Smartphones and tablets have been the big thing in the technology world the last few years, the market leaders being Samsung, Apple, and Sony.  These gadgets seemingly do everything, but one of their biggest selling-points has been improved photographic technology.  Indeed, you seldom hear about actual cameras in mainstream press anymore, people wanting something all-in-one, fit-in-the pocket, and easy to use.  That might be about to change, however, as Panasonic has just released its new digital compact camera, the Lumix TZ40.  It fits in your pocket, has an easy to use option menu, and is both a camera and HD video camera in one.

Yet, what sets the TZ40 apart is that Panasonic knows you’re not going to suddenly make your smartphone or tablet redundant in the image stakes.  So, instead of competing, they’ve equipped the TZ40 with NFC (Near Field Communication) technology and WiFi, so that by holding it against your smartphone or tablet, you can upload superior quality images from the TZ40, thus enabling you to share those pictures with your global connections, by email or social networking.  The GPS tagging aids in the process.

Founded in 1918 by Konosuke Matsushita on the idea of a two-socket light bulb, the electronics manufacturer has seen its products expand exponentially over the years, from bicycle lamps in the 1920s, to televisions in the 1930s, radios in the 1940s, and onwards, until 1997 when it developed its first digital camera, the ‘Card Shot’.  Four years later, it developed the first in the Lumix series, the DMC-LC5.  TZ40 itself replaces Panasonic’s previous travel camera, the TZ30, and now offers customers a 20x optical zoom and 24mm ultra-wide-angle LEICA DC lens, with Light Speed Auto Focus to offset any blurriness and an 18.1 megapixel sensor to combat low-lighting conditions.

Panasonic was chosen as official technology partner by Sir Ranulph Fiennes for the crossing of the Antarctic in winter, to study the effect of global warming on the polar icecaps, in ‘The Coldest Journey’ expedition.  Sir Fiennes failed his expedition due to frostbite, but Panasonic did not.  It goes without saying, then, that for the more adventurous amateur photographer, the Lumix TZ40 could be for you: a tough little camera for a wild planet.

If you want to own the Panasonic Lumix TZ40, but without forking out the £299 retail price, you might be interested to know that Spreaditfast is running a “Capture The Camera” photo competition.   They believe that ‘a picture says more than a 1000 words’ and want you tell them why you should win one of the Panasonic cameras they have to give away.

If you live in the UK, simply upload one of your best holiday snaps to your social networking site (Facebook or Twitter) with the hashtag #CaptureTheCamera and get as many of your friends and followers to like it.  Results will be given on Friday 2nd August, dependant on the amount of likes you’ve received.

This is high-quality photographic technology for nothing, why not give it a go?