Steve's Digicams - Breaking News - Panasonic 02/14/2006 Press Releases



PANASONIC

Press Release - February 14, 2006




Panasonic Introduces World's Smallest Camera1 With 28mm Wide-Angle Lens2

DMC-FX01 Features MEGA Optical Image Stabilization




SECAUCUS, N.J. (Feb. 14, 2006) Ė Panasonic introduces the new 6-megapixel, 3.6x optical zoom DMC-FX01, the next-generation model of the stylish and compact MEGA Optical Image Stabilizer-equipped FX series. The FX series boasts high picture quality, a large LCD and a slim, stylish design. The FX01 will be available in March with an MSRP of US.95.

The DMC-FX01 features a remarkable upgrade from previous FX models, with the newly incorporated 28mm wide angle 3.6x optical zoom LEICA DC lens, while still maintaining the same compact body size. The wide angle shooting capability offers a new array of photographic opportunities, such as capturing an entire group portrait at parties, or an expansive landscape or architectural scene, to enjoy the benefit of wide panoramas with real perspectives.

"The Panasonic DMC-FX01 is a compact and stylish camera, so MEGA Optical Image Stabilization is vital since most people hold small cameras out in front of their bodies, in an unsteady position," says Monica Helmer, national marketing manager for Panasonicís Digital Imaging Group. "This would typically lead to blurry photos, but with the FX01, the result is beautiful, clear wide-angle pictures."

In addition to MEGA Optical Image Stabilization, the FX01 features a new High Sensitivity mode3, which allows shooting at a maximum sensitivity setting of ISO 1600. This mode acts as another anti-blurring measure by suppressing image blur, which can be caused by subject movement. This especially benefits indoor photography by shooting at fast shutter speeds.

The FX01 has an extended battery life, able to take 320 pictures (CIPA) on a single charge. Motion picture recording capability has also been enhanced to take clear, bright and wide aspect VGA (848 x 480) moving images at 30 fps, in addition to the standard VGA images (640 x 480), so it is possible to show full screen motion pictures on a wide screen TV, such as one of Panasonicís award-winning Plasma TVs.

The DMC-FX01 incorporates the Venus Engine Plus LSI for high performance image processing, both in terms of speed and image quality, while still preserving low energy consumption. The remarkably quick AF response time, especially in the 1-point high speed AF mode, means that never missing that spur-of-the-moment shot. Other features to enrich the photographic experience include a large, bright, high resolution 2.5" LCD and a comprehensive selection of useful scene modes.

The FX01 has a 28mm wide angle 3.6x optical zoom f/2.8 LEICA DC lens housed in a compact body as slim as its predecessors. This is achieved thanks to the incorporation of an Extra High Refractive Index Aspherical Lens. The lens part consists of a LEICA DC lens of seven elements in six groups, incorporating four aspherical lenses to generate high optical performance while preserving the compactness of the unit.

The Venus Engine Plus boasts excellent response time with a shutter release time lag of only 0.005 seconds and a shutter interval of 0.7 seconds4. Start-up time has also been reduced by 20% of the level of its predecessor, to only 1.6 sec., which enables easy capture of spur- of-the-moment shots. In the burst shooting mode, it is possible to shoot at three frames per second in full resolution5. The FX01 also allows unlimited consecutive shooting up to the capacity of the SD memory card6.




The FX01 has a high resolution (207K pixels), 2.5 inch large LCD. The pixel-mixed readout method performed by the CCD automatically increases the brightness level of the live image on the LCD, which greatly facilitates shooting in low light situations. The new High Angle mode makes the display extremely easy to view from angles, for example, when holding the camera up high to take pictures over a crowd and can be accessed easily by using a dedicated button. With the help of the Power LCD function, which boosts the backlighting of the LCD by 40%, even shooting in bright outdoors situations is not a problem. This high-resolution LCD also allows both a full display of images, up to 25 thumbnails on a multi-split screen, and also the ability to date search an image with the new Calendar Display mode.

Various AF methods can be selected according to the shooting environment and the position of the subject: 5-point, 3-point high-speed, 1-point high-speed, 1-point normal-speed and spot. As with the DMC-FX9, the 1-point high-speed AF mode, in particular, achieves outstanding focusing with both speed and precision. The inclusion of an AF assist lamp provides further assistance in low light situations when focusing is difficult.

The FX01 contains a total of sixteen scene modes7 to assist in a wide range of photographic situations. When shooting in the unique "Baby" mode, a childís age at the time of image capture is automatically recorded onto that image, determined by a programmable date of birth. This much-loved mode, which was also featured on other recently released Panasonic digital still cameras models, has now doubled its appeal with the ability to set two birthdays for two children. In "Party" mode, it becomes possible to take clear, beautiful pictures by capturing the warm and rich nuances of light and atmosphere. Another new mode is the "Underwater" mode for use with the Marine Case, which is available separately.


1 For a digital still camera with optical zoom, as of February 14, 2006.
2 35mm film camera equivalent, at wide angle
3 Resolution significantly decreases in High Sensitivity mode.
4 Not including the time for AF.
5 Max. eight images in standard mode / six images in fine mode.
6 The speed of the consecutive shooting varies depending on the memory card.
7 Not including Macro Mode.


About Panasonic Consumer Electronics Company

Based in Secaucus, N.J., Panasonic Consumer Electronics Company is a Division of Panasonic Corporation of North America, the principal North American subsidiary of Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. Ltd. (NYSE: MC) and the hub of Panasonic's U.S. marketing, sales, service and R&D operations. Information about Panasonic products is available at www.panasonic.com. Additional company information for journalists is available at www.panasonic.com/pressroom or through the companyís toll-free fax- back system at 888-734-7490.





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