Alongside the ruggedised TS1, Panasonic has announced a refresh to their P&S lineup, including one touchscreen camera, a few that shoot HD video and one that's just...there.
The FX580 is pretty much the star of the show here, as it's fitted with a 3-inch touchscreen and 720p HD video capability. Otherwise it's a fairly standard 12.1 megapixel camera, with 5x optical zoom via a Leica ultrawide lens, 6400 max ISO and the standard stable of antishake and facial recognition features. It's priced with the TS1 at $US400.
The ZS3 and ZS1 are of a zoomier sort, boasting 12x optical zoom capabilities and similar core specs to the F580, but without the touchscreen. Though they only have a 10.1 megapixel sensors, 720p HD video recording is included as well. They'll sell at $US400 and $US300, respectively.
Stepping down the lineup we have the mid-range, $US350 FX48, which is, feature for feature, more or less the TS1 without the tough outer shell. Then there's the $US250 FS25, which retains many of the features of the FX48 but loses HD video recording and slims down slightly.
The most obvious thing about this batch of cameras is how little feature differentiation there is between the two, and how HD video seems to be the new de-facto standard for the latest point-and shoots. It's worth noting, though, that these HD recording will be encoded in some kind of AVCHD Lite format instead of a more standard, supported type of codec. The new cameras will ship in April. [Panasonic]