Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ7 Review

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Features & Controls

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ7

The all-glass aspherical Leica DC-VARIO ELMARIT 12x zoom lens is equivalent to a 35-420mm zoom on a 35mm camera. It has a maximum aperture of F2.8-F3.3 and is adjustable in 1/3EV steps to F8. The lens is constructed of 11 elements in 8 Groups with 3 Aspherical Lenses.

The FZ7's MEGA Optical Image Stabilizer 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. The MEGA OIS has two modes of operation:

    Mode 1 - The stabilizer operates continuously and assists during composition.

    Mode 2 - The stabilizer is only activated when the shutter release is pressed. There is a greater stabilizing effect in this mode.

The TTL contrast-detect auto focus system in Normal has a focus range of:

    Wide 11.8 in. (30cm) / Tele 6.6 ft. (200cm) - Infinity
A/S/M - Movie - Macro mode focus range is:
    Wide 1.97 in. (5cm) / Tele 6.6 ft. (200cm) - Infinity.

Users may choose from selectable AF settings. In addition to the 9-point, 3-point high speed, 1-point normal speed and Spot autofocus, the DMC-FZ7 can be set to 1-point high-speed autofocus. This setting nearly eliminates the time lag that often occurs with high-magnification zoom shots, letting users capture those great, spontaneous moments. There is a focus-assist illuminator to aid in low-light conditions.

This is what you can do with a 12X zoom!

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ7

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 FZ7.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ7

The pop-up speedlight features Auto, Auto Red-eye reduction, Slow-sync Red-eye, Fill and Forced Off modes. The flash output is adjustable from -2 to +2 in 1/3EV steps.

Flash Range (approx.)

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ7

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ7

The eyelevel viewfinder is a 0.33-inch 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.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ7

The large 2.5-inch color LCD monitor is a transreflective type with 114,000 pixels. If offers a field of view of approx. 100% and can be used as a viewfinder, for image review or accessing the menus.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ7

Controls on the back: The EVF/LCD button selects the active display. The OFF/ON switch is the camera's main power control. The Joystick controller is used to change shutter speeds, aperture values and to make manual focus adjustments. The DISPLAY / LCD MODE button cycles the LCD display modes (Normal, Histogram, Out of Frame, No Information). 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 MENU/SET button calls up and dismisses the menu system and accepts selections. The Drive Mode/Trashcan button selects single frame or continuous recording mode or in playback or quick review it is used to delete images.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ7

Controls on top: The shutter release button with the zoom lens controls around it. The MEGA OIS image stabilizer button. The AF/MF button selects auto or manual focus mode.

The Mode Dial has positions for:

    heart icon - Simple fully automatic mode

    Play - Play back of still images, movie or audio notes

    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

    Macro - Close-up mode

    Movie - Capture motion JPEG with audio, length is limited only to available memory

    SCN - Scene Modes: Portrait, Sports, Scenery, Night Scenery, Panning, Night Portrait, Fireworks, Party, Snow, High Sensitivity

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ7

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.

An optional AC power adapter or external battery pack can be connected to the DC IN port.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ7

Still images, movie clips and audio files are stored on removable Secure Digital cards up to 2GB in size. Panasonic supplies a 16MB 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.)

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ7

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ7

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ7

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ7

Power is supplied by a Panasonic 7.2v 710mAh Li-ion battery pack. Fully charged the battery has power for approx. 320 pictures when using the LCD and when using the electronic viewfinder approx. 340 pictures. It has a playback time of 240 minutes. (CIPA standard testing)

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.

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