Panasonic has this afternoon unveiled four new 12.1-million-pixel compact cameras that combine stills photography with ‘HD’ movie recording.

First up is the Lumix DMC-FZ38 which incorporates a revamped version of Optical Image Stabilizer (OIS), dubbed Power OIS.

The upgrade – featured on all four new Panasonic models – is designed to help prevent camera shake even when using a long zoom.

Panasonic claims that this function doubles the ‘shake suppression’ of previous models.

‘The hand shake component, which is physically generated when pressing the shutter button or when shooting at night with a slow shutter speed, is recognised as a low-frequency vibration, for which the new Power OIS is particularly effective,’ claims Panasonic.

The FZ38 boasts a f/2.8 Leica DC Vario-Elmarit lens that is designed to deliver the 35mm viewing angle equivalent of a 27-486mm optic.

Its creative mode includes the ability to manually set shutter speed and aperture.

And, adds Panasonic, the camera’s battery life has been extended to enable it to shoot up to 470 images before the next recharge.

The cameras Advanced Scene mode now includes a ‘close-up’ option.

The 367g newcomer also sports a 2.7in LCD screen (230,000 dot resolution) and records 1280×720 pixel movies in AVCHD Lite format.

The three other cameras in Panasonic’s summer line-up also sport wide angle lenses.

Billed as ideal for travel is the DMC-ZX1 which carries a 25-200mm (35mm equivalent) Leica DC zoom, housing a ‘super-thin’ 0.3mm aspherical lens.

The DMC-FX60 boasts a 25-125mm equivalent lens, while the DMC-FP8 has a 28-128mm zoom.

Prices and UK availability dates had yet to be announced as we went to press.

Panasonic dmc-fz38 image