Following its announcement last week of four new models at the lower end of its camera range, Panasonic has today announced six new additions to the middle-range lines, including two new models in the popular TZ series of travel cameras.
Building on the success of the popular Lumix TZ5 and its predecessors, Panasonic has introduced two new TZ models. The first is the DMC-TZ6, which improves on the TZ5's specification with a 10-megapixel CCD and a high quality Leica 12x zoom lens with a wide-angle end equivalent to 25mm.
On the back, the TZ6 features a 2.7-inch LCD monitor with 230k dot resolution. The body shape has been revised and now looks cleaner with simpler lines, and is apparently smaller than the preceding models, but hopefully this doesn't mean that it's lost the TZ5's exceptionally good handling. I have to admit I'm not encouraged by smaller handgrip or the absence of the molded thumbgrip on the back, but we'll have to wait and see.
The TZ6 incorporates other features common to Panasonic's compact cameras, including the useful Intelligent Auto mode, and of course the acclaimed Mega OIS image stabilisation system. One new feature is the AF Tracking function in which the user can "lock" the focus onto a moving subject. The camera then automatically tracks the subject as it moves, keeping it in focus without the user having to hold the shutter button halfway down.
Face detection accuracy has been increased in the TZ6 to now provide continuous adjustment of the focus and exposure even if the face is turned sideways to the camera. Face detection is also used in the automatic red-eye removal feature.
The TZ6 features Panasonic's Venus Engine IV high-speed image processor, and is capable of shooting at an impressive 6.5 fps in burst mode, although this is likely limited to a small number of shots. It also has a maximum ISO setting of 6400. The TZ6 also has a good video mode, capable of shooting widescreen-format WVGA (848 x 480) resolution at 30fps with mono audio.
The Lumix DMC-TZ6 will be available from April 2009, in a choice of black or silver. Pricing will be confirmed closer to the launch date.