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Panasonic Releases 5 and 6 MP Point-and-Shoot Models with Image Stabilization

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July 20, 2005 - Panasonic today announced two new editions to their FX line of compact cameras, the 5-megapixel DMC-FX8 (suggested retail $349.95) and 6-megapixel DMC-FX9 (suggested retail $399.95), slated for sale in September. Both cameras feature optical image stabilization, 3x optical zooms, 2.5-inch LCDs, lithium-ion rechargeable batteries and Leica optics.

The two cameras are updates to the FX series, Panasonic’s self-consciously fashionable sub-compact cameras. At less than 3.75 x 2 x 1 inches, they are very small, and aim for style. Both FX models share the same sized sensor (1/2.5" CCD) and frame weight of 4.5 oz without battery or media.

Both additions to the FX line share 3x optical zoom Leica DC Vario-Elmarit Lenses with MEGA Optical Image Stabilization. Panasonic’s image stabilization system moves an element of the lens to compensate for camera movement, and makes for sharper pictures. Stabilization is rare in sub-compact cameras, but it is needed. Cameras as small as the FX series ones are hard to hold still.

The lens construction of both new FX models is the same as well (7 elements in 6 groups and 3 aspheric elements with 3 aspheric surfaces). Both cameras have an aperture range of f/2.8 to f/10.0, shutter speeds of 8 - 1/2000 seconds, a manual ISO range of 80-400, custom white balance with adjustment in increments of 150 K, exposure bracketing, max burst of 3 frames per second, and audio dubbing available in 10 second clips. The FX8 (spec sheet) and FX9 (spec sheet) both have DC, A/V, and USB ports and are capable of direct printing. They both capture JPEG still images and QuickTime Motion JPEG video in VGA or QVGA at 30 fps or 10 fps with audio.

While both have a 2.5" LCD, the FX9’s distinguishes itself with increased resolution at 207K pixels, rather than the FX8’s 114K. The FX9 has 14 scenes modes instead of the FX8’s 12, though according to Panasonic the FX8’s battery will last for 300 shots while the FX9’s will only last for 270.

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