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Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ3

Review posted 10/08/2004

Introduction & Physical Views

Click to take a QuickTime VR tour of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ3
Click on the Lumix FZ3 to take a QuickTime VR tour

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ3 is an affordable 3.1-megapixel digital camera with a high- quality Leica 12x optical zoom. The high precision Leica DC Vario-Elmarit 12x zoom is equivalent to a 35 - 420mm zoom on a 35mm camera and has a constant F2.8 brightness throughout the entire zoom range. Panasonic's advanced MEGA O.I.S. (Optical Image Stabilizer) enhances the camera's telephoto zoom capabilities, helping to deliver sharp, vivid images even when taking handheld telephoto shots or shooting in low light. This feature uses motion sensors, which detects even slight hand movement and integrally links the lens control to the motion of the camera to reduce jitter.

Incredibly responsive, the DMC-FZ3 captures consecutive shots nearly as quickly as a motor-driven film camera. As soon as the camera's CCD captures the image signal, Panasonic's multi-tasking Venus Engine LSI simultaneously displays images on the LCD while writing data to the memory card, significantly reducing lag time between shots. To capture sudden events as they unfold, the MEGA BURST recording feature enables consecutive rapid-fire shooting, capturing 3 frames per second with undiminished quality from frame to frame.

The DMC-FZ3 features Program AE, Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority and Manual exposure modes as well as Macro, Portrait, Sports, Panning and Night Portrait picture modes. Single or Continuous auto focus, Spot AF Switching and AF Lock. Other features include High Speed and Low Speed Continuous, AE Bracketing and Timelapse recording. The camera also captures QuickTime 320 x 240 motion video at 30 or 10 frames-per-second with audio, the length is limited only by available memory space.

The DMC-FZ3's histogram feature functions like a digital light meter, providing a graphic representation of the luminance level of the pixels composing an image. By using the histogram, users can exercise more precise exposure control for quality photos. The histogram can be displayed on the camera's 1.5-inch LCD screen while an image is being recorded and also after a shot has been taken.

Power is supplied by a proprietary lithium rechargeable battery pack that is charged outside of the camera. The charger is small and very portable and allows you to charge one battery while using another. Images and movies are stored on removable Secure Digital (SD) memory cards which are available in capacities up to 512MB.

Major DMC-FZ3 Features:

  • 3.1-megapixel effective CCD for images up to 2016 x 1512 pixels
  • Leica DC-VARIO ELMARIT 12x zoom lens, equivalent to a 35-420mm on a 35mm camera
  • Optical image stabilization to prevent camera shake and blurring
  • Venus Engine II LSI for robust camera operations
  • Mega Burst continuous capture @ 4 or 2fps up to 13 images (7 in Fine mode)
  • Macro focus with autofocus down to 1.9 inches
  • 1.5-inch TFT color monitor with 114,000 pixels
  • Eye level color electronic viewfinder with dioptric adjustment
  • Program AE, Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority and Manual modes
  • Macro, Portrait, Sports, Panning, Night Portrait picture modes
  • High Speed and Low Speed Continuous, AE Bracketing and Timelapse modes
  • 320 x 240 QuickTime movies, 30fps or 10fps w/audio
  • Shutter speeds from 1/2000 to 8 seconds (Shutter priority and Manual modes)
  • Built-in flash with auto, fill, slow synchro and red-eye reduction modes
  • Intelligent Multiple and Spot exposure metering
  • TTL Auto White Balance, 5 presets and custom set
  • Secure Digital memory card slot, 8MB card included
  • Plug-n-Play USB, Mass Storage compliant
  • PictBridge Direct-Print compatible
  • Lithium rechargeable battery and rapid charger included

The high-performance Lumix DMC-FZ3 has a suggested retail price of $399.00. The camera comes with a lens hood to help diminish flare and ghosting when photographing extremely bright scenes. Other accessories included are: rechargeable battery pack and charger; 8MB SD Memory Card; A/V cable; USB connection cable; lens cap; carrying strap and software on CD-ROM.

Physical Views

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ3

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ3

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ3

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ3

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ3

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ3

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ3

The DMC-FZ3 compared in size to a standard CD disc.

