Unveiled: New Super-Fast Leica Nocticron Lens and Four Panasonic Lumix Digital Cameras

Panasonic has jumped out of the gates at CES and announced several new point-and-shoot digital cameras as well as a very fast portrait-length Leica lens for Lumix Micro Four Thirds mirrorless cameras. The point-and-shoots include advanced compacts, long zooms, and entry-level models.




Leica DG Nocticron 42.5mm f/1.2 ASPH Lens

With a maximum aperture of f/1.2 and POWER Optical Image Stabilization, Panasonic has released a prime lens that is bound to create a buzz in the Micro Four Thirds community. Built for their Lumix mirrorless cameras, the Leica DG Nocticron 42.5mm f/1.2 ASPH lens provides a 35mm focal length equivalence of 85mm, which is often considered the ideal telephoto focal length for portraiture. Of course, it is effective for many photographic applications; the f/1.2 maximum aperture is very capable in low-light situations and enables control over shallow-depth-of-field focusing. This feature set puts this lens at a great advantage when shooting soft-focus portraiture. With image stabilization, you are offered an additional manner in which to control blur when working in dim light. With a circular nine-blade diaphragm, out-of-focus background elements appear smooth and pleasing to the eye.

An inner focus system aids in creating images with high resolution and excellent contrast throughout the focus range and a newly designed stepping motor provides responsive, smooth, and silent autofocus action. When mounted on LUMIX G cameras, users can take advantage of the high-speed, high-precision Contrast AF system.

The lens incorporates two aspherical elements, one Extra-low Dispersion element, and one Ultra High Refractive Index lens to minimize aberrations and distortion, heighten contrast and enable high optical performance from center to edge within the frame. Panasonic’s Nano Surface Coating has been applied to the lens elements to minimize reflection and reduce ghosting and flare. The optical design also allows the build of the lens to remain compact, which balances well with the size of Micro Four Thirds cameras. Its metal build, including mount, hood, and manual aperture control ring only add to this impressive lens.

Lumix DMC-ZS40 Digital Camera

The Lumix DMC-ZS40 Digital Camera is a premium compact digital camera that is now the flagship of the popular ZS series. As an upgrade to the ZS30, the ZS40 features a powerful 30x optical zoom lens that provides the 35mm focal length equivalent of 24-720mm for a wide focal range, incorporating true wide-angle to ultra-telephoto lengths. In addition to the longer lens, the ZS40 introduces a control ring around the lens, RAW compatibility, and focus peaking for precise manual focus.

With an 18.1MP High Sensitivity MOS sensor and the advanced Venus Engine image processor, the ZS40 creates sharp, high-sensitivity still photos and Full HD 1080/60p videos in the AVCHD Progressive format. The processor also enables fast performance speeds including quick startup rates, Light Speed Auto Focus, and up to 10 fps continuous shooting. HYBRID O.I.S. + compensates for camera movement while shooting to suppress blur in both still and video images. A 3.0” LCD with 920k-dot resolution and anti-reflective coating provides image composition and playback and an electronic viewfinder offers stable eye-level composition. Numerous assistive and creative features are supplied on the ZS40, including Intelligent Auto, a Composition Guide, Creative Control and Creative Retouch.

Built-in Wi-Fi connectivity enables easy transfer of images to compatible computers, smartphones, and tablets and Near Field Communication (NFC) offers one-touch connection to Android devices. Also, an embedded QR code allows simple wireless connection and when connected, your smart device can be used as a remote control for the camera and a monitor when recording video. Built-in GPS is also supported and complies with the Global Navigation Satellite System.

For a camera that can easily fit in your pocket, the ZS40 supplies a particularly long lens and a notable amount of advanced photo and video features.

Lumix DMC-ZS35 Digital Camera

Following right behind in the ZS parade is the new the Lumix DMC-ZS35 Digital Camera, which is also particularly compact and supplied with numerous advanced features. A 16MP High Sensitivity MOS sensor provides excellent image quality and its image processor enables the same 10 fps continuous shooting speed as the ZS40. Light Speed Auto Focus is also supported as is POWER O.I.S. (optical image stabilization) with Active Mode to control blur when shooting in low light or with a longer focal length. The lens on the ZS35 is a 20x optical zoom lens with a 24-480mm focal length equivalency.

Numerous special effects such as Creative Control allow you to add flair to your images and Intelligent Auto, High Dynamic Range, and even manual exposure control enable you to create images just the way you see them. A 3.0” LCD monitor tilts up 180° for easier composition from difficult angles, including self-portraiture. Both the ZS40 and the ZS35 utilize SD, SDHC, and SDXC memory cards and a large-capacity (1250mAh) rechargeable lithium-ion battery.

Lumix DMC-LZ40 Digital Camera

The Lumix DMC-LZ40 Digital Camera is long zoom bridge camera that takes over from the LZ30 as the primary camera in the Panasonic LZ series. Its 42x optical zoom lens stretches from 22-924mm in the 35mm format, providing a powerful reach and wide-angle capability. Its sensor has been upgraded as well, to a 20MP CCD sensor for clear, high-contrast still images and 720p HD video capture. Optical image stabilization enables use of its extreme telephoto reach with minimized blur, and Intelligent Auto mode combines all of the camera’s assistive modes to provide you with optimized images and simple shooting; you compose the image, the camera does the rest. Like the above camera, the LZ40 also features Creative Control and Creative Retouch so you can add special effects to your images before or after you shoot them. With a versatile lens, user-friendly operation, a 3.0” LCD and a comfortable, ergonomically designed grip, the LZ40 is a great camera to expand your shooting capability and get the shots you really want.

Lumix DMC-SZ8 Digital Camera

With its slim design, Wi-Fi connectivity, and Intelligent Auto mode, the Lumix DMC-SZ8 Digital Camera is the ideal camera to take with you everywhere and then share your myriad experiences with the world. A 12x optical zoom lens offers wide-angle to telephoto coverage with the 35mm focal length equivalency of 24-288mm. Its 16MP CCD sensor and the Venus Image Processor provide clear, color-accurate images and fast performance, including HD 720 video capture at 30 fps. Optical image stabilization reduces blur when shooting in low light, and Intelligent Auto mode combines ISO Control, Intelligent Scene Selector, Intelligent Exposure, and Face Detection to simply create impressive images. Panorama Shot mode enables you to expand your frame to include wide vistas, and High Dynamic Range controls high contrast within the same scene to create ideally balanced images. A 3.0” LCD with 460k-dot resolution provides image composition and playback, and built-in Wi-Fi connectivity allows for instant sharing of images to a smartphone or tablet as well as the ability to monitor and control your camera from your smart device.