Camera News
by Brad Soo on January 7 2010

CES 2010 has begun, and Panasonic has just taken the wraps off a whopping SIX new compact digital cameras today. The biggest news from Panasonic is the fact that today’s newly launched cameras are already prepared for the new SDXC memory cards. As SDHC brought higher capacities and faster read/write speeds compared to traditional SD cards, SDXC will bring even higher capacities (theoratically up to 2 TB) and even speedier read/write performance versus SDHC. Don’t start ringing alarms and panicking yet though, all of today’s cameras are still compatible with traditional SD/SDHC memory cards which you may be using at this very moment in your computer or camera.

Panasonic also announced two new SDXC cards today: their new 48 GB and 64 GB SDXC cards will start selling next month for $450 and $600 respectively (you heard that right, they cost more than the cameras themselves!

Enough chit-chat about memory cards, let’s look at the cameras themselves! I have a small rant here, again, about Panasonic’s recent habit of giving the same camera two different names: makes things a little confusing for consumers, no?

Kicking off with Panasonic’s “upper tier” compact Lumix models, we have the Lumix FH1 and FH3 (AKA FS10 and FS11) which pack fairly big 5X lenses into their pocketable little form factors

Panasonic Lumix FH1 and Lumix FH3
also known as Lumix FS10 and FS11 in some places
(Ultra-compact cameras)

  • FH1: 12 effective megapixels
    FH3: 14 effective megapixels
  • 28 – 140 mm (f2.8 – f6.9) 5X optical zoom lens
  • Optical image stabilization
  • 3 inch LCD
  • No manual controls: point-and-shoot functionality with scene modes
  • 720p (1280 x 720) 30 FPS movie mode with sound
  • Takes SD/SDHC memory cards (SDXC compatible)
  • Uses a lithium-ion battery
  • Availability and price to be announced
  • Comes in your choice of silver or black

The Lumix FP1 and Lumix FP3 are another two twins from Panasonic. Besides the differences in megapixels and display, they’re closely related. The FP1 and FP3 cameras are even more affordable versions of the existing Lumix FP8. The FP1 and FP3 are also Panasonic’s first cameras in recent memory NOT to have “wide-angle” zoom lenses. I guess something has to go if you want to have both the “style” and “low price” boxes ticked on your camera shopping list. There’s also a Lumix FP2 which is the middle child between the FP1 and FP3; this model will be available everywhere else except the US.

Panasonic Lumix FP1, Lumix FP2 and Lumix FP3
(Ultra-compact cameras)

  • FP1: 12 effective megapixels
    FP2 and FP3: 14 effective megapixels
  • 35 – 140 mm (f2.8 – f4.5) 4X internal optical zoom lens
  • Optical image stabilization
  • FP1 and FP2: 2.7 inch non-touch LCD
    FP3: 3.0 inch touchscreen LCD
  • No manual controls: point-and-shoot functionality with scene modes
  • 720p (1280 x 720) 30 FPS movie mode with sound
  • Takes SD/SDHC memory cards (SDXC compatible)
  • Uses a lithium-ion battery
  • Availability and price to be announced
  • Lumix FP1 and FP2 comes in your choice of 8 colors!
    Lumix FP3 comes in your choice of a whopping 12 different colors!

The Panasonic Lumix FH20 (not to be confused with Casio’s FH20) AKA FS30 is a relatively affordable, compact super-zoom camera. It takes most of the guts of today’s cameras, puts them into a different body and throws in the big 8X optical zoom lens we first saw in Panasonic’s own ZR1/ZX1 cameras. Panasonic is also making a Lumix FH22 AKA FS33 available, which is essentially the same thing as below but it replaces the small 2.7 inch screen with a larger 3 inch touchscreen.

Panasonic Lumix FH20
also known as Lumix FS30 in some places
(Compact super-zoom camera)

  • 14 effective megapixels
  • 25 – 200 mm (f3.3 – f5.9) 8X optical zoom lens
  • Optical image stabilization
  • 2.7 inch LCD
  • No manual controls: point-and-shoot functionality with scene modes
  • 720p (1280 x 720) 30 FPS movie mode with sound
  • Takes SD/SDHC memory cards (SDXC compatible too)
  • Uses a lithium-ion battery
  • Availability and price to be announced
  • Comes in your choice of silver, black, red or purple

And finally, Panasonic has the budget Lumix F3 to introduce. While it lacks optical image stabilization, the Lumix F3 is also the first entry-level/budget camera I’ve seen to feature HD movie recording capabilities (Guess High-Def is really going mainstream in 2010, huh?).

Panasonic Lumix F3
(Compact camera)

  • 12 effective megapixels
  • 28 – 112 mm (f2.8 – f6.2) 4X optical zoom lens
  • NO image stabilization
  • 2.7 inch LCD
  • No manual controls: point-and-shoot functionality with scene modes
  • 720p (1280 x 720) 30 FPS movie mode with sound
  • Takes SD/SDHC memory cards (SDXC compatible too)
  • Uses a lithium-ion battery
  • Availability and price to be announced
  • Comes in your choice of silver or black

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