Posts Tagged ‘Panasonic’

Panasonic Develops Twin-Lens 3D Digital Camera

IFA Berlin—Panasonic announced today the development of a twin-lens 3D compact digital camera with 3D High Definition video capability. The camera is called Lumix 3D, and the prototype is on display right now at IFA Berlin. The camera will shoot both 2D and 3D still images and HD and 3D HD videos. Remember when we recently reported that Samsung was looking into two-lens technology for a compact camera to help with depth of field?

According to Panasonic, “The LUMIX 3D camera’s compact size was achieved by employing two recently-developed 4x zoom lenses with thin, folded optics, which allow users to capture crisp and clear photo and video footage even from afar.”The camera is expected to be available in winter 2011/2012. See the full press release below.

Look for an upcoming hands-on look at the LUMIX 3D from our reporter on the ground in Berlin!

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Micro Four Thirds With Full HD Video: Panasonic Lumix GH2 Review

Panasonic Lumix GH2 Review
Text, Photos and Video by Jason Thompson

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH2 is the updated version of its predecessor, the GH1. While still utilizing the same Micro Four Thirds system (see more about Micro Four Thirds here), this new generation camera boasts several upgrades.  Panasonic redesigned the image sensor, increasing the maximum resolution to 16.05-megapixels. The GH2 also has a slightly faster contrast based auto focus, as well as a touchscreen display. The one touch video button allows for instant switches to and from High Definition video recording mode. The combination of Panasonic’s Micro Four Thirds system and Electronic View Finder allow the GH2 to maintain a very lightweight form. Even when combined with the 14-140mm f/4.0-5.8 kit lens (with silent drive focusing) that I tested it with, this mirrorless camera maintains an overall weight below many in its class. The GH2 lens mount is also compatible with the 3D Lumix G 12.5mm f/12 3D-capable lens.


Panasonic Lumix GH2: click thumbnails to enlarge

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Hands-on with Panasonic Lumix GF2

CES 2011, Las Vegas—The Panasonic Lumix GF2, announced late this fall, is the successor to the GF1 which we were quite impressed with when we reviewed it. The Micro Four Thirds system camera is as lightweight as a compact digicam and shoots with DSLR quality. This new GF2 can now handle ISOs up to 6400 and has a slightly smaller, lighter body than its predecessor. Panasonic has still forgone a viewfinder, which would make this lady happy, though it can be fitted with an optional EVF accessory.I look forward to more time with this sleek little guy.

click thumbnails to enlarge

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Camcorder Comparison: High Definition at Three Price Points

Camcorder Comparison: High Definition at Three Price Points
Text, Images and Video by Tony Gomez

While some new digital cameras and DSLRs now have the ability to capture High Definition video, there are many standalone HD camcorders that can do a better job. I recently tested three such camcorders: two high end models—the Panasonic HDC-TM700 and the JVC GZ-HM1—and the more affordable Canon Vixia HF R10. All three of these camcorders shoot HD video in the AVCHD standard at 1080i (1080 lines, interlace scanned) resolution and have internal memory, plus an additional SDHC memory card slot for expansion. Each camcorder can also shoot JPEG stills, either independently, or while shooting video. All models also have an automatic zoom lens that permits smooth zooms without manual jerkiness—something that current DSLRS don’t have.

Panasonic HDC-TM700

click the thumbnails to see full-size images

The Panasonic HDC-TM-700 ($999.95 MSRP) has pro-style 3-chip (Red/Green/Blue) MOS sensor technology that provides the ultimate in color quality. The TM700 also uses the newest high capacity XDHC memory card—up to 64GB for over 8 hours of recording at 1080i quality.  The 12x Leica zoom lens control is very smooth and quiet (no pickup on the built-in microphone), with a bump to 18x without noticeable degradation. Optical Image Stabilization (OIS) is active and very useful in either movie or still mode.  The large 3-inch LCD monitor gives a very clear view of images being, recorded or during playback, and has an easy-to-use menu. In extremely bright conditions where the LCD screen can be washed out, the electronic color viewfinder takes over very nicely.

