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Old Jul 21, 2004, 8:08 AM   #1
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THREE NEW 12X ZOOM MODELS WITH OPTICAL IMAGE STABILIZER LEAD OFF PANASONIC'S LUMIXä 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 20, 2004) ¾ 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 Lumixä 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 36 – 436mm 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) ¾ 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 ¾ from displaying the image on the LCD to writing data to the memory card ¾ 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 BURSTâ consecutive shooting mode, real-time histogram, auto bracketing, color viewfinder and much more.



Panasonic Lumix 12x Zoom Models
[align=center]




[align=center]Model[/align]

[align=center]Availability[/align]

[align=center]MSRP*[/align]


DMC-FZ3

3-Megapixel,1/3.2" CCD


[align=center]Late summer 2004[/align]

[align=center]$399.95[/align]


DMC-FZ15

4-Megapixel,1/2.5" CCD


[align=center]Late summer 2004[/align]

[align=center]$499.95[/align]


DMC-FZ20

5-Megapixel,1/2.5" CCD


[align=center]Late summer 2004[/align]

[align=center]$599.95[/align][/align]
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Old Jul 21, 2004, 8:34 AM   #2
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Congratulations, Bob,

These cameras look excellent "on paper". Can't wait to see sample images...

I read the specifications on DPReview but found several points confusing.
Would you mind addressing a couple of technical points on http://www.stevesforums.com/forums/v...mp;forum_id=23?

Thanks,
Alex.
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Old Jul 21, 2004, 9:37 AM   #3
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Bob ;

I suppose since you posted this that the FZ20 will be available in the USA :!:

Or am I reading too much into this? :O
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Old Jul 21, 2004, 9:43 AM   #4
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what is late summer 2004? summer officially ends september 21 i leave for a trip september 12 to croatia and would like this fz15, but i would like 4 weeks to try which gives me august 15 as late as i can wait, is it possible to get this camera by then, in 3 weeks?

i hope so, or i'll have to buy the fz10, but it's priced the same and i won't be able to return after my trip, what to do....

please inform me on when shipments are going out and when i can order it and get it dates...

thanks


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Old Jul 21, 2004, 10:03 AM   #5
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1. On DPReview, The 2/4 fps burst mode of the FZ3 is said to last for 7/13 pictures. However, "infinite" burst is also mentioned. Would you care to clarify?

<RESPONSE>

Thee are three modes, L / H / Infinity

2. Do the new cameras support the parallel interface of the larger (and better) SD cards?

<RESPONSE>

I haven't received a "final" sample so I'll wait to comment untill I know for sure.



3. The FZ3 is reported to use the same CCD size as the FZ1 but with ~50% more pixels. Combined with the reported minimum sensitivity of ISO 80, how would it affect the noise characterisitics? Will it be safe to assume that the FZ3 images will be somewhat more noisy than the FZ1's or did the noise reduction algorithm got more aggressive?

Actually not, the Venus Engine II really did a nice job of improving the video.

4. Does the FZ3 have a real-time histogram? The reports seem conflicting.

Yes it does!

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Old Jul 21, 2004, 10:04 AM   #6
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genece wrote:
Quote:
Bob ;

I suppose since you posted this that the FZ20 will be available in the USA :!:

Or am I reading too much into this? :O



Of course, as far as I know it's a world wide release.
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Old Jul 21, 2004, 10:08 AM   #7
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Belz wrote:
Quote:
what is late summer 2004? summer officially ends september 21 i leave for a trip september 12 to croatia and would like this fz15, but i would like 4 weeks to try which gives me august 15 as late as i can wait, is it possible to get this camera by then, in 3 weeks?

i hope so, or i'll have to buy the fz10, but it's priced the same and i won't be able to return after my trip, what to do....

please inform me on when shipments are going out and when i can order it and get it dates...

thanks


I have no way of knowing what dealers will first have it nor an exact date. From what I heard at yesterday's press conference, US dealers should see initial shipments somewhere from late August to early September. NOTHING DEFINITE but at this time this looks to be the case. I seriously doubt the roll out will agree with your trip, especially since availability mayl be limited in the beginning.




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Old Jul 21, 2004, 10:11 AM   #8
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Is the late summer release date U.S specific or will this be a worldwide release? Can we expect to see them in the U.K soon?
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Old Jul 21, 2004, 10:44 AM   #9
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I haven't been waiting for it actually.

Having boughtan FZ10 only a few weeks ago, why on earth would I be interested in its replacement?

Moreover, having been assured in that same timeframe when I was trying to buy an FZ10 by Panasonic that the short supplies of the FZ10 were due to the fantastic demand and not a new model on the horizon, how do you think I really feel about the FZ15/20?

You expect me to be pleased for you?
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Old Jul 21, 2004, 12:34 PM   #10
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I have to say, this is most certainly not the news I was looking for, I've had my FZ10 for just about 3 months.The last time I visited this forum, Bob, you seemed to be canvassing about a decision required for a firmware fix/upgrade, instead I find you pushing your latest upgraded version of the camera just a few short months after the previous one was released. I can tell you now, I am not happy.

Tell your superiors, there's a little thing called customer satisfaction. Without it you don't keep customers and the previous ones you lost are likely to tell others about their experience.
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