Technology

Panasonic launches Lumix camera phone with giant sensor

Panasonic Lumix CM1 Image copyright Panasonic
Image caption The big lens and sensor make the camera one of the thickest smartphones on the market

Panasonic has unveiled a hybrid smartphone-camera, at the Photokina trade show in Cologne.

More camera than phone, the Android device has a Leica lens and a 1in, 20-megapixel sensor more often found in Panasonic's dedicated cameras.

The 2.5cm sensor will help the camera take snaps in low light conditions and shoot ultra-high definition video.

Panasonic said the Lumix DMC - CM1 would go on sale towards the end of 2014 in Germany and France.

The phone is expected to cost about 900 euros (£720) when it goes on sale.

It is widely seen as a rival to Samsung's Galaxy K Zoom, which also has a built-in large lens.

The lens and its metal ring, to control aperture and shutter settings, make the CM1 21mm thick - considerably more than contemporary smartphones.

The CM1 also has 11.9cm touchscreen and a dedicated switch that instantly flips it into camera-mode.

Reviewing the gadget at tech news site Pocket-lint, Mike Lowe said it was an "interesting experiment" that "impressed" him more than he had expected.

However, Marc Flores, at Tech Radar, was more critical, saying hybrids satisfied no-one.

"We've tried this before, and it didn't work out so well," he wrote, adding that anyone looking for a good camera should buy a dedicated device.

Anyone keen to take better pictures with a smartphone, he added, should just learn how the professionals did it rather than buy a CM1 and hope that would make all the difference to their snaps.

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