Panasonic's DMC-FZ8 digital camera

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Panasonic DMC-FZ8 digital camera
Panasonic have unveiled their Lumix DMC-FZ8 7.2 megapixel camera, featuring a massive 12x optical zoom, LEICA DC VARIO-ELMARIT lens, plus the same features as present in Panasonic’s other recent offerings: Optical Image Stabiliser, Intelligent ISO Control, and Venus Engine III. The lens features a combination of 11 elements in 8 groups, including 3 aspherical lenses.

Panasonic claim the camera is a decent bridge between high-end compact cameras and a digital SLR camera, because there is a high level of control, yet no need to interchange lenses.

It has different auto-focus modes: multi, 3 point high-speed, 1-point high speed, 1-point normal-speed, and spot. With the 1-point AF method, the auto-focusing area can be chosen from as many as 11 points with the joystick or cursor button. Various group area patterns can also be selected in the new Multi method.

The camera features a 1.8 second start up time, a 0.005 second shutter release time lag, and burst shooting mode at up to 3fps in full resolution. It has around 27MB built-in memory, and will take SDHC memory cards.

It will also allow you to take standard (640×480) and widescreen (848×480) movies at 30fps.

The camera will appeal to photo enthusiasts as it supports saving pictures in RAW format as well as JPEG. These can be edited with many software packages, including the SILKYPIX Developer Studio software included with the camera.

Available from March, price to be confirmed.

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Andy Merrett