Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ30 Review
Features & Controls
The all-glass aspherical Leica DC-VARIO ELMARIT 12x zoom lens is equivalent to a 35-420mm zoom on a 35mm camera. This is the most powerful zoom lens available on any 8-megapixel digital camera. It has a maximum aperture of F2.8-F3.7 and is adjustable in 1/3EV steps to F11. The lens is constructed of 14 elements in 10 Groups (3 Aspherical Lenses and 1 ED Lens.)
One interesting feature is the FZ30's Extended Optical Zoom, made possible by using the center part of the 8-megapixel CCD, extends the zoom ratio beyond 12x when the resolution is decreased. For example, when shooting at 5-megapixels, the zoom ratio can be extended to 15.3x, and up to 19.1x when shooting at 3 megapixels.
Lumix cameras help solve the problem of unsteady hands and long focal lengths with
advanced MEGA Optical Image Stabilizer technology. The FZ30 has a built-in
gyrosensor that detects any hand movement and relays a signal to a tiny microcomputer
inside the camera, which instantly calculates the compensation needed. A linear motor
then shifts the Optical Image Stabilizer lens as necessary to guide incoming light
from the image straight to the CCD. You won't even notice it working-all you'll see
are the outstanding results!
The zoom is manually operated by a ring on the lens barrel and allows for very precise focal length changes and uses no camera power. Being that it is not motorized, the optical zoom can also be used during movie recording.
The TTL contrast-detect auto focus system range is:
The lens can be
manually focused with the rear ring on the lens barrel. During manual focus the center
portion of the screen can be magnified to aid in critical focusing.
This is what you can do with a 12X zoom!
To minimize the occurrence of flares or ghosting when shooting outdoors or in any bright environment you can attach the supplied lens shade. It only takes a moment to snap it into place.
Panasonic offers optional 0.7x wide angle (DMW-LW55) and 1.7x telephoto (DMW-LT55)
adapter lenses for the FZ30.
The eyelevel viewfinder is a miniature color LCD monitor with a magnifying eyepiece.
It has dioptric adjustment and can be used with eyeglasses. This electronic
viewfinder (EVF) gives you true TTL (through the lens) viewing and overlays important
camera and exposure data on top of the live display. It can also be used to review
images and access the menu system in bright lighting where it's difficult to see the
The free-angle, 2.0-inch color LCD monitor can be adjusted for comfortable shooting
even in high- and low-angle positions. The resolution of both the LCD and the
electronic viewfinder has been increased to 235,000 pixels, a 80% increase compared to
the FZ20. Brightness has been increased too, and the 9-pixel mixed readout method
gives you a brighter LCD and electronic viewfinder when shooting still images in low
When the LCD is not in use, face it inwards for protection.
The pop-up speedlight features Auto, Auto Red-eye reduction, Slow-sync Red-eye, Fill
and Forced Off modes. The flash range (at ISO Auto) is 0.98 - 22.97 feet (0.3 - 7.0m).
The flash output is adjustable from -2 to +2 in 1/3EV steps.
The flash hot shoe allows you to easily attach any non-dedicated automatic type of
clip on flash unit.
Controls on the back: The AE Lock button holds exposure value for re-framing or panorama shots. The Shutter Speed command dial is used to select shutter speeds. The EVF/LCD button switches between the EVF and LCD monitor, the DISPLAY button controls the amount of data displayed. The MENU button calls up and dismisses the menu system.
The 4-way selector in Record mode toggles the flash mode when pressed "Right." When
pressed "Up" it toggles exposure or flash compensation, AE Bracketing or white balance
adjustment. Press "Left" to activate the Self-timer and press "Down" to use the Quick
Review mode to examine the last image captured. In Playback mode the 4-way selector
is used to select images and of course in both record and play modes it is used to
navigate the menu screens. The Trash can
button is for deleting images.
Controls on top: Barely visible in front of shutter release button is the Aperture command dial for setting the lens aperture. The shutter release button. The MEGA OIS image stabilizer button. The Drive mode button selects Single or Continuous modes. And the Power on/off button.
The Mode Dial has positions for:
Play - Play back of still images, movie or audio notes
camera icon - Simple fully automatic mode
P - Program AE mode with Program-Shift
A - Aperture priority mode, F2.8 to F11 in 1/3EV steps
S - Shutter-speed priority mode, 1/2000 to 8 secs. (60 secs in Manual)
M - Manual mode
Movie - Capture motion JPEG with audio, length is limited only to available memory
SCN1 - Scene 1: Settable for Portrait, Sports, Scenery, Night Scenery, Night Portrait, Fireworks, Party, Snow, Self-Portrait, Food, Baby, Soft Skin, Candle, Starry Sky
SCN2 - Scene 1: Settable for Portrait, Sports, Scenery, Night Scenery, Night Portrait, Fireworks, Party, Snow, Self-Portrait, Food, Baby, Soft Skin, Candle, Starry Sky
The A/V Out port sends the audio and video to a television set, the video format is user selectable for NTSC or PAL standard. This is also the USB 1.1 data I/O port, it is Mass Storage compliant and also supports the PictBridge direct-print standard.
AC power adapter or external battery pack can be connected to the DC IN port.
Power is supplied by a Panasonic 7.2v 710mAh Li-ion battery pack. The battery is good for approx. 240 pictures (CIPA standard testing, 50% with LCD on) and when using the electronic viewfinder (approx. 270 pictures). It has a playback time of 240 minutes.
The battery charger can replenish a fully depleted pack in 120 minutes or less. Batteries
are charged out of the camera so you can be charging one and using another.
Still images, movie clips and audio files are stored on removable Secure Digital or MultiMedia Card flash memory cards. Panasonic supplies a 32MB size SD card so the first thing you need to buy is a bigger one. We used a fast and spacious Sandisk Extreme III 1GB SD card.
Picture and Movie Storage (approx.)
Continue on to the
Recording Modes & Menus
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