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July 20, 2005 – One of four new Lumix cameras announced today, Panasonic has unveiled a successor to the popular DMC-FZ20. The modified FZ30 maintains a similar styling to the FZ20, while adding an enlarged 8 megapixel CCD, 12x optically stabilized Leica zoom lens, faster performance speeds, and expanded user control in a slightly larger 5.5 x 3.4 x 5.4-inch, 1.63-lbs (with media and battery) frame. The FZ30 strives for a blend of user accessibility and enhanced functionality that will cater to more advanced photographers within the compact ultra zoom market. The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ30 (spec sheet) is slated for US availability in September, at a MSRP of $699.95.
"We listened to the consumers. They wanted a high-resolution CCD and a superior lens – and we’ve delivered a camera that will exceed their high exceptions," explained Monica Helmer, national marketing manager for Panasonic’s optical group.
Along with an enlarged 1/1.8" 8 megapixel CCD, Panasonic highly touts the camera’s MEGA Optical Image Stabilization system and variable focal length Leica DC Vario-Elmarit lens, which offers a zoom range equivalent to 35mm-420mm in 35mm format. The DC Vario-Elmarit lens is consistent with other models offered in the FZ series; however, the FZ30 utilizes the center portion of the camera’s imaging sensor to extend the available zoom beyond its 12x capacity. An inversely proportional relationship is created between the resolution and maximum focal length used, enabling users to weigh image quality and viewing perspective to get the shot they desire (i.e. 5 megapixel images will offer a 15.3x maximum zoom range, while a decrease in resolution to 3 megapixels will enable the lens to extend to 19.1x optical).
With the FZ30’s improved sensor and lens capabilities, Panasonic has also applied a Venus Engine II LSI image processor to increase performance speeds and virtually erase shutter lag. Panasonic estimates the FZ30’s shutter lag to be 0.01 seconds, with a 0.97 second startup time. Autofocus speed has also been reportedly reduced to a quarter of the time it took on the FZ20, based on CIPA attained results.
"The DMC-FZ30 answers the call of photography enthusiasts," said Helmer. "The most demanding and exacting photographer will find the DMC-FZ30 suits all his or her needs."
Pertinent structural alterations and modifications made to the Lumix FZ30 are a "free-moving" pull down 2.0-inch 230,000 Polycrystalline TFT LCD Display, manual zoom and focus rings, and jog dials for shutter speed and aperture controls. Shutter speed can be adjusted from 1/2000 of a second to 60 seconds, while the lens aperture can be opened to f/2.8 or closed down to f/11. A specific AE lock button has also been applied to the frame to fix exposure settings in varying conditions when users wish to retain a sense of continuity.
Other features available on the DMC-FZ30 include a reconfigured and more efficient lithium-ion battery (reportedly capable of attaining 280 images per charge), 14 scene modes for point-and-shoot users, real time histogram display, RAW capture ability, 80-400 ISO range, and a newly added angle detention sensor to properly orient vertically captured images on the LCD screen.