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Adorama is now taking pre-orders for the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ70, and will ship on a first-come, first-served basis. Credit cards will not be charged until orders ship.
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ70 features a 60x optical f/2.8-5.9 lens with optical image stabilization, a necessity as you get to the longer end of the zoom range. In the ongoing war between traditional camera makers and cell phones for the attention (and money) of more casual photographers, Panasonic is pulling several new tricks out of its hat.
Fujifilm has tweaked its 1/2.3-inch sensor, offering up a 16MP High Sensitivity MOS sensor that they say cuts noise by up to 15%, and improves image quality at higher ISOs. A pop-up flash is built in, but the camera has a hot shoe and will accept the Panasonic DMW-FL220, wireless DMW-FL360L, and DMW-FL500 external flash models.
The camera offers full HD 1920x1080 video capture in AVCHD and MP4 formats, and you can zoom and employ optical stabilization while shooting videos.
The camera offers Dolby Digital Audio and built-in microphone with a noise-reducing windshield which Panasonic claims is 70% more effective than previous models. While that may be good enough for casual video shooting, you may want to consider adding the external, shoe-mounted Panasonic DMW-MS1 stereo mic for better audio.
Other features in-camera filter effects including Expressive, Retro, Old Days, High Key, Low Key, Sepia, Dynamic Monochrome, Impressive Art, High Dynamic, Cross Process, Toy Effect, Miniature Effect, Soft Focus, Star Filter, and One Point Color. The filters can be used for stills and videos. The camera also offers horizontal or vertical panorama stitching.
An iA Mode does all the exposure calculations for you, and makes things like "defocus" (choosing a larger aperture) more intuitive to users who don't want to be bothered with the technical details.
In addition to a 3-inch, 460,000 pixel LCD, there is also an electronic viewfinder with a modest 202k pixel resolution. Compared with its predecessor, the FZ60, the FZ70 is bigger, thanks to the larger lens, which is to be expected.
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ70 will be available at Adorama for $399, which is impressively low compared to competing Superzoom digital cameras.