Panasonic LUMIX GX7 – Not Big, Very Clever

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In these days when pretty much any mobile phone is capable of taking half decent snapshots, carrying a separate camera with you when you go out suggests serious photographic intent. If you hanker after the days when a camera was a camera, photos were on film and you had to wait a week to get your holiday snaps back from Boots, then the latest from Panasonic might be up your street.

The LUMIX GX7 has a pleasingly retro look with a smooth satin black or silver finish that invokes ‘proper’ cameras of the past. Behind the looks though is a thoroughly modern 16 megapixel unit packed with technology to help you capture the perfect shot. Among the highlights are a low noise sensor for improved results in poor light conditions, high speed auto focus and a maximum 1/8000 shutter speed for capturing fast moving subjects, and the ability to set focus and exposure with just a single touch on the screen. Although it’s a mirrorless design rather than a DSLR you can exchange lenses, making this a more practical alternative to bulky professional cameras.

There’s a tiltable viewfinder as well as a 3-inch touch-control rear monitor screen, which also tilts to 90 degrees, so you have plenty of options when it comes to composing your shots. The GX7 has a silent shooting mode which cuts out camera and shutter noise so that you can grab photos without disturbing the subject, ideal for working with children and pets or for getting the perfect street shot.

For the serious photographer there are plenty of creative of options and a physical mode dial as well as the touchscreen for control. The camera has built-in filters that mimic traditional darkroom techniques such as emphasising a certain colour in a black and white image. If you prefer your pictures to move the LUMIX can record video at 1080p resolution and with MP4 stereo sound.

When it comes to transferring your pictures you’ll find that the GX7 has Near Field Communication so you can send images to a smartphone or tablet with a single touch. It’s also possible to use your smartphone as a remote control for extra shooting flexibility.

The GX7 is a very serious piece of kit and as a step up from a compact without going to a full-blown DSLR it will appeal to people who are serious about their photography. No pricing was available at the announcement but don’t expect the GX7 to be cheap, however, if you pre-order you will get a free leather case and extra battery worth £69.99.

Panasonic Lumix range helps you get closer to the action – and share it with friends

If you’re hoping to get closer to the action this summer – whether it’s at one of the sporting summer’s events, or taking photos of the kids or wildlife in safari parks or in the countryside, then Panasonic’s latest Super-Zoom digital camera might do the trick.

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The LUMIX DMC-FZ62 has a 24x optical zoom lens and also offers full HD video capture. The 16-megapixel camera also has a 25mm ultra wide angle lens and 3.0-inch Intelligent LCD. There are plenty of manual operation options too, making it a good choice for enthusiastic photographers, while also offering enough help to less experienced snappers.

Taking those impromptu images should be easier, thanks to the fact that the camera fires up in 0.9 seconds and can shoot 10fps in full resolution with the mechanical shutter and 5fps in continuous autofocus.

AF tracking ensures it locks on to your subject and maintains focus even if it’s moving fast – plus the optical image stabiliser ensures there’s less handshake, especially in low light and night time shooting,

If you like to have fun with your shots, the good news is that the Creative Control mode has been upgraded to offer eight new filter options including : Dynamic Monochrome, Cross Process, Low Key, Toy Effect and Star Filter along with Retro, High Key, Sepia, and Miniature Effect5.

The LUMIX DMC-FZ62 will sell for around £349.99.

If you like to share fun photos and videos with friends, take a look at the Panasonic LUMIX SZ5. The LUMIX SZ5 has a number of connectivity options – from Wi-Fi, to DLNA to smartphone compatibility – making it easier to post images and videos online. It is also possible to use your smartphone as a remote control. The LUMIX SZ5 has a 14-megapixel sensor, plus a 10x optical zoom, the LUMIX SZ5 allows you to boost the quality of your daily photography.

This compact camera is on sale for a tad under £180.

Finally, Panasonic is launching a budget price superzoom camera in the shape of the LUMIX DMC-LZ20, which has a 16MP CCD, 25mm ultra wide angle lens with 21x optical zoom and optical image stabiliser. Video is restricted to 720p at 30fps but the camera costs a very reasonable £150 or thereabouts.

Lumix G3: Panasonic does away with the weighty issue of DSLR cameras

While lots of us who are keen photographers love our DSLR cameras, we often end up resorting to taking out a compact model instead because we can’t face lugging our camera around. Sure. It’s fine when you’re out on a photo-taking trip, but if you’re just heading out for a day with the kids or with friends, carting round a weighty piece of kit can be a bit of a pain.

So, the news that Panasonic has come up with the world’s lightest changeable lens system ever, must be good news, surely?

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The Micro Four Thirds Lumix G3 offers a massive 16-megapixel sensor and a Venus Engine V1 FHD which, says Panasonic, will offer the same image quality as your hefty DSLR, while it weighs in at just 340g (that’s 25% smaller and 10% lighter than the LUMIX G2).

Like DSLRs, the G3 has an electronic view finder, or you can use the free-angle LCD screen so you can capture shots even if you’re holding the camera over your head at a concert, for instance.
Panasonic also claims to have come up with the fastest pinpoint auto focus speed of 0.1 second, so you shouldn’t miss a shot.

You can set autofocus with one touch, while Face Recognition will remember settings for your friends and the Inteligent Scene Selector automatically switches to the correct mode.

Plus the G3 has full HD move capacity, recording in Full HD AVCHD 1920 x 1080, 50i. Panasonic has packed all these goodies into a compact, lightweight aluminium chassis.

We’ve not seen the Lumix G3 hands-on, but those who have have been full of praise for it, with its only downsides being that it could offer better battery life and have more straightforward menus

The Lumix G3 with 14-42mm kit lens should retail at around £629.99, although we have found it on the net for nearly 100 quid less than this.

