Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ1 Review

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Review posted 11/5/2007

Introduction & Physical Views

Click to take a QuickTime VR tour of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ18
Click on the Lumix FZ18 to take a QuickTime VR tour

Panasonic's Lumix DMC-FZ18 is a powerful "ultra-zoom" models that includes some very high- end features in a compact, stylish, and easy to use package. It combines an 8-megapixel image sensor, mated to a very versatile 18x optical zoom lens as well as Panasonic's new Intelligent Auto mode, WVGA (848 x 480, 30fps) widescreen movie mode, and not to mention their ever popular MEGA O.I.S.(Optical Image Stabilizer) system. The newly developed 28mm wide angle 18x optical zoom lens in the DMC-FZ18 boasts notable optical performance and compactness, to open the door for the new world of expression that has ever been thought impossible with a single compact camera.

The DMC-FZ18 packages a 28mm wide angle LEICA DC VARIO-ELMARIT lens with f/2.8-4.2 brightness and powerful 18x optical zoom (equivalent to 28-504mm on a 35mm film camera) together with a 8.1-megapixel CCD into a compact body. The lens unit comprises of eleven elements in eight groups, including three aspherical lenses and two ED lenses. Notably two ED lenses minimize the chromatic aberration that is likely to occur in telephoto images. This set of lenses secure picture quality high enough to pass Leica's stringent standards and delivers exceptional optical performance. With the long zoom range from 28mm to 504mm, equivalent to 18x, the DMC-FZ18 can be the best suitable camera to take expansive scenery with dynamic perspective and a close-up of a distant subject, having the appealing angle of view. Further, in 3- megapixel resolution mode, the Extra Optical Zoom function uses the center part of the CCD to provide additional magnification, extending the zoom power to 28.7x.

Panasonic incorporates both MEGA O.I.S.(Optical Image Stabilizer) to compensate for hand-shake and Intelligent ISO Control system to detect and suppress motion blur into all Lumix cameras, which are the industry's most advanced countermeasures against blurring.

In addition to these two paramount anti-blurring technologies, Panasonic keeps pursuing its own ideal that anyone at any technical level of photography can take beautiful pictures with ease, and Intelligent Auto mode is newly incorporated into Lumix. Increasing numbers of scene mode is one thing and taking advantage of them is another, and that's why here comes the Intelligent Scene Selector that automatically sets the appropriate scene mode according to the scene you're going to take among the most frequently-used scene modes such as Portrait, Scenery, Macro, Night Scenery and Night Portrait. The Face Detection system helps the camera to recognize a human face and focus and set AE. Up to 15 human faces can be recognized simultaneously. The Continuous AF system allows the camera to keep focus on the subject even without pressing a shutter button halfway, to get best result out of a shutter chance by minimizing the AF time. These multi-capable functions happen automatically, so you can shoot without the bother of adjusting settings every time conditions change. Lumix and its powerful Intelligent Auto Mode do all the work for you. You can enjoy easy, trouble-free shooting in any situation and get the satisfaction that comes with capturing clear, beautiful images.

The high-speed, high-performance image processing LSI is the Venus Engine III, which boasts shooting at ISO 1600 in normal recording mode and even max. ISO 6400 in high sensitivity mode*. Effective resolution has been increased to 8.1-megapixels, which supports the Extra Optical Zoom function, that provides additional magnification ?even up to 28.7x when taking photos with 3-megapixel resolution. The 2.5-inch large, high resolution LCD with 207,000 pixels, and the large, 0.44-inch Electric Viewfinder with 188,000 pixels, make it easy to see when monitoring and playing back images.

Panasonic redesigned the FZ18 to make it more stylish and enhance its operational ease. AF/AE lock button and Macro button is now independent to allow quick and direct operation. A long battery life lets the FZ18 take approximately 400 pictures (CIPA) on a single charge. And the FZ18 can save image data in the RAW file format, which can be edited and developed with included software. A metal-finished mode dial also adds further strength to the design while enhancing the grip with rubber to make it easier to hold. For users who feel that ordinary compact cameras simply do not give them the functions and control they need for full enjoyment, the Lumix DMC-FZ18 serves as a gateway to truly creative photography.

With TV screens getting bigger and picture definition getting higher, consumers want to be able to shoot higher-quality still images and motion pictures. Panasonic has long focused on making photography more enjoyable, such as by letting people view their images easily on a Viera TV, with its internal SD card slot. With the FZ18, you can shoot high-definition 1920 x 1080 pixel photos that are ideal for full-screen viewing on a wide-screen (16:9) TV. Panasonic also offers the DMW-SDP1 HDTV Photo Player, which makes it easy to view a slideshow of Lumix photos in 1080i high-definition quality.

In addition to recording standard VGA (640 x 480), the DMC-FZ18 can record WVGA (848 x 480) motion images at 30 frames per second. Fitting a wide-screen TV perfectly, these wide -aspect motion images captured by the FZ18 make for extremely impressive viewing.

