By Patrick Avenell in Queenstown

QUEENSTOWN, NZ: Panasonic has launched 24 Lumix compact point-and-shoot cameras, with new release models ranging from the newly-created S Series up to the high end, travel zoom TZ range.

Interestingly, considering the general focus consumers have on megapixels, Panasonic is turning the tables on this preconception, with the number of megapixels in its new cameras actually decreasing as you go up the range. These megapixels are replaced with better zoom capabilities, wider angle lenses and prosumer features, such as GPS and a touchscreen with shutter activation.

The key notes from the launch here are:
-The new TZ20, the sixth generation in the Travel Zoom range. Promoted as the ideal travel camera, this model features 16x optical zoom, a 3-inch Smart touchscreen, wide-angle Leica lens, 14.1-megapixel MOS sensor, advanced GPS and Full HD video recording. This model comes in black for RRP $599. Also in the range is the TZ18, which is RRP $499. These models will be available in April 2011.

-New into Lumix renowned Tough Series is the FT3. Now waterproof down to 12 metres, this model is also shockproof to 2 metres, freezeproof to -10 Celsius, dustproof and, for the first time, sandproof. Panasonic Lumix marketing manager Richard Philips said that whilst Panasonic wasn’t the first with tough cameras, they are now leading the industry in terms of durable features. This model has a 12.1-megapixel sensor, 4.6x zoom, Full HD video and a 2.7-inch screen. This model comes in silver, orange, red and blue for RRP $599. This camera is due for release in March 2011.

-In the mid-range of the Lumix range is the FX78, which is marketed as the all-round compact camera for the enthusiast looking for a companion camera to their DSLR or mirrorless model. This camera has a 12.1-megapixel sensor, 5x optical zoom, Full HD video recording, 24-millimetre ultra wide angle shooting and a Smart touchscreen to control the camera. This unit also includes a 3D shooting mode. This unit comes in Silver for RRP $499. It will be released in April 2011.

-In Panasonics super-megapixel range, there are two new 16.1-megapixel camera, the FH27 (RRP $349) and the FH25 (RRP $299). These models are both out in March 2011.

-In the slim and stylish FH range, Panasonic has two new models: the FH5 (RRP $249) and the FH2 (RRP $199). There is a wide range of colours in this series, which is aimed at consumers looking for a reliable camera to take out to a nightclub or restaurant. Across the two models, colours include black, pink, red, silver and blue. These models are out in March 2011.

-Finally, Panasonic has launched a new entry level S Series. With scaled back features, except for the two models sizable megapixel count, these units are aimed at those looking to buy their first digital camera. The S3 has a 14.1-megapixel camera (RRP $169) and the S1 has a 12.1 megapixels (RRP $149). These two models will be available in March 2011.

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