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Cameras

Photos: Panasonic Lumix FZ28, FX37, FX150 hands-on

We'll do anything to bring you new gadgets like the wide-angle, high-resolution Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ28, DMC-FX37 and DMC-FX150 -- even hit the beach at Monte Carlo. Someone's go to do it

There's nowhere Crave won't go to bring you the latest mouthwatering gadgetry: one of your intrepid correspondents is looking at televisions in Slough as we type these very words. In the name of quality new cameras, we recently took one for the team by heading to Monte Carlo to meet Panasonic's new range of Lumix snappers: the FZ28, FX37 and FX150. It's a tough job.

The theme of the new additions is a general raising of the bar for compact cameras. Lenses are wider, screens bigger, features lists longer. One camera even packs the highest resolution for a compact to date.

But we're getting ahead of ourselves. Must be the sun. Let's kick off with the 10.1-megapixel Lumix DMC-FZ28 superzoom. It boasts a massive 27mm wide-angle Leica lens with a class-leading 18x optical zoom.

Panasonic's signature iA (intelligent auto) mode and optical image stabilisation are included in all these cameras. The FZ28 also features a high-speed burst mode that shoots up to 13 frames per second at a 2-megapixel resolution.

Other features on all the cameras include autofocus tracking, which automatically follows the subject around the frame even if the subject moves. Light sources are continually monitored and backlight compensation automatically activated. Face detection can now cope with faces moving or turned sideways to the camera.

The new cameras also capture high-definition 1,280x720-pixel video at 30fps. This puts most compacts claiming HD capability to shame.

The Panasonic Lumix FZ28, FX37 and FX150 join the top-end LX3 and new camcorders in August. Click the links for pictures and details of the rest of the range, including the highest resolution and some of the widest angle lenses available in the compact camera market. -Rich Trenholm

At the back, the FZ28 sports a 69mm (2.7-inch) LCD screen with 230,000-dot resolution. The viewfinder packs a 201,600-dot resolution, which cuts down on the effect most electronic viewfinders have of poking you in the eye.

Here's the FZ28 in silver. Both versions will be available in August for around £330.

The 10.1-megapixel FX37 comes in brown, blue, silver, black and white. This one's brown. All colours sport a 25mm wide-angle Leica lens.

The FX37 only has a 64mm (2.5-inch) LCD screen, but it does have a 5x optical zoom. It hits the shops in August for £250.

Yes, you're reading that picture right: the FX150 boasts 14.7-megapixel resolution. It also gets in on the wide-angle goodness with a 28mm f/2.8 Leica lens.

For us, the only wrong note in the otherwise impeccably-styled tranche of cameras is the FX150's square buttons. We are on board with the large 69mm (2.7-inch) screen, however.

The FX150 has a final ace up its sleeve, with the ability to record raw files. It drops in August for £300.