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'
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...
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.
Excerpt: Panasonic's latest digicam boasts a whopping 18X zoom and backs it up with sharp and steady shots.
Pros: span class"greycopy" id"ctl00_ContentPlaceHolder1_lblPros"span Strong 18X zoom, span class"greycopy" id"ctl00_ContentPlaceHolder1_lblPros"span Optical image stabilizer, span class"greycopy" id"ctl00_ContentPlaceHolder1_lblPros"span Fast image processor, span class"greycopy" id"ctl00_ContentPlaceHolder1_lblPros"span Shoots in RAW mode
Cons: pspan class"greycopy" id"ctl00_ContentPlaceHolder1_lblPros"span Noisy photos at ISO 800 and higher, span class"greycopy" id"ctl00_ContentPlaceHolder1_lblPros"span Zoom doesn't work while capturing video, span class"greycopy" id"ctl00_ContentPlaceHolder1_lblPros"span No MEGA OIS buttonp
Excerpt: Even though it’s on the high-priced side for a point-and-shoot, this ultra zoom digicam is one of 2007’s most popular cameras (at least if you go by many of the imaging sites). There are some obvious reasons for this: the 8-megapixel camera has a whopping 18x zoom with a range of 28-504mm. To buy a D-SLR and lens kit with that range of focal lengths would set you back a bundle.