For more details head to www.panasonic.co.uk/lumixG3

3D Round up: Roxio, Buffalo, Lumix GH2 and MiBody


Roxio-Creator

With 3D technology entering the market almost on a daily basis, here’s a few more gadgets offering the consumer 3D functionality at affordable prices. Roxio has proved itself a pioneer with Roxio Creator 2011, the first digital media suit that lets you convert 2D photos and videos into 3D, in your own home.

Your existing photos and videos can be burned to disc or even uploaded to YouTube and Facebook (the software automatically adds the correct 3D tags for YouTube).  You don’t need any special hardware and Roxio has kindly included a pair of anaglyph glasses (the cardboard kind that you used to get back in the day) so 3D can be enjoyed ‘straight out of the box’.

It also allows the user to: Edit and share photo, video and audio projects; burn, copy and backup to CDs, DVDs or Blu-ray discs; convert video content from your PC to your handheld device for mobile viewing; digitise VHS tapes, cassettes and LPs, and capture audio from the web and record video from YouTube. It also offers video tutorials.

While Creator can convert 2D movies to 3D, it won’t work for HD videos, which is a shame. As well as being able to add 3D to your photos, it’s also possible to create true 3D images by combining two photos taken from a few inches apart. Reports indicate that the 3D images do lack somewhat in vibrancy, but if you want to make a first foray into the 3D experiment, it might be worth a punt. Not bad for a price tag of £49.99
More at Roxio.

For a rather more substantial investment of £199.99, the Buffalo Technology Blu-ray USB 3.0 drive allows users to convert regular movies to 3D and upscale DVDs and video files to HD quality.

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It also offers fast back up to Blu-ray technology and improved playback and burning performance of Blu-ray discs, DVDs, or CDs. The 12-speed drive can be used to back-up videos, photos and music and to standard DVD and CD. The Blu-ray writer can write up to 50GB, on a double layer disc.

Users can start burning and playing Blu-ray discs quickly using the high speed USB 3.0 connection by simply plugging the device into a computer and installing CyberLink Media Suite Software. Only one device will be needed for all optical media as the Blu-ray USB 3.0 drive is compatible with all DVD & CS formats. Find out more at here.

Panasonic Lumix GH2

Keen photographers who want to start taking their own 3D images will be excited by the Photokina launch of Panasonic’s Lumix GH2 (well, I was, anyway!).

The new lens is a world first – the first interchangeable lens that allows the photographer to shoot in 3D; the optional 12.5mm f12 has two optical elements and creates stereoscopic photos that can be used with most 3D displays. A firmware update will also allow you to use the lens if you have the Lumix G2. Prices for the Lumix GH2 will start at £900 when it’s available in November and that 3D lens will set you back another £249.

More details on the camera here.

Video fans will be glad to know that they don’t need to spend anything like that to get 3D – it’s available in the shape of the pocket-sized Aiptek I2 priced at around £130.

This compact, twin-lensed camcorder shoots 2D video in 720p and 3D video at half that resolution. It can also take 3D photographs. Once you’ve shot your video, you can watch it on a 3D-enabled television or use the included software to convert the video and watch it on any television along with red and blue 3D glasses. There is also a small 3D display on the back of the device, which will give you an idea of how the finished film will look. At this price, don’t expect to be creating the next version of Avatar, but nevertheless it looks like it could be a lot of fun.

Finally, something we never suspected would incorporate 3D technology is the HoMedics MiBody 360 Pedometer (£49.99). Now this might sound a bit Big Brother-ish, but it can track your movements, keeping count of steps, distance and calories burnt, thanks to the 3D accelerometer technology, which ensures the pedometer works in your pocket, in a bag or round your neck. It has a 15-day memory and the results can be uploaded to your PC for further analysis.

Panasonic’s Lumix touchscreen DMC-G2

Panasonic has recently announced the launch of the Lumix DMC-G2- the world’s first digital camera which comes complete with an interchangeable lens system, a movable LCD and a unique touchscreen.

The touchscreen is definitely an exciting and innovative tool. Firstly, the touch control capability means that the lens can be swapped at the tap of a button. In fact, there are a whole host of touch screen options including varied shooting control functions or changing the camera’s settings which of course, makes the whole process of snapping pictures a great deal easier. In addition to taking great still shots, the Lumix DMC-G2 is fully able to handle 720p High Definition video thanks to its AVCHD Lite format.

When you’re taking your pictures, you can tap the screen to focus on a specific point and can also resize the area that you want to focus on. You can even tap in various places to select multiple focus points. Whenever you focus onto your photo subject, the Lumix G2 will enable AF Tracking while keeping track of your subject as it moves within the frame which increases the ability to achieve a great quality shot. If you prefer more personal camera control, there is also manual focus option but you can still enlarge the image by up to five times using the touchscreen helping you to achieve a more defined, accurate and sharper picture.

In terms of how this benefits video use, you can also touch the screen in two places to pull focus from one point to the other. Other cool options include being able browse through your pictures with your finger, the choice of seven scene modes and the ability to move the onscreen histogram so it doesn’t alter or obscure your image. The inclusion of intelligent resolution technology also sharpens detailed specific areas of a photo. Additional features include a 12.1-megapixel Live MOS sensor, the high-speed and high-performance Venus Engine HD II, a Dust Reduction System and software which will enable you to edit your videos and pictures.

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-G2 will come in a colour choice of red, blue or black and is due to go on sale in June this year. Pricing and availability will be announced 30 days prior to the launch. For further information, please go to-: http://www.panasonic.co.uk/html/en_GB/News/Latest+news/3570539/index.html