Major DMC-FZ18 Features:

  • 8.1-megapixel effective CCD for images up to 3264 x 2448 pixels
  • Leica DC-VARIO ELMARIT 18x zoom, equivalent to 28-504mm on a 35mm camera
  • Mega O.I.S. (Optical Image Stabilization) system to help prevent camera shake and blurring
  • Venus Engine III LSI for robust camera operations
  • Full-Resolution Burst capture at 3fps (total of 4 images in Fine mode)
  • Face Detection AF technology for great portraits
  • Macro focus with autofocus down to 0.39 inches (wide)
  • 2.5-inch TFT color LCD monitor with 207K pixels of resolution
  • Eye level color electronic viewfinder with dioptric adjustment
  • Auto, Intelligent Auto, Program AE, Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority, and Manual modes
  • Four Advanced (Portrait, Scenery, Sports, Night Portrait) and 14 normal scene modes
  • High Speed and Low Speed Continuous or "Burst" modes
  • QuickTime movies WVGA (848x480) or VGA (640x480) at 30fps w/audio
  • Shutter speeds from 1/2000 to 8 seconds in Shutter priority, (up to 60 secs. in Manual/Starry Sky 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
  • Approx. 27MB of internal memory, plus SD/SDHC memory card slot
  • Plug-n-Play USB, Mass Storage compliant
  • PictBridge Direct-Print compatible
  • Li-ion rechargeable battery and rapid charger included

The DMC-FZ18 is available in Black or Silver with a suggested retail price of US$399.95, and ships with: Battery Charger, Battery Pack, Lens Cap, Lens Hood (L)(S), Hood Adaptor, AV Cable, USB Connection Cable, AC Cable, Strap, CD-ROM.

Physical Views

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ18

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ18

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ18

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ18

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ18

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ18

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ18

The DMC-FZ18 compared in size to a standard CD disc.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ18

The DMC-FZ18 and the 8-megapixel (also 18x Wide zoom) Olympus SP-560 UZ.

