Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZR1
The Panasonic GF-1 is definitely the hottest camera to have hit the market for a while, but for users who don't necessarily want to pay the HK$7,500 for the high-end Micro Four Thirds format model, Panasonic's Lumix DMC-ZR1 might be a worthy alternative.
While the ZR1 doesn't come with the bells and whistles of the GF-1, such as exchangeable lenses, it nevertheless features much of the same technology.
Like all Panasonic digital cameras, the ZR1 will come with a lens from Leica, one of the oldest and most respected lens-makers in the world. With the ZR1, you get an 8x optical zoom; or compared to the standard 35mm format of film cameras, an equivalent zoom of 25mm-200mm.
There is also function called the Extra Optical Zoom, which uses the centre part of the CCD sensor to provide additional magnification, extending the zoom power to 15.6x.
Besides the lens, the ZR1 gives you 12.1-megapixel images from its Venus Engine V image processing engine, and records high-definition video at 1280x720 pixels/30 fps.
One of the ZR1's major improvements is speed. The processor now offers super-fast response time, while a new Ultra High-Speed AF (auto focus) feature makes sure your subjects stay in focus even when they are moving. The ZR1 also improves on the company's optical image stabiliser - Power I.O.S. - which now offers twice the shake suppression capability as previous models.
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZR1 sells for HK$2,890.
Pros: 8x optical zoom lens from Leica, enhanced shutter response time and auto focus, extra shake suppression
Cons: it's not the GF-1
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