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Panasonic does about-face on megapixels with 30x zoom Lumix ZS50

Announced at CES 2015, Panasonic has dropped the resolution of its popular compact travel zoom from 18 megapixels to 12 increasing pixel size for better results regardless of lighting conditions.

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Joshua Goldman Managing Editor / Advice

Josh Goldman helps people find the best laptop at the best price -- from simple Chromebooks to high-end gaming laptops. He's been writing about and reviewing consumer technology and software for more than two decades.

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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.

Lori Grunin/CNET

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.

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