Panasonic has introduced the new Lumix DMC-LC1 digital camera to the US. It's a 5Mp digital camera that uses Leica optics and sports full manual controls.

The camera features elements that evoke a conventional 35mm film camera, such as zoom, focus and aperture settings that are manually controlled by ring settings on the lens. Shutter speed is affected by a dial located on top of the unit. The camera sports an f2.0 - 2.4 Leica DC Vario-Summicron lens with zoom capabilities the equivalent of a 28 - 90mm lens on a 35mm camera (3.2x optical, 3x digital, according to Panasonic's specs).

The camera sports its own built-in pop-up flash that can create a "bounce" flash by tilting 45 degrees. It also sports red-eye compensation, a 2.5-inch LCD, burst shooting mode, auto bracketing mode, three light metering modes, and more.

The new camera features Panasonic's Venus Engine LSI image processor, and captures image data in Raw format as well as three levels of JPEG compression and QuickTime-based Motion JPEG.

The new Lumix DMC-LC1 sports a USB interface and SD/MMC flash storage support. It comes with a battery charger/AC adapter, battery pack, SD memory card, AC cable, USB cable, varied accessories including lens cape, lens hood, hood cap, remote shutter, strap and more, as well as documentation and software.

Look for the Lumix DMC-LC1 to hit store shelves in the US in March 2004 for US$1,599 (around £880).