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Panasonic unveils 5 Megapixel topmodel DMC-FZ20
Mark Peters : July 21th 2004 - 03:42 CETupdated
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PanasonicPanasonic is introducing the incoming LUMIX model DMC-FZ20, the world-leading 5-Megapixel CCD model with MEGA O.I.S. (Optical Image Stabilizer) incorporating a 12x optical zoom (equivalent to 36mm to 432mm on a 35mm film camera) with full-range F2.8 aperture. The DMC-FZ20 is the true heir to the internationally renowned DMC-FZ10, enhancing its excellence not only with the total number of pixels but also with the technical improvements in the image processing LSI, the accuracy of O.I.S and the flash performance, in addition to a basic overhaul of physical usability to assure a firm grip by redesigning its exterior. The most remarkable advancement is the complete improvement of the image processing LSI.
Panasonic unveils 5 Megapixel topmodel DMC-FZ20In the previous Venus Engine, the luminance signal is extracted from all RGB pixels to improve the diagonal resolution by 50%. In addition to that, the newly developed Venus Engine II gains new imaging process which adds the luminance signal extracted only from the G pixels upon detecting the horizontal / vertical lines in the image. This results in the improvement of the horizontal and vertical resolution by more than 10% compared to the former Venus Engine, while maintaining the 50% in the diagonal resolution. Besides, that the amount of the noise reduction is controllable according to the brightness level of each subject in the image, which reduces the noise in the dark areas as low as 1/3 without affecting the resolution in bright areas of the image.

Thanks to the further improved multi-task image processing, response has also been accelerated, resulting in the industry-leading release time lag of approx. 0.008 sec minimum and a shutter interval of approx. 0.4 sec for achieving more stress-free operation. It also boasts high consecutive shooting performance, realizing the shooting at 3 frames/second at full resolution. Newly installed Infinite Consecutive Shooting function allows limit-free consecutive shooting up to the capacity of the SD memory card.

MEGA O.I.S., which we strongly believe indispensable for a high-magnification model, is subsumed with 2 selectable modes. In "Mode 1", the O.I.S. lens continuously compensates the vibration, and in the all Panasonic’s own "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. Venus Engine II also encourages this advantageous performance in the point of enhancing the accuracy of hand-shake detection, which allows you to use the 1-step slower shutter speed than that of the models with previous Venus Engine. Consequently, even without using a tripod, it allows you to reduce the shutter speed 3 or 4 steps compared to the conventional cameras without O.I.S., while assuring clear images.

As with the conventional LUMIX models, the DMC-FZ20 incorporates LEICA DC VARIO-ELMARIT lens that promises high resolution and low aberration images. The use of 3 aspherical lenses, which Panasonic boasts its in-house manufacturing know-how, accomplish conspicuous downsizing even with 12x optical zoom model. The ED lens contributes to suppress the color aberration that often occurs in telephoto shots.

The LUMIX DMC-FZ20 still leaves a wide variety of faculties pursuing the manual control, including ring-operated manual focus and manual exposure, for the high-end amateurs and professionals who prefer the pure creative freedom.

1. The world-leading 5-megapixel 12x optical zoom model

The LUMIX DMC-FZ20 digital camera is equipped with a 5.0 megapixel effective pixels and LEICA DC VARIO-ELMARIT lens, offering 12x optical zoom (equivalent to 36mm to 432mm with a 35mm film camera) with F2.8 aperture throughout the entire zoom range. The combination of 3 aspherical lenses and 1 ED lens generates high optical performance while preserving the compactness of the unit. The zoom range can be totally extended to 48x when combined with 4x digital zoom.

2. Upgraded MEGA O.I.S. offers clear, sharp images even in difficult situations

MEGA O.I.S. , which we strongly believe indispensable for a high-magnification model is subsumed with 2 selectable modes. In "Mode 1", the O.I.S. lens continuously compensates for vibration, and in the all Panasonic’s own "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. Venus Engine II also encourages this advantageous performance in the point of enhancing the accuracy of hand-shake detection, which allows you to use the 1-step slower shutter speed than that of the models with previous Venus Engine. Consequently, even without using a tripod, it allows you to reduce the shutter speed 3 or 4 steps compared to the conventional cameras without O.I.S., while assuring clear images.

Its outstanding benefit can be reaffirmed especially with the shootings in telephoto, in low light or in macro.

3. With greatly improved resolution and response, the world's highest level performance: the Venus Engine II

Panasonic has achieved great improvements in both resolution and response compared to the previous Venus Engine. In the previous Venus Engine, the luminance signal is extracted from all RGB pixels to improve the diagonal resolution by 50%. In addition to that, the newly developed Venus Engine II gains new imaging process which adds the luminance signal extracted only from the G pixels upon detecting the horizontal / vertical lines in the image. This results in the improvement of the horizontal and vertical resolution by more than 10% compared to the former Venus Engine, while maintaining the 50% in the diagonal resolution. Besides, that the amount of the noise reduction is controllable according to the brightness level of each subject in the image, which reduces the noise in the dark areas as low as 1/3 without affecting the resolution in bright areas of the image.

Thanks to the further improved multi-task image processing, response has also been accelerated, resulting in the industry-leading release time lag of approx. 0.008 sec minimum and a shutter interval of approx. 0.4 sec for achieving more stress-free operation. It also boasts high consecutive shooting performance, providing shooting at 3 frames/second at full resolution. Newly installed Infinite Consecutive Shooting function* allows limit-free consecutive shooting up to the capacity of the SD memory card.

4. Enhanced AF and flash functions

With the DMC-FZ20, an AF method can be selected according to the shooting situation: 9-point AF, 3-point AF, 1-point AF, or spot AF. Meanwhile in the 3-point AF, high-speed AF is achieved by obtaining the focus information from the CCD by double frequency. In addition, AF assist lamp is newly equipped for expanding the AF ability even at night or under the low-light conditions.

The built-in flash delivers flash lighting at a distance up to 7m at ISO AUTO.

5. High-end usability and full manual operations

While inheriting the original design of the DMC-FZ10, the grip has been improved to help stable hold. All renowned functions of the FZ10 such as ring-operated manual focus, one-shot AF, manual exposure, and program shift function are taken over while the functions such as aperture-priority AE, shutter-priority AE or manual exposure, which were previously selected from menu screen are now be selectable directly by the mode dial. Newly adopted OSD supports easy-to follow operation even with the expanded scene modes.

Last but not least, the EVF magnification is extended from 7.6x up to 11x to afford a larger view and now you can save the majestic image in non-compressed TIFF file format.

Combining the latest advances in optical and digital technologies, the LUMIX DMC-FZ20 opens the door to a new level of creativity.

6. Optional accessory

Wide Conversion Lens (DMW-LWZ10) - Allows shooting at 0.8x with F2.8 brightness across the entire 29mm to 58mm zoom range (35mm lens equivalent). Lets you take photos with excellent perspective.

Tele Conversion Lens (DMW-LTZ10) - Allows shooting at 1.5x with F2.8 brightness across the entire 324mm to 648mm zoom range (35mm lens equivalent). Lets you take powerful telephoto shots.

Remote Shutter (DMW-RS1) - For shooting with tripod

External Flash (DMW-FL28) - For more brightness control
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