The 1080i playback video quality through an optional HDMI cable to my HD TV was superb, due in large part to the 3-chip sensors. For the ultimate record quality, 1080/60P (1080 lines/60 frames progressively scanned) is also selectable, and viewable on 1080/60p equipped HD TVs.  With the built-in 32GB memory, record times of 2-1/2 hours and 4 hours are possible at the 1080/60P and 1080/60i settings, respectively.  Still JPEG images can be can be captured at up to 13-megapixel max resolution. A built-in Dolby 5.1 channel surround audio microphone, external microphone jack, headphone monitor jack, and an accessory bracket for a video light are just some of the many higher-end features.

The TM700 is a beefy camcorder at one pound, but the layout of the controls and buttons makes it easy to use and select various features.  The extra weight actually makes it easy to get smoother images by reducing handheld shakiness, and OIS reduces that even further. In summary, the Panasonic HDC-TM700 is a real winner, especially if you want the ultimate in color quality in HD video.

Specifications: Video Resolution: 1080/60P HD max, with 4 other 1080i HD quality settings; Still Image Resolution: 13MP max;  Zoom Lens: 12x optical (3.4 mm wide to 41.4mm), 18x/30x/700x digital, OIS; Recording Media: Internal 32GB memory or SDHC/XDHC memory card; Special Features: 3-chip MOS sensor, 1080/60P recording;  Size: 2.6″W x 2.7″H x 5.4″D, 1 lb.

JVC GZ-HM1

click the thumbnails to see full-size images

The JVC HM1 ($1,199.95 MSRP) boasts a unique feature—a sliding blue LED touch bar (Laser Touch) on the LCD screen that lets your finger touch select Video Quality at four settings. It also has JPEG image resolution up to 10MP, and a wide variety of other features.  The internal 64GB memory allows 8 hours of recording at the XP default quality setting, or 6 hours at the highest quality UXP setting.

recording at standard speed, recording at 120 frames per second

Super Low Light video recording is another great feature. The HM1 has a newly designed backlit sensor technology that permits higher quality, more noise-free recording under low light conditions. While 3-chip sensor camcorders (like the Panasonic TM700) have the ultimate color quality, their low light sensitivity isn’t as great as a single chip design. Hi-Speed video recording, with 120 fps, 300 fps, and 600 frames per second (fps) is another exciting feature, albeit in a narrow two or four second window of time. But my personal favorite feature is a real-time audio level meter on the LCD screen.



recording at standard speed, recording at 300 frames per second

Like the Panasonic TM700, the JVC HM1 is a hefty camera at one pound, but well balanced for capturing HD video and stills.  However the HM1 lacks a viewfinder, so you are solely dependent on the LCD monitor for viewing and setup—potentially a washout problem in bright ambient light. The Laser Touch feature is a bit too sensitive for my fingers, but still useable with practice.  I compared the HM1’s low light capability with the Panasonic TM700, and the Canon HF R10. The result: the JVC-HM1 had the edge in producing a brighter image with less video noise. If the HM1’s low light feature is important to you, you should consider it.

Specifications: Single chip CMOS sensor; Video Resolution: 1080i max; Still Image Resolution: 10MP max; Zoom lens 10x optical (6.7mm – 67mm), 16x/64x/200x digital; Recording Media: Internal 64GB memory or SDHC memory card; Special Features: Low noise, Low Light recording, Hi-Speed Video Recording, Record Audio Monitor on LCD; Size/weight: 2.7″W x 2.8″H x 5.4″D, 1 lb.

Canon VIXIA HF R10

click the thumbnails to see full-size images

For a wider consumer budget appeal, the Canon VIXIA HF R10 offers a more affordable 1080i High Definition camcorder ($399.99 MSRP), with a smaller 8GB internal memory and an SDHC expansion memory slot, in a smaller package.

