Panasonic Lumix DMC-LC43 Review
By Movable Type Admin
With a 4-megapixel imager, high-quality Leica 3X zoom lens and $399 MSRP, Panasonic has positioned the DMC-LC43 squarely in the market of mid-range consumer digicams. It can be used as a point-n-shoot in Simple Mode, enabling beginners to enjoy high-quality results without enduring a long learning process. As they gain more experience, photographers will enjoy the range of control afforded in Normal Mode and several scene modes. The DMC-LC43 does not, however, offer the ability to control lens aperture or shutter speed; exposure control is automatic.
The DMC-LC43's controls are well-organized; the camera, despite its small size, fits well in your hands and the controls are positioned where they are unlikely to be inadvertently activated. The menu system is logically arranged, presenting choices that will not confuse the novice user, but allow the more experienced photographer to quickly make changes.
The DMC-LC43 produces good results shooting indoors. The wide-angle focal length of 35mm (in 35mm-equivalence) provides a field of view sufficient for most indoor circumstances. The limited flash range is adequate for small group portraits and shooting across small rooms; it does not have sufficient flash power to cover large rooms, entire dance floors, etc. Unfortunately, there is no focus-assist lamp; the camera will sometimes be unable to focus in dimly-lit indoor shooting situations.
Outdoors, the DMC-LC43 also produces good results. The Leica 3X optical zoom lens has enough range to provide flexibility in composing your shots. A 3X digital zoom is also included, although image quality suffers in proportion to the degree of digital zoom used. You'll be better-off not using it, instead cropping your photos in an image editor when necessary. The LCD viewfinder's brightness can be adjusted, making it fairly usable outdoors. Because it does not have an anti-reflective coating, the LCD can be difficult to view on the brightest of days. Fortunately, the DMC-LC43 is also equipped with a zoom-coupled optical viewfinder for such circumstances.
This is one of several cameras in Panasonic's DMC series equipped with "Mega Burst" Imaging, marketing-speak for high-speed continuous shooting, and you will not be disappointed by the performance of this camera. We measured shutter-lag, the elapsed time from pre-focus to image capture at 2/10 second, comparing favorably with high-end consumer digicams. In Mega Burst mode, we were able to capture 4 fine-quality images in 1.3 seconds, a shot-to-shot time of 1/4 second which is comparable to some professional digicams! When lighting conditions permit the autoexposure system to use a fast shutter speed, the responsiveness of the DMC-LC43 will allow you to capture action like no other camera in its class. This shooting performance is attainable only when using SD memory cards, not with the slower MultiMedia type cards.
Image quality relies heavily on the lens, and the Leica Vario-Elmarit does not disappoint. It produces very sharp images, and exhibits only a slight amount of pincushion distortion. The autofocus system works effectively, nicely complementing the quality of the lens. The imager produces vibrant and accurate colors. You will be pleased with the quality of the photos you take with this camera.
Combining small size, robust operation, high-quality imaging, and attractive pricing, the Panasonic DMC-LC43 is a very good value. Add to that the high-performance shooting afforded by its Mega Burst Imaging feature, and you have a pocketable camera that will produce pleasing family and travel photos, and allow you to capture moving subjects like no other camera in its class. We very much liked this camera (and the LC33) and are sure that it will please the consumer, whether a novice or more experienced user. If you don't need 4 megapixels of resolution then check out the 3-megapixel DMC-LC33, it's physically and functionally identical but can be had for $50-75 less than the street price of the LC43.
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