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Hands on with the Panasonic TZ10 and FT2

In Melbourne for Panasonic's Asia-Pacific launch of its 2010 range, we got our hands on the brand new Lumix TZ10 and FT2. Click through for image samples from both cameras and plenty of analysis.

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Lexy Savvides

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1 of 14 Alexandra Savvides/CNET Australia

Lumix DMC-TZ10

It was game, set, Lumix for Panasonic as the company unveiled 13 new cameras and four camcorders for its 2010 range in Melbourne last week.

From travel superzooms to compact point-and-shoots, the new range has a host of products for all budgets, including the basic F series that starts at AU$169 and includes HD video recording (DMC-F3 only).

Click through for our initial impressions, prices, images straight from the cameras, and some sights of Melbourne.

Alexandra Savvides travelled to Melbourne as a guest of Panasonic.

The star of the show is undoubtedly the new travel superzoom camera, the Lumix DMC-TZ10 (AU$699). What sets it apart from its predecessors is full PASM controls as well as GPS tagging.

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2 of 14 Alexandra Savvides/CNET Australia

Lumix DMC-FT2

Not to be out-shadowed, the Lumix DMC-FT2 (AU$599) follows the company's first foray into rugged cameras, the FT1. This camera is tougher and more waterproof than before, which means it can withstand plenty of knocks and days at the beach.

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3 of 14 Alexandra Savvides/CNET Australia

Slide away

Pictured here are an array of cameras from the new range in a variety of colours, including the sliding front panel FP3 (top, AU$329) and the 14.1-megapixel FH range (bottom, from AU$249).

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4 of 14 Alexandra Savvides/CNET Australia

Too S(D)XC for my cards

Not to be outdone on just the imaging hardware front, Panasonic also unveiled the first SDXC cards. All the new Lumix cameras feature SDXC compatibility as well. Pictured above are the 48GB and 64GB cards which will be available in Australia from February at AU$1049 and AU$1399 respectively.

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5 of 14 Alexandra Savvides/CNET Australia

Luna Park

Now comes the exciting part: real-world testing situations. Starting at Melbourne's Luna Park, we put the TZ10 through its paces. The 12.1-megapixel camera replaces the popular TZ7 in the Lumix range.

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6 of 14 Alexandra Savvides/CNET Australia

Intelligent automatic

The TZ10 continues the Panasonic tradition of intelligent automatic mode in its compacts, which is useful for a variety of situations. The camera also comes with Power OIS, the newest iteration of the company's optical image stabilisation technology.

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7 of 14 Alexandra Savvides/CNET Australia

Don't worry...

New photo modes are also present in the TZ10, including the aptly termed Happy mode which saturates colours in order to make images more vivid. According to Panasonic, Happy mode supposedly adds to your enjoyment of family and holiday memories.

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8 of 14 Alexandra Savvides/CNET Australia

16x zoom?

That's what it says on the front panel sticker that comes with the TZ10. But don't be fooled, the TZ10 still only has 12x optical zoom, like its predecessor, the TZ7. The extra 4x comes from "intelligent resolution", which is a fancy way of saying digital zoom.

Above right is a 100 per cent crop of an image taken at 16x zoom with intelligent resolution. Click through to our preview of the TZ10 to read how it works.

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9 of 14 Alexandra Savvides/CNET Australia

Love shack

Next stop, Brighton Beach on Victoria's coastline. The FT2 shows that it can also take images with punchy colours, both above and below the water.

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10 of 14 Alexandra Savvides/CNET Australia

GPS tagging

The TZ10 comes with built-in GPS so it can automatically tag location coordinates in each photo's EXIF data. Here we're using Picasa to map the location with Google Maps.

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11 of 14 Alexandra Savvides/CNET Australia

Manual control

Tricky lighting situation? Best ask for manual control. Here, where there is a strong contrast between highlight and shadow areas, we switched into manual to get the optimal exposure. Note that the manual exposure combinations on the TZ10 are somewhat limited due to the maximum apertures at the wide and telephoto end of the lens.

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12 of 14 Alexandra Savvides/CNET Australia

Yarra-dabba-doo

The TZ10 once again proves its zooming chops on a tour of Melbourne via the city's Yarra River. Thankfully, the image stabilisation means that even at a telephoto length and on a moving barge, photos are crisp and clear.

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13 of 14 Alexandra Savvides/CNET Australia

Colour modes

Though the TZ10 can only shoot JPEG, there are a few colour modes that spice things up for photographers, including the aforementioned Happy mode and the more conventional black and white and sepia tones.

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14 of 14 Alexandra Savvides/CNET Australia

Bird's eye view

On the 88th floor of the Eureka Skydeck 88, Melbourne's cityscape and architecture looks amazing.

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