At the default HD Quality setting, you can record about 1-1/2 hours on the internal 8GB memory.  If you need more time, just add an SDHC memory card in the provided slot. Surprisingly, the 20x lens has the longest optical zoom range of the three camcorders tested, and a 3mm wide angle setting that’s the widest of the three.

The smaller and lighter VIXIA HF R10 is easier to hold for longer periods of time, but the decreased weight makes it more prone to handheld shaking. However, built-in Electronic Image Stabilization should help smooth out any extra camera shake. The Canon HF R10 also lacks a viewfinder, which forces dependency on the LCD, a potential problem in bright light. Video playback was very good on my HDTV. However, the 1.7MP still image resolution is fairly low compared with other camcorders.

Specifications: Video resolution: 1080i max; Still image resolution: 1.7MP max; CMOS sensor; Zoom lens: 20X Optical (3mm – 60mm), EIS; Internal 8GB memory with SDHC memory card slot; Size/Weight: 2.4″W x 2.5″H x 4.9″D, 12oz with battery.

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Panasonic Announces Lumix DMC-FX75

Panasonic has announced the 14.1MP LUMIX DMC-FX75—a “slim and stylish hybrid” digital camera that shoots High Definition video. The camera boasts a super wide 24mm f/2.2 LEICA DC VARIO-SUMMICRON lens with 5x optical zoom, which  can be used while shooting HD video in AVCHD Lite format. To complement the high-quality video, the LUMIX FX75 also features Dolby Digital Creator to record high quality audio. Pricing and availability will be announced 30 days prior to the shipping date. Check out the full release from Panasonic below.

From Panasonic:

SECAUCUS, NJ (June 1, 2010) – Panasonic announced today the new LUMIX DMC-FX75, a super-slim digital camera that packs big features, including a 24mm ultra-wide-angle F2.2 bright LEICA DC VARIO-SUMMICRON lens with 5x optical zoom, which  can be used while shooting High Definition video. The slim and stylish LUMIX FX75, a 14.1-megapixel digital camera is one of Panasonic’s high-performing hybrid models with the ability to not only take high-quality still photos, but can also record HD video in the AVCHD Lite format.

“The Panasonic LUMIX FX75’s 24mm ultra-wide-angle lens is a rare feature to have on a compact camera – especially one this small, so we are packing a lot of value and quality into this slim and stylish digital camera,” said David Briganti, Senior Product Manager, Imaging, Panasonic Consumer Electronics Company. “Most consumers value the benefits of a long zoom, but understanding the importance of a wide-angle isn’t as known. With a 24mm ultra-wide angle like the one on the LUMIX FX75, photographers have a wider range of composition possibilities with approximately 213% larger viewing space compared to that of a 35mm camera.”

The LUMIX FX75 can record HD video in the AVCHD Lite format, which allows almost double the recording time in HD quality compared with the conventional Motion JPEG format.  When recording in AVCHD Lite, the content is perfect for viewing on an HDTV, like a Panasonic VIERA Plasma.  To complement the high-quality video, the LUMIX FX75 also features Dolby Digital Creator to record high quality audio. For those users who are recording HD video to view on a computer screen, they also have the option to record in Motion JPEG, as well as WVGA (848×480) and VGA (640×480).

The LUMIX FX75 adopts full touch-screen operation, which allows for Auto Focus (AF) to quickly be set to the subject by simply touching the large 3.0-inch 230,000-dot LCD. Also, the user can click onto a subject with a single touch, and the FX75 then tracks the subject with the AF tracking feature – even when moving. The touch-screen operation is fluid and smooth – whether in record or playback mode.  While recording, once the frame is composed, users can simply touch the area they want focused before pressing the shutter button. In playback mode, users can drag the image across the screen with their finger to browse the collection of photos, as though it is a page in a book.

Panasonic’s iA (Intelligent Auto) mode, a hallmark on all LUMIX digital cameras, is further advanced in the LUMIX FX75 with the addition of a new Motion Deblur mode*1  by updating the motion detection (Intelligent ISO Control) and brightness control (Intelligent Exposure) to gain the highest shutter speed possible. Combined with the outstanding brightness of the lens and the POWER O.I.S. (Optical Image Stabilizer), the LUMIX FX75 reduces blur created from handshake or the subject moving. The iA suite of technologies include: POWER O.I.S., Face Recognition, Face Detection, AF Tracking, Intelligent ISO Control, Intelligent Scene Selector and Intelligent Exposure – all which are engaged when in the iA mode.  Panasonic’s iA is also available while shooting video and include: AF Tracking, POWER O.I.S., Face Detection and Intelligent Scene Selector.

The Panasonic LUMIX FX75 features the Venus Engine HD II image processor, which helps assure superb image quality in both photo and video recording. It also incorporates Intelligent Resolution technology to perform the optimum signal processing based on the part of a picture to give a whole image outstanding, natural clearness with fine details.  At the same time, the multi-task image-processing engine Venus Engine HD II supports a super-fast response time. The shutter release lag time is as short as approximately 0.005 of a second in 1-area AF, and the camera’s quick response makes it easier to capture sudden, spur-of-the-moment photo opportunities together with the Sonic Speed AF.

With the Intelligent Resolution technology, three areas – outlines, detailed texture areas and soft gradation – are examined pixel by pixel and automatically detected to enhance any degradation created during the digital zoom process or in high-sensitivity shooting. The outline areas are enhanced effectively to give the edges more clarity, while simultaneously giving a moderate accent to the textured areas so they look accurately detailed. To soften gradation areas, such as a face, the increased noise reduction system of the Venus Engine HD II is applied to make it appear smoother.  As a result of Intelligent Resolution, images are naturally clear and crisp in both photo and video recording.  The Intelligent Resolution technology powers Panasonic’s new Intelligent Zoom feature, which extends the camera’s zoom ratio by approximately 1.3x while maintaining picture quality – and enhancing the digital zoom and making it comparable to the quality of an optical zoom. With Intelligent Zoom, the Panasonic FX75 can reach up to 6.5x.

Other features include:

* Cosmetic Mode – takes portraits with the user’s favorite skin tone (soft skin, natural skin, summer look) and can add a degree of transparency of skin detail (low, standard, high), making it possible to take portraits with different skin tones, for example, look more sun-tanned.
* Happy Mode – option in iA that optimizes color, saturation and brightness to make both photos and movies more vivid and true to the color of the scene you memorized.
* Battery Life – the high performance Venus Engine HD II is also more energy efficient compared with the conventional Venus Engine HD, extending the battery life up to 360 shots (CIPA) on a single charge.

Pricing and availability for the Panasonic LUMIX DMC-FX75 will be announced 30 days prior to shipping date.  For more information on these LUMIX models, please visit: www.panasonic.com/lumix.

*1The picture size may be reduced.

*Leica is a registered trademark of Leica Microsystems IR GmbH.

*The LEICA DC VARIO-SUMMICRON lenses are manufactured using measurement instruments and quality assurance systems that have been certified by Leica Camera AG based on the company’s quality standards.

*Dolby and the double-D symbol are trademarks of Dolby Laboratories.

*HDMI, the HDMI logo and High-Definition Multimedia Interface are trademarks or registered trademarks of HDMI Licensing LLC.

*YouTube is a trademark of Google Inc.

*All other company and product names are trademarks of their respective corporations.

*This unit is compatible with both SD/SDHC/SDXC Memory Cards. You can only use SDHC Memory Cards on devices that are compatible with them. You cannot use SDHC Memory Cards on devices that are only compatible with SD Memory Cards. (When using an SDHC Memory Card on another device, be sure to read the operating instructions for that device.)

*Some accessories are not available in some countries.

*The use of recorded or printed materials that are protected by copyright for any purpose other than personal enjoyment is prohibited, as it would infringe upon the rights of the copyright holder.

*Design and specifications are subject to change without notice.

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