LAS VEGAS -- Maybe this is a sign that the megapixel wars are finally coming to an end.
Among Panasonic's CES 2015 announcements was the Lumix DMC-ZS50, a 30x travel zoom targeting hobbyists and enthusiasts looking for something more than just an average point-and-shoot experience. With that in mind, Panasonic dropped the resolution down to 12 megapixels from its predecessor's 18. The result is a larger pixel size, allowing each to receive more light, which in turn makes for better pictures.
Also added was a proximity sensor next to the electronic viewfinder (EVF) on back so that it automatically switches from the 3-inch LCD to the EVF when you bring it up to your eye. The EVF's resolution has been increased to 1,166K dots, which is basically WVGA resolution for a 0.2-inch display resulting in a very sharp look at what you're shooting.
The rest of the camera is for the most part the same as the ZS40 that came before it including raw capture and a handy control ring around the lens barrel. You will find a new time-lapse mode as well as one-touch geotagging using your mobile device's NFC.
The Panasonic Lumix ZS50 arrives in March for $399. It will be joined by the Lumix DMC-ZS45, a 20x zoom compact with a 3-inch flip-up screen for $299. Building off the features of 2014's ZS35, this update features an enhanced grip for better handling and a zoom ring with two control points so that it's easier to use when shooting self-portraits.
Rounding things out is the new Lumix DMC-SZ10, a 16-megapixel ultracompact 12x zoom with a 2.7-inch LCD that, like the ZS45, flips up for easier framing when you're in front of the camera. It'll be out in April for $199.