By Martin Vedris

SYDNEY, NSW: Panasonic has released some new additions to its Lumix Digital still camera range including two models with what the company calls the world’s thinnest aspherical glass moulded lens — just 0.3mm at its thinnest. The result is an 8x and a 5x optical zoom in a slimmer body.

According to a release today, due to the new lenses, the new DMC-FX65 (RRP $659) and the DMC-ZR1 (RRP $549) are 2.1mm thinner that previous Panasonic models with the equivalent specifications.

Highlights of the 12.1-megapixel FX65 include a 25mm wide angle Leica lens with 5x zoom and a 2.8 F stop. Also on this model, Panasonic’s Intelligent Auto (iA) mode has the new functions of Power O.I.S image stabilisation and Face Recognition. Other existing features of iA mode include AF Tracking (Auto Focus Tracking) that enables you to focus on a subject in the frame and as it moves follow that subject and continuously maintain a sharp focus on it.

The FX65 also has High-Speed AF and a high-speed start-up of 1.1 seconds. Additionally, Panasonic says the shutter release time lag is as short as 0.006 seconds. These features help capture spontaneous moments and high speed events.

The 12.1-megapixel ZR1 is the first model in the new Lumix ZR range. It features the new power Optical Image Stabiliser (O.I.S) and High Speed AF. It also features the 0.3mm aspherical lens with a 25mm wide angle and an 8x optical zoom.

“The Lumix DMC-ZR1 packs all of Panasonic’s best features and technologies into a remarkably small, pocket-sized camera,” said Panasonic Australia product manager – Lumix Digital Still Cameras, Tanya Mudge.

“The ZR1 continues Panasonic’s commitment to delivering world-class cameras that are compact, versatile and easy to use. By developing the world’s first 0.3mm super-thin aspherical lens, Panasonic has achieved an impressive 25mm ultra-wide angle for amazing width and depth, partnered with an 8x zoom for the ultimate in versatility.”

Also new in Panasonic’s Lumix range is the 12.1 megapixel DMC-FZ35 and the DMC-FP8 — the first in Panasonic’s new FP Lumix range.

The FZ35 (RRP $769) features a generous 18x optical super-zoom and the enhanced Power O.I.S, as well as AVCHD Lite2 high-definition for high definition video recording. This camera also offers manual operation for those who like more creative input into their photography.

A successor to the DMC-FZ28, the FZ35 has a 27-mm Leica lens high speed AF and all of Panasonic’s Intelligent Auto functions.

The Lumix FP8 (RRP $659) is designed with the image and style conscious in mind. It has a very slim aluminium body, made possible by a retracting lens that sits flush with the camera body when fully retracted. The FP8 also incorporates Intelligent Auto, the new Power (O.I.S) and High-Speed AF. The FP8 also has a 0.95 second start-up time for a fast response in spontaneous situations.