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Lumix DMC FZ7

Mega zoom image stabilised leica lens

Item details

NEW 6 Megapixel 12x Optical Zoom with Mega Optical Image Stabilizer in a compact body.

Panasonic is introducing the incoming LUMIX model 6.0-megapixel DMCFZ7 with MEGA O.I.S., Optical Image Stabilizer that compensates the hand-shake, incorporating a 12x optical zoom (equivalent to 36mm to 432mm on a 35mm film camera) LEICA DC lens. Differing from the FZ30 with manual focus ring and manual zoom ring, which was already released and highly evaluated by prosumers, the FZ7 is more compact and easy to carry while preserving the same powerful zoom capability and manual controllability.

It is the heir to the 5.0-megapixel DMCFZ5, but enhanced its excellence not only with the total number of pixels but also with other innovative technical improvements such as incorporation of joystick which allows easy manual control on focusing in addition to the manual exposure setting. The 1.8-Inch LCD monitor for FZ5 has become large as 2.5-Inch for FZ7 gaining much brightness even in the low-lit situations thanks to the pixel-mixed readout method performed at the CCD.

Latest reviews

  • Very light and easy to use, good zoom, cheap for what it is
  • There are lots of options and controls which confuse a new user
If you want a camera with the facilities this camera provides - 12X zoom, easy action, anti-jitter - then this is the camera you want.
This is my first camera for many years, bought for birdwatching, and in 3 days I have already taken lots of excellent shots. It\'s quick and easy to use in its automatic mode, with a very easy zoom control.
With a 1GB card, it will take about 350 photographs and it looks as if it will nearly do that many before the battery needs recharging.
I like the fact that the flash only comes out when you switch it on. If you don\'t want it, it won\'t flash. So far I have taken several pictures in quite bad light outside and it never complains or needs additional flash lighting.
For a camera of this power it is amazingly compact and light.
The only thing I am getting used to is the non-automatic lense cover. If I switch it on before taking off the cover, it comes up with a message to take off the cover and press the button - I still haven\'t worked out which button.
All on all, a really good buy, recommended for new (and old) birdwatchers.
  • Easy to carry around. Reliable. Good battery life
  • Image noise
If you\'re looking for a cheap digital SLR with an image stabilsed lens its time to be realistic. This isn\'t a DSLR and can\'t reasonably be expected to take DSLR quality photos. However what it can do is to take very good quality photos at x12 optical zoom. Thanks to the superb image stabilistion in all but the poorest of light a tripod isn\'t necessary. Even at maximum zoom a handheld photo at 1/30th of a second will be free of motion blur.
Unfortunately image noise is an issue. To be fair to Panasonic they have left the user with a choice to either use the camera or external software to reduce image noise and carry out basic processing. The type of noise produced is very easily removed in Neat Image but this does costs an extra 16.
The autofocus is fast and accurate and different focusing options can be used eg. spot, 3 spot high speed etc..
The best thing about this camera is that its light, easy to carry, quick to use and will take a very good record shot of anything that can be seen with a normal pair of binoculars. Sample photos at http://www.birdforum.net/pp_gallery/data/527/26920spottedflycatcher3.jpg http://www.birdforum.net/pp_gallery/data/527/26920squacco1.jpg http://www.birdforum.net/pp_gallery/data/527/26920willow-warbler.jpg.
  • Easy to use, very light, 12x zoom, image stabilization, optical resolution
  • Few manual controls, no RAW mode, limited dynamic range
This is the first digital camera I\'ve owned. I really like it. It is very light, reasonably compact, and comfortable to handle. I wish it had more manual controls instead of on-screen menus, but it is typical of its class in this way. It has a nice zoom lens and a front threading that allows the attachment of various telephoto, macro and wide angle lenses, filters, and hoods. Reviewing images is easy, and several can be displayed on screen at the same time, or they can be displayed in a calendar mode for easier searching. A RAW mode option would have been nice, and the useful ISO range and dynamic range is quite limited. It uses normal SD cards, and the light batteries last a while.

I have found the FZ-7 quite easy to use, in spite of the annoying need to go through menus to access simple camera settings. The nifty joystick does allow faster access to a few settings, which is very useful, but the settings it controls should really be user-configurable. (Note: It appears that Panasonic have added the two most important of these which are missing - focus and metering area selection - to the joystick options on the FZ-8.)

The only serious control problem is that accurate manual focus with the joystick is very very slow and difficult, and would have been much easier with a manual focus ring, or at least a thumb wheel. This would have helped compensate for the slow autofocus which does a lot of hunting in the low/bad light and foliage confusion typical for bird photos. Zoom action is also jumpy.

Conclusion: The FZ-7 has as much zoom as you can get in an affordable, compact, easy-to-hold package. With the Nikon TC-E17ED teleconverter attached it\'s the perfect size and weight for my hands. While it has a few limitations, this is as portable and affordable as high-zoom photography gets.

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Prosumer Digital Cameras
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