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I would like to start this review by stating that I only received this camera as part of my insurance company's loan product, whilst my primary camera was being repaired. It would never be my choice of camera. However, I would like to go on and inform you that it actually surprised me.
I have never been a fan of bridge cameras: I find the zooming ability pointless, and manufacturers tend to skimp on image quality to boost the zoom capability. Unfortunately (for me), I was actually surprised when I gained a decent image quality, at an impressive distance. Especially when it is considered that a zoom lens for a DSLR camera would cost around the same price as this camera! For a second I would not want to mislead you into thinking that this is a suitable replacement for a DSLR camera, but for the price I hope you would not expect it to be. It lacks a professional quality to the image capture, however it is fantastically easy to use and the quality and zoom functions beat that of a small point and shoot camera.
I would suggest this product to somebody that is considering a start in photographing nature, it is great for getting up close images, whilst providing good quality. Though it must be mentioned that the flash is slightly disappointing, but this can be put down to the fact that the camera is powered by AA batteries, a MAJOR let down for me as they simply don't hold their charge, still, an upside to this is that AA batteries are available everywhere, so if it is that the batteries die, they can be replaced quickly. But for me, it is cheaper and easier to carry an second fully charged battery in the camera bag for this occasion, it's cheaper and in my opinion, easier! With the addition of a rechargeable Lithium-ion battery would earn this camera a four star rating.
Those that may have not understand, 35x optical zoom means that the image you are seeing is actually generated by the lens, as opposed to digital zoom which is created, well digitally. This means that whereas on a mobile phone, or an inexpensive point and shoot camera, where you get grainy and blurry images, you get crisp images, even at long distances. Something which I have seen on bridge cameras before, however, usually manufacturers add extra zooming capability with an added digital zoom. A mistake which leads inexperienced users to feel underwhelmed by image quality.
To summarise, a fantastic camera for the price. I'm still not a fan of bridge cameras as they simply lack what DSLR cameras provide, but nonetheless, it is user friendly, which I've begun to expect from Panasonic Lumix cameras, and it does take some great photos.
The camera has been sent back to the insurance company and mine repaired and returned. An exchange I was happy to make, but, for the time it lasted I must say that it was quite enjoyable to be using the DMC-LZ30E-K!
The DMC-LZ30 features 25mm wide-angle lens with a 35x optical zoom (35mm camera equivalent: 25-875mm). The Extra Optical Zoom function extends zoom power to 78.8x (at 3-megapixel resolution) by using the center part of the 16-megapixel high resolution CCD to bring subjects even closer. Not only drawing near the subject distant away the 25mm ultra wide-angle lens captures wider angle of view compared with a standard 35mm camera. The DMC-LZ30 is equipped with P / M mode for users a step above the beginners to enjoy more creative photography. Users can set the aperture to control the depth of field and adjust the shutter speed to freeze moving subjects or create a motion blur that exaggerates the feeling of movement. The DMC-LZ30 newly integrates popular Creative Control with 10 effects and Creative Retouch with 11 effects. The Creative Control lets users shoot with a filter effect while checking how it makes difference on the picture. The Creative Retouch enables applying a filter effect on the picture after shooting in camera. The Panorama Shot makes it possible to shoot a horizontal / vertical panoramic image with consequent shots taken by overlaying the previous picture. The iA mode is incorporated in pursuit of the ultimate ease of operation and the reduction of miss-shots. It is a comprehensive integration of the Optical Image Stabilizer Face Detection Intelligent Scene Selector Intelligent Exposure and AF Tracking - the camera does all the work leaving you free to compose shots. The O.I.S. (Optical Image Stabilizer) minimizes blurring without causing deterioration of image quality. The DMC-LZ30 records dynamic HD video in 1280 x 720p in QuickTime Motion JPEG. Recording motion images can be started with a press of an independent video button on the top of the camera which is extremely convenient for users to switch photo/video shooting instantly. Zooming is also available to draw subjects distant away. Users can also sort and archive the images via a bundled software PHOTOfunSTUDIO Ver. 9.0 LE and upload them to the SNS (social networking services).