Anyone who has used a compact camera will be familiar with the array of scene modes normally available. Though useful in many respects it's not always convenient to stop and select the correct mode for any given shot and it's with this problem in mind that Panasonic has developed Intelligent Auto, or iA, for its compact cameras.
iA already includes a number of features, including an automatic scene selector and the ever popular, among manufacturers at least, face detection. New this year for a select few of its new compacts, is Intelligent Exposure. We're not at liberty to explain it in detail, but as with the other modes it's intended to make the task of taking quick and easy shots easier still, adjusting ISO levels in specific areas of the picture to compensate for different levels of lighting.
So, as you can see in the picture above, the area behind the subject is dark and underexposed.
However, by adjusting the ISO levels in specific parts of the image, Intelligent Exposure will compensate for this - as shown above.
This is equally applicable to outdoor shots, as you can see from this shot above without Intelligent Exposure and the corresponding one below with it enabled, where the colours and details of the bridge are brought out from the shadows.
Overall it's a feature that ought to have some clear benefits, especially in compact cameras and perhaps in entry level super-zoom models too. It was only a shame that Panasonic had no live demos on show, so it's hard to know how this will stack up in real world usage. For that, we'll just have to wait and see.