Panasonic’s new Lumix DMC-FZ38 digital camera

Lumix-DMC-FZ38Successor to the multiple award winning DMC-FZ28, Panasonic is pleased to introduce the Lumix DMC-FZ38 digital still camera, featuring an AVCHD Lite high-definition movie recording capability combined with powerful 27mm wide angle 18x optical zoom high quality LEICA DC VARIO-ELMARIT lens (1). Joining Panasonic’s highly regarded FZ series of cameras that pack a high-powered zoom and a host of creative options including manual operation into a compact body, the FZ38 also boasts an upgraded O.I.S.(Optical Image Stabiliser) the newly named POWER O.I.S. and ultra high-speed AF together with other enhanced features that boost user fun and convenience.

Hybrid Superzoom

The demand for digital cameras that can record higher-quality movie has grown in step with the trend toward larger HDTV screens and new technologies of movie recording. Now, in addition to Motion JPEG images, the DMC-FZ38 can record high-definition motion picture in AVCHD Lite (2). It features almost doubling the recording time in HD quality compared with the conventional Motion JPEG format. The FZ38 also features Dolby Digital Stereo Creator to record high quality audio, so you can match the beautiful motion images with outstanding stereo sound. A single model that performs admirably as both a camera and camcorder, while achieving smooth, easy operation in both modes.

Lumix DMC-FZ38

The DMC-FZ38 packages a 27mm wide angle LEICA DC VARIO-ELMARIT lens with F2.8 brightness and powerful 18x optical zoom1 together with a 12.1-megapixel CCD into a compact body. Taking advantage of the versatile 27mm wide angle powerful 18x optical zoom lens, the FZ38 allows users to record both photo and movie with exceptional creative freedom. The lens unit comprises of 11 elements in 8 groups, including 3 aspherical lenses and 2 ED lenses. Notably 2 ED lenses minimize the chromatic aberration that is likely to occur in telephoto images. This set of lenses secure picture quality high enough to pass Leica’s stringent standards and delivers exceptional optical performance.

Lumix DMC-FZ38

The super-powerful 18x zoom lens makes it easy to pull in subjects from far away or to take dramatic close-ups. For an added boost, zoom power can be increased to 35.2x with the Extra Optical Zoom function (3). The 27mm wide-angle feature is ideal for both broad landscapes and tight indoor shots, letting photographers capture a wider view. The 12.1-megapixel resolution allows photos to be greatly enlarged while still retaining outstanding detail, or edited by trimming and enlarging parts of the photo to print.

Panasonic’s iA Mode Just Keeps Getting Better – with new POWER O.I.S & Face Recognition

POWER O.I.S & Face Recognition

With the DMC-FZ38 taking great photos is that easy. Panasonic incorporated the Intelligent Auto mode in pursuit of the ultimate ease of operation and the reduction of misshots. In iA mode the camera does all the work, leaving you free to compose shots and capture moments. Just press aim, and shoot.

Panasonic’s Intelligent Auto now includes new POWER O.I.S.(Optical Image Stabiliser) – a feature that helps prevent handshake even when using high-powered zoom. The new POWER O.I.S clearly captures subjects in the ultra-telephoto range, which used to require a tripod.

With twice the shake suppression capability of previous models, the new POWER O.I.S is particularly effective when shooting at night with a low shutter speed for example, whilst also greatly improving the quality of shots taken indoors where a flash cannot be used or where a photographer doesn’t want to use a flash because it would spoil the mood. Thanks to POWER O.I.S, beautiful photos can be taken in situations that previously resulted in blurring.

Lumix DMC-FZ38

The iA mode is even further advanced with the inclusion Face Recognition (4), a function that “remembers” faces. When a familiar face is recorded several times, the camera will prompt you to register the face. Once complete, if the familiar face appears into your frame again, the camera will display the name you specified for the person and prioritise focus and exposure so that the registered face is bright and in sharp focus. Up to six people’s faces can be registered, and up to three can be simultaneously recognized to show their names once registered. Three images of each face can be registered for every person, to dramatically raise the detection accuracy. And when the angle of view is changed horizontally, the name display also rotates for easier reading.

You can also specify the age of the registered subject and have both the name and the age of the subject stamped onto your photos. When babies under 3 years-old are registered, the camera will automatically switch to Baby mode if the baby appears into the frame. In playback, you can choose to display only photos that contain a specific registered face using Category Playback. You can also view image slideshows of only a selected person. Face recognition makes sorting archiving incredibly easy. This advanced face detection system also digitally corrects unwanted red-eye during recording. With AF Tracking, the FZ38 can lock onto any subject and keep it in focus even if it moves – making it easy to get beautiful, clear shots when a great photo opportunity suddenly arises. Simply aim, lock, and shoot.

