At the 2009 launch of Panasonic's Lumix and camcorder range in Singapore this week, we saw the company's first foray into waterproof and shockproof cameras, and a new update to its popular travel camera.
Alexandra Savvides travelled to Singapore as a guest of Panasonic.
The launch event had walls of photos from world renowned photographers, taken with Panasonic Lumix cameras. Just to make the rest of us feel slightly incompetent in our photo-taking capabilities, of course.
A demonstration of the 70x optical zoom that is now standard on the new SDR-S26, a camcorder which records to SD cards and has a low resolution recording option with YouTube uploading functionality.
As seems to be the tradition at Panasonic launches, models paraded down the catwalk holding a number of the new cameras.
From the outside, the new waterproof and shockproof FT1 is on par with the Olympus Mju 1050SW in the style stakes, but it does come in more vivid colours — orange, electric blue, silver and olive green.
The FT1 is not only waterproof, but it survives being submerged in a box of pebbles.
If you were ever one of those kids who had to pull apart everything electronic that passed through your hands, we'll save you the trouble — here's a cross-section of the FT1 showing its rugged construction.
This model is Panasonic's waterproof standard-definition camcorder ... which, unfortunately, won't be coming to Australia.
And what's this? Looks suspiciously like the new Lumix G1 HD model, tucked away in a case far from the main action on the showroom floor. Note the "HD" tag surreptitiously placed in the top corner. Alongside it were the new lenses Panasonic promised us this year: the 14-140mm, 7-14mm and the 20mm pancake. The company touted a spring launch date for this one, so we'll keep our fingers crossed.
The city was still filled with remnants of the Chinese New Year celebrations. We really liked how the TZ7 delivered punchy, but not overly saturated, colours especially in frames with lots of different things happening, like this one.
More lanterns, this time outside the temple. Again, taken on the TZ7.
Inside the temple, in low light situations, the TZ7 coped admirably as the image stabilisation kicked in.
Using the TZ7's film grain scene mode produced some unexpected, and lovely results — the pattern on this door showed the amount of detail present in the design that is much more noticeable in black and white.
The FT1's waterproof cred kicked in when diving with sharks and other fish at Sentosa. We particularly liked how the FT1 didn't produce an excessively green tinge when used underwater, producing some nicely coloured shots.
Even in dark situations, the flash on the FT1 coped admirably. There was quite a considerable shutter delay though, meaning that we missed a couple of really excellent shots because the camera was just too slow.
More evidence of vivid colours produced from the Lumix cameras, this time in Sentosa's Underwater World.
A cluster of jellyfish show off the intense colours that these cameras can produce.