Panasonic Announces Even More New Compact Cameras

Mid-range update includes two new TZ cameras and rugged FT1

The FX double-digit series is Panasonic’s ultra-compact flagship. Previous models such as the FX33, FX35 and FX37 (launched last July) have been critically acclaimed and extremely popular, helping to put Panasonic into its current strong position in the compact camera market.

The latest in the series is the newly announced DMC-FX40, which features the same ultra-slim all-metal body and 5x zoom Leica DC f/2.8 25-125mm lens as the FX37, but inevitably boosts the sensor resolution to 12.1MP. Other features are also the same as the FX37, including the 2.5-inch 230k dot LCD monitor with auto brightness control, the Intelligent Auto and scene modes and of course the Mega OIS optical image stabilisation system.

Incidentally, I’m well aware that the OIS in “Mega OIS” stands for Optical Image Stabilisation, and that therefore typing out “Mega OIS optical image stabilisation system” is a an exercise in redundancy, but Panasonic chose the name, not me.

The FX40 does differ from the FX37 in one very important respect. It is fitted with the brand-new Venus Engine V processor, a distinction it shares with only the also-new FX500. This sophisticated dual-CPU system promises lower image noise and faster performance, with 2.3fps burst shooting at full resolution and 0.007-second shutter lag, with enough processing power left over to provide face recognition functions. It is also more energy-efficient, boosting the battery life to a claimed 350 shots per charge.

The FX40 will be available from April 2009, in a choice of black, silver or red.

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