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GPS, manual controls added to Panasonic 12x megazoom

If you like yourself some geotagging, Panasonic's Lumix DMC-ZS7 promises that and a whole lotta lens. Don't care where you took your photos? Panasonic's got you covered there, too.


Replacing the very popular Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS3, the company's top-of-the-line compact 12x megazoom, is the DMC-ZS7. The 12x f3.3-4.9 25-300mm-equivalent lens stays the same as in the prior model, but gets a bunch of new extras including built-in GPS.

The GPS will add latitude and longitude to the EXIF (Exchangeable Image File Format) data and display real-time location information during shooting and playback. Stored in the internal memory are more than 500,000 landmarks, covering 73 countries, that will be displayed on the 3-inch, 460K-dot LCD while taking a picture of the landmark and tagged in the data. The GPS will also automatically adjust the camera's internal clock to the local time, which is just a nice add.

The ZS7 also gets Panasonic's improved shooting performance (Sonic Speed AF), Power OIS image stabilizer, and a new image-processing technology called Intelligent Resolution, which improves outlines, detailed texture areas, and soft gradation caused by using the digital zoom or in high-ISO shooting. It's the backbone to the camera's new Intelligent Zoom feature, which Panasonic claims to be so good that it'll extend the usable range of the lens to 16x. Manual controls for adjustments in shutter speed, aperture, and exposure are onboard this time around as well.

Fans of AVCHD Lite will be pleased to know the file format is back on this model, as is the stereo mic.

For those who don't care for geotagging and AVCHD Lite, there's the ZS5. It replaces the ZS1 in the lineup. As a step down from the ZS7, it loses the GPS, stereo mic, and AVCHD Lite, and has a lower resolution, smaller 2.7-inch LCD. The lens, the manual shooting modes, and other key features remain the same.

No release dates or pricing were announced, so you'll just have to wait it out.