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Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX50

Luuk Jurrien
Photokina report
Wednesday 19th, July 2006
Posted by: Luuk Jurrien

Panasonic today introduced the new Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX50 7.2 Megapixel, 28mm wide angle f/2.8 Leica DC lens with 3.6x optical zoom (equivalent to 28mm to 102mm on a 35mm film camera) camera, featuring an Intelligent Image Stabilizer by MEGA O.I.S.(Optical Image Stabilizer), a 3 inch large LCD monitor and Intelligent ISO control. Inheriting the highly valued 28mm Leica DC lens in a compact body from its their predecessor, the Panasonic DMC-FX50 camera allows users to enjoy the benefit of a wide angle lens when shooting indoor group portraits, expansive landscapes, or architectural scenes. The Panasonic Lumix FX50 will be available in silver and black with a specially textured finish.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX50

Panasonic Lumix FX50 - Mega O.I.S.
To fight against the major cause of blurred images, Panasonic invented the MEGA O.I.S. system taking advantage of its superior lens technology to compensate for handshake, a feature which has long been incorporated into the Lumix range of cameras. In addition, to also compensate for the other major cause of blurred images, movement of the subject, the Panasonic FX50 camera is also equipped with the world’s first Intelligent ISO Control (hereafter I.I.C.) and max. ISO 1250 high sensitivity recording at full resolution capabilities within the advanced image processing LSI Venus Engine III.

Panasonic DMC FX50 - Anti Shake
When set to the I.I.C., the Venus Engine III detects the subject’s movement and adjusts the ISO setting and shutter speed to best suit the subject movement and the light condition automatically. Panasonic’s excellent image stabilizing system allows users to take clear, crisp images in any situation, leaving everything to the camera.

Panasonic FX50 camera - PictBridge
Taking advantage of the newly incorporated 3-inch large LCD, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX50 allows dual image playback to see and compare any two images at a time. It is also possible to select 9 sequential frames from a captured motion image file and display them as thumbnails which can then even be saved as still images. Furthermore, a print mode has been added to the mode dial to allow users to connect the camera to a PictBridge corresponding printer via an included USB cable to get the printouts.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX50 - Design
When shooting indoor group portraits, it sometimes occurs that the room is not large enough to allow the photographer to get everyone in the frame, or the light is insufficient forcing the photographer to use a flash. However the winning combination of 28mm Leica DC lens and the Intelligent Image stabilizer enable every type of user to take ideal beautiful images with everyone in the frame and without having to use the flash which would spoil the ambience of the picture. The new Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX50 is a beautifully designed and featured-packed digital camera, ideal for recording and preserving all those precious moments that life gives.

Panasonic Lumix FX50 digital camera - Wide angle zoom lens
The 7.2 Megapixel Panasonic Lumix DMC FX50 camera has a 28mm wide angle 3.6x optical zoom f/2.8 Leica DC VARIO-ELMARIT lens housed in a compact and slim body, achieved thanks to the incorporation of a EA (Extra High Refractive Index Aspherical) lens. This wide angle lens enables easy capture of large indoor group subjects or expansive architectural structures and sceneries with dynamic width and a rich perspective. The lens unit comprises 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 zoom ratio can be extended up to 5.5x in 3 Megapixel resolution mode thanks to the Extra Optical Zoom function which gives extra magnification (and minimal image deterioration) by intentionally using the centre part of the CCD.

Panasonic FX50 digital compact camera - Image stabilizer
Taking advantage of its superior lens technology, Panasonic invented the MEGA O.I.S. (Optical Image Stabilizer) system to fight against the major cause of blurred images. It compensates for handshake and is now featured on the entire Lumix range and has been highly evaluated and appreciated by the users across the world. Every slight hand-shake movement is detected accurately with the sampling frequency at 4,000 times per second and will be compensated to render clear, sharp images. In addition, movement of the subject, the other major cause of blurred images, is suppressed by the advanced image processing LSI Venus Engine III with the Intelligent ISO Control (hereafter I.I.C.) and max. ISO1250 high sensitivity recording capabilities. The world’s first incorporation of this I.I.C. allows the automatic adjustment of the suitable ISO setting and shutter speed that best suits the situation by analyzing the speed of subject movement. If the subject is moving, the ISO setting would automatically rise to allow a higher shutter speed. On the other hand, if the subject is still and no movement is detected, you can take beautiful natural images with a low ISO setting. Accordingly the new Lumix automatically takes the best countermeasures against any causes of blurred images with MEGA O.I.S. compensating for hand-shake and the I.I.C. compensating for movement of the subject. Thus Image stabilizing systems are further evolving with Lumix.

