Conclusion: In many ways the FZ30 is everything the FZ20 could (and maybe should) have been, and Panasonic must be applauded for implementing a huge raft of handling and control improvements, as well as speeding up overall performance. On the other hand you cannot help but wonder how much better this camera would be with a less noisy chip - the 7MP Sony CCD used in models such as the SD500 springs to mind (not that Panasonic would be caught dead using a Sony sensor of course!).
Pros: Very high resolution and detail capture throughout the zoom range, Sharp results, Good, natural color, Superb 12x optical zoom, Effective image stabilization, Excellent handling - much improved over the FZ20, Comprehensive range of controls and improved control layout, Very fast operation, Well designed menu system, Nice handling and control layout, Easy to use, Excellent screen, Very usable EVF, Autofocus illuminator, Powerful flash, Good battery life, Program shift,...
Cons: Noise is even an issue at ISO 80, a real problem at ISO 400 or in very low light, Very occasional exposure problems, Max aperture at long end of zoom only F3.7, Limited dynamic range, highlight clipping in JPEGs, Pointless RAW converter produces worse results than JPEGs, Focus at extreme telephoto sometimes hunts, occasionally misses, Images can look a little soft viewed at 100%
how does it compare against specific models such as its closest rival, the Fujifilm
S9500 / S9000 which costs virtually the same price. In its favour, the FZ30
has a more powerful telephoto, optical stabilisation, better build quality and
a larger screen which flips and twists in every direction. On the other hand
the Fujifilm has a wider angle lens and much higher sensitivity.
Pros: Very good quality lens with huge range, Optical image stabilisation, Flip-out and twistable screen, Great build quality
Cons: Highest sensitivity only 400 ISO, 35mm wide angle not as wide as rivals, Noise levels higher than rivals, Resolution slightly lower than rivals
Excerpt: Physical Views The DMC-FZ30 compared in size to a standard CD disc. Continue to Features & Controls Lumix DMC-FZ30 Specifications Image Sensor 1/1.8" CCD, Primary Color Filter 8.32 Total Megapixels 8.0 Effective Megapixels Lens Leica DC Vario-Elmarit 12x Optical Zoom f=7.4-88.8mm (35mm equivalent: 35-420mm) Manual zoom ring on lens barrel F2.8 - F3.7 max.
Excerpt: This is the newest generation of Panasonic’s highly-regarded line-up of mega zoom cameras. With 8-megapixel resolution, a 12x Leica optical zoom and built-in optical image stabilization, this digicam is a decent alternative for those looking for D-SLR features but don’t want the hassle of interchangeable lenses plus they’d like the ability to view a live image on a 2-inch LCD screen and take short videos.
Excerpt: The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ30 ($699) is the latest addition to Panasonic's family of ultra zoom cameras. It replaces the DMC-FZ20, which was my favorite ultra zoom camera of last year.
Pros: Very solid SLR-style body, 12X optical zoom lens (though a little slower than on the FZ20), Optical image stabilization, Robust performance, especially with a high speed SD card; new focus modes are awesome, Full manual controls plus the ability to fine-tune white balance, Handy zoom and focus rings around lens, AF-assist lamp; good low light focusing, Flip-down, rotating 2-inch LCD display, LCD/EVF usable in low light, at last, Redeye not a problem, Support for RAW a...
Cons: Images are too noisy, especially at high ISOs (see workarounds earlier), No RAW image manipulation software included, No focus distance shown in manual focus mode, No USB 2.0 High Speed support, Would've preferred an LCD that flips to the side
Excerpt: $1100 4 stars The digital camera has an 8.0 megapixel sensor and a 12x Optical Zoom with an “extended optical zoom” function (the recorded area on the sensor is reduced to, in effect, increase the focal length of the lens — it’s a clever trade off of pixels for extra magnification). The Leica f2.8–3.7 zoom lens has a range from 35–420mm, film equivalent, and is image stabilised. It is a magnificent piece of optics delivering good resolution, contrast and colour.
Pros: The viewfinder should also be analogue and here the FZ30 fails. It has an electronic viewfinder which has the usual low resolution display that gives no information about the distribution of tones in the image. The swivelling LCD screen, however, is exceptional in resolution and accuracy of image rendition. The FZ30 produces images with amazing detail and excellent exposure and white balance. Like some other Panasonic cameras (and the Leica models made by Panasonic) t...
Cons: The viewfinder should also be analogue and here the FZ30 fails. It has an electronic viewfinder which has the usual low resolution display that gives no information about the distribution of tones in the image. The swivelling LCD screen, however, is exceptional in resolution and accuracy of image rendition. The FZ30 produces images with amazing detail and excellent exposure and white balance. Like some other Panasonic cameras (and the Leica models made by Panasonic) t...
Summary: : The Panasonic Lumix FZ30 is an excellent ultra zoom digital camera, offering excellent image quality, an excellent Leica 12x optical zoom lens with image stabilisation, and a manual zoom ring. The high resolution 2" swivel screen is very good, and the camera is very good value for money. The easy to use camera offers speedy performance, good battery life, with good controls and excellent build quality thanks to a solid metal camera body.
Pros: Very good image quality, Very pleasing rich colours (however if this isn't to your tastes, saturation can be turned down in camera), Leica 12x optical zoom lens with image stabilisation, manual zoom ring and manual focusing ring, Wide-angle / Telephoto adapters available!, Quick performance, quick switch on time etc, Black metal / rubbery SLR-style body, Good movie mode (VGA, 30fps, allows use of optical zoom), Full printed manual, Well built, solid metal body, Good b...
Cons: High noise, especially at ISO200 or above., Playback mode could be quicker.
Summary: The FZ30 is a joy to take pictures with. If not for the price tag, and the image noise problem, this would be one of our favourites. As it stands, it is a solid entry by Panasonic, and will satisfy most users.
Pros: Great design, full set of features, big zoom
Cons: Image noise is a problem, pricey considering the cost of SLRs