Lumix DMC-FZ38

In addition to the advanced functions mentioned above, the iA mode inherits fundamental functions users need in a good digital still camera. These include Intelligent ISO Control, which reduces motion blur by adjusting the ISO sensitivity if the subject moves as the shot is taken. Intelligent Exposure optimizes the exposure for each part of an image, preventing blocked shadows and blown highlights and helping ensure that gradation and details are reproduced beautifully. It now features an automatic backlight compensation function that activates whenever the camera detects the subject is in backlight. Intelligent Scene Selector automatically detects the five most common shooting situations – Portrait, Night Portrait, Scenery, Night Scenery and Macro – and switches to the appropriate Scene mode.

Demonstrating it’s true hybrid capabilities, the iA mode is also available in motion image recording.

Panasonic’s iA Mode Just Keeps Getting Better – with new POWER O.I.S & Face Recognition

With the DMC-FZ38 taking great photos is that easy. Panasonic incorporated the Intelligent Auto mode in pursuit of the ultimate ease of operation and the reduction of misshots. In iA mode the camera does all the work, leaving you free to compose shots and capture moments. Just press aim, and shoot.

Panasonic’s Intelligent Auto now includes new POWER O.I.S.(Optical Image Stabiliser) – a feature that helps prevent handshake even when using high-powered zoom. The new POWER O.I.S clearly captures subjects in the ultra-telephoto range, which used to require a tripod.

With twice the shake suppression capability of previous models, the new POWER O.I.S is particularly effective when shooting at night with a low shutter speed for example, whilst also greatly improving the quality of shots taken indoors where a flash cannot be used or where a photographer doesn’t want to use a flash because it would spoil the mood. Thanks to POWER O.I.S, beautiful photos can be taken in situations that previously resulted in blurring.

The iA mode is even further advanced with the inclusion Face Recognition (4), a function that “remembers” faces. When a familiar face is recorded several times, the camera will prompt you to register the face. Once complete, if the familiar face appears into your frame again, the camera will display the name you specified for the person and prioritise focus and exposure so that the registered face is bright and in sharp focus. Up to six people’s faces can be registered, and up to three can be simultaneously recognized to show their names once registered. Three images of each face can be registered for every person, to dramatically raise the detection accuracy. And when the angle of view is changed horizontally, the name display also rotates for easier reading.

Lumix DMC-FZ38

You can also specify the age of the registered subject and have both the name and the age of the subject stamped onto your photos. When babies under 3 years-old are registered, the camera will automatically switch to Baby mode if the baby appears into the frame. In playback, you can choose to display only photos that contain a specific registered face using Category Playback. You can also view image slideshows of only a selected person. Face recognition makes sorting archiving incredibly easy. This advanced face detection system also digitally corrects unwanted red-eye during recording. With AF Tracking, the FZ38 can lock onto any subject and keep it in focus even if it moves – making it easy to get beautiful, clear shots when a great photo opportunity suddenly arises. Simply aim, lock, and shoot.

In addition to the advanced functions mentioned above, the iA mode inherits fundamental functions users need in a good digital still camera. These include Intelligent ISO Control, which reduces motion blur by adjusting the ISO sensitivity if the subject moves as the shot is taken. Intelligent Exposure optimizes the exposure for each part of an image, preventing blocked shadows and blown highlights and helping ensure that gradation and details are reproduced beautifully. It now features an automatic backlight compensation function that activates whenever the camera detects the subject is in backlight. Intelligent Scene Selector automatically detects the five most common shooting situations – Portrait, Night Portrait, Scenery, Night Scenery and Macro – and switches to the appropriate Scene mode.

Demonstrating it’s true hybrid capabilities, the iA mode is also available in motion image recording.

Outstanding Performance thanks to new Ultra High-Speed AF

The common concept shared by all new LUMIX products for 2009 second half is that of seamless operation, which is indispensable for stress–free photography. Panasonic’s new industry-leading, ultra high-speed AF is twice as fast as its predecessor DMC-FZ28 while the start-up time is dramatically shortened too.

