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Panasonic unveils new SZ "hybrid" compact camera range

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The latest news and reviews from Las Vegas: CES 2012 Special Report

Panasonic has announced an all-new Lumix range of compact digital cameras with the announcement of the DSC-SZ7 and DSC-SZ1 at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
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Describing the new SZ models as a “hybrid” range, Panasonic appears to be pitching the new models somewhere between stylish ultracompact and classic travel zoom.  Certainly the 10x optical zoom (25-250mm in 35mm terms) of each camera comes close to classic travel zoom territory, however both remain significantly smaller than dedicated travel zoom models such as the TZ20.

Looking a little closer at each model the main differences between the two are that the SZ7 offers an overall resolution of 14.1MP whereas the SZ1 produces 16.1MP. In addition, the SZ7 can shoot 1080p Full HD movies while the SZ1 maxes out at 720p HD capture. Both models record sound in Dolby Stereo.

One other notable difference between the two is that the SZ7 can shoot full resolution images at a faster continuous rate of 10fps or 5fps with continuous AF, whereas the SZ1 offers a top burst speed of 1.3fps.
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In other areas the two cameras are largely the same. Both offer Panasonic’s Mega O.I.S stabilisation technology to reduce the effects of camera shake, alongside Intelligent Zoom digital zoom technology that enables you to reach beyond the 10x capabilities of the optical zoom.

Exposure modes are limited to Panasonic’s reliable iAuto (intelligent Auto) mode, alongside a Program mode that allows a bit more user control and a selection of individual Scene modes. In addition, both cameras sport a dedicated ‘Miniature’ shooting mode that is essentially a tilt-shift digital filter. The SZ7 also gets an additional six filters -Toy Effect, Soft Focus, Dynamic Monochrome, Expressive, High Key and Retro.

The DMC-SZ7 will be available in black, white and brown and the SZ1 will be available in black, silver, blue, red and violet. Prices TBC.

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