Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ50 Review
By Movable Type Admin
Features & Controls
The 12x zoom lens on the FZ50 is designed by Leica Camera AG, a well known manufacturer of cameras and lenses. This advanced lens design consists of one ED (extra-low dispersion) lens and fourteen lens elements in ten groups, including three aspherical lenses. The lens employs a special optical glass to compensate for chromatic aberration. It suppresses the color bleeding and reduced sharpness that tend to occur in telephoto shots, to produce crisper, more accurate images. Backed by superb Leica optical quality, this lens system shoots beautiful images that are bright with minimal distortion. The aspherical lenses extend this extraordinary performance all the way to the edges of the image, and helps to make the lens more compact.
An interesting feature of the FZ50 is the Extended Optical Zoom function that uses the center of the 10-megapixel CCD, and extends the zoom ratio beyond 12x when the resolution is decreased. For example, the 12x optical zoom extends to 21.4x for 3-megapixel image recording , or 17.1x for 5-megapixel and 13.4x for 8-megapixel recording.
Panasonic invented the MEGA O.I.S. (Optical Image Stabilizer) system to combat the major cause of blurred images, handheld camera
shake. The O.I.S. system is now used in the entire Lumix product line. Hand movement is detected by a sampling frequency
of 4,000 times per second, and compensated to produce sharper images.
The zoom lens is manually operated by turning a ring on the lens barrel and allows for very precise focal length. You know what I mean if you have ever zoomed in and out using a electronic control - it can be difficult to find the perfect setting. The optical zoom can also be used during video recording.
TTL auto focus system range is:
Normal: Wide 30 cm (0.98 feet) / Tele 200 cm (6.56 feet) - infinity
Macro : Wide 5 cm (0.16 feet) / Tele 200 cm (6.56 feet) - infinity
Auto focus options include 1-point, 1-point high speed, 3-point high speed, 9-point and Spot. There is a focus-assist illuminator to aid in low light conditions.
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.
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 two optional conversion lenses. The DMW-LW55 Wide Conversion Lens Shoots at 0.7x magnification with F2.8
brightness, and the DMW-LT55 Tele Conversion Lens shoots at 1.7x magnification with F3.7 brightness.
The electronic, eyelevel viewfinder is a 0.44" 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
LCD monitor. The resolution of the electronic viewfinder is 235,000 pixels with almost 100% field of view.
Panasonic calls the color LCD "Free-angle". It is a 2.0-inch, polycrystalline LCD monitor that an be adjusted for comfortable shooting
even in odd-angle positions. The resolution of the LCD is 207,000 pixels with almost 100% field of view.
The LCD backlight is adjustable - holding the EVF/LCD button down causes the LCD to become 1.4x brighter to make
working in bright sunlight a little easier.
When the LCD is not in use it can be turned to face the back of the camera to protect the screen.
The pop-up built in flash features Auto, Auto Red-eye reduction, Slow-sync Red-eye,
and Forced On and Off modes. The flash range (at ISO Auto) is approx. 0.98 - 22.97 feet (0.3 - 7.0m).
The flash output is adjustable from -2 to +2 in 1/3EV steps.
A flash hot shoe allows you to easily attach any non-dedicated automatic flash unit.
Controls on the FZ50 are elegantly simple.
On the back from top to bottom, you see the AE Lock button, the EVF/LCD button (toggles between the electronic viewfinder and the LCD monitor), the DISPLAY button controls the amount of data displayed, the FUNCTION button used to quickly set items such as resolution and ISO and finally the trash can icon used to delete selections.
On the upper right is the Shutter Speed command dial.
Bottom center is a 4-way selector. The selector has five buttons/arrow keys used to call up the main menu, control exposure, set the auto timer, turn on the flash and navigate menus.
Controls found on top of the camera: Barely visible in front of shiny, shutter release button is the Aperture command. The "hand" icon is the MEGA O.I.S. image stabilizer button. The Drive mode button has an icon of multiple frames and is used to select between Single or Continuous shooting modes . And finally we see the power button.
The Mode Dial has positions for:
Playback icon - Play back of still images, movie or audio notes
Custom - 3 user-created custom settings
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 video with audio
SCN - Scene Modes: Presets for Portrait, Sports, Scenery, Night Scenery, Night Portrait, Fireworks, Party, Snow, Panning, Soft Skin, Food, Baby1, Baby2, Starry Sky, Candle Light and High sensitivity
Camera icon - For fully automatic mode
The Remote port allows you to connect a wired shutter release
The A/V Out port sends the audio and video to a television set, the video format is user selectable for NTSC or PAL standards. This is also the USB data I/O port and it also supports the PictBridge direct-print standard.
An optional AC power adapter or external battery pack can be connected to the DC IN port.
The battery pack fits into the bottom of the grip. Power is supplied by a Panasonic 7.2v 710mAh Li-ion battery pack. The battery is good for approx. 360 pictures using CIPA standard testing, with LCD on. The battery will last a little longer if the EVF is used instead of the LCD.
The battery charges in the included external battery charger and a fully depleted pack charges in about two hours.
Still images, movie clips and audio files are stored on removable SDHC or Secure Digital memory cards. Capacity for still and video images is shown in the tables below.
Picture and Movie Storage (approx.)
Continue on to the
Recording Modes & Menus
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