LAS VEGAS u2013 The viewfinder is here to stay for the more discerning photographer, asserts Panasonic which used the Consumer Electronic Show (CES) in the US to unveil a new u2018premiumu2019-level travel compact.

The move came as Panasonic confirmed plans to ‘thin down’ its range of low-end compact cameras and focus on mid to top-end models.

CES saw the debut of the Lumix DMC-TZ60, a 30x Leica-branded optical zoom model aimed at DSLR users – launched as a step up from the 20x zoom on the TZ40 which will continue in the range, for now, says the firm.

Features on board the 18MP model include a 0.2in (200,000-dot resolution) EVF and ‘improved’ optical image stabilisation – equivalent to one stop more than on the TZ40.

In an interview with AP, Panasonic Japan’s imaging consultant Michiharu Uematsu said that AF on the TZ60 boasts a ‘readout speed’ double that of the TZ40.

And the sliding lens structure allows the OIS lens to retract when the camera is switched off, a move designed to cut down its size.

Panasonic has also brought back the raw mode after calls from consumers who said that a camera at this level should have a raw option.

In a nod to videographers the TZ60 (which will cost £349.99 and is due out in March) includes an auto-level feature that crops the image and is said to be useful for when shooting video overhead at an event, for example.

Why no touchscreen?

Asked why the camera does not include a touchscreen Uematsu said that it would add £30-40 to the price of the camera, moving it into a different price bracket.

In November 2013, a report published by Reuters news agency said Panasonic would only launch five compact cameras during 2014.

However, Panasonic UK’s Lumix DSC product manager Vic Solomon told AP that the firm expects to launch further compacts in 2014, in addition to four new models before March/April (for news of the others see upcoming issues of AP).

Solomon said the company plans to discontinue one or two existing compact cameras at the start of 2014.

READ AP’S FIRST LOOK HERE

New Leica DG Nocticron

CES in Las Vegas was also the launchpad for Panasonic’s new Leica DG Nocticron (pictured), a lens for micro-four-thirds CSCs.

Designed to be ideal for portrait work, the Leica DG Nocticron 42.5mm f/1.2 ASPH Power OIS should deliver the 35mm viewing angle equivalent of an 85mm optic.

The 14-elements in-11-groups optic includes nine-diaphragm blade lens and a UHR (Ultra High Refractive index) lens.

The Leica DG Nocticron is the 22nd MFT lens from Panasonic and is expected to cost £1,399 when is launches in March.

READ AP’S REVIEW HERE