The Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ7 series will welcome two new models in April, the Lumix DMC-TZ7 and the Lumix DMC-TZ6 - also known as 'travel zoom' cameras. The Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ7 will be available in the UK from March 2009.

In a hands-on test session with a pre-production model at the launch in Singapore, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ7 captured vibrant and clear images in challenging lighting conditions. It doesn't have a manual mode, so the majority of the exposure settings will be set by the intelligent auto mode, but it is one of the best automatic modes you could want in a compact camera.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ7: auto focus tracking

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ7 incorporates auto focus tracking as well as face detection, both features are a little more advanced than we've seen on other cameras we've tested.

The face detection feature allows users to tag familiar faces and give them priority, with the hope of automatically detecting them and focusing on them when they are in the frame (The intelligent auto mode can detect up to 15 faces in the same frame).

This feature worked more often than not, and it could end up being a handy feature for parents taking group photos featuring their children - their kids will always be in focus.

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ7's tracking feature can be set to focus on moving objects, such as players on a basketball court, or cars on a race track, but it requires a little practice to master, as the zoom lever needs to be manipulated to make sure the object you are tracking is always in range.