Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ20 Review

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Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ20

Review posted 10/08/2004

Introduction & Physical Views

Click on the Lumix FZ20 to take a QuickTime VR tour

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ20 is a 5-megapixel digital camera with a high-quality Leica 12x optical zoom. The Leica DC Vario-Elmarit 12x zoom is equivalent to a 36 - 432mm 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-FZ20 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 II 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-FZ20 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-FZ20'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 2-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-FZ20 Features:

  • 5-megapixel effective CCD for images up to 2560 x 1920 pixels
  • Leica DC-VARIO ELMARIT 12x zoom, equivalent to 36-432mm 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
  • 2.0-inch TFT color monitor with 130,000 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, 16MB card included
  • Plug-n-Play USB, Mass Storage compliant
  • PictBridge Direct-Print compatible
  • Li-ion rechargeable battery and rapid charger included

The Lumix DMC-FZ20 is available in black or silver and has a suggested retail price of $599.00. The camera comes with a lens hood to help diminish flare and ghosting when photographing extremely bright scenes. Also included are: a rechargeable battery pack and charger; 16MB SD Memory Card; A/V cable; USB connection cable; lens cap; carrying strap and software on CD-ROM.

Physical Views

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ20

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ20

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ20

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ20

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ20

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ20

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ20

The DMC-FZ20 compared in size to a standard CD disc.

The 2004 Lumix 12x Super-Zoom Family

The Lumix DMC-FZ15 is physically identical to the FZ20 but lacks the flash hot shoe, audio recording and has a lower resolution 4-megapixel imager, it sells for $499. 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-FZ20

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

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ20

The 5-megapixel FZ20 and 4-megapixel FZ15.

Continue to
Features & Controls

Lumix DMC-FZ20 Specifications

Image Sensor 1/2.5" CCD, Primary Color Filter
5.36 Total Megapixels
5.0 Effective Megapixels
Lens Leica DC Vario-Elmarit 12x Optical Zoom
f=6.0-72mm (35mm equivalent: 36-432mm)
Constant F2.8 max. aperture (Wide-Tele)
4x Digital Zoom (up to 48x when combined with 12x Optical)
13 Elements in 8 Groups (3 Aspherical / 1 ED Lens)
Focusing Area Normal:
Wide: 0.98 feet; Tele: 6.56 feet-Infinity
Macro, A/S/M mode:
Wide: 0.16 feet; Tele: 6.56 feet-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) 2560 x 1920
2048 x 1536
1600 x 1200
1280 x 960
640 x 480
1920 x 1080 (16:9 HDTV)

Motion Image: 320 x 240

Motion Image (Quick Time Motion JPEG) 30 or 10 fps (320 x 240 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
White Balance Adjustment
(except for Auto WB)
Exposure Modes Program AE w/Shift
Aperture Priority AE
Shutter Priority AE
Scene Modes SCN1 and SCN2 is user-settable for:
Portrait, Sports, Landscape, Night Landscape, Panning, Night Portrait, Fireworks, Party or Snow
Exposure Compensation 1/3 EV Step, ± 2 EV
Auto Bracketing AE +1/3EV-1EV Step, 3 Frames
Light Metering Intelligent Multiple / Center-weighted / Spot
Shutter Speed 8 - 1/2,000 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
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 +2EV)
0.98 - 22.97 feet (ISO Auto)
External Flash Hot Shoe
Real-time Histograms Yes
LCD Monitor 2.0" Diagonal Polycrystalline TFT LCD Display (130k pixels)
Field of view: approx. 100%
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) or Multimedia Card (MMC)
Microphone Built-in
Speaker Built-in
Conversion Lens Compatibility Yes, Wide angle and Telephoto available
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, 680 mAh)(Included)
AC Battery Charger (Input: 110-240V AC)(Included)
Battery Life Up to 240 pictures (CIPA Standard)
Up to 270 pictures with EVF
Dimensions (H x W x D) 3.43'' x 5.02'' x 4.18''
Weight 1.14 lbs
Included ArcSoft® Software ArcSoft PhotoImpression
ArcSoft Panorama Maker;
ArcSoft PhotoBase
Other Included Software SD Viewer for DSC
USB Driver
Included Accessories Battery Charger
Battery Pack
16MB SD Memory Card
Lens Cap
Lens Hood & Adaptor
A/V & USB Cable

(Specifications as provided by the manufacturer.)

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