Panasonic Adds Touch to its Lumix Line

Panasonic unveiled its first touchscreen camera today, the Lumix DMpanasonic-lumix-dmc-fx500.jpgC-FX500 ($399), whose hybrid interface includes a joystick and a screen that responds to both finger and stylus input. Although I can’t wait until capacitive touch makes its way into digicams, I’m glad that Panasonic decided to throw in a joystick (the new Kodak EasyShare V1073, by comparison, has just four dedicated buttons lining its touchscreen). At least Panasonic seems to understand that—until now, at least—touchscreen cameras haven’t all been as convenient as they’re cracked up to be.So, here’s what you can do with the 3-inch touchscreen: use on-screen sliders to adjust aperture and shutter speeds; set the auto focus and exposure by simply touching the subject on screen, while recording; scroll through pictures in playback mode; and organize and edit photos using an on-screen keyboard. Aside from the touchscreen, the 10.1-megapixel FX500 packs every spec you’d expect to see in a high-end point-and-shoot: 5X optical zoom, optical image stabilization, 720p video, face detection, in-camera red eye correction, and Intelligent Auto Mode, which automatically detects the shooting environment and selects the best scene mode. (Like other Lumix cameras, it also has 21 dedicated scene modes that you can select manually.) Expect it to start shipping in May.

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