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The has a sleek, simple design that is functional, but still looks attractive. It is only available in black, but the similar SX1 model is available in black, silver, red and blue.

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There are three menus on this camera: the mode menu, the quick menu and the main menu. The mode menu is launched by pressing the mode button, and this allows you to set the basic mode of the camera to intelligent Auto, Normal Picture, Mini, scene or 3D mode. The mini mode provides for direct access to the miniature shooting mode, which uses focus processing to make the scene look like a miniature.

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The Quick menu is triggered by pressing the button in the middle of the directional control, and offers quick access to settings for image size, ISO, white balance, metering and other settings. They are accessed from a horizontal bar, with the options on the vertical.

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The main menu is accessed through the menu button, and allows for access to all of the other controls that the camera offers.

The is a small, compact camera that is pretty easy to use, with the controls falling under the fingertips. The shutter, zoom, video shutter and power buttons are located on the top of the camera, with the other controls on the back.

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The is a small, compact camera, but we found that it fitted well into the hand, with the index finger falling naturally onto the shutter and zoom controls, and the thumb falling onto the dimpled area on the back of the camera. This makes for a pretty firm grip, but the lack of a front grip for the fingertips means that you should use the wrist strap as well. We found the dedicated video shutter to be easy to use as well as the normal shutter, although it is somewhat smaller.

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There are a good range of modes on offer on this camera, with two fully automatic modes, 16 scene modes and a handful of other modes on offer. One thing that is lacking is a manual mode; there is no way to go in and directly set the aperture or shutter speed on this camera.

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There are two automatic modes on this camera. First is the iAuto (for intelligent Auto) mode that is present on all Panasonic cameras which chooses all of the settings for you. Next is the Normal mode, which is equivalent to the program mode on other cameras.

There is no dedicated movie mode on this camera. Instead, it is always ready to start taking movies through the dedicated video shutter button alongside the main shutter. This is a nice solution to the problem of having to switch from movies to video. The resolution and frame rate of the video can be controlled through the main menu. Videos are shot at 1080i resolution, which means there are 30 interlaced frames per second.

There are a couple of options for taking photos in a burst of images, with options for 2 and 5 frames per second with the camera continuously focusing, and 10fps with pre-focus only. We were not able to test the speed of the shooting on this camera, but we have found previous Panasonic cameras to shoot a little slower than their claimed speeds.

is pretty straightforward, offering a good selection of features for playing and sorting images, including the ability to zoom out to show up to 32 thumbnails and to zoom in up to 10x. There are also a selection of tools for creating slide shows and some very basic editing features.

The shoots up to 14.1 megapixel images, but a selection of smaller image sizes are also on offer.

Miniature mode

The miniature mode uses a selective blur to give your images the look of a miniature model scene. This works for both still images and videos, with the video being sped up 10x to produce a rather amusing effect.

3D

A 3D shooting mode is also available, which combines multiple images shot as the camera is panned to produce a single 3D image, which can be displayed on any standard 3D HDTV.

Panorama

The can shoot panoramas in a special mode, where you shoot and pan the camera, and it stitches the images together to create the panorama.

The offers a number of focus modes, including a . Panasonic claims that the can focus in under 0.1 seconds, but we were unable to test this at the CES show. Several focus modes are available, including continuous and one-shot focus and face recognition.

Exposure modes for spot metering, center weighted and an evaluative mode are available.

The ISO range that this camera can cover ranges from 100 up to 1600. An auto ISO mode is also available where the camera chooses the ISO level.

A good selection of white balance features are on offer, including a range of presets and a full auto mode.

The TK includes the Mega O.I.S. (Optical Image Stablization) feature that is offered across the range of Panasonic cameras. It is an optical shift system, where an element of the lens moves to respond to camera shake.

The offers a few picture effects, including a Toy, Monochrome, Expressive, High Key and Retro effect.

The lens of the offers a 10X zoom range, with the wide angle starting at a 25mm focal length. That's a pretty good wide angle that should work well for general shooting. It offers an aperture range of f/3.1 to F5.9 at the wide angle setting, and f/4.5 to f/45 at the telephoto end of the zoom range.

The image sensor is a MOS sensor that captures 14.1 megapixel images. The size of the sensor was not available at the time this review was written.

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The 3-inch LCD screen on the back of this camera uses Panasonics Power LCD technology, which adjusts the backlight to compensate for the ambient light conditions. We found that this worked well, but the image did get somewhat washed out in direct sunlight.

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A small flash is located on the front of the camera. We were unable to test this, byt the small size likely means that it will not be able to deliver a huge amount of light.

Two ports are located under a small panel on the left side of the camera body. These ports offer a mini HDMI output, and a combination USB and analog video output. The HDMI port is a standard mini HDMI one, but the USB port is a proprietary one that requires a special lead.

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The battery is a 660 mAh Lithium Ion model. Panasonic did not provide an expected battery life for this, but we would anticipate it being on the short side: the combination of a large LCD screen and a small battery usually works that way. This battery cna be charged through the charger, but also over a USB connection. That's a good feature to have, as it means you can use the same lead to copy images to a computer and charge the cable.

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A small amount of internal memory is available on this camera, but the main storage space is in the SDHC card slot, which is just under the battery.

The is a high-end compact camera that offers a good range of features, including a 10x zoom lens with a 25mm wide angle and 14.1 megapixel resolution, as well as HD video capture. All of these features fit into a compact package.

This compact package fits well into the hand, with the shutter falling under the index finger, and the zoom control that is around it being easy to reach. The on-off switch just beyond this is easy to reach as well, so you can quickly turn the camera on and start shooting. We were not able to do our usual suite of tests on the pre-production unit that we looked at at CES, but the sings point to a well-performing camera with good image quality.

We didn't find a lot to not like about this camera in our short hands-on time with it. The only thing that we didn't feel worked was the separate video shutter, because it is located a bit closer to the edge than is comfortable, making it a little difficult to reach with the index finger.

Pricing information for the is not available at present, and Panasonic has not yet announced a release date.

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Richard Baguley

Richard Baguley

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