To realize the ultra high-speed AF, a number of re-engineering and improvements are made including the adaptation of higher-speed actuator, the optimization of algorithms and the parallelization of software processing element. The result is ultra high speed yet accurate AF performance for users to enjoy the airy shooting that has experienced never before. Panasonic also replaced its linear program processing with parallel processing to achieve an ultra high-speed start-up of 1.2 second, a remarkable 20% decrease from previous models.

The Quick AF system helps keep focus on the subject while the camera is in recording mode even before pressing the shutter button halfway. This improves the chances of getting the shot because the focus is always near the subject and AF time is minimized. The user can activate all of these useful, convenient shooting-assist functions by simply selecting iA mode.

The Venus Engine HD

Venus Engine HD

The high-speed, high-performance Venus Engine HD has been re-engineered to support the recording of beautiful, high-definition motion images in AVCHD Lite. With its twin CPUs, Venus Engine HD boasts approx. 2.4x processing capability, greatly improving the speed of camera operations.

In image processing, luminance noise and chromatic noise are reduced separately before and after signal processing. This is further refined by separating noise two-dimensionally into high-frequency and low-frequency noise. The circuits then effectively reduce only the low-frequency noise to minimize the unwanted noise and help produce beautiful, sharp still and motion images.

This multi-task image-processing engine has a super-fast response time. The shutter release time lag is as short as approx. 0.007 seconds, making it easy to capture sudden, spur-of-the-moment photo opportunities. In burst shooting mode, the FZ38 can snap approx. 2.3 shots per second at 12.1-megapixel full resolution (5). In High-speed Burst shooting mode, it fires off an incredible approx. 10 shots per second (6). Newly added Flash Burst mode makes it possible to take consecutive shots with continuous emissions of the flash (7).

Despite its outstanding performance, the high performance engine is also more energy efficient to extend the battery life up to 470 shots (CIPA) per a single charge (8).

Perfect for filming…

Motion image recording (9) can be started by pressing a dedicated one-touch button on the camera’s back panel – an extremely quick, convenient way to start motion image recording. Most of the camera’s settings will be carried over when switched to motion picture recording. The powerful 18x optical zoom is available in movie recording, too. A Wind Cut function is also available to block out most of the noise from background wind. The FZ38 also provides a Custom Colour mode and carries over 18 different scene modes from photo scene modes in movie recording. In AVCHD Lite (10) recording, you can select from three levels of motion image quality: SH (17 Mbps), H (13 Mbps) and L (9 Mbps).

The DMC-FZ38 concept goes much further than simply recording HD movies. Setting it aside from the movie recording capability of conventional digital cameras, the DMC-FZ38 also features a Creative Movie mode, which lets the user set the shutter speed and aperture manually to make even more impressive movies. Changing the shutter speed brings special effects to movies, which is especially suitable for shooting fast-moving subjects. The ability to control the aperture is convenient when there are several subjects at different distances and it is desired to have each of them stand out. Creative Movie mode gives the user a wider range of expressive possibilities to explore.

My Colour mode, which was popular in the Lumix G Micro System cameras, is a special option that gives free reign to the user’s creativity. In My Colour mode, the colour, brightness and saturation parameters can be freely adjusted while seeing how the adjustments affect the picture lively on the monitor. This makes it easier and more fun to create interesting, expressive images. The user can adjust the settings that best suit the shooting conditions and his or her expressive intent, for greater photographic control.

The High Dynamic mode is newly added to the existing scene modes. This mode helps to capture a scene with moderate exposure even though the scene contains both bright and dark area together. The user can select either of three options, Standard, Art, or B/W, depending on the desired effect and personal taste to make the photo look natural to artistic.

The adoption of AVCHD Lite lets users enjoy watching not only still images, but also HD movies by simply inserting the SDHC/SD Memory Card into the VIERA Image Viewer (Bulit-in SDHC/SD Memory Card slot) on any compatible Panasonic Viera HDTV or DIGA Blu-ray Disc Player. Alternatively simply connect the camera via an option HDMI cable to a VIERA link-equipped TV and use the TV’s remote control to run slideshows including both still and motion images.

In addition, with the included software PHOTOfunSTUDIO 4/0 HD Edition, it is easy to view and edit your recorded content. You may also upload your videos to YouTube or burn to a DVD disc for archiving.

Inheriting the highly regarded features found in the FZ series, the FZ38 continues to push the boundaries, offering further advancements including the new POWER O.I.S, ultra high-speed AF and AVCHD Lite motion recording. Available from September, the FZ38 offers exceptional creative freedom – perfect for beginners through to serious amateur photographers.

Source: Panasonic

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