The 2004 Lumix 12x Super-Zoom Family

The Lumix DMC-FZ20 is physically identical to the $499 DMC-FZ15 with the addition of a flash hot shoe, audio recording and a higher resolution 5-megapixel imager and sells for about $100 more. If you're on a budget then check out the smaller and lighter Lumix DMC-FZ3, it also features a 12x stabilized Leica lens and is coupled with a 3-megapixel imager and sells for about $399.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ15

The 5-megapixel FZ20 and 4-megapixel FZ15.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ20

The 5-megapixel FZ20 and the 3-megapixel FZ3.

Continue to
Features & Controls

Lumix DMC-FZ3 Specifications

Image sensor1/3.2", 3.34 Total Megapixel CCD, Primary Color Filter
3.1 megapixels effective
Still imageJPEG (Exif Ver 2.2)
2016 x 1512
1920 x 1080 (HDTV 16:9 format)
1600 x 1200
1280 960
640 x 480
(TIFF, Fine or Standard quality)
Digital video capture320 x 240 @ 30 or 10 frames per second with audio
Clip length is limited only by available memory
Digital video formatMotion JPEG, QuickTime MOV format
Audio captureAttach up to 10-sec audio notes to still images
LensLeica DC Vario-Elmarit 12x aspherical
f=4.6-55.2mm (35-420mm 35mm equivalent)
Constant F2.8 aperture
with Mega Optical Image Stabilization
13 elements in 8 groups (3 aspherical lenses / 3 aspherical surfaces)
Digital zoom4x
FocusingTTL Auto Focus System with Focus-Assist Illuminator, Normal/Macro (Dial), Continuous AF On/Off (Spot mode) (Spot Mode), Continuous AF On/Off
Normal focus range0.98 ft (W) / 3.94 ft (T) to infinity
Macro focus minimum0.16 ft (W) / 3.94 ft (T)
ISO sensitivityAuto / 80 / 100 / 200 / 400
White balanceTTL Auto, Daylight, Cloudy, Halogen, Flash, Custom Set
Exposure modesP Mode (Program)
A/S/M Mode (Aperture Priority/ Shutter Priority/ Manual)
Macro, SCN1, SCN2, Portrait, Sports, Panning, Night Portrait, Moving Image
Picture Adjustment Color: Natural, Standard, Vivid
Effect: Cool, Warm, B&W, Sepia
Mega BurstFull-resolution image:
Standard mode: Up to 13 images at 4 or 2 frames/sec.
Fine mode: Up to 7 images
Real-time histogramsYes
Shutter speed8 to 1/2000 sec Shutter priority and Manual
1 to 1/2000 sec., except Shutter Priority and Manual
MeteringIntelligent Multiple / Spot (Spot Mode)
Self-timerYes, 2 or 10 seconds
LCD screen1.5-inch color low temp polysilicon TFT (114,000 pixels)
Field of view; approx. 100%
Viewfinder typeElectronic 0.33" (114K pixels) with diopter adjustment
Field of view; approx. 100%
FlashManual popup with modes for: Auto, Red-eye reduction, Slow-sync, Fill, Forced Off
Flash Range
(at ISO 100)
0.98 ft - 15.10 ft (ISO Auto)
Tripod mountYes
Auto review1 sec / 3 sec
Review modes1x / 4x / 8x
Playback modes 9-Thumbnail Display
Zoomed Playback (16x max)
Slide Show
Trimming, Protection
DPOF Setting
Direct printPictBridge standard
I/O connectionsDC input, A-V output, USB 1.1
Video outNTSC or PAL
Audio outMonoraul
Battery typeRechargeable 7.2v 680mAh Li-ion battery pack
Battery chargerAC Adapter/Charger (Input: 100 - 240V AC)
Charging time90 minutes maximum
Battery lifeUp to 260 pictures (CIPA Standard)
Up to 280 pictures using electronic viewfinder
Storage type(s)Secure Digital (SD), 8MB supplied / MultiMediaCard (MMC)
CablesUSB and A-V cables
SoftwarePC/Windows: SD Viewer for DSC, Acrobat Reader, ArcSoft Suite (PhotoImpression, Panorama Maker, PhotoBase), QuickTime 5.0, USB driver

Macintosh: ArcSoft PhotoImpression, ArcSoft Panorama Maker, ArcSoft PhotoBase, QuickTime 5.0

Operating temperature0°C - 40° C
Humidity10% - 80%
Dimensions2.69 x 4.25 x 3.34 inches (HxWxD)
Weight0.64 lbs (not including battery and SD card)

(Specifications as represented by the manufacturer)

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