1 and LZ2 models. Like their predecessors, the DMC-LZ3 (5.0 megapixels) and DMC-LZ5 (6.0 megapixels) sport image stabilized 6x optical zoom lenses. The new models have improved focus speed and power consumption, a low resolution ISO 1600 mode and large screens (LZ3: 2.0-inch, LZ5: 2.5-inch).
Featuring Optical 6x Zoom and MEGA O.I.S.(Optical Image Stabilizer) Running on AA Batteries
Panasonic is introducing the incoming LUMIX models 6.0-megapixel DMC-LZ5 and 5.0-megapixel DMC-LZ3, incorporating MEGA O.I.S.(Optical Image Stabilizer) and 6x optical zoom(equivalent to 37mm to 222mm on a 35mm film camera) lens, that run on two AA batteries.
MEGA O.I.S. is the image stabilization system against handshake that bears no picture deterioration. Panasonic is the first company in the industry to have succeeded in incorporating MEGA O.I.S. into a compact digital camera and now its benefit is strongly approved by the users of the world, considered to be the standard of photography.
Compared to the previous models, the DMC-LZ2/LZ1, the LZ5 adopts large and bright 2.5” LCD (2.0” LCD for LZ3) and both LZ5/LZ3 speed up its AF time by adopting 1-point high speed AF option while AF assist lamp is newly incorporated. Another feature is in the enhanced scene mode options including the high sensitivity mode that allows shooting at max. ISO 1600. This is realized by the new pixel-mixed readout method of CCD even realizing the recording of bright motion image in VGA size. In addition, the newly incorporated Extra Optical Zoom function allows more powerful zooming Max.8.3x (7.5x for LZ3) in 3-Megapixel image recording. For the brain of the camera, the LZ5/LZ3 incorporate continued Venus Engine Plus, which saves energy consumption to achieve long battery life while maintaining quick response and high picture quality.
As you recall, the blurred image caused by hand shake is the biggest problem of digital camera photography. Let us again mention our MEGA O.I.S. here for the introduction of our new product information. Normally, the compactness of the camera results in the good portability and shooting using LCD helps fine view, however, these advantages may stand in the way because they reduce stability on the other hand. However, MEGA O.I.S. solves those problems. The spur-of-the-moment for which you’re not ready enough to keep your posture and the low-lit indoor or night time, when the shutter speed tends to slow, and macro shooting in which even a slight move will spoil the picture, all those are common situations accompany blurry pictures. However, MEGA O.I.S. enables you to easily take clear, beautiful pictures in even in such situations. This capital feature is subsumed under no other cameras but LUMIX among the entry class models that run on AA batteries.
In addition, the LZ5/LZ3 allows shooting with max. ISO 1600 setting in the newly incorporated High Sensitivity mode. This takes advantage of shooting moving subject such as baby and pets especially indoors, which were often spoiled by the movement of subject itself.
Thus, the handshake and the movement of the subject, both the major causes of the blurred picture, are compensated with MEGA O.I.S. and High Sensitivity Mode to help you to take clear and beautiful picture in various situations.
The DMC-LZ5/LZ3 are equipped with outstanding optical 6x zoom that captures and magnifies subjects located at a distance that cannot be captured enough by the 3x zoom of ordinary compact cameras. Even this outstanding zooming capability is supported by MEGA O.I.S. allowing every user to take clear, sharp images, coupled with the new high sensitivity mode that works against the movement of subject.
Optical 6x Zoom – Top Class for Compact Cameras
The LUMIX DMC-LZ5 and LZ3 are equipped with the optical 6x zoom (equivalent to a 37 – 222 mm zoom on a 35 mm film camera) lens, while keeping the body size as compact as ordinary 3x zoom cameras. The 6x zoom ratio can be extended up to 8.3x (7.5x for LZ3) in 3-Megapixel image recording mode thanks to the Extra Optical Zoom function with minimal deterioration, by intentionally using the central part of the CCD. This powerful zooming function allows you not only to easily capture and magnify subjects in distant locations, but also to take impressionable photos with soft-focused backgrounds. In addition, the zoom lens features the crystallization of Panasonic’s optics technology, eight elements in seven groups including two aspherical lenses, which are used to achieve compactness and higher optical performance.