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Features & Controls

Lumix DMC-FZ18 Specifications

Dimensions (W x H x D) Approx. 117.6 x 75.3 x 88.2 mm (4.63 x 2.96 x 3.47 inch)
Weight Approx. 360g (0.79lb)
Approx. 407g with Battery and SD Memory Card (0.90lb)
Camera Effective Pixels 8.1 Mega pixels
Image Sensor 1/2.5", 8.32 Mega Total Pixels CCD
Primary Color Filter
Optical Zoom 18x
Extra Optical Zoom 4:3 Aspect Ratio: 23x for 5 Mega, 28.7x for 3 Mega, 2 Mega, 0.3 Mega
3:2 Aspect Ratio: 23x for 4.5 Mega, 28.7x for 2.5 Mega
16:9 Aspect Ratio: 23x for 3.5 Mega, 28.7x for 2 Mega
Digital Zoom 4x
(Max. 72x combined with Optical Zoom without Extra Optical Zoom)
(Max. 115x combined with Extra Optical Zoom)
Focal Length f=4.6-82.8mm (35mm Equiv.: 28-504mm)
11 elements in 8 groups
(3 Aspherical Lenses / 4 Aspherical surfaces)
Aperture Wide: F2.8 - F8.0 Tele: F4.2 - F8.0
Optical Image Stabilizer MEGA O.I.S. (Mode1 / Mode2)
Conversion lens Compatibility Yes
Focusing Area P / A / S / M / Intelligent Auto / Motion Picture: Normal: Wide 30cm / Tele 200cm - infinity
Macro: Wide 1cm / Tele (approx. 6x - 11x) 200cm - infinity
Tele Macro (approx. 12x - 18x): 100cm - infinity
AF Metering Face / 1-point / 1-point high speed / 3-point high speed / Multi-point / Spot
Focus AF-Macro On/Off, AF/MF Switchable, Manual Focus (Joystick), One Shot AF, Continuous AF On/Off
AF/AE Lock Yes
AF Assist Lamp Yes
ISO Sensitivity Auto / 100 / 200 / 400 / 800 / 1250 / 1600
(High Sensitivity Mode: Auto (1600 - 6400) )
White Balance Auto / Daylight / Cloudy / Shade / Halogen / Flash / White Set1/2
White Balance Adjustment (2-axis adjustable, ±9steps each)
(Selectable at Portrait (Normal, Soft Skin, Creative), Sports (Normal, Creative),
Baby, Pet and High Sensitivity mode)
Exposure Program AE, Aperture Priority AE, Shutter Priority AE, Manual, Program Shift (Program AE mode)
Exposure Compensation 1/3 EV step, +/-2 EV
Backlight Compensation Yes (at Intelligent Auto mode)
Auto (AE) Bracketing; +/- 1/3 EV ~ 1EV step, 3 frames
Light Metering Intelligent Multiple / Center Weighted / Spot
Scene Mode Dial: Playback, Intelligent Auto, P (Program) mode, A (Aperture Priority) mode,
S (Shutter Priority) mode, M (Manual) mode, Custom, Portrait mode, Scenery mode, Sports mode, Night Portrait mode
SCN (Food, Party, Candle Light, Sunset, High Sensitivity, Baby1, Baby2, Pet, Panning, Starry Sky, Fireworks, Beach, Snow, Aerial photo)
Motion Picture, Print
Advanced Scene Mode Portrait mode: Normal, Soft Skin, Outdoor, Indoor, Creative
Scenery mode: Normal, Nature, Architecture, Creative
Sports mode: Normal, Outdoor, Indoor, Creative
Night Portrait: Night Portrait, Night Scenery, Illuminations, Creative
Shutter Speed Program AE: 1-1/2000 sec.
Aperture Priority AE / Shutter Priority AE: 8-1/2000 sec.
Manual: 60-1/2000 sec.
Starry Sky Mode: 15, 30, 60 sec.
Self Timer 2 sec. / 10 sec. / 10 sec. / 3 images
Auto Review 1 sec, 3 sec, Zoom
Review 1x / 4x / 8x
Picture Adjustment Contrast: ±2steps
Sharpness: ±2steps
Saturation: ±2steps
Noise Reduction: ±2steps
Color Effect Mode Black & White, Sepia, Cool, Warm
Recording Format Still Image: JPEG (Design rule for Camera File system, based on Exif 2.21 standard), DPOF compatible
image with audio: JPEG (Design rule for Camera File system, based on Exif 2.21 standard) + QuickTime
Motion picture: QuickTime Motion JPEG
Recording Image Size Still Image: 4:3 Aspect Ratio: 3264 x 2448 pixels, 2560 x 1920 pixels, 2048 x 1536 pixels, 1600 x 1200 pixels, 640 x 480 pixels
3:2 Aspect Ratio: 3264 x 2176 pixels, 2560 x 1712 pixels, 2048 x 1360 pixels
16:9 Aspect Ratio: 3264 x 1840 pixels, 2560 x 1440 pixels, 1920 x 1080 pixels
Image Quality Fine / Standard / RAW / RAW + JPEG
Motion Picture 4:3 Aspect Ratio: 640 x 480 pixels, 320 x 240 pixels 30 fps, 10 fps
16:9 Aspect Ratio: 848 x 480 pixels 30 fps, 10 fps
Burst Shooting Mode Full-Resolution Image, 3 frames/sec.
Max. 7 images (Standard mode), Max. 4 images (Fine Mode)
Unlimited consecutive shooting Yes
Easy Zoom / Zoom Resume - / Yes
Still Image Rec. with Audio 5 sec.
Audio Dubbing Max. 10 sec.
Real-time histogram Yes
Composition Guide line Yes (2 patterns)
Built-in-Memory approx. 27MB
Scene Mode Help Screen Yes
Auto Angle Detection Yes
Flip Animation Yes
Travel Date / World Time Yes / Yes
Title Edit Yes
Text Stamp / Date Stamp Yes / Yes
Built-in-Flash Auto, Auto/Red-eye Reduction, Forced On, Forced On/Red-eye Reduction,
Slow Sync./Red-eye Reduction, Forced Off
Flash output Adjustment (1/3EV step, -2 - +2 EV)
ISO AUTO: 0.3 - 6.0 m (W) / 1.0 - 4.0 m (T)
High Sensitivity Mode: 1.15 - 24.0 m (W) / 1.0 - 16.1 m (T)
Viewfinder 0.44" Color EVF (188K Pixels), Field of View: approx. 100%
LCD Monitor 2.5" Polycrystalline TFT LCD Display (207K Pixels) Field of View: approx. 100%
Auto Power LCD mode, Power LCD mode, High angle mode
Playback mode 25-thumbnail display, 9-thumbnail display, calendar display, zoomed playback (16x max.),
Playback of favorite pictures, Creating still pictures from a motion picture
Category Playback (playback and slideshow of pictures in category)
Slide show (duration is adjustable, also manual controllable), image rotation
Resizing (selectable number of pixels), trimming, protection, aspect conv. DPOF print setting
OSD language English, German, French, Italian, Spanish, Polish, Czech, Hungarian, Russian,
Chinese (Traditional), Chinese (Simplified), Netherlandic, Thai, Korean,
Turkish, Portuguese, Arabic, Persian, Japanese
* Check the website of the Panasonic sales company in your country or region for details on the OSD language.
Recording Media Built-in Memory, SD Memory Card, SDHC Memory Card, MultiMediaCard
Microphone Yes
Speaker Yes
Interface DC Input, AV Output (NTSC/PAL), USB2.0 Full Speed
Direct Print PictBridge
Power Li-ion Battery Pack (7.2V, 710mAh) (Included)
AC Adaptor (Input: 110-240V AC) (Optional)
Battery life (approx.)
Included Software
400 pictures (CIPA Standard) / 400 pictures (with EVF)
LUMIX Simple Viewer, PhotofunStudio -viewer-
SILKYPIX Developer Studio 2.1SE
ArcSoft MediaImpression, ArcSoft PanoramaMaker
USB Driver
Standard Accessories Battery Charger, Battery Pack, Lens Cap, Lens Hood (L)(S), Hood Adaptor, AV Cable, USB Connection Cable, AC Cable, Strap, CD-ROM
* Check the website of the Panasonic sales company in your country or region for details on the optional accessories that are available in your market.

(Specifications as provided by the manufacturer.)

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Features & Controls

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