Panasonic releases new compact cameras with up to 8x zoom

The Panasonic LUMIX DMC-ZR1 and Panasonic LUMIX DMC-FX65 offer zooms of 8x and 5x, respectively

The Panasonic LUMIX DMC-ZR1 digital camera has an 8x optical zoom.

The Panasonic LUMIX DMC-ZR1 digital camera has an 8x optical zoom.

Panasonic has just released two new LUMIX compact digital cameras that are slim yet pack huge zoom lenses: the LUMIX DMC-ZR1 and the LUMIX DMC-FX65. The Panasonic LUMIX DMC-ZR1 has a 25mm lens with a massive 8x zoom and is a completely new model, while the Panasonic LUMIX DMC-FX65 has a 25mm lens with a 5x zoom and replaces the LUMIX DMC-FX38.

Both of the new cameras are aimed at users who want something compact for travelling yet capable of getting up close and personal with distant subjects. According to Panasonic, the cameras are slimmer than other Panasonic models with equivalent specifications.

The lenses have been developed by Panasonic using what it claims is the world's thinnest aspherical glass mould: the lens measures just 0.3mm at its thinnest points. This has been achieved by developing a new material for the lens, as well as a new structure and protective coating.

The LUMIX DMC-ZR1 and LUMIX DMC-FX65 feature improvements in their optical image stabilisation units and also boast controller chips capable of parallel processing. The optical image stabilisation, which Panasonic calls POWER O.I.S, is capable of correcting twice the amount of hand-induced shaking compared to the older system — MEGA O.I.S. Panasonic says it can do this because it incorporates higher-performance gyro sensors, which can then move a part of the lens group to compensate for shaking hands

Parallel processing allows the new LUMIX cameras to work on multiple functions simultaneously, which aids autofocus functions in particular. The camera can start processing a new instruction before it finishes working on a previous function, thereby increasing the responsiveness of the camera.

The Panasonic LUMIX DMC-ZR1 and Panasonic LUMIC DMC-FX65 will both be available in September for $549 and $659, respectively.

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