Panasonic is celebrating 10 years of the Lumix brand of digital cameras with the launch of four new FS snappers -- and they've reached a troubled age. The DMC-FS35 and DMC-FS37 face a late-thirties mid-life crisis, while the DMC-FS16 and DMC-FS18 hit those tricky teen years.
In the last decade, Lumix has built a reputation for uncompromising build quality and understated design. But you'd be hard-pressed to pick the new FS models out of a line-up, as all four cameras are blessed with distinctly plain styling.
It's probably a good thing: no mid-life dalliances with ill-advised trendy facial hair or low-trousered teenaged fashions to be regretted in later life. The FS16 and FS18 can be easily told apart by the megapixels logo in the top right-hand corner, as the FS18 has a 16 and the FS16 has a 14. Clear?
The 16.1-megapixel FS35 and FS37 boast an 8x zoom, narrowing the gap between pocketable point and shoots and long-zooming compacts, such as Panasonic's. An Easy Zoom button unslips the lens to its full magnification with one press, and back in again with another.
The difference between the two is that the FS37, pictured above, boasts a touchscreen. The 3-inch display lets you focus and snap by tapping on the screen, and swipe through photos with a swoosh of a fingertip. All the cameras automatically sense how light it is in your surroundings and adjust screen brightness accordingly.
Here's the FS18. Each of the new teens sports a 28mm Leica lens, equivalent to a 35mm camera, with a 4x optical zoom and optical image stabilisation. Panasonic reckons it's squidged the lens to make the camera 20 per cent thinner than previous models. Round the back is a 2.7-inch screen.
All four new FS models feature 28 scene modes, automatic backlight detection, tracking of moving subjects and up to ISO 6,400 low-light shooting. Video is high-definition 720p, at 24fps on the thirtysomethings and FS18, or 30fps on the FS16. Sound is mono across the board, unfortunately.
When it comes time to show off photos of your new trainers or your impulse-buy Porsche, you can decide which photos you want to share by ticking them on the camera, and when you plug it into a computer your snaps and video will automatically be zapped to Facebook and YouTube.
The FS16 and FS18 are known as the FH2 and FH5 in the US, while the FS35 and FS37 are known as the FH25 and FH27 to people who can't spell 'through' properly. UK pricing and availability is yet to be confirmed. Meanwhile the FP5 and FP7 slim compacts also announced today at CES 2011 won't be crossing the pond.
Canon also recentlywith the .