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Panasonic Unveils FZ18 with 18x Optical Zoom

Panasonic today launched the Lumix DMC-FZ18 compact digital camera. The 8.1-megapixel compact camera touts an 18x optical zoom Leica lens and a brand new Panasonic feature called Intelligent Auto mode that includes face detection, an automatic scene mode

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July 24, 2007 – The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ18 today joins the competitive ultrazoom market. The 8.1-megapixel compact camera touts an 18x optical zoom Leica-branded lens, RAW capture, and an Intelligent Auto mode, a new Panasonic feature that includes face detection, an automatic scene mode selector, and continuous auto focus. The Panasonic FZ18 has a retail price of $399.95 and is slated for release in September.

The Panasonic FZ18 possesses a wide 28mm Leica-branded DC lens and optical image stabilization. It sports one of the highest optical zoom ranges for non-SLR cameras on the market. Previously optical zoom topped out at 12x or 15x until Olympus's SP-550UZ set the benchmark this January at 18x optical zoom; Panasonic followed suit with the FZ18. 

"The FZ18 is ideal for the amateur photographer who enjoys using a camera with manual operation and with the ability to shoot in RAW," said Panasonic National Marketing Manager Alex Fried of Optical Imaging at a press conference.

The newest Lumix ultrazoom sports manual controls and offers three aspect ratio options: 4:3, 3:2, and wide 16:9. The FZ18 is fitted with a 2.5-inch, 207,000-pixel LCD monitor, an optical viewfinder, and rubber hand grip. The camera retains the Intelligent Image Stabilization system, included on all 2007 Lumix cameras, which promises to reduce blur associated with hand shake and moving subjects.

The FZ18 also features Panasonic’s new Intelligent Auto Mode that consists of Intelligent Image Stabilization and three additional functions: Face Detection, Intelligent Scene Selector, and Continuous Auto focus. The Intelligent Scene Selector analyzes a scene and chooses the appropriate mode, including Portrait, Scenery, and Macro. For instance, if a user wanted to shoot a photo of a friend, the camera set to iA mode could automatically select Portrait scene mode and add face detection.

"We want to offer the most advanced features but have them happen automatically so that the digital camera user doesn’t have to think about what they’re doing. The camera does it for you," said Alex Fried, Panasonic National Marketing Manager of Optical Imaging, at a press conference.

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The Intelligent Auto Mode adds face detection and continuous auto focus to the traditional auto mode. The new Continuous Auto Focus feature maintains focus on the subject without the user having to press the shutter button halfway, cutting down on the time it takes the camera to auto focus, according to the press release. 

Unlike Panasonic’s Custom Setting Mode that saves a combination of frequently used settings to the mode dial, the iA mode selects settings appropriate for different scenes.  

The Panasonic DMC-FZ18 accepts SD, SDHC, and MultiMediaCard memory. It will available in silver and black.

Key Features:

18x optical zoom Leica lens

New Intelligent Auto Mode: Face Detection, Intelligent Scene Selector, and Continuous AF

New Title Edit function

**Sample Photos:

***Click to see the high-resolution image.*

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