Panasonic Releases Economical Lumix LS2

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Las Vegas, Nevada, January 4, 2006 – Panasonic has announced the release of the Lumix DMC-LS2, a potential contender in the affordable point-and-shoot market. Though it comes with over a dozen scene modes, 3x optical zoom, and Panasonic’s signature MEGA O.I.S. (Optical Image Stabilizer), the 5.0 megapixel brushed silver LS2 will enter the market at an initial retail price of $199.95.

Monica Helmer, national marketing manager for Panasonic’s optical group described the camera as containing "the very best of Panasonic’s digital camera technologies, like MEGA Optical Image Stabilization and our efficient, power-saving Venus Engine Plus processor, at a price that makes great picture taking accessible to all consumers." Helmer noted, "The LS2 features a compact and stylish design, as well, so it looks as good as the pictures it takes. This camera is easy for anyone to carry, handle and operate."

According to Panasonic, the 5 megapixel LS2 is equipped with a LUMIX DC VARIO lens, with an f/2.8-5.6 aperture in wide angle and an f/5.0-10 aperture in telephoto. The lens itself is made up of seven elements in 6 groups, three aspherical lenses, and 3 aspherical surfaces. The TFT LCD display is 2.0 inches on the diagonal, but Panasonic may have achieved the LS2’s low cost partially by cutting corners here—the resolution is only 85,000 pixel, according to Panasonic’s initial spec sheet.

The LS2 offers novice-friendly features such as 14 scene modes and a Color Effects Mode that offers shooting in cool, black and white, warm and sepia. "Simple Mode" is also included, Panasonic’s auto mode. The LS2’s Playback Mode allows for a variety of thumbnail options, image rotation, resizing, trimming and a slide show of "favorite" pictures. There are also two programmable "Baby Modes" that, once set, will automatically label photos taken in the mode with a time stamp and track the age of the programmed subject by day, month, and year.

For more manual control, the auto ISO speed is adjustable to 400, and the White Balance may be set to Auto, Daylight, Cloudy, Halogen, or White Set. The LS2’s Burst Mode allows rates of either 3 or 2 frames per second and captures a maximum of 3 images in Fine Mode.

The LS2 has 14MB of internal memory, a slot for an SD memory card, and a USB port. It takes Panasonic’s Oxyride AA batteries, but can also take regular alkaline AA batteries as well. It has a battery life of approximately 250 pictures due to the "power-saving Venus Engine Plus processor," as Panasonic says. The 4.35 x 2.11 x 1.22-inch camera weighs about 0.41 lbs fully loaded with batteries and a memory card.

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The LS2 is scheduled to be available for retail in March 2006.

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