Panasonic has created a stylish line of point and shoot digital cameras with its Lumix family. In addition, the company has a few advanced interchangeable lens models, including intersting DIL models. These cameras have been released in the past 18 months, and they represent the best new cameras from Panasonic, both in its Lumix point and shoot camera lineup and in its DIL lineup.
Panasonic's Lumix DMC-G2 camera is a rare model, as it offers touch-control shooting. When Panasonic announced the G2 a few months ago, it was the world's first interchangeable lens camera that allowed shooting photographs by touching the LCD.
The G2 includes 12.1 megapixels of resolution and a high-resolution 3.0-inch LCD screen. You can use any Micro Four Thirds system lenses with the G2, which also includes an EVF. The G2's mirror-less design means it is not a DSLR camera; you can call it a DIL or EVIL camera instead.
Panasonic's latest DIL camera, the Lumix G5, builds on the past successes of these models, providing plenty of photography features.
I've had a chance to review quite a few of the best DIL cameras in the past, including a few Lumix DIL models, and I'd expect the Lumix G5 will also be a very strong model.
The Panasonic Lumix GF2 makes use of the Micro Four Thirds standard, meaning it uses interchangeable lenses, like a DSLR camera. However, because of its mirror-less design, it's not a DSLR. Panasonic calls the GF2 a DSLM (DSL micro), although DIL and EVIL are common acronyms, too.
The Lumix GF2 features a 12.1 megapixel Live MOS sensor, which combines the low power usage of a CMOS sensor with the image quality of a CCD sensor. You'll also find a 3.0-inch touch-screen LCD with the GF2.
Panasonic's latest Lumix digital interchangeable lens (DIL) camera, the GF5, provides quite a few advanced features that fans of these really nice cameras will surely appreciate.
Panasonic recently placed the GF5 in the marketplace, and it is available in black, red, brown, white, or gold camera bodies, can shoot at 12.1 megapixels of resolution, offers full HD video, and a high-resolution 3.0-inch LCD. The primary portion of the GF5's camera body only measures 1.45 inches in thickness, which is small, even for a DIL camera.
Panasonic has touted the Lumix DMC-FH7 -- called the Lumix FS22 in some parts of the world -- as a great point and shoot camera for portrait photography and, thanks to this camera's "cosmetic" modes, it does work well for portraits of people.
In addition, you'll find a touch screen LCD with the FH7, which isn't common in the sub-$200 price range. These two features alone make the FH7 a pretty good camera.
I found in my FH7 review that this camera's image quality in indoor photos isn't as good as it could be, as images are a bit flat, but this thin camera compares well versus others in this price point.
Panasonic cameras, including point and shoot models, have typically featured Leica lenses, and the inexpensive Panasonic Lumix FH8 is no exception.
The FH8's F/2.5 Leica lens is one of the nicer ones that you're going to find on a beginner-level camera, like the FH8. This model includes 16.1 megapixels of resolution, a 5X optical zoom lens, and a 3.0-inch LCD, and it can shoot 720p HD video.
In addition, the FH8 measures only 0.77 inches in thickness, and is available in black, silver, and purple camera bodies. It appears to be a pretty nice camera with a good set of features for a reasonable price.
Panasonic has paired a wide-angle, high-quality lens with Wi-Fi capabilities in the Lumix DMC-FX90. This camera allows photographers to upload photos immediately to social networks, thanks to its Wi-Fi connection (which works with the 802.11g, 802.11b, and 802.11n standards).
Additionally, the FX90 features a high-resolution, 3.0-inch LCD, a 12.1MP CCD sensor, full 1080p HD video, and a 5X optical zoom lens, which includes good wide-angle capabilities. The F2.5 lens should yield very good image quality.
The Lumix FX90 is available in black only.
The Lumix FX700 can record full 1080p HD video, which isn't common in a camera measuring 0.97 inches in thickness. You'll also find 14.1 megapixels of resolution, a 5X optical zoom lens with wide angle capabilities, and 3.0-inch touch-screen LCD.
Finally, Panasonic has included a high-speed MOS image sensor with the Lumix FX700 that should improve low-light photography.
The Lumix DMC-FZ40 from Panasonic 14.1 features a 24X optical zoom lens. It has 14.1 megapixels of resolution, a lens with some wide angle options, and a 3.0-inch LCD. It has an AVCHD Lite HD video option (720p), and the FZ40 includes a fast start-up option, so you won't miss spontaneous photos waiting for the camera to be ready to shoot.
If you have a little more money to spend and want a similar camera, Panasonic has also introduced the Lumix DMC-FZ100, which also includes a 24X zoom lens with even more speed.
Panasonic's latest high-end fixed-lens camera, the Lumix DMC-LX7, offers a high-quality lens, a 1/1.7-inch MOS image sensor, and high-end features, including an aperture ring.
With its high-end image sensor, having 10.1 megapixels of resolution will provide you with impressive results. In addition, the LX7 carries a 3.0-inch high-resolution LCD, full HD video capabilities, 3D photography options, and a 3.8X optical zoom lens with good wide-angle options. The LX7 is available in either black or white camera body colors.
Its high price tag means the Lumix LX7 might not appeal to everyone, but this is a very strong camera that can help you achieve great photos.
An inexperienced tough camera isn't always easy to find, but Panasonic is aiming its Lumix DMC-TS20 squarely in that price range of about $150.
The TS20 can work in up to 16 feet of water depth, can survive a fall of about 5 feet, and will work in temperatures as low as 14 degrees Fahrenheit.
The TS20 can shoot at 16.1 megapixels of resolution, offers a 4X optical zoom lens and a 2.7-inch LCD, and is available in red, black, light blue, or orange camera bodies.
Panasonic has built quite a few very interesting features into a point and shoot camera that measures only 1.1 inches in thickness with its Lumix DMC-ZS20 model.
The ZS20 includes a 20X optical zoom lens, a 3.0-inch high-resolution touch-screen LCD, and a built-in GPS unit. In addition, the Lumix ZS20, which was introduced at CES 2012, includes 14.1MP of resolution and full HD 1080p video recording capabilities.
That's a lot of high-end features in the ZS20, which is a beginner-level camera that's available in black, red, silver, and gray/white camera body colors.