Panasonic Introduces Two New 6x-optical Zoom Compact Cameras

LZ Series Cameras Feature Improved LCD, Faster Autofocus

Las Vegas, Nv (January 4, 2006) - Panasonic today introduces two new models for its compact, consumer friendly LZ series of Lumix digital still cameras. The six megapixel DMC-LZ5 and five megapixel DMC-LZ3 incorporate Panasonic’s top-rated MEGA Optical Image Stabilization, large and bright LCD displays, 6x optical zoom, and a 1-point high-speed autofocus feature that is new to the LZ product line.

“The DMC-LZ5 and DMC-LZ3 provide consumers with features that are easy to understand and use, but that don’t compromise on capability,” says Monica Helmer, national marketing manager for Panasonic’s Optical Group. “And while these are compact cameras, the 6x optical zoom and MEGA Optical Image Stabilization give users the tools that are usually available only in larger and more expensive cameras.”

The MEGA Optical Image Stabilization, which Panasonic puts into all of its cameras, moves the lens to compensate for the slight hand movements most people make when taking a picture. It’s hand movement that leads to most blurry pictures, a common complaint for amateur photographers. With MEGA Optical Image Stabilization, pictures come out clear, even when using the zoom feature or shooting in low light.

The LZ5 and LZ3 also have Panasonic’s Venus Engine Plus, the processor that manages image capture and energy use for the cameras. Both cameras also come packaged with Panasonic’s Oxyride AA batteries, which feature longer life and power than alkaline batteries. With Venus Engine Plus and Oxyride, users can get the most out of their picture-taking experience. With Venus Engine Plus and Oxyride, the LZ5 can take up to 235 images and the LZ3 up to 250. (The LZ5 and LZ3 also can use regular alkaline AA batteries.)

The LZ5’s 2.5-inch LCD and the LZ3’s 2.0-inch LCD are greatly improved over the previous cameras in the LZ series, with higher sensitivity for viewing in low-light situations as well as easy viewing from angles, which helps the user when holding the camera overhead for a high-angle shot.

In addition to the 5-point, 3-point high speed, 1-point normal speed and Spot autofocus, the LZ5 and LZ3 can be set to 1-point high-speed autofocus. This setting reduces autofocus time by about 40 percent compared to previous models. An autofocus assist lamp is also added for the first time to the LZ series cameras.

New features include an additional six scene modes, bringing the total to 14. That, plus Simple Mode, which offers easy shooting to novice photographers, makes these two cameras ready for just about any picture-taking situation.

Both the LZ5 and LZ3 have 14 megabytes of built-in memory, so they are ready to take pictures right out of the box. For additional picture-taking capacity, the cameras take SD Memory cards. Picture files can be transferred from the internal memory to an SD card and vice versa. Pictures can also be transferred to a computer using the included USB cable.

The DMC-LZ5 will have a retail price of $279.95 and the DMC-LZ3 will have a retail price of $229.95. Both cameras are scheduled to be at retail in March.