Panasonic today announced the release of a new high-end Lumix FZ-series camera, the Lumix DMC-FZ200. It's a 12.1-megapixel compact camera (not a pocketable camera though) that puts a focus on high-speed performance when it comes to burst mode shooting, and also when it comes to its lens.

The Lumix DMC-FZ200 features a 24x optical zoom lens that's capable of 25-600mm range (when compared to a 35mm camera). It's also lens that has an f/2.8 aperture, but most importantly, that aperture can be used all the way through the zoom range -- even when you're fully zoomed at 600mm.

Panasonic claims this zoom lens is a world first feature in a compact digital camera and it's a feature that allows the same amount of light to hit the sensor, whether using a wide angle or zoomed all the way in to your subject. Many other compact cameras have a variable aperture that closes as the lens is zoomed. A wider aperture also means that a more shallow depth of field can be achieved, which is great for portraits, for example.

Alistair Robins, the group marketing manager for the Panasonic Lumix brand said in a release today that the new zoom lens "allows photographers to take creative and high-quality images and videos", owing much of this to the f/2.8 aperture that's available all the way through the lens' zoom range.

The FZ200 also features a new electronic viewfinder that has a 100 per cent field of view, a frame rate of 30 per second and a resolution of 1.3 million dots, which makes it ideal for use in bright environments where viewing the LCD screen can be difficult.

High speed is also a selling point of the DMC-FZ200, with a stated burst rate of 5.5 frames per second while using the camera's mechanical shutter, as well as continuous auto-focus and the full resolution of the camera. The camera's start-up time is touted as being quick -- under one second. Video mode also gets the high-speed treatment, with motion capture that can be set at 100fps or 200fps.

The Lumix DMC-FZ200 is built for speed with a fast lens and quick burst mode.

The shape of the DMC-FZ200 remains similar to the previous FZ-series, super-zoom Lumix camera, the DMC-FZ150, featuring a large lens barrel, some manual controls and an LCD screen with a hinge on it that allows it to be angled to the side.

A retail price of $799 has been attached to the Lumix DMC-FZ200 and it will be available to purchase in September.