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Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ18

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      22.11.2010 22:58
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      A great camera to take with you and explore everything, just don't push it to high ISOs

      This camera is a super zoom (18x), meaning it has a huge range of focal lengths. This allows you to get a wide close up shot of a group of friends, but also a close shot of a furry animal far in the distance. All in one small package. This is the great appeal of this type of cameras, but they can have a drawback. When you build a lens that can do all these focal lengths, you run into two major issues: keeping the quality of the lens throughout and avoiding shacky images well you zoom all the way out.
      Panasonic in this camera does both things beautifully. The Leica lens is of great quality and can give you beