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*July 19, 2006 – *With more resolution and upgraded technology, the Lumix DMC-FZ50 replaces the FZ30 as the new flagship of Panasonic’s FZ-series. This SLR-like digital camera has 10.1 megapixels and the same 12x optical zoom lens included on its predecessor. The new camera will retail for $649 when it becomes available this September.
The FZ50’s external design remains fairly similar to the FZ30, with the FZ50 being a tenth of an inch wider and including a new Function button that shortcuts to frequently used controls. One of those controls may be the revamped ISO range that now extends from 100-1600 in full resolution. The FZ30’s selection topped out at 400, so this is a large development for Panasonic’s ultra-zoom line. The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ50 also includes Intelligent ISO Control technology that detects subjects’ movement and adjusts the shutter speed and ISO setting up to 1250 accordingly.
The FZ50 shares several similarities with its predecessor too. Both digital cameras have a Leica-branded DC 12x optical zoom lens with the built-in image stabilization system and conversion lens compatibility. The cameras have the same 0.44-inch electronic viewfinders and the same 2-inch LCD screens that flip out and house 207,000 pixels of resolution. Both also have full manual, priority, auto, and scene modes. The company seems to be banking on the FZ30’s popularity to plug users into the new Panasonic FZ50.
"Panasonic is staking a strong claim in the digital camera market and we’re doing it by constantly seeking to improve upon the proven winners in our FZ-series of long-zoom cameras," said Rich Campbell, Panasonic’s director of digital imaging, in today’s press release. "The debut of the FZ50 is an example of our commitment to pushing the envelope with technology like Intelligent ISO Control, advanced image processing with the Venus Engine III LSI, and manual focus, ISO and aperture controls."
Both digital cameras have a hot shoe, but the new Panasonic FZ50 adds compatibility with TTL external flashes. Panasonic also upgraded the FZ50’s battery to 360 shots per charge. The cameras have the same sized 1/1.8-inch CCD, but the older FZ30 has 8.1 megapixels, while the new model adds another two million pixels to the count.