Record Screens & Menus

Shooting in intelligent auto (iAuto) mode, pressing the dedicated display button shows you one of four views. This default view shows you the number of photos remaining on your card in the top left corner, just below the shooting mode icon. The date and time information at bottom left only appears for about three seconds, then goes away.

When shooting in iAuto mode, the recording menu is abbreviated to just three items: picture size, burst mode (on, off) and color mode. These same selections are available via the quick menu button.

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The idea with iAuto, of course, is that the camera automatically takes care of almost all settings. For example, the icon in the top left corner indicates that the camera has automatically chosen macro mode - something that you need to choose manually via the bottom position on the four-way control when you are in normal picture mode. In normal picture mode, if you try to take a picture of an extremely close subject, the camera will fail to focus properly unless you turn on macro focus.

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When you press the shutter button halfway to focus, one or more autofocus boxes will appear and turn green to indicate focus has locked on. If it is unable to achieve focus, the box will turn red and a quick succession of four beeps will sound. When focus locks on, at the bottom of the screen the camera shows you the aperture setting and shutter speed about to be used.

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The mode button on the back panel launches the recording mode menu, which is a very basic affair. You get just four choices: iAuto mode, normal picture mode, miniature effect, and scene mode. Beyond miniature effect, there are no further filters or effects to give your photos a stylized look.

One little interesting quirk in iAuto mode, though, is that the color mode menu offers a "happy" selection instead of "vivid", which is the option in normal picture mode for heightening color saturation and contrast.

Panasonic DMC-SZ5-shoot-SCNmenu.jpg
The selection of scene modes is basic and in a couple cases of questionable value. There are 15 in all, and most of them are available on just about any camera. The two baby modes are there so you can record the birthday of two different children and have their age displayed when you take a picture.

The Glass Through scene mode says it is intended for taking pictures through glass. However, when I took a photo through a window, the reflections were no less intense than when I took the photo with normal picture mode. The photo frames scene mode allows you to select one of six simple overlaid photo frames.

Scene modes:
  • Portrait
  • Soft skin
  • Scenery
  • Panorama shot
  • Sports
  • Night portrait
  • Night scenery
  • Food
  • Baby 1
  • Baby 2
  • Pet
  • Sunset
  • High sensitivity
  • Glass through
  • Photo frame

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Pressing the menu/set button in the middle of the four-way control launches the main menu. From here you can dive into one of five menus.

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Setup menu:
  • Clock set
  • World Time
  • Travel date
  • Beep: beep level, beep tone, shutter volume, shutter tone
  • Volume
  • LCD display: brightness, contrast/saturation, red tint, blue tint
  • LCD mode: auto power LCD, power LCD, high angle, off
  • Focus icon: normal, flour, part, star, musical note, car
  • Video record area: on, off auto power off: two minutes, five minutes, 10 minutes, off
  • Auto review: bracket this is grayed out in normal shooting mode... don't understand]
  • Reset
  • Reset WiFi settings
  • Output: TV aspect (16:9, 4:3)
  • Rotate display: on, external output only, off
  • Firmware version display
  • Format
  • Language
  • Demo mode

Panasonic DMC-SZ5-shoot-rec-menu1.jpg

Recording menu:
  • Aspect ratio/file size: 4:3 ( 14MP, 10MP, 5MP, 3MP, 0.3MP), 3:2 (12.5MP), 16:9 (10.5MP), 1:1 (10.5MP)
  • ISO sensitivity: I ISO, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600
  • White balance: auto, daylight, cloudy, shade, incandescent, preset white balance, manual white balance
  • AF mode: face detection, AF tracking, 23 area, one area
  • i.Exposure: on, off
  • i.Resolution: on, I. Zoom, off
  • Digital Zoom: on, off
  • Burst: on, high-speed burst, flash burst, off
  • Color mode: standard, vivid, black and white, sepia
  • AF assist lamp: on, off
  • Red eye removal: on, off
  • Stabilizer: on, off
  • Date stamp: on, off
  • Clock set

Panasonic DMC-SZ5-movie-rec-menu.jpg
The options when recording video are minimal - you get just two settings: recording quality (HD or VGA) and continuous autofocus (on or off).

Panasonic DMC-SZ5-movie-record.jpg
The camera records HD video (MPEG-4) at a resolution of 1280 x 720 and VGA (MPEG-4) video at 640x480. On the downside this means you can't record the highest of high-definition video (1080p), but on the plus side the videos all show up in the same folders as your pictures and you simply import them to your PC the same way, without having to use specialized software (though you can choose to use PhotoFunStudio 8.4, which is included on the CD-ROM).

Visitors of Steves can visit the stores below for real-time pricing and availability. You can also find hot, soon to expire online offers on a variety of cameras and accessories at our very own Camera Deals page.