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Ilse Jurriën : January 27th 2009 - 15:00 CET

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX550

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PanasonicPanasonic Lumix FX550 digital camera : Panasonic is pleased to announce a new touch-screen interface model for its Lumix slim and stylish FX series as a successor to the DMC-FX500. The new Panasonic DMC-FX550 (in the USA known as Lumix FX580) features a 25mm ultra-wide angle Leica DC lens with 5x optical zoom while increasing the recording image size from 10.1-megapixel to 12.1-megapixel. Popular touch-screen operation on a large, 3.0-inch LCD brings great enjoyment to the digital photography and enables easy manual operation. Panasonic's iA (Intelligent Auto) mode - a hallmark of Lumix cameras - has been further advanced in the Lumix FX550. It now offers a Face Recognition feature, an advanced Face Recognition function that recognizes individual faces, making it a kind of personal verification system in a digital camera.
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX550

AF tracking on the Panasonic Lumix FX550
The user can give auto focus and auto exposure priority to a single person in a group of people, ensuring that a loved one's face will be captured beautifully. Also, the AF tracking lets the camera keep the subject in focus and well-exposed even if it moves around. Once you enter iA mode, these functions happen automatically together with other powerful shooting-assist functions 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.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX550 digital camera functions
The enhanced hybrid control system in the Panasonic DMC-FX550 combines cursor key control with touch-screen operation allows the photographer to enjoy more smooth and intuitive operation. Users can make basic settings directly with the cursor key while they can make extensive adjustments intuitively by touching or moving the slider on the screen. The newly developed Venus Engine V boasts approx.2.4 times processing speed with its two CPUs. It controls the image processing and operation even elevating the artificial intelligence of the camera at lower power consumption. The advanced Panasonic Lumix FX550 digital camera combines a futuristic control system with a host of basic specifications and even manual control to please a wide range of users while a variety of advanced functions enrich the camera's potential and user experience. Dressed in the aluminum panels having a hairline curve on the front, the new model is available in silver, black and gold.

Panasonic Lumix FX550

Panasonic FX550 features an ultra wide-angle Leica DC lens
The 12.1-megapixel Panasonic DMC-FX550 packages a ultra-wide 25mm Leica DC Vario Elmarit high-quality lens with 5x optical zoom(equivalent to 25-125mm on a 35mm film camera), offering F2.8 brightness. Comprising 7 elements in 6 groups, including 4 aspherical lenses with 6 aspherical surfaces, this advanced lens unit passes Leica's stringent standards and delivers an exceptional optical performance. Notably, unevenly thick concave meniscus EA (Extra high refractive index Aspherical) lens makes it possible to achieve the 25mm ultra-wide angle high optical performance while keeping the lens unit thin and the body slim. The 25mm ultra-wide-angle lens records almost double the viewing space at the same shooting distance compared to ordinary 35mm cameras. Further, in 3-megapixel resolution mode, the Extra Optical Zoom function provides additional magnification, extending the zoom power to 9.8x by using the center part of the CCD. The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX550 also has an Easy Zoom feature that, at the touch of a button, shifts the lens instantly to full 5.0x zoom power. A second touch of the button activates the Extra Optical Zoom function and extends zoom all the way to 9.8x. The iris diaphragm allows the users to adjust aperture at fine steps manually.

Panasonic FX550

Face Recognition function available in iA mode
Panasonic incorporated the Intelligent Auto mode in pursuit of the ultimate ease of operation and the reduction of misshots. This mode is also further advanced with the inclusion of the Face Recognition feature for Lumix FX550. The Panasonic FX550 features Face Recognition, a function that "remembers" faces. When a familiar face is recorded several times, the digital 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 that person and prioritize focus and exposure so that the registered face is bright and in sharp focus. During registration, you can change the icon that indicates when the registered subject is in focus. 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.

Panasonic DMC-FX550

Intelligent Auto mode on the Panasonic Lumix FX550
With AF Tracking, the Panasonic DMC-FX550 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. And the Intelligent Scene Selector automatically detects common shooting situations and switches to the appropriate scene mode and automatically turns backlight compensation on when necessary. In iA mode the camera does all the work, activating AF tracking, Face Detection with Face Recognition, Mega O.I.S. (Optical Image Stabilizer), Intelligent ISO Control, Intelligent Scene Selector, and Intelligent Exposure. This leaves the user free to simply compose the shot and press the shutter button, with the assurance that the image will be clear, beautiful and properly exposed.