MEGA O.I.S. – The Essential Feature for Compact Digital Cameras
MEGA O.I.S.(Optical Image Stabilizer), that Panasonic thinks it indispensable for all digital cameras, especially for compact models that lacks stability, is subsumed under LUMIX all line-up. Now this hand shake correction system, which accompanies no deterioration of image quality, is appreciated by the users of the world and positively getting to be the standard of digital camera photography. Every slight hand-shake movement is detected accurately with the sampling frequency at 4,000 times per second and will be compensated to render clear, sharp images. It also features two corrective modes, Mode 1 and Mode 2. Mode 1 constantly detects and follows movements and continuously compensates for them. In contrast, in Mode 2, the O.I.S. lens suppresses hand-shake only at the moment the shutter button is pressed. In this mode, the lens can move in all directions at the moment to maximize its effect, and higher-resolution image can be taken by capturing the image as close as to the center of the lens. In consequence, since MEGA O.I.S. enables a beautiful picture shot without blurring at slower shutter speeds of more than 3 steps compared to the conventional models without O.I.S.. You can enjoy shooting clear and beautiful pictures easily even in the situations using slow shutter speeds, like indoor portrait shots and nighttime scenery, as well as shooting of a delicate flower using macro mode.
In addition, the LZ5/LZ3 allows shooting with max. ISO 1600 setting in the newly incorporated High Sensitivity Mode. This takes advantage of shooting moving subject such as baby and pets especially indoors, which were often spoiled by the movement of subject itself.
This High Sensitivity Mode is made possible by the pixel-mixed readout method of the new CCD developed for LZ5/LZ3. The picture quality is good enough for the development into ordinary 4”x6” print size.
Thus, the handshake and movement of the subject, both the major causes of the blurred picture, are compensated with MEGA O.I.S. and High Sensitivity Mode to help you to take clear and beautiful picture in various situations.
High performance, low energy consumption image processing LSI: Venus Engine Plus
The LZ5/LZ3 incorporate the Venus Engine Plus LSI for high performance image processing in both speed and image quality as well as other LUMIX models. For the burst shooting mode, it boasts the shooting at three frames per second* at full resolution. You can start it the moment you want thanks to the independent button**, allowing you to record consecutive images and select the best one afterward. And the Unlimited Consecutive Shooting function*** allows limit-free consecutive shooting up to the capacity of the SD memory card. The industry-leading release time lag of 0.005(LZ5)/0.006(LZ3) sec does not let you miss a shooting chance and helps you capture the spur-of-the-moment.
The Venus Engine Plus reduces the power consumption to the 70% of that of Venus Engine II, enabling the shooting of 235(LZ5) / 250(LZ3) images per single replacement of batteries****.
*Max. eight images in standard mode / six images in fine mode (LZ5), max. five images in standard mode / three images in fine mode (LZ3).
**The button also performs as “delete” in playback mode.
***The speed of the unlimited consecutive shooting varies depending on the SD memory card.
****With two Panasonic OXIRIDE AA batteries.
Bright 2.5-Inch(LZ5) / 2.0-Inch(LZ3) large LCD with the World’s First* High Angle LCD Function
Compared to the previous LZ2/LZ1, the LCD for LZ5 becomes larger to be easy-to-see 2.5-inch (2.0-Inch for LZ3). Thanks to the new pixel-mixed readout method performed at CCD, the sensitivity is greatly increased to offer brightness on the live image displayed on LCD, allowing you to enjoy comfortable shooting even in low-lit situations.
The High Angle LCD function, which is the first application to the digital camera LCD*, makes the display extremely easy to view from bottom angle, for example, when taking photos raising a hand upward to shoot the subject over the crowd. This option can be set instantly by the independent button*.
The large LCD allows the display of images even in tiny thumbnail size. Playback of 9, 16 and 25 is possible on a multi-split screen in addition to the normal 1 frame playback. This helps you to search for the image you want out of a number of images stored on the SD Memory Card, even if the images are in bulk.
*As of January 4, 2006
**The button also performs as display setting.
Higher Quality Motion Image
A newly incorporated CCD that adopts a pixel-mixed readout method makes it possible to record beautiful full-size movies in VGA size at 30 fps. The new CCD provides much higher luminous signals, enhancing the picture quality not only in size but also in the brightness level of the image. On the sound front, built-in microphone* lets you enjoy playing back movies with audio on TV or with PC. *LZ5 only.
Faster AF with Enhanced Options
In addition to the 5-point, 3-point high speed, 1-point normal speed and Spot, you can select 1-point high speed AF setting. In the 1-point high-speed AF, the AF time has been dramatically reduced by about 40%*. This makes the auto focusing even easier but very accurate quickly.
Although screen-freeze in high-speed AF is now minimized, to take pictures of fast-moving subjects you can select 1-point normal-speed AF, which does not have any screen-freeze while focusing.
Finally, to extend the AF ability under low-light conditions or even at night, an AF assist lamp is newly included.
*Panasonic in-house comparison with 1-point normal speed AF in the previous model LZ2/LZ1 and 1-point high speed AF in the LZ5/LZ3 at wide end.
