Panasonic has introduced three new compacts into its Lumix range, utilising long-lasting AA cells. Succeeding the Lumix DMC-LZ1 and DMC-LZ2, the DMC-LZ5 and DMC-LZ3 have resolutions of 6MP and 5MP CCD respectively. Both feature a 6x optical 37-222mm (35mm equivalent) zoom and Mega OIS (Optical Image Stabilizer) to reduce the effect of camera shake, enabling the use of shutter speeds three stops slower than conventional cameras. The Extra Optical Zoom function extends the range to 8.3x (LZ5) and 7.5x (LZ3) for 3MP images. Both cameras include the World’s First High Angle LCD, enabling users to compose photos clearly even from low angles. The LCD screen of the LZ5 is 2.5in, and that of the LZ3 is 2in. Panasonic’s Venus Engine Plus processor promises quick response times - including a shutter lag of 0.005 sec (LZ5) and 0.006 sec (LZ3) - superlative picture quality, a reduction of power consumption (to 70% of the Venus Engine II), and prolonged battery life. Burst mode captures pictures at maximum size at a rate of 3fps, and Unlimited Continuous Shooting enables the user to keep shooting until the memory card reaches maximum capacity. Both cameras are powered using two AA batteries. Panasonic OXYRIDE cells have 1.6x the capacity of standard batteries, enabling them to capture 235 (LZ5) and 250 (LZ3) photos, according to CIPA standard. For fast focusing in low-light conditions, both cameras include a new AF assist lamp and 1-point high-speed AF mode. Other features include 30fps VGA movie mode and 14 scene modes, including High Sensitivity Mode, which has the capability to attain ISO 1600. Featuring a 5MP CCD, the Lumix LS2 is the successor to the LS1. Due to the inclusion of two AA batteries, the design is more compact than that of its predecessor. Like many other Panasonic digital cameras it includes MEGA OIS. New to the LS2 is the 1-point high-speed AF mode, promising autofocus performance 50% faster. The LS1 incorporates a 35-105mm (35mm equivalent) 3x optical zoom. This can be extended to 3.8x for 3MP pictures using the Extra Optical Zoom function. In addition, the Venus Engine Plus processor is designed to provide optimum performance in image quality and speed, with a 0.009 sec shutter response time. Supplied with the LS2 are two Panasonic OXYRIDE batteries that can capture 250 pictures, according to CIPA standard. Thirteen scene modes, including five new ones, are found on the camera, which also includes a High Angle LCD. Panasonic has yet to announce a price for any of the cameras. Find out more at www.panasonic.co.uk or by calling 08705 357357.