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Cameras

Panasonic Adds FZ4 and FZ5 to the Lineup

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February 8, 2005 – Panasonic announced two more digital cameras to its SLR-shaped Lumix FZ series today. The FZ4 and FZ5 are direct descendents of the 3.1-megapixel DMC-FZ3, which was announced last July. Following in the numerical order, the FZ4 has 4 megapixels and the FZ5 touts 5. Both cameras will be available in April 2005.

The Panasonic FZ5 is a black-bodied digital camera aimed for the prosumer audience. A 12x optical zoom Leica DC Vario Elmarit lens with image stabilization highlights the front of the camera. A 4x digital zoom adds onto the 36-432mm equivalent lens. The FZ5 has a 5-megapixel 1/2.5-inch CCD that works with the Panasonic Venus Plus imaging processor.

This high-end Lumix can shoot in JPEG and TIFF file formats, as well as capturing Motion JPEG video in movie mode. With the built-in image stabilization, the FZ5 can capture clips at 320 x 240 resolution until the card reaches it’s recording capacity. Shooting at 30 or 10 frames per second, the camera simultaneously records WAV audio files. The image stabilization feature has two modes: one detects erratic movements and compensates for them, while the other detects camera shake and makes modifications.

Movies can be viewed on the 1.8-inch LCD screen or in a Flip Animation mode. The Panasonic DMC-FZ5 has several shooting modes, ranging from Automatic to the semi-automatic priority modes to full Manual. There are nine scene modes with an included Help feature to explain each mode. With ISO speeds from 80-400, shutter speeds from 8-1/2000th of a second, and six white balance settings with Kelvin temperature adjustments, there are plenty of manual options available on the FZ5. The FZ5 will retail for $499.95.

The Panasonic Lumix FZ4 is the bridge between the older FZ3 and the brand new FZ5. With 4 megapixels, the silver-colored digital camera has many of the same options as the FZ5. They have the same shooting modes and settings, except for a slightly different 64-400 ISO range. The FZ4 has a 12x optical zoom lens with a slightly reduced 35-430mm equivalent focal length. Both cameras have the same two-mode image stabilization feature and a 300-shot battery life. The cameras share the same 0.33-inch electronic viewfinder with 114,000 pixels, but have different LCD screens. The FZ5 has a 1.8-inch screen, while the FZ4 has a smaller 1.5-inch screen. Both LCD monitors are composed of 130,000-pixels of resolution and display live histograms. Perhaps the biggest variance between the two cameras – except for the megapixel count – is the lack of audio in the movie mode on the Lumix FZ4. The FZ4 will retail for $449.95.

Both cameras come with a SD memory card: the FZ4 ships with an 8MB card and the FZ5 comes with a 16MB card. They also come with lithium-ion battery packs and a battery charger. The FZ4 and FZ5 measure 4.3 x 2.7 x 3.3 inches and weigh 11.5 ounces with the battery.

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