Today Panasonic has announced a new 'compact superzoom' camera, a format also sometimes described as a 'bridge camera'. The new camera is called the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ70, it features a 60x optical zoom, equivalent to 20-1200mm, which is the "largest zoom lens available in a consumer compact" according to DPReview.
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ70 with 60x optical zoom
The FZ70 offers users an extremely long 60x optical zoom ranging from the very wide 20mm equivalent to 1,200mm. Over this zoom range the maximum aperture ranges between F2.8-5.9. Panasonic says this camera offers "the widest and longest zoom in its class". The FZ70 has a "new 16.1-Megapixel High Sensitivity MOS Sensor" (1/2.3-inch) and uses Panasonic's Venus Engine image processing chip. The camera is capable of 9fps full resolution burst shooting. Pictures can be saved as JPEGs (standard, fine) or RAW images. Camera start-up takes under a second and zooming the full range, to 1,200mm equivalent, took under four seconds in a quick hands-on test by DPReview staff.
The long zoom on offer in turn offers up a huge amount of shooting opportunities from super-wide cityscapes and landscapes to capturing timid wildlife that would otherwise be difficult to get a clear shot of. Panasonic says its optics deliver "exceptional optical performance by suppressing distortion at the wide end and colour bleeding at the tele end". These are problems often highly evident at the extremes of zoom ranges on consumer cameras. The FZ70 features optical image stabilization (OIS) to reduce camera shake induced blur in images, especially evident at the longer zoom ranges.
Turning to the video capability of the FZ70, it is capable of recording full-HD video footage in either AVCHD or MP4 formats, the zoom still operates while recording is taking place. Also a 'Creative Video Mode' lets you adjust the shutter speed and aperture any way you like when shooting videos. A 'Wind Shield Zoom Microphone' with Dolby Digital quality is built-in.
You can find the full spec list for this camera on DPReview here. The estimated launch price for the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ70 is $399 in the US, availability is scheduled for the beginning of August.