Panasonic has extended its Lumix range with the announcement of three new models u2013 one of which boasts an 18x optical zoom.

Panasonic has extended its Lumix range with the announcement of three new models ? one of which boasts an 18x optical zoom.

The FZ18 is the latest model to join the company?s bridge camera portfolio, and packs in a 28-504mm equivalent optically stabilised lens ahead of its 8.1 megapixel sensor. The style and functionality of the camera echoes that of previous models within the range ? with manual control and ergonomic handling being key ? but it also packs in a couple of tweaks to facilitate both speed and ease of use, as well as superior image quality, claims Panasonic.

The Venus III processing engine drives the camera, working to reduce noise at higher ISO settings and improve start-up and focusing times, while a new Intelligent Auto mode features alongside the Intelligent ISO setting seen previously. As well as standard automated settings, the new mode is also capable of analysing more advanced elements such as white balance, in order to aid accuracy in exposure. The Intelligent Scene Selector meanwhile, analyses the image before automatically selecting what scene it is and exposing accordingly.

The camera?s ISO range stretches up to 6400, while a high-resolution 2.5in LCD screen and electronic viewfinder compliment the rear. Face detection also features, with the ability to simultaneously detect up to 15 faces per image and expose them more accurately.

Two further models have been added to the FX range, in the shape of the FX33 and FX55. Both feature a 28mm-100mm equivalent Leica DC lens with the FX55 further boasting a 3in LCD screen, while Mega OIS, Intelligent Auto and Intelligent ISO modes complete the cameras? specification.

The same Venus Engine III as on the FZ18 features again, which on a 2MP resolution setting can boost the camera up to shooting 7fps, while at 3MP allows the use of an Extra Optical Zoom function, increasing the magnification up to 5.7x.

Both cameras will be available in silver, black and pink, with the FX33 also coming in blue, brown and white finishes. Release dates of all cameras are yet to be confirmed, but as soon as we find out, so will you.

Details are yet to be posted on Panasonic’s official website, but when they appear they will be at