Other Features Expanding the Usability
LUMIX LZ series has a mode dial that shortcuts the selection of the scene mode that best matches the situation quickly and easily. The LZ5/LZ3 contain six new scene modes added to the LZ2/LZ1’s providing a total of fourteen scene modes* to assist your shooting according to the wide-ranging situations. Our unique mode “Baby”, allows easy growth recording in which the baby’s time of age according to the preset birthday would be automatically recorded onto the image, as well as maximizing the purity by giving a shade of soft focus on the subject. This mode has already been incorporated in other recent LUMIX series and favored and now doubled for LZ5/LZ3 so that you can set two birthdays to apply to two children’s records of growth.
On the other hand, the Simple Mode offers easy shooting even to entry-level users by making most settings automatically. You just aim at the subject, zoom in or out, and press the shutter button, even compensating backlight if necessary.
With 14 megabytes of built-in memory, you can take photos without missing a chance that may suddenly arise even when you do not have an SD Memory Card. You can also store your favorite photos like an album that you can enjoy viewing or showing at any time. Additionally, you can easily copy photos from the built-in memory to the SD Memory Card and vice versa.
*Not including Macro Mode.
Long Battery Life Powerfully Supported by OXYRIDE AA Batteries
The DMC- LZ5/LZ3 run on 2 AA batteries, which can be purchased anywhere. Panasonic OXYRIDE AA batteries offer more than 1.6 times* increased number of shots compared with the Alkaline AA batteries. The OXYRIDE batteries are included in LZ5/LZ3, allowing you to take up to a maximum of 235(LZ5) / 250(LZ3) photos (CIPA).
*Comparison between Panasonic Alkaline battery and OXYRIDE battery.
1/2.5 " Type CCD
| 1/2.5 " Type CCD
6.37 million pixels total
6.0 million effective pixels
|Image sizes|| 2560 x 1920
2048 x 1536
1600 x 1200
640 x 480
2560 x 1712 (3:2)
2048 x 1360 pixels (3:2)
2560 x 1440 (16:9)
1920 x 1080 (16:9)
2816 x 2112
640 x 480 pixels (Only with SD Memory Card)
|Lens|| 6.1-36.6mm (35mm Equiv.: 37-222mm)
LUMIX DC VARIO
8 elements in 7 groups (2 Aspherical Lenses / 3 Aspherical surfaces)
|Image stabilization||MEGA O.I.S. (Mode1 / Mode2)|
|Digital zoom||Up to 7.5x||Up to 8.3x|
|Focus||Auto Focus System, Normal/Macro (Dial)|
|AF area modes||1-point / 1-point high speed / 3-point high speed / 5-point / Spot|
|AF assist lamp||yes|
|Focus distance|| Normal: Wide 50cm/ Tele 120cm – infinity
Macro/Simple/Motion Image : wide 5cm/Tele 50 cm - infinity
|ISO sensitivity||Auto/80/100/200/400 (High Sensitivity Mode: 800-1600)|
|Exposure compensation||1/3 EV step, -2 - +2 EV|
|Exposure bracketing||+/- 1/3 EV -1EV step, 3 frames|
|Shuttter speed||1/8-1/2000 sec (Starry Sky Mode: 15,30,60 sec)|
|Aperture|| Wide: F2.8 / F5.6
Tele: F4.5 / F9
|Scene modes|| Portrait
|White balance|| Auto
|White balance fine tune||White Balance Adjustment ( 150K step, -1500 - +1500 K)* (Except for Auto set)|
|Self timer||10 sec / 2sec|
|Continuous shooting|| Full-Resolution Image, 3 fps or 2 fps
Max. 5 images (Standard mode), Max 3 images (Fine Mode)
| Full-Resolution Image, 3 fps or 2 fps
Max. 8 images (Standard mode), Max 6 images (Fine Mode)
|Image parameters|| Natural, Standard, Vivid
Cool, Warm, Black & White, Sepia
|Flash|| Auto, Auto/Red-eye Reduction, Slow Sync./Red-eye Reduction, Forced On/Off
Wide: 0.5 - 4.2m (ISO Auto)
Tele: 0.5 – 2.6m (ISO Auto)
High Sensitivity Mode (Wide): 0.8 – 5.7 m Tele) 0.8 – 3.5 m
|LCD monitor||2.0" TFT LCD Display (85 K Pixels)||2.5" TFT LCD Display (85 K Pixels)|
|Connectivity||DC Input, Video Output (NTSC/PAL), USB||DC Input, AV Output (NTSC/PAL), USB|
|Storage|| 14MB internal memory
No card supplied
|Power|| 2x AA battery
Optional mains adapter
|Weight (no batt)||Approx. 183g. (0.4lb)||Approx. 186g. (0.41lb)|
|Dimensions||100 x 62 x 45 mm (3.94 x2.44 x 1.77 inch)|