Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd., best known for its Panasonic brand of consumer electronics and digital communications products, today announced the introduction of “LUMIX”, its newest line of digital still cameras (DSCs), which have been developed by integrating the world-renowned optical technology of Leica Camera AG of Solms, Germany with the advanced digital AV (audio video) technology of Panasonic. The DMC-F7 and high-end DMC-LC5 DSCs will be launched in the Japanese market on October 27, 2001. Both cameras will be sold at open prices. The new LUMIX line of cameras will also be on display at the Panasonic booth at World PC Expo 2001, to be held from September 19 to 22 at the Makuhari Messe (Nippon Convention Center) in Chiba, east of Tokyo.
Matsushita and Leica recently announced business collaboration in the field of DSCs and these two models are the first fruits of their collaboration. The high-end model, DMC-LC5, has a built-in 3x zoom lens, effective 3.9 mega-pixels (total 4.0-megapixel CCD), and 2.5-inch TFT liquid crystal display with 200,000-pixels, all enhancing ease of use and visibility. The DMC-LC5 also incorporates both manual exposure and manual focus capability, enabling camera enthusiasts to use it as an authentic DSC to fully utilize their shooting techniques. The other model, DMC-F7, has a built-in 2x zoom lens, effective 2.0 mega-pixels (total 2.1-megapixel CCD) and 1.5-inch TFT liquid crystal display. As light as 150 g (without batteries and SD memory cards) in a stylish aluminum alloy body, the DMC-F7 is still able to incorporate a special editing mode that can print the dates as well as transform captured images into black and white, sepia, or negative colors.
The market for DSCs is growing rapidly, with a forecast of approximately 20 million units sold worldwide this year. Market needs are advancing toward DSCs that offer the high image quality of silver halide film cameras plus the ability to interface with digital-networking appliances.
With this background in mind, the new DSC lineup incorporates the LEICA DC VARIO-SUMMICRON Lens (DMC-LC5) as well as the LEICA DC VARIO-ELMARIT Lens (DMC-F7). Moreover, Matsushita’s digital technology enables very short stand-by times and shutter time lag, making possible rapid burst shooting even for the highest quality images.
The burst shooting function is especially notable. The high-end DMC-LC5 has the ability to shoot a maximum of 8 frames at a rate of 4 frames per second in maximum picture resolution. The DMC-F7 can shoot a maximum of 5 frames at a rate of 4 frames per second in maximum picture resolution. These are high levels in the industry in their class. These functions enable these DSCs to be used in innovative ways that have been difficult to achieve even with analog cameras.
Both models offer greatly expanded networking capabilities as well. In addition to offering a conventional network connection via PCs, they can also be networked with such SD-card capable appliances as PDAs, mobile handsets, digital TV receivers, video printers, and other equipment by using SD Memory Cards.
With these two new DSC models, offering both high image quality and networking ability, Matsushita intends to extensively promote its DSCs in the market.