New Panasonic Lumix Cameras

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Sometimes the introduction of new cameras only makes choosing one that much more difficult. If you’ve been in the market for a new point-and-shoot camera, Panasonic’s announcement of four new Lumix cameras might just give you a good enough reason to take a much closer look at Lumix cameras. The announcement includes two high-end point and shoots and two rugged point and shoots.

Panasonic’s new high-end point and shoots include the LUMIX DMC-ZS15 and the LUMIX ZS20. The DMC-ZS15 is a 12.1-megapixel camera with 16x optical zoom, 1080/60i HD video recording, a 3-inch 460,000-dot LCD, a built-in flash and high-speed burst shooting at 10 fps in full resolution. Scene modes include Portrait, Panorama, Night Shot, HDR, Glass Through and many more. The camera has a negligible 70MB of internal memory and a slot for SD/SDHC/SDXC cards. It also features Panasonic’s latest iteration of its Power O.I.S image stabilization.

More advanced and more expensive than the DMC-ZS15 is the DMC-ZS20.The ZS20 contains all of the features of the ZS15 and then some. Panasonic touts the 14.1-megapixel ZS20 as the slimmest 20x optical zoom camera on the market (only 1.1 inch thick), with a 35mm equivalent focal length of 24-480mm.

Of course, the DMC-ZS20 can shoot full-HD video, but the sit-up-and-take-notice feature of the camera (aside from the 20x optical zoom) is the built-in GPS, which allows geo-tagging and the pinpointing of locations where you’ve taken your photos. A bundled DVD contains detailed maps of all major regions of the world, and you can copy maps of interest to an SDXC/SDHC/SD memory card so that the camera can provide geographical information and help you locate nearby landmarks. The DVD contains maps covering 82 countries and regions and more than one million landmarks.

Other features of the DMC-ZS20 include a stereo zoom microphone and a 3-inch 460,000-dot Smart Touch LCD.

Do you lead a more rugged, active lifestyle? If so, you’ll prefer one of Panasonic’s new rugged point and shoots. While the DMC-Z20 is a higher-end model than the DMC-Z15, among the rugged models the LUMIX DMC-TS20 is curiously a lower-end camera than the LUMIX DMC-TS4.

The DMC-TS20 is a 16.1-megapixel point and shoot with 4x optical zoom, a 2.7-inch LCD and the ability to shoot 720p HD video. It also happens to be waterproof to 16-foot depths, shockproof from 5-foot falls, dustproof and freeze proof down to 14ºF. That should be hearty enough to endure all of your daredevil exploits.

As capable as the DMC-TS20 is, it’s the DMC-TS4 that’s the real cat’s meow. The LUMIX DMC-TS4 is Panasonic’s top-of-the-line rugged point and shoot. It features a 12.1-megapixel CCD image sensor, a Venus Engine image processor, a Leica DC Vario-Elmar lens with a 4.6x optical zoom; and it can shoot 1080/60i full-HD video in AVCHD and MP4 formats. Want more say in making images? You can also control the shutter speed and aperture manually. All these features are crammed into a rugged body that’s waterproof to 40 feet below, shockproof from 6.6-foot drops, freeze proof to 14ºF and dustproof.

If all that wasn’t enough, the DMC-TS4 also features a built-in GPS system. As expected, the GPS system provides location information, and the camera comes bundled with the same map DVD included with the DMC-ZS20, so you can load maps of different locations into the camera. In addition to location information, the camera also features a compass, altimeter and barometer. The altimeter doubles as a depth indicator when underwater, and the barometer log can help you forecast the climate as well as log barometric trends.

  Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS20 Digital Camera Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS15 Digital Camera Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS20 Digital Camera Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS4 Digital Camera
Image Sensor 1/2.33" (6.08 x 4.56 mm) 14.1 MP CMOS 1/2.3" (6.17 x 4.55 mm) 12.1 MP CMOS 1/2.33" (6.08 x 4.56 mm) 16.1MP CMOS 1/2.33" (6.08 x 4.56 mm) 12.1MP CMOS
ISO  Auto, Hi Auto (1600-6400), 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200  Auto, Hi Auto (1600-6400), 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200 Auto, Hi Auto (1600-6400), 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600 Auto, Hi Auto (1600-6400), 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600 
Lens 20x optical zoom, 24-480mm (35mm equivalent) 16x optical zoom, 24-384mm (35mm equivalent) 4x optical zoom, 25-100mm (35mm equiv.) 4.6x optical zoom, 28-128mm (35mm equiv.)
Digital zoom 4x 4x 4x 4x
Display 3", 460K dots, touch screen 3", 460K dots 2.7", 230K dots 2.7", 230K dots
Exposure Modes Program, Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority, Manual, Custom, 3D Program, Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority, Manual, Custom, 3D Program Program, Manual
Scene Modes Portrait, Soft Skin, Scenery, Panorama Shot, Sports, Night Portrait, Night Scenery, Hand Held Night Shot, HDR, Food, Baby1, Baby2, Pet, Sunset, High Sensitivity, Glass Through, Underwater, High Speed Video Portrait, Soft Skin, Scenery, Panorama Shot, Sports, Night Portrait, Night Scenery, Hand Held Night Shot, HDR, Food, Baby1, Baby2, Pet, Sunset, High Sensitivity, Glass Through, Underwater Portrait, Soft Skin, Scenery, Panorama Shot, Night Portrait, Night Scenery, Food, Baby1, Baby2, Pet, Sunset, High Sensitivity, Glass Through Portrait, Soft Skin, Scenery, Panorama Shot, Night Portrait, Night Scenery, Hand Held Night Shot, Food, Baby1, Baby2, Pet, Sunset, High Sensitivity, Glass Through
Built-in Flash Yes Yes Yes Yes
Video Format MPEG4, AVCHD MPEG4, AVCHD MPEG4 MPEG4, AVCHD
Video Resolutions 1920 x 1080 (60 fps), 1280 x 720 (60, 30 fps), 640 x 480 (30 fps), 320 x 240 (220 fps) 1920 x 1080 (60 fps), 1280 x 720 (60, 30 fps), 640 x 480 (30 fps) 1280 x 720 (30 fps), 640 x 480 (30 fps)  1920 x 1080 (60, 30 fps), 1280 x 720 (60, 30 fps), 640 x 480 (30 fps)
Microphone Stereo Mono Mono Mono
Storage 12MB Internal - SD, SDHC,SDXC 70MB Internal - SD, SDHC,SDXC 70MB Internal - SD, SDHC,SDXC 20MB Internal - SD, SDHC,SDXC
HDMI Out Yes Yes Yes Yes
Dimensions 4.13 x 2.32 x 1.1"(105 x 59 x 28mm) 4.13 x 2.28 x 1.3"(105 x 58 x 33mm) 3.98 x 2.28 x 0.75"(101 x 58 x 19mm) 4.06 x 2.52 x 1.06"(103 x 64 x 27mm)
Weight 7.27 oz (206 g) 7.34 oz (208 g) 5.01 oz (142 g) 6.95 oz (197 g)