New Panasonic superzoom camera has a whopping 60x optical zoom

Panasonic has just introduced the Lumix DMC-FZ70, a 16-megapixel superzoom camera with a 60x optical zoom lens--the longest we've ever seen on a fixed-lens camera and longer even than most full-sized camcorders now on the market. (Camcorders typically have longer zoom lenses than cameras.)

When zoomed in fully, the Lumix DMC-FZ70 should be able capture such details as the craters on the moon or perhaps the logo on a soccer ball when shooting from the sidelines.

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The lens on the Lumix DMC-FZ70 also has extremely wide-angle capability: 20mm. (The 35mm equivalent total zoom range for this camera is 20mm-1200mm.) This can be great for capturing panoramic-style landscapes or squeezing more people into group portraits. When we get this camera in our labs, we will check whether or not its long zoom or wide-angle feature introduces significant distortion or degrades image quality in other ways.

Up until today, the longest zoom on a digital camera was 50x, on such advanced point-and-shoots, like the Canon PowerShot SX50, and superzooms, like the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX300.

Here are some additional features and specs for the Lumix DMC-FZ70:

  • A hot-shoe for an external flash.

  • The ability to capture RAW files, making it an advanced point-and-shoot model.

  • Full HD-resolution video in 1080i at 60 fps.

  • The stereo microphone includes a unique protective covering to minimize wind noise.

  • It's as large if not larger than some SLRs, although it's not as heavy.

  • The ability to capture 3D images.

  • It can fire off 5 frames per second using autofocus tracking, and 9 fps in burst mode.

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