Panasonic's G5 is a relatively minor upgrade to the company's Micro Four Thirds camera lineup — today's biggest changes were saved for the point-and-shoot market. The company released five new high-end compact cameras today, offering a combination of huge zoom, fast lenses, and impressive speed. The FZ200 is perhaps the most complete package, combining 24x zoom (from 25-600mm) with f/2.8 aperture through the entire range, meaning you'll get bright shots even at the longest zoom. Its 12.1-megapixel MOS sensor is very much a point-and-shoot sensor, but paired with Panasonic's Venus processor — which enables a 12-frames-per-second burst mode and sub-one-second boot times — it's an impressively powerful one. The FZ200 also has an electronic viewfinder, 1080p 60 video recording with stereo mics, and lots of scene modes and filters.
The Lumix LX7 forgoes some of the zoom powers of the FZ200, but gets even brighter — it has a 3.8x zoom lens starting at 24mm, and corresponding aperture of f/1.4-2.3. The 10.1-megapixel sensor is again of point-and-shoot quality, but as with the FX200 the combination of the Venus processor and the fast, redesigned lens could make it more powerful than your average compact camera. The LX7 doesn't have a viewfinder, leaving you with only the sharp 920,000-dot 3-inch LCD. The camera will shoot 1080p video at 60 frames per second in AVCHD, or 30 frames per second in MP4.
Wi-Fi connectivity is the selling point of Panasonic's new Lumix SZ5, which has otherwise relatively average specs. It features 10x optical zoom starting at 25mm, a 14.1-megapixel CCD sensor, 720p video recording, and the usual range of filters and gimmicky features. The camera also has a built-in Wi-Fi radio, which lets you use your smartphone as a remote viewfinder for the SZ5, use the phone's GPS to tag images, or easily share photos and video to Facebook, Flickr, YouTube, and others.
The FZ60 and LZ20 are more standard superzoom cameras, offering 24x and 21x optical zoom, respectively. The FZ60 pairs the long zoom with a 16.1-megapixel MOS sensor, a Venus processor, and some of the same impressive speed benchmarks as the FZ200. It'll shoot 1080i video, too, whereas the LZ20 only captures 720p footage. The LZ20 has a 16-megapixel CCD sensor, and the standard cadre of features for a superzoom or point-and-shoot.
Panasonic didn't announce availability or the all-important price point for any of the new models, but we'll definitely be on the lookout. From the Sony RX100 to the Canon G1 X, high-end point and shoots are quickly becoming more powerful and capable, and if the price is right Panasonic could have not just one, but a handful of impressive entries in the market.