Panasonic just unveiled its latest digital camera, the budget-priced compact Lumix DMC-LS80. On the surface, it appears to be your typical inexpensive point-and-shoot, though it includes one feature that belies its scant price tag. The camera uses an 8-megapixel sensor, a 2.5-inch LCD screen, and a 3x optical zoom lens. Slightly chunky at just over 1.2 inches thick, it takes two AA batteries for power. Besides the standard VGA (640 x 480) movie mode found on almost all snapshot cameras, the LS80 features a 30 fps WVGA (848 x 480) widescreen movie mode designed for 16:9 televisions.
The LS80's most surprising aspect rests in its lens. The camera's 33mm-to-100mm-equivalent, f/2.8-5.1 lens incorporates Panasonic's Mega O.I.S. image stabilization system. With a suggested price of $150, this is one of the least expensive digital cameras yet to include optical image stabilization and not simply ISO-boosting, shutter-quickening digital image stabilization.
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-LS80 ships in February, and will be available in black, silver, and pink versions.