Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ7 Review

Click for our main menu

Review posted 2/24/2006

Introduction & Physical Views

Click to take a QuickTime VR tour of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ7
Click on the Lumix FZ7 to take a QuickTime VR tour

Panasonic's latest addition to its Lumix "super zoom" line is the six-megapixel DMC-FZ7. This compact and lightweight camera features a high-quality Leica DC VARIO-ELMARIT 12x optical zoom (equivalent to 35mm to 430mm on a 35mm film camera) with Panasonic's MEGA Optical Image Stabilizer.

The DMC-FZ7 is Panasonic's most "anti-blur" camera ever, addressing the two major causes of blurred images: hand movement and subject movement. It incorporates Panasonic's acclaimed MEGA Optical Image Stabilization technology, which uses a gyrosensor to detect and compensate for hand movement by shifting internal lens elements. It is a true optical system; the image is not electronically processed so there is minimal degradation and exceptional picture quality. MEGA OIS is especially important when utilizing the 12x optical zoom as even the smallest hand movement could ruin the shot. With MEGA OIS, the image remains steady.

Additionally, the new DMC-FZ7 features a new High Sensitivity Mode which suppresses blur caused by quickly or unpredictably moving subjects, especially when shooting indoors with fast shutter speeds. The MEGA O.I.S. feature and High Sensitivity Mode allow the user to shoot with a maximum ISO 1600 setting.

The DMC-FZ7 packs a wealth of advanced technology and easy-to-use features in a sleek, compact package. It is equipped with both automatic and manual controls that meet the needs of advanced users and beginners alike. The auto focus settings include a wide area 9-point, 3-point high speed, 1-point normal speed, Spot autofocus and a 1-point high-speed autofocus. The latter nearly eliminates the time lag that often occurs with high-magnification zoom shots, letting you capture those great, spontaneous moments. An AF-assist Lamp provides extra lighting as a focusing aid for slightly dark situations where AF focusing would ordinarily be difficult.

Panasonic's LSI Venus Engine II handles image processing, LCD functions, and writing to the memory card simultaneously, making the DMC-FZ7 incredibly responsive with an industry-leading release time lag of 0.008 seconds minimum and shutter interval of approx. 0.5 seconds minimum. The LSI also enables lightning-fast consecutive shooting capability, capturing sequential shots at a rate of up to 3 frames per second at full resolution. An unlimited consecutive shooting function allows the user to take photos in succession until the memory card is full. The LSI also improves horizontal, vertical and diagonal resolution.

The DMC-FZ7 is powered by a large 710 mAh battery to help extend the amount of pictures taken on one charge; 16 scene modes; 4x digital zoom; color viewfinder; 2.5-inch LCD monitor; and normal (640 x 480) and wide (848 x 480) VGA motion image recording. Optional accessories include ND filters, AC adaptor, MC protector, close-up lens, wide conversion lens and tele conversion lens.

Major DMC-FZ7 Features:

  • 6-megapixel effective CCD for images up to 2816 x 2112 pixels
  • Leica DC-VARIO ELMARIT 12x zoom, equivalent to 35-430mm 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 14 images @ 3 frames per second
  • Macro focus with autofocus down to 1.9 inches
  • 2.5-inch 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
  • QuickTime movies HDTV/VGA 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, 16MB card included
  • Plug-n-Play USB, Mass Storage compliant
  • PictBridge Direct-Print compatible
  • Li-ion rechargeable battery and rapid charger included

The DMC-FZ7 is scheduled for March delivery and will have a suggested retail price of $399.95.

Physical Views

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ7

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ7

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ7

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ7

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ7

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ7

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ7

The DMC-FZ7 compared in size to a standard CD disc.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ7

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ7

The 6-megapixel 12x Konica Minolta Z6 and the DMC-FZ7

Continue to
Features & Controls

Lumix DMC-FZ7 Specifications

Image Sensor 1/2.5" CCD, Primary Color Filter
6.37 Total Megapixels
6.0 Effective Megapixels
Lens Leica DC Vario-Elmarit 12x Optical Zoom
f=6.0-72mm (35mm equivalent: 35-430mm)
F2.8 - F3.3 max. aperture
F2.8-F8 (W) / F3.3-F8 (T) adjustable aperture
4x Digital Zoom (up to 66x when combined with Extra Optical Zoom)
11 Elements in 8 Groups (3 Aspherical)
Extra Optical Zoom 4:3 Aspect Ratio: 14.7x fpr 4 Mega, 16.5x for 3 Mega, 2 Mega, 1Mega, 0.3 Mega

3:2 Aspect Ratio: 16.5x for 2.5 Mega

16:9 Aspect Ratio: 16.5x for 2 Mega

Focusing Area Normal: Wide 30cm/ Tele 200cm - infinity

A/S/M: Wide 5cm/Tele 200cm - infinity

Macro, Motion Image, Simple (except for Tele): Wide: 5cm/Tele 200cm - infinity

Macro, Motion Image, Simple (Tele Macro Mode): 100cm - infinity

Focus TTL Contrast-Detect AF System
AF/MF Switchable
Manual Focus (Joystick)
Normal/Macro (Dial)
Continuous AF On/Off
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: 2816 x 2112, 2304 x 1728, 2048 x 1536, 1600 x 1200, 1280 x 960, 640 x 480

3:2 Aspect Ratio: 2816 x 1880, 2048 x 1360

16:9 Aspect Ratio: 2816 x 1584, 1920 x 1080

Motion Image (Quick Time Motion JPEG) 30 or 10 fps (16:9 848x480 / 4:3 640x480, 320x240 pixels) with audio
Length of movies depends on available memory.
ISO Sensitivity Auto / 80 / 100 / 200 / 400 (High Sensitivity Mode: Auto/800/1600)
White Balance Auto/Daylight/Cloudy/Halogen/ Flash/White Set 1/2 White Balance Adjustment (except for Auto WB)
Exposure Modes Auto
Program AE w/Shift
Aperture Priority AE
Shutter Priority AE
Scene Modes Portrait, Sports, Scenery, Night Scenery, Panning, Night Portrait, Fireworks, Party, Snow, High Sensitivity
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 8 - 1/2,000 sec.: Program AE, Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority AE

Manual: 60 - 1/2000 sec.

Starry Sky Mode: 15, 30, 60 sec.

Self Timer 10 seconds / 2 seconds
Picture Adjustment Contrast, Sharpness, Saturation, Noise Reduction
Color Effect Mode Cool, Warm, Black & White, Sepia
Image Quality 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 13 images at 3 or 2 frames/sec.
Fine Mode: Up to 7 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
Wide: 0.3 - 6.0m (ISO Auto)
Tele: 0.3 - 5.4m (ISO Auto)
External Flash n/a
Real-time Histograms Yes
LCD Monitor 2.5" Diagonal Polycrystalline TFT LCD Display (114k pixels, Transflective Type) Field of view: approx. 100% Power LCD Mode, High Angle LCD Mode
Viewfinder 0.33" diagonal Color EVF (114k pixels)
Field of view: approx. 100%
Built-in SD Card Slot Yes
Recording Media SD Memory Card (SD), 16MB included
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, 710 mAh)(Included)
AC Battery Charger (Input: 110-240V AC)(Included)
Battery Life Up to 320 pictures (CIPA Standard)
Up to 340 pictures with EVF
Dimensions (H x W x D) 2.84 x 4.43 x 3.11 inches
Weight 0.68 lbs 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.)

Continue on to the
Features & Controls Page

Return To Our
Reviews Menu

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.