It's not as zoomy as the 15x Samsung HZ35w but I'd take a 12x Lumix with Leica optics over a Sammy. Especially since this one Geotags.
The 12.1-megapixel camera starts out at 25mm and zooms up to 12x past that, even in video mode. It also records HD (although res isn't mentioned) in the AVCHD lite format.
PANASONIC UNVEILS THE WORLD'S SMALLEST PHOTO/VIDEO HYBRID SUPERZOOM DIGITAL CAMERA*1 COMPLETE WITH A 25MM WIDE-ANGLE LEICA LENS AND POWERFUL 12X OPTICAL ZOOM
With New Built-In GPS Feature, Panasonic LUMIX ZS7 Digital Camera is Ultimate Travel Companion, Allowing Users to Geo-Tag Photos and Videos
Secaucus, NJ (January 26, 2010) – Panasonic today introduces the LUMIX DMC-ZS7, the newest member of the acclaimed superzoom ZS-Series of digital cameras that have gained worldwide popularity. Complete with its hallmark 25mm ultra-wide-angle Leica lens and a powerful 12x optical zoom (operable in video recording mode), this 12.1-megapixel powerhouse performer, also includes a new built-in GPS (Global Positioning System) feature that embeds photos and videos with the latitude and longitude location details, a useful feature when using an online photo-sharing website. The LUMIX ZS7 is also the world's smallest photo/video hybrid superzoom digital camera*1, which can also record High Definition (HD) video using the recording capability in AVCHD Lite, which includes a dedicated video record button and new to the ZS-Series is a manual shooting mode.
"As a successor to the Panasonic LUMIX ZS3, which was last year's most popular compact model, we are confident the Panasonic LUMIX ZS7 will continue the success, thanks to big features like HD video, 12x optical zoom and the newly added GPS capabilities and it's super-fast Auto Focusing," said David Briganti, Senior Product Manager, Imaging, Panasonic Consumer Electronics Company. "Panasonic is excited to introduce our first GPS-enabled digital camera, and it adds to the ZS7's appeal as the ultimate travel companion – from its range of shooting options, both far and wide, and now the ability to record exactly where photos were taken. We are confident consumers will have all the features they need to capture high quality photos and video and share their travels with their friends and family."
The Panasonic LUMIX ZS7 features Sonic Speed AF (Auto Focus), which enables a super-fast response time, and a shutter release time lag as short as approximately 0.006 second. The camera's quick response makes it easier to capture sudden, spur-of-the-moment photo opportunities and together with the Sonic Speed AF that lets users lock on the subject minimum in approximately 0.35 second (wide-end) / 0.41 second (tele-end)*3. The LUMIX ZS7 also features a short startup time of approximately 1.1 second.
With the new GPS feature, the Panasonic LUMIX ZS7 is the ultimate travel companion, and can record the latitude and longitude in the EXIF (Exchangeable Image File Format) data, while also displaying the location information real-time while shooting and during playback. These geo-tagged images can be pinpointed on maps common in photo-sharing websites and social media sites – so travels can be archived and also visually represented on a map – and easily shared with friends and family. The Panasonic LUMIX ZS7 also shows the name of the city, country and state, and information for more than 500,000 popular landmarks, covering 73 countries, are stored in the camera's internal memory. For instance, when users are taking photos of the Eiffel Tower or Empire State Building, landmarks stored within the camera, these locations will be displayed on the screen while taking it and tagged in the data. Users can also refer to the locations using the included software PHOTOfunSTUDIO HD Edition Version 5.1. The LUMIX ZS7 automatically adjusts its internal clock to the local time, so there's no need to set the clock manually when travelling.
The Panasonic LUMIX ZS7 also features a new image processing technology, Intelligent Resolution, which is incorporated in its Venus Engine HD. With the Intelligent Resolution technology, three areas – outlines, detailed texture areas and soft gradation – are examined pixel by pixel and automatically detected to enhance any degradation created during the digital zoom process or in high-sensitivity shooting. The outline areas are enhanced effectively to give the edges more clarity, while simultaneously giving a moderate accent to the textured areas so it looks accurately detailed. To the soft gradation area, such as a face, the increased noise reduction system of the Venus Engine HD II is applied to make it smoother. As a result of Intelligent Resolution, images are naturally clear and crisp in both photo and video recording. The Intelligent Resolution technology powers Panasonic's new Intelligent Zoom feature, which extends the camera's zoom ratio by approximately 1.3x while maintaining the picture quality – and enhancing the digital zoom and making it comparable to the quality of an optical zoom. With Intelligent Zoom, the Panasonic ZS7 features a total zoom range up to16x.
For more advanced users, the Panasonic LUMIX ZS7 adds manual control features, allowing for adjustments in shutter speed, aperture and exposure – and encouraging more creative photography options. For digital camera users looking for an easy-to-use setting that still ensures high quality photos, Panasonic's iA (Intelligent Auto) mode is the solution. Panasonic iA is a popular feature on LUMIX digital cameras, making them intuitive to use without changing any settings, as technologies engage automatically. For instance, iA incorporates Panasonic's POWER O.I.S. (Optical Image Stabilizer), which doubles the repression power compared to the conventional image stabilisation system, MEGA O.I.S.
Other technologies incorporated into the LUMIX ZS7's iA mode include:
Face Recognition – With new enhancements when compared to previous editions, Face Recognition allows users to register up to three different images for a person, helping to improve detection accuracy. Face detection is also included for up to 15 faces.
Intelligent Scene Selector – Automatically selects whichever of 6 Scene Modes – Macro, Portrait, Scenery, Night Portrait, Night Scenery and newly added Sunset – best suits the shooting situation.
Other iA Technologies: Intelligent Resolution and Intelligent Zoom, AF Tracking, Intelligent ISO Control and Intelligent Exposure.
Panasonic's iA is also available in video mode, and it automatically selects the most suitable Scene mode and helps to reduce blur due to handshake and improves focus, brightness and exposure. In addition, iA in video mode features Intelligent Scene Selector, which automatically switches between Normal, Portrait, Macro, Scenery, and Low Light modes according to the shooting environment.
The LUMIX ZS7 can record AVCHD Lite HD video, which almost doubles the recording time in HD quality compared with the Motion JPEG format. To complement the HD video capabilities, the Panasonic LUMIX ZS7 also features Dolby Digital Stereo Creator to record high quality audio. Also, the Panasonic LUMIX ZS7 has a 3.0", high resolution 460,000-dot Intelligent LCD with a wide-viewing angle with excellent visibility during recording and playback.
Other features of the Panasonic LUMIX ZS7 include:
Happy Mode – New Scene mode that optimizes colour, saturation and brightness to make both photo and video more vivid and true to the colour the users remember when they took it.
High Dynamic – 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 one of three options, Standard, Art, or B/W, depending on the desired effect and personal taste to make the photo look natural to artistic.
Compatibility – Compatible with SDXC Memory Cards, including Panasonic's newly announced 64 GB*3 and 48 GB SDXC Memory Cards – to enable high capacity content storage and fast data transfer speeds. Also compatible with Windows 7*4.
Video Divide – Users can divide video into two sections to shorten or delete the unwanted clips directly on the camera. Users can also grab a still image from a video – all within the menus on the camera.
Battery Life – Can take up to 340 images on a single battery charge*5.
Panasonic also introduces the LUMIX DMC-ZS5, which like the LUMIX ZS7, features a 25mm ultra-wide angle Leica lens, 12x optical zoom and manual controls. Distinguishing it from the LUMIX ZS7, the LUMIX ZS5, has a 2.7-inch, 230,000-dot Intelligent LCD, records HD video in Motion JPG at 30fps, and has a high performance Venus Engine VI. Battery life on the LUMIX ZS5 has approximately 330 photos and does not include GPS capabilities.
Pricing and availability for the Panasonic LUMIX ZS7 and LUMIX ZS5 will be announced 30 days prior to shipping date. The Panasonic LUMIX ZS7 will be available in silver, black, red and blue models; while the Panasonic LUMIX ZS5 will be available in black and silver.