Panasonic are one of the biggest threats to the big photographic companies in the market. Renowned for their quality of build, innovative technology and stylish designs, the LUMIX range have fast become a name on consumer's lips when looking at buying a new camera.
The buying public generally think of a pocket camera when thinking of the LUMIX brand, but it actually also covers the Micro Four Thirds system and the few DSLR style cameras that they released. Interesting features about the LUMIX range include a Leica branded lens. Leica lenses for LUMIX are built by Panasonic but to Leica's design. This alliance between the two companies has seen new cameras such as the LX series duplicated and rebranded by Leica. The newer high end models have
ultra-bright apertures for massive depth of field and extra performance in low light situations. VENUS engine
Another feature of the LUMIX range is the dedicated imaging processor which Panasonic calls the VENUS engine. There are variations of the original as the features and performance have been improved. They are now on the Mark V for HD video. iA - Intelligent Auto
One of the most useful features of modern point and shoot photography is the intelligent auto system. Nearly every manufacturer has a version of it these days such as Fujifilm's Scene Recognition or Canon's Smart Auto. Panasonic pioneered this feature which analyses the scene in front of the lens and automatically selects the appropriate mode for this picture. LiveMOS & Micro Four Thirds
Panasonic also jointly developed a new sensor with Olympus called the LiveMOS sensor. It is a cross between a CCD and a CMOS using the best traits of each. A LiveMOS sensor has the sharpness of a CCD with the lower power consumption of a CMOS. Panasonic hit the big time with the release of the G1 camera: A DSLR shaped camera which has a removable lens but no mirror or pentaprism, so it is not a DSLR. Sales went through the roof and now Olympus and Sony also have firm footholds in the market. Nikon are rumoured to have a go and Pentax have recently announced a new mirror-less system.
Buying a LUMIX
There are so many LUMIX cameras out there, it can be difficult knowing which camera to buy, so read reviews. There are plenty of magazines out there online and in shops which review cameras regularly.
Which digital cameras are, on paper, full of facts PhotographyBLOG are good for online reviews and have a massive readership to discuss it with. Try the camera in a shop and test it against a cheap SLR or DSLR.