Panasonic has today introduced new additions to its FZ and XS ranges of bridge and compact cameras.

The Lumix DMC-FZ72 is a super wide-angle and

super zoom bridge camera, with a 20mm ultra wide-angle lens and 60x optical

zoom, the industry’s highest.

The Lumix DMC-XS3, part of the compact XS

series, offers a 14.1-megapixel High Sensitivity MOS sensor in a body 14mm

thick.

Both cameras work with Panasonic’s Lumix DC-Vario

lenses. The FZ72’s 20mm ultra wide-angle lens comprises 14 elements in 12

groups, including six aspherical lenses with nine aspherical surfaces and three

Extra-Low Dispersion lenses.

This 60x zoom ratio can be further extended up

to 120x equivalent while maintaining picture quality with Panasonic’s

Intelligent Zoom and Intelligent Resolution technology.

The FZ72 can also be fitted with a 1.7x Tele

Conversion Lens DMW-LT55 (sold separately) that transforms the 60x optical zoom

into a 102x optical zoom. The firm claims this is so powerful ‘it can even

capture the cratered surface of the moon clearly’.

Panasonic is keen to stress the speed and

sensitivity of the FZ72. It can shoot 9 fps at the full resolution of its 16.1

million pixel High Sensitivy MOS Sensor with mechanical shutter, and 5 fps with

continuous AF. The camera features Panasonic’s ‘Light Speed’ AF for quick

focusing, and has a start-up time of approximately 0.9secs.

Also aiding in speed and responsiveness is the

POWER Optical Image Stabiliser (OIS) with Active Mode, which also featured in

the DMC-FZ200. Panasonic promises this will provide ‘approx. twice the

correction angle at the tele-end setting and blurless zoom shots and night

shots’.

The XS3, at 14mm thick, is slimmer than the XS1,

however its metal bodywork means it is also heavier. The XS3 employs a

14.1-million pixel High Sensitivity MOS sensor with an advanced image processor

‘Venus Engine’ for noise reduction.

The XS3’s f/2.8 Lumix DC Vario 24mm wide-angle

lens comprises six elements in five groups, with three aspherical lenses with

five aspherical surfaces, and features a 5x optical zoom.

A number of automated features have been

included in the XS3’s design, such as filter effects that can be applied both

during and after shooting. The XS1’s Intelligent Auto (iA) is also included,

and MEGA OIS is integrated into the iA mode to suppress hand-shake.

For both cameras, Panasonic has emphasised how

well suited their features make them for recording video. The MOS sensors on

both cameras allow for recording video in full HD 1920×1080. The FZ72 can

record in AVCHD and MP4 formats, the XS3 in just MP4.

In both cases, many of the photographic assets

such as OIS, Active Mode and Intelligent Auto also transfer to their video

capabilities. Switching from photo to video on the XS3 is accomplished with a

single button press, while video recorders on the FZ72 will benefit from a Wind

Shield Zoom Microphone to minimise wind noise and provide cleaner audio.

The DMC-F72 will be available from August, and

the DMC-XS3 from September. Prices are yet to be confirmed.