Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ30 Review

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Review posted 11/28/2005

Introduction & Physical Views

Click to take a QuickTime VR tour of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ30
Click on the Lumix FZ30 to take a QuickTime VR tour

The DMC-FZ30 continues Panasonic's "super zoom" series with an 8-megapixel, 12x optical zoom (35-420mm equivalent) with MEGA Optical Image Stabilization and both automatic and manual controls.

The 12x optical zoom Leica DC Vario-Elmarit Lens, which has appeared in all of the FZ series cameras from Panasonic, has undergone further development to ensure more superb picture rendering. Along with the CCD size and total effective pixels, the FZ30 also has enhanced and added a host of other features: a manual zoom ring along with a manual focus ring; an easy-to-see, free-moving LCD; and adjustable dials for the aperture and shutter speed controls. Both the LCD and the electronic viewfinder have had their resolution increased by about 180 percent, offering a sharp, clear view.

The FZ30 combines high-speed and high-quality image processing with the Venus Engine II LSI. It boasts quick responsiveness with best-in-class level release time lag of 0.01 seconds. Adopting a non-collapsible lens has substantially reduced start up time from about five seconds to about 0.97 seconds. Autofocus time in 1-point high-speed AF has been reduced to a quarter of the level achieved in Panasonic's DMC-FZ20 (based on the CIPA standard).

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ30

Two rings on the lens barrel of the FZ30 provide manual control of zoom and focus, allowing quick and fine control that typically can't be achieved with button controls. Shutter speed and aperture controls area also very easy and quick to adjust with dials. Shutter speed can be set from 1/2000 to 60 seconds and the aperture from F2.8 to F11 to meet a wide range of shooting conditions. The AE lock button, a new control, is convenient for taking multiple shots at the same exposure setting regardless of subject color conditions.

In addition to advanced features are great enhancements to basic functionality. A newly developed lithium-ion battery has increased capacity, allowing for up to 280 images with one charge. There are also 14 scene modes for beginning photographers, including five news modes: Baby, Soft Skin, Food, Starry Sky and Candle. Each scene has its own help screen to describe the affect and advise the photographer on how to get the best shot possible.

Major DMC-FZ30 Features:

  • 8-megapixel effective CCD for images up to 3264 x 2448 pixels
  • Leica DC-VARIO ELMARIT 12x zoom, equivalent to 35-420mm on a 35mm camera
  • Optical image stabilization to help prevent camera shake and blurring
  • Venus Engine II LSI for robust camera operations
  • Mega Burst continuous capture @ 3 or 2fps up to 7 images (4 in Fine mode)
  • Macro focus with autofocus down to 1.9 inches
  • 2-inch free-angle TFT color LCD monitor
  • Eye level color electronic viewfinder with dioptric adjustment
  • Program AE, Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority, Manual and 14 Scene modes
  • High Speed and Low Speed Continuous, AE Bracketing and Timelapse modes
  • 640x480 QuickTime movies, 30fps or 10fps w/audio
  • Shutter speeds from 1/2000 to 60 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, 32MB card included
  • Plug-n-Play USB, Mass Storage compliant
  • PictBridge Direct-Print compatible
  • Li-ion rechargeable battery and rapid charger included

Physical Views

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ30

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ30

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ30

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ30

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ30

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ30

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ30

The DMC-FZ30 compared in size to a standard CD disc.

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Features & Controls

Lumix DMC-FZ30 Specifications

Image Sensor 1/1.8" CCD, Primary Color Filter
8.32 Total Megapixels
8.0 Effective Megapixels
Lens Leica DC Vario-Elmarit 12x Optical Zoom
f=7.4-88.8mm (35mm equivalent: 35-420mm)
Manual zoom ring on lens barrel
F2.8 - F3.7 max. aperture
F2.8-F11 (W) / F3.7-F11 (T) adjustable aperture
2x/4x Digital Zoom (up to 76.4x when combined with Extra Optical Zoom)
14 Elements in 10 Groups (3 Aspherical / 1 ED Lens)
Extra Optical Zoom 4:3 Aspect Ratio: 15.3x for 5Mega, 19.1x for 3Mega, 2Mega, 1Mega
3:2 Aspect Ratio: 15.3x for 4.5Mega, 19.1x for 2.5Mega
16:9 Aspect Ratio: 19.1x for 2Mega
Focusing Area Normal:
Wide: 30cm/ Tele: 200cm - Infinity
Macro, A/S/M mode:
Wide: 5cm/ Tele: 200cm - Infinity
Focus TTL Contrast-Detect AF System
Normal/Macro (Dial)
Continuous AF On/Off
Manual Focus (Ring)
One-shot AF
Focus-Assist Illuminator
Optical Image Stabilizer MEGA O.I.S. (Mode 1 / Mode 2)
Image Processor Venus Engine II™ LSI
Recording Image Size (Pixels) Still Image:
4:3 Aspect Ratio: 3264 x 2448 pixels, 2560 x 1920 pixels, 2048 x 1536 pixels, 1600 x 1200 pixels, 1280 x 960 pixels
3:2 Aspect Ratio: 3248 x 2160 pixels, 2560 x 1712 pixels, 2048 x 1360 pixels
16:9 Aspect Ratio: 3072 x 1728 pixels, 1920 x 1080 pixels
Motion Image (Quick Time Motion JPEG) 30 or 10 fps (640x480, 320x240 pixels) with audio
Length of movies depends on available memory.
ISO Sensitivity Auto / 80 / 100 / 200 / 400
White Balance Auto/Daylight/Cloudy/Halogen/Flash/White Set 1 and 2
White Balance Adjustment (150K step, -1500 to +1500 K)(except for Auto WB)
Exposure Modes Auto
Program AE w/Shift
Aperture Priority AE
Shutter Priority AE
Scene Modes SCN1 and SCN2 is user-settable for:
Portrait, Sports, Scenery, Night Scenery, Night Portrait, Fireworks, Party, Snow, Self-Portrait, Food, Baby, Soft Skin, Candle, Starry Sky
Exposure Compensation 1/3 EV Step, ± 2 EV
Auto Bracketing AE ±1/3 EV - 1EV Step, 3 Frames
Light Metering Intelligent Multiple / Center-weighted / Spot
Shutter Speed Program/Aperture/Shutter: 8 - 1/2000 sec.
Manual: 60 - 1/2000 sec.
Self Timer 10 seconds / 2 seconds
Picture Adjustment Contrast, Sharpness, Saturation, Noise Reduction
Color Effect Mode Cool, Warm, Black & White, Sepia
Image Quality RAW / TIFF / Fine / Standard
Recording Format Still Image: JPEG(Design rule for Camera File system, based on Exif 2.2 standard), DPOF corresponding

Picture with audio: JPEG (Design rule for Camera File system, based on Exif2.2 standard)+ QuickTime

Motion images: QuickTime Motion JPEG

Mega Burst® Shooting Mode Full-resolution image:
Standard Mode: Up to 7 images at 3 or 2 frames/sec.
Fine Mode: Up to 4 images
Still Image Recording with Audio 5 seconds
Audio Dubbing Maximum of 10 Seconds
Built-in Flash Mode Auto, Auto/Red-eye Reduction,
Slow Sync./Red-eye Reduction
Forced On/Off
Flash Output Adjustment (1/3EV step, -2 to +2EV)
0.3 - 7.0 m feet (ISO Auto)
External Flash Hot Shoe
Real-time Histograms Yes
LCD Monitor 2.0" Diagonal Polycrystalline TFT LCD Display (230k pixels)
Field of view: approx. 100%
Viewfinder 0.44" diagonal Color EVF (230k pixels)
Field of view: approx. 100%
Built-in SD Card Slot Yes
Recording Media SD Memory Card (SD) or Multimedia Card (MMC)
Microphone Built-in
Speaker Built-in
Auto Review 1 sec/3 sec/zoom
Quick Review 1x/4x/8x
OSD Language English, Spanish, Japanese, Chinese, German, Italian, French
Playback Mode 9-Thumbnail Display
Zoomed Playback (16x max)
Image Rotation
Slide Show
Trimming, Protection
DPOF Setting
Direct Print Yes, PictBridge compatible
Interface DC Input, A/V Output (NTSC/PAL), USB 1.1
Power Supply Lithium-ion Battery Pack (7.2V, 730 mAh)(Included)
AC Battery Charger (Input: 110-240V AC)(Included)
Battery Life Up to 280 pictures (CIPA Standard)
Up to 300 pictures with EVF
Dimensions (H x W x D) 5.54 x 3.37 x 5.44 inches
140.75 x 85.5 x 138.1 mm
Weight 1.49 lbs / 674 g. without battery and SD card
Included Software LUMIX Simple Viewer, Photo Fun Studio
ArcSoft PhotoBase, ArcSoft PhotoImpression,
ArcSoft Panorama Maker
USB Driver
Included Accessories Battery Charger, Battery Pack, SD Memory Card (32 MB) Lens Cap, Lens Hood, AV Cable, USB Connection Cable AC Cable, Strap, CD-ROM

(Specifications as provided by the manufacturer.)

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