Panasonic DMC FX50 compact camera - Image processor
The Panasonic DMC-FX50 camera adopts the Venus Engine III to realize high sensitivity recording at max. ISO 1250 at full resolution. The noise reduction system is greatly improved by removing noise at the processing stages in series. First, critical noise is roughly undraped and the chromatic noise and the luminance noise are separated to respectively go through the supplemental noise reduction process so that the remaining noise is appropriately minimised. With its multi-task image processing capability, the Venus Engine III also boasts outstanding response time with a shutter release time lag of as short as 0.005 sec. minimum and the shutter interval of 0.5 sec. Together with the fast startup time of approx. 1.3 sec., the quick response of the Panasonic FX50 enables easy capture of those spur-of-the-moment shots. In the burst shooting mode, it is possible to shoot at three frames per second in full resolution. The Panasonic Lumix DMC FX50 camera also allows unlimited consecutive shooting up to the capacity of the SD/SDHC memory card. Despite the large, bright LCD, the Panasonic Lumix FX50 camera achieves long battery life to shoot approx. 300 pictures (CIPA) on a single charge thanks to the energy-efficient Venus Engine III.

Panasonic Lumix DMC FX50 camera - LCD monitor
The Panasonic FX50 newly incorporates an easy-to-see 3 inch large 230 k high resolution LCD. Taking advantage of this large, high resolution LCD, the Panasonic FX50 enables dual image playback to display any 2 images vertically in the LCD and compare them as well as the 9-frame cutouts from a motion image. Furthermore, it becomes possible. Also, 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. With the help of the Power LCD function, which boosts the backlighting of the LCD by 40%, even shooting in bright outdoors situations is no longer a problem. The High Angle mode makes the display extremely easy to view from low angles, for example, when holding the camera up high to take pictures over a crowd and can be accessed easily and quickly by using the dedicated button.

Panasonic Lumix FX50 digital compact camera - VGA video and Auto focus
In addition to standard VGA (640x480) at 30 fps motion image recording, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX50 camera can also record stunning full-size movies in wide-aspect VGA (848x480) at 30 fps. Shooting is one thing but viewing is another, and users will be suitably impressed by the 16:9 moving image when it is displayed on a wide screen TV. The brightness level of these motion images is also enhanced as a result of the pixel mixed readout method performed by the CCD. An exceptional function is that it is possible to select and display as thumbnails 9 sequential frames from a motion image, which would be helpful to see the how you swing a racket or golf club. The various AF mode can be selected according to the shooting environment and the position of the subject: 9-point, 3-point high speed, 1-point high-speed, 1-point normal-speed and spot. In the 1-point normal speed AF, the AF time is reduced by one third of the time compared to the predecessor, to provide a quick and smooth AF without screen-freeze. The inclusion of an AF assist lamp provides further assistance in low light situations when focusing is difficult. The result is stress free photography with never a moment missed.

Panasonic Lumix DMC FX50 digital camera - Scene and Print
An even greater variety of scene modes are included: seventeen scene modes for the Panasonic FX50 to assist the user in a wide range of photographic situations. The newly incorporated “Beach” mode is perfect for shooting in strong sunlight and the “Aerial” mode assists with shooting through the windows of an aeroplane. “High Sensitivity” mode, made possible by the pixel-mixed readout method by the CCD, is ideal for shooting moving subjects clearly without blurring at a sensitivity as high as ISO 3200. On the other hand, in the “Simple” mode, almost all adjustments can be automatically set even including the backlight compensation, allowing even entry-level users to take beautiful images easily. An additional improvement is the addition of a print mode onto the mode dial for the Panasonic Lumix DMC FX50 so that users can make prints by just connecting the camera to the PictBridge corresponding printer via an included USB cable. Of course users can get plural prints of a image or print only those they have selected as favorites. The Panasonic DMC-FX50 camera includes “World Time Setting”, which was featured on other recently released Lumix models and much appreciated, allowing users to set the time and date of 74 locations across the world.

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