Lumix DMC-FX550

Panasonic DMC-FX550 features a 3" touch screen
The Panasonic Lumix FX550 incorporates a 3.0-inch large touch-screen interface to achieve amazing ease in both shooting and playing back the images. Panasonic proposes a hybrid operation system combining the new touch-screen interface and the conventional operation system with cursor key for more quick and intuitive control, by taking advantage of both operation systems. Basic settings can be directly controlled by the cursor key, and others extensive ones are finely adjusted by touch or by moving a slider on the screen with the finger or an included stylus-pen. Users can set the auto focus and exposure at the desired part of the frame by simply touching the subject at that part while recording. In manual exposure mode, aperture and shutter speed can be adjusted by moving the slider. You can also make fine adjustment of white balance and color temperature with the touch screen. In playback mode, even a large, high resolution images can be comfortably played back with a touch scroll. The Easy Organization menu is provided to simplify image organizing. The user can quickly select an image to view by scrolling the thumbnails located below the main window, and then edit the image by resizing, trimming and inputting the text title of the picture. You can also flag the desired image as your favorites or delete them in one menu interface. This touch-screen interface features a high-resolution Intelligent LCD which automatically controls the brightness at a total of 11 fine steps by detecting the surrounding lighting condition. This function gives the display the most appropriate clarity in any situation. Menus now look clearer and easier to navigate, even for seniors, thanks to the new Display Size option. Thanks to the Venus Engine V, smooth image playback at very high speeds is now available approx.17x faster for thumbnail and approx. 4x for single image even the image resolution is as high as 12.1-megapixel.


Panasonic Venus Engine HD assures high picture quality
The high-speed, high-performance Venus Engine has been re-engineered to reborn as the even powerful Venus Engine V. Apart from the conventional imaging engine, the Venus Engine V has twin CPUs to boast approx. 2.4x processing speed. In addition, this high performance LSI elevates the artificial intelligence of the camera, making it possible to “recognize” the human faces individually. In the image processing, parallel noise reduction in both luminance signal and chromatic signal processing systems is performed. Then, the luminance noise is further two-dimensionally separated into high-frequency and low-frequency noises and only the low-frequency noise, which tends to be conspicuous, is eliminated without affecting the high-frequency noise that greatly influences resolution.

Super-fast image processor incorporated in the Panasonic FX550
The multi-task image-processing engine Venus Engine V supports super-fast response time. The shutter release time lag is as short as approx. 0.007 second and the camera's quick response makes it easier to capture sudden, spur-of-the-moment photo opportunities. In burst shooting mode, the Panasonic Lumix FX550 can snap approx. 2.3 shots per second at 12.1-megapixel large full resolution. And in High-Speed Burst shooting mode, it fires off an incredible approx. 10 shots per second. You also get unlimited consecutive shooting which lets you keep shooting until the memory card is full. Flash Burst mode makes it possible to take continuous shooting with continuous emission of flash. Despite its outstanding performance, the high performance engine is also superior in its energy efficiency by approx.16% compared with the conventional Venus Engine IV to extend the battery life up to 350 shots (CIPA) per a single charge.


Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX550 takes HD photos
All Panasonic Lumix cameras can take 1920x1080 pixel HD (high-definition) quality photos that perfectly fit a wide-screen (16:9) HDTV for full-screen viewing. The new Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX550 even records dynamic HD motion pictures in 1280 x 720p at a smooth 30 fps, in addition to WVGA (848 x 480) and normal VGA (640 x 480) . With HD component output capability, you can enjoy watching still and motion pictures in stunning HD quality taken by your Panasonic Lumix FX550 by simply connecting the camera to a TV via an optional component cable (DMW-HDC2).

Panasonic Lumix FX550 digital camera features
The new Panasonic FX550 features a variety of functionalities to expand the convenience and fun for users to enjoy taking beautiful pictures. The new scene mode for shooting still images includes the Panorama Assist mode, which allows you to create powerful panoramic images - both vertically and horizontally. Simply align your shots according to a guide which overlaps the frame when you shoot, then use the included PanoramaMaker software to create your panorama images. With the new Macro Zoom function, the user can pull subjects even closer than the closest point possible with the wide-angle setting by using 3x digital zoom, and capture dramatic close-ups.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX550 review

Panasonic PHOTOfunSTUDIO 3.0 software
The latest version of exciting software PHOTOfunSTUDIO 3.0 comes bundled with Panasonic Lumix FX550. The PHOTOfunSTUDIO 3.0 allows the user to edit or organize a collection of photos with more ease and fun. The portrait images taken with the camera’s Face Recognition function are organized neatly in the folder of the name registered with the camera. Not only that, the software also features an independent Face Recognition function that recognizes the faces in the picture stored in your PC to sort the photos by the face. You do not have to pick out each photo one by one out of thousand of photos when you only want pictures of a specific person. With PHOTOfunSTUDIO 3.0, the software automatically sorts your images into virtual folders based on the faces you registered. You can also enjoy slideshows with a variety of effects and use your iTunes music library as background music. Motion pictures can be uploaded directly to YouTube using the built-in YouTube uploader.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX550 review
As soon as we receive a Panasonic Lumix FX550 test sample, we will publish a picture gallery with high resolution photos, followed by an extended Panasonic FX550 review.

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