Panasonic are the first of the general electronics companies to be listed here, but don’t necessarily let that put you off. They offer a range of highly regarded cameras, particularly in their compact range.
Panasonic have really shone in the point and shoot compact arena lately with their high-end Lumix TZ10 and Lumix TZ7 being particularly highly regarded. The cheaper Lumix FS30 is also a great little camera for those looking at something in the £100-150 price range. Whilst the models are reasonably clean cut with conservative styling, what they lack in colour options is more than made up for in their performance. The high end Lumix DMC-LX3 is a particular highlight of the range, and is a very popular camera as a compact camera for those who usually use a DSLR.
The interestingly named Lumix G Micro System is Panasonics answer to the DSLR. They boast a comparatively compact form factor (similar to that of a typical bridge camera) but with the benefit of interchangeable lenses. The Lumix G2 is the flagship model, though all of the G cameras offer HD video and full time live view. They use the Micro Four thirds standard for the interchangeable lenses, the same as that adopted by Olympus. The benefits are a smaller body than a typical DSLR, but lenses and accessories are harder to come by and can be pricey. If size is a big issue and you definitely want DSLR-esque lens flexibility then the Lumix GF1 is worth considering.
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