Panasonic launches new range of cameras, focuses on 3D and GPS

Panasonic has launched a slew of new cameras, increasing its presence and pushing its compact digital photography to new heights.

Today’s announcement includes 10 cameras, most of which will arrive next month.

The new Lumix TZ20 ($599, April 2011) makes touchscreen controls available on a 14.1 megapixel camera, complete with a GPS and 3D photo mode.

Several of the cameras now include “3D Photo Mode”, a technology that looks to compete with the “3D Sweep Panorama” mode offered last year in Sony cameras. Images made using this 3D mode can be viewed on any 3D device supporting the MPO format, much like the Fuji FinePix Real 3D cameras.


Panasonic’s Lumix FX78 (above) is one such camera where 3D photo mode is available, also offering high speed auto focus, touchscreen controls, a newer intelligent auto mode, 12.1 megapixels, Full HD movie recording, and a 5x optical lens equivalent to a 24mm to 120mm lens on a 35mm camera. Available in April, it will go for $499.

GPS also appears to be a hot new function with several of Panasonic’s cameras including the technology right out of the box. The traveller-friendly TZ20 and ruggedised FT3 both let you geotag your images, providing a way for Google, YouTube, and other gallery systems to identify where you were on your travels.

More than just a camera, the Panasonic Lumix FT3 now features tools that adventurers may want to use, such as an altimeter.

A satellite link-up to the global positioning system isn’t all that the tough Lumix FT3 ($599) camera gets upgraded with, however. Panasonic has better seals boasting underwater depth  resistance to as low as 12 metres, protection from drops up to 2 metres, and resistance to the cold in temperatures as low as -10 Celsius. A new 12.1 megapixel sensor is being used here with Full HD movie recording on offer, as well as 4.6x optical zoom, and some extra tools including a compass, altimeter, and barometer for the outdoorsy types.

Panasonic also appears to be targeting the lower price brackets with two new cameras sitting at well under the $200 mark. Both the Lumix S1 ($149) and S3 ($169) record videos in 720p HD and include a new piece of software to make image and movie uploads to Facebook and YouTube easier.