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Panasonic Announces L10 SLR with Face Detection

Panasonic Announces L10 SLR digital camera with Face Detection.

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August 30, 2007 - Panasonic today introduced the 10.1-megapixel Lumix DMC-L10, the company’s second digital SLR. The entry-level SLR features face detection technology, a rotating 2.5-inch Live View LCD, and a dust reduction system. The L10 will retail for $1299.95 when it is released in October.

The L10 is the follow up to the 7.5-megapixel L1, announced in early 2006. The L1 was the first non-Olympus SLR to use a Four-Thirds format sensor. While the L10 retains the Live View LCD, dust reduction system, and Venus Engine III image processor of its predecessor, it comes a few notable upgrades including higher resolution, a better autofocus system, a rotating LCD, and face detection.

Panasonic markets the LS10 as a stepping stone from compact digital cameras to digital SLRs. Features such as face detection, scene modes, and the live view LCD are familiar to point-and-shooters looking to advance their skills.

"Panasonic’s advanced digital imaging technologies, including Optical Image Stabilization and Intelligent ISO control settings, are helping LUMIX compact digital cameras make a name for themselves in this industry, "said Alex Fried, National Marketing Manager, Imaging, Panasonic Consumer Electronics Company in a company press release today. "Now, we expand our SLR line with the LUMIX DMC-L10, which is especially designed for the consumer who is familiar with compact digital cameras, but also wants to further experience the enjoyment of digital SLR photography."

The point-and-shoot market is replete with cameras with face detection; it’s an automatic feature ideal for digital photography novices. The L10 is the first SLR to include it. The Fuji S5 has a face finding feature in its Playback mode, but it doesn’t automatically focus and expose faces in the Shooting mode. The L10’s rendition can automatically recognize, focus on, and expose up to 15 human faces in a scene.

The L10 continues the Live View LCD trend in SLRs. The Olympus E-330, introduced in January 2006, was the first SLR to incorporate a Live View LCD. It has since made an appearance in consumer and professional models, such as the Canon EOS 40D, Nikon D300, and Canon EOS 1D Mark III. The L10’s 2.5-inch, 207,000-pixel LCD provides 100 percent coverage of a scene while its optical viewfinder provides 95 percent. It can fold out from the camera body and rotate 270 degrees, another non-typical SLR feature. The LCD’s brightness automatically increases or decreases depending on the scene. When the camera is set to Manual mode, users can enlarge the subjects on the screen, according to the release.

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The L10 features an upgraded autofocus system. It has eleven autofocus points versus the L1’s three. Users can also switch between the phase difference and contrast autofocus systems, according to the release.

Among the L10’s SLR beginner-friendly features are five scene modes: Portrait, Scenery, Macro, Sports, and Night Portrait. These modes are on the mode dial, alongside the traditional SLR Program, Automatic, and Shutter and Aperture Priority modes. The L10 also has a Film Mode that purportedly applies the look of traditional film to digital images. There are nine effects: Standard, Dynamic, Smooth, Nostalgic, Vibrant, Standard B/W, Dynamic B/W and Smooth B/W. The mode allows users to adjust contrast, sharpness, saturation, and noise reduction.

The L10 comes with a Leica D Vario-Elmar 14-50mm f/3.8-5.6 lens with Panasonic’s MEGA O.I.S. (optical image stabilization) system, which compensates for handshake and moving subjects. The L1's kit lens had the same focal length but a wider f/2.8-3.5 aperture.

The L10 will retail for $1299.95 when it is released in October.

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