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Panasonic FZ7 Review
Date: Apr 24, 2006
to Serious Amateur
Panasonic FZ7 Review is based on a production
model. All sample images are unretouched, except
review has been submitted to DIWA
Awards [Total: 78%].
72mm, Programmed Auto, Multi-Pattern, 1/100 sec.,
F5 and ISO 80, Cropped
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ7 remains the
ultra zoom digital camera with the best bang for
the money. It has pretty much everything a beginner
to serious amateur photographer could wish for:
very good to excellent image quality, superb 12x
optical zoom with an effective optical image stabilization,
flexible exposure control, and very fast operations.
The Panasonic FZ7 has a quality Leica DC Vario-Elmarit
12x optical zoom lens with a maximum aperture
of F2.8 at wide-angle and F3.3 at telephoto. Usually
you need to use a tripod with such a long telephoto,
but thanks to the effective optical image stabilization,
camera shake is reduced when hand holding shots
at the long focal lengths and slower shutter speeds.
Image quality is very good for its category,
nicely sharpened right out of the camera so no
post processing is required. Noise is pretty low
in well-exposed images, but present in shadows.
There is full exposure flexibility, so if you
are a beginner, you can start with Auto, Scene
and Program AE exposure modes, then move on to
Shutter Priority, Aperture Priority, and full
Manual modes when you are ready to learn and explore.
Switching from mode to mode, and using the different
options available is intuitive.
The Panasonic FZ7 is fast, with no practical
shutter lag. In fact, auto focus is incredibly
fast, approaching dSLR speed. The camera is very
responsive and this responsiveness makes it a
pleasure to use.
An extra large 2.5 in. LCD monitor makes focusing
and composing easy. An AF-assist Lamp helps achieve
focus in low-light. The on-board flash is quite
good with a 6 m reach.
No camera is perfect, so here is a summary of
the positive and negative points, which may or
may not be important to you, depending on how
you intend to use the camera:
- At ISO 80, noise is well under control and
you won't notice it much, but slightly visible
in the shadows.
- The autofocus is one of the speediest and
best we've experienced so far in consumer level
digital cameras. It literally snaps into focus,
especially when using the 1-area High speed
- New is manual focus, with an also new Joystick
to focus speedily.
- Most controls are intuitive to use, even Manual
mode which provides a Manual Exposure Assistance
to make using Manual mode easy.
- Advanced photographers won't necessarily rank
this as a problem, but it sure would be nice
to have the full shutter speed range available
in P mode. Currently, the slowest shutter speed
available in P mode is 1 sec.; A and S modes
can access up to 8 sec.; M mode can take full
advantage of the full 60 sec.
- The onboard flash is quite strong though advanced
photographers would have liked the availability
of a hot shoe to add in a more powerful external
- The LCD monitor and EVF gains up slightly
in low-light. The AF works very well even in
Overall, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ7 makes
a great all-round family digital camera. Beginner
amateur photographers (and the proverbial "soccer
moms") will find it easy-to-use, and more
serious amateur photographers will appreciate
all the useful and immensely practical features
-- all in a well-designed compact body. The Panasonic
FZ7 produces great images, is fast and a pleasure
to use -- and is simply incredible value for money.
If you are looking for a long zoom digital camera,
don't miss checking out the Panasonic FZ7, available
in silver or all black body.
See if you fit the Panasonic FZ7 User Profile
||Desire a quality 6+ MP
resolution digital camera.
||Want a long zoom. Want a long
zoom. Want a long zoom. -- With Image Stabilization.
||Want a well-rounded digital
camera for general family use.
||Want eveything a beginner or
serious amateur photographer needs to learn,
experiment and grow in digital photography.
||Want more exposure flexibility
than provided by a point-and-shoot digital
||Want one of the best value for
money in the Beginner to Serious Amateur category.