Reviews and Problems with Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ18
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Panasonic Lumix DMC-Z18 Digital Camera W/18x Zoom: For Less Than $300
Personal Electronics buzz
11 August 2009
Excerpt: The Panasonic Lumix DMC-Z18 digital camera with an 18x zoom has some tremendous features you would expect to find in a pricier camera. The 8.1 MP resolution with Leica DC lens and an amazing MEGA O.I.S is just the beginning. I looked around and this point and shoot is heads above the rest.
Excerpt: I've always personally considered superzooms a better option for amateur hobby photographers than D-SLRs, primarily because you get so much more right out of the box. If you still feel limited, there are quite a number of add-ons you can use. Now with the superzoom cameras breaking the 12x optical zoom barrier and offering insane 15-18x optical zoom levels, the deal has gotten a lot more attractive.
Conclusion: Panasonic are well-acquainted with the formula of combining high specification optics with high sensor resolution and the Lumix DMC-FZ18 is no exception. The optical zoom lens has a range of 28mm to 504mm! Unfortunately these specifications are marred by some poor design choices.
Summary: The FZ18 is a comprehensively featured camera that offers a good 'halfway house' for those not quite ready to make the jump from compact to more fully specified digital SLR, or want one camera that does everything without the need to swap any lenses. As my old school reports used to say, it augurs well for the future.
Pros: Intelligent Scene Selector makes taking sharp, evenly exposed pictures a veritable 'no brainer', quick AF minimises shutter delay, Venus Engine III with subject motion detection (so ISO and shutter speed increased to compensate)
Cons: Silver bodied version looks and feels a bit plasticy in the 'flesh'
Summary: An inexpensive high-end compact camera/DSLR crossover, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ18K offers an 18x optical zoom, a 28mm wide-angle lens, and a host of manual controls for a very reasonable price.
Excerpt: WHAT'S HOT • Optically image stabilized lens effectively helps with shake on both stills and video • Intelligent Auto mode helps beginners nail challenging exposures • Quick Face Detection focus and exposure • RAW+JPEG Capture and robust RAW utility • Exceptional DxO 2.0 lens distortion results at all tested focal lengths for a true wide-angle/supertelephoto lens.
Excerpt: We were able to get our hands on the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ18 a few days before today's official announcement, and, to put it briefly, the Olympus SP 550UZ appears to have some serious competition in the EVF ultrazoom category.
Conclusion: One thing that has become obvious to us as we've looked at the various 18x 'super zoom' models that have appeared since the Olympus SP-550UZ burst onto the scene at the start of the year is that they will always involve a certain degree of compromise, particularly when it comes to image quality.
Pros: Good, sharp results in optimal shooting conditions, Good, natural color and excellent exposure, Hugely versatile 18x zoom range covering true wideangle to long telephoto, Smooth, almost stepless 2-speed zoom, Effective image stabilization, Good build quality, Compact package, Very comprehensive range of controls, Very fast operation, Fast (and accurate) focus, Well designed menu system, Nice handling, Bright, clear, high resolution LCD screen, Excellent EVF, Decent bu...
Cons: Images lack biting crispness, some loss of fine detail to noise reduction even at ISO 100, Default noise reduction too high at all ISO settings (use low NR setting or raw), Occasional odd artefacts at lower ISO settings (some moiré related, some just plain old NR), Soft, over-sharpened JPEGs don't work well with very fine detail (though they produce perfectly acceptable prints), Anything over ISO 400 of very limited use due to noise and blurred detail, Occasional high...
Conclusion: Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ18 Megazoom camera The success of the Megazoom cameras lead to a farther advancing of the concept and to equip a small housing with no less than 18x optical zoom. The resolution of 8 Megapixels suffices easily for printing small to large prints. Although the immense popularity of the Megazoom is enough proof that they have the right to exist next to the entry level digital SLR, the Megazoom encounters some problems to reach the same level as far as...
Summary: Panasonic has really outdone itself with the FZ18. It’s not without its flaws, but all the features you need and a good standard of images that (in 2007) made it one of the best bridge options on the market.
Pros: Range of features, Design, Image quality at low ISO
Cons: Plasticky build, Noise throughout range, Highlight control