Mid-range update includes two new TZ cameras and rugged FT1
Panasonic always launches its TZ cameras in pairs, and so the TZ6 is accompanied by the DMC-TZ7, which is even more feature-packed than its sibling. Of course it will also probably be considerably more expensive.
The TZ7 features a 12-megapixel CCD, but like the much-admired LX3 it is capable of shooting in 4:3, 3:2 or 16:9 aspect ratios, so it only ever uses 10 megapixels at a time. The Multi Aspect mode lets you to take an image in all three aspect ratios simultaneously then choose the one that best suits your scene after shooting. The TZ7 has the same high-quality 12x zoom Leica lens as the TZ6, with a focal length range of 25 – 300mm, covering everything from ultra-wide to telephoto in one lens.
The body design appears to be identical to the TZ6, however it has a larger 3-inch LCD monitor with a resolution of 460k dots. It also has a dedicated button for the camera’s main selling point. Like an increasing number of high-end digital still cameras, the TZ7 incorporates High Definition video recording, although I haven’t yet been able to discover if it is 720p or the full 1080p HD. Movies can be encoded using the AVCHD Lite format used by some solid-state or hard disk camcorders, which saves on storage space. Stereo audio is recorded through twin microphones on the top plate, and the camera incorporates a wind noise filter.
The specially tuned Venus Engine HD image processor also allows fast still shooting, capturing 2.3fps at full 10MP resolution in burst mode, and 10fps in High Speed burst mode. It also has a flash burst mode.
The TZ7 will be available in choice of silver, black or brown and will be available from April 2009. Like the TZ6, pricing will be announced later.