Panasonic Lumix ZS10, ZS8 compact megazooms announced

A longer, wider lens, a touch screen, and 3D and high-speed shooting highlight the company's latest flagship pocketable longzoom camera.

Panasonic

One of the few segments of point-and-shoots that's growing is megazooms, a category that Panasonic pretty much started. Now all manufacturers have them, though, so trying to stand out isn't easy. Panasonic's going the feature-dump route, by packing as much as possible into the ZS7 refresh, the ZS10.

The basic specs include a 24mm-equivalent wide-angle lens with a 16x zoom (with nano coating to reduce ghosting and flare), a 3-inch, 460K-dot resolution touch-screen LCD, and a 14-megapixel MOS sensor. The sensor is the same type that's found in the FZ100 , and it's paired with Panasonic's Venus Engine FHD processor. This combo allows for high-speed burst shooting--full resolution at 10 frames per second--and full HD movie capture in AVCHD format. (Sadly, it doesn't have that camera's raw capture option.)

The high-speed shooting also gets you 3D photos. The ZS10 will apparently fire off 20 shots and then pick the two best for overlaying to create a 3D MPO file that can be played back on 3D-enabled TVs, computers, and photo frames. Also added is an Intelligent Handheld Nightshot that works like everyone else's. It fires off a bunch of shots and then complies them into one photo, removing blur from hand shake and reducing image noise. Of course, it's chock-full of Panasonic's other Intelligent technologies, too.

GPS returns as a key feature, as does a manual shooting mode, though it's now joined by aperture- and shutter-priority modes. And for those who like to share what they've shot, Panasonic's gone and done something extra special creepy. Whenever you format your SD memory card in the camera, it embeds the Lumix Image Uploader on your card. You can then tag photos and videos in camera for uploading to sharing sites. Connect the camera to a computer or insert the SD card into a reader and the Uploader goes to work.

If all that sounds like too much camera for you, you can opt for the streamlined version, the ZS8. That backs you down to a regular 14-megapixel CCD and a 3-inch 230K-dot resolution LCD, and 720p movie capture. You lose the GPS, the touch controls, and all the high-speed shooting capabilities. At least the lens stays the same.

Both models will be available in March. No pricing was announced, but I'm guessing they'll stay about the same as their predecessors: $400 for the ZS10 and $300 for the ZS8.

 

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