Thursday, April 17, 2008

New Panasonic digicam uses Wi-Fi to upload, and can record Hi-def video

Yesterday Panasonic introduced the Lumix DMC-TZ50, with Wi-Fi capabilities, 802.11b/g wireless LAN connectivity and access to T-Mobile® HotSpot service. Users can upload digital photos directly to Picasa Web Albums, a free online photo-sharing service from Google. The 9.1 megapixel TZ50 has a 28mm wide-angle lens, 10x optical zoom and the ability to record High Definition video (720p).

Panasonic uses the T-Mobile HotSpot service and Picasa Web Albums’ APIs to create an online environment and community for sharing digital photos. After taking photos , users will be able to wirelessly send one or multiple photos, directly to Google’s Picasa Web Albums. Users can connect to standard wireless home networks, but the TZ50 can also connect to the T-Mobile HotSpot Service, which provides fast and reliable Wi-Fi Internet acess at more than 8,800 public locations throughout the United States, including Borders® Books & Music stores, Hyatt Hotels and many major airports. The LUMIX TZ50 comes with an offer for 12-months of complimentary T-Mobile HotSpot Wi-FI service.

Users can register one email account with their TZ50, so after uploading their photos to Picasa Web Albums, they can have the URL to that album sent to the registered account. Since many cellphones and smartphones receive emails, users can register their own email address and then forward that Picasa Web Albums URL to friends and family, all while away from home and without using a computer. In addition, users can browse their albums to confirm that photos have been successfully uploaded, and choose to delete uploaded photos directly on the digital camera.

The TZ50 is the latest member of the LUMIX TZ-Series, with a 28mm wide-angle 10x optical zoom Leica DC lens (equivalent to 28-280mm on a 35mm film camera) in a compact body. The 28mm wide-angle lens captures subjects and scenes wider at the same standpoint than a normal 35mm camera. The new TZ50 integrates the capability of recording 720p Hi-def movies together with its direct output function allowing users to watch both still photos and movies on an HDTV via an optional component cable or by inserting the SD Memory Card into the SD slot, which is some HDTVs.

The TZ50 also incorporates Panasonic’s advanced Intelligent Auto (iA) mode consisting of seven technologies designed to help make photo-taking easier.

· Intelligent Exposure – Photos will no longer be under- or over-exposed. Instead, the TZ50 instantly analyze the framed image and adjusts the brightness in areas that are too dark because of dim lighting, backlighting or the use of the flash. The camera will automatically adjust the brightness accordingly.

· Digital Red-eye Correction– Helps eliminate the red-eye problem that sometimes results when taking flash shots at the night. Incorporated into the built-in flash, the camera emits a small preliminary flash before the main flash, detects red-eye and will digitally correct it.

· MEGA O.I.S. – Gyrosensors detect hand-shake and the lens system shifts to compensate, helping to prevent hand-shake from creating a blurry image.

· Intelligent ISO – Determines if the photo subject is moving and change the ISO setting and shutter speed accordingly.

· Intelligent Scene Selector – Senses the ambient conditions, recognizes the shooting environment and will automatically select the appropriate scene mode from: Scenery, Portrait, Macro, Night Portrait or Night Scenery mode. This intuitive technology, helps the consumer use the most common scene modes that are built into the camera, but often go unused, without making any manual adjustments.

· Face Detection – Detects faces anywhere in the frame and automatically chooses the optimal focus and exposure settings so portraits come out clear and crisp. Detecting up to 15 faces, Panasonic’s Face Detection can even track a face if the subject is moving.

· Continuous AF – The Continuous AF (auto focus) system maintains focus on the subject even without pressing a shutter button halfway, thus minimizing the AF time.

Once a user is in iA mode, these multi-capable functions happen automatically no adjustments or settings changes need to be made. Furthermore, the DMC-TZ50 has Intelligent LCD function, which detects the lighting condition and controls the brightness level of the LCD in 11 fine steps, to offer a display with excellent clarity in any situation with the newly developed 460,000-dot high resolution in 3.0-inch LCD screen.

The TZ50 incorporates the Venus Engine IV, image processing LSI chip. It is said to improve noise reduction, elevate the detection accuracy and corrective effects in both MEGA O.I.S. and Intelligent ISO and reduce the shutter release time lag.

The Panasonic LUMIX DMC-TZ50 will be available in May 2008 with a suggested retail price of $449.95.
This is a preview, not a review.

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