Panasonic adds AA-powered LS5 to Lumix lineup
The LS5 looks like a basic point-and-shoot with an above-average lens.
Compact cameras powered by AA-size batteries are a rarity these days and when you do find them they're either large megazooms or budget-priced entry-level compacts. The Panasonic Lumix DMC-LS5 announced today is the latter, but at least Panasonic didn't make it without value.
Instead of sticking a slow, narrow lens on the LS5, it has a 5x, 26mm wide-angle lens with a maximum aperture of f2.8. That's wider and longer than you typically find in this class and while the f2.8 aperture probably won't give you a shallow depth of field for anything other than macro shots, it should allow you to get better results in low-light conditions. (Unfortunately, the largest aperture with the lens extended is not nearly as good: f6.5.)
Panasonic also included optical image stabilization and the ability to record movie clips at 720p HD resolution at 30 frames per second. Shooting modes are geared for automatic snapshots, though, so you won't find aperture and shutter-priority controls.
Look for the Panasonic Lumix LS5 in November. No pricing will be announced until October, but it has to be less than $150 to compete with Canon's PowerShot A1200, which has a similar lens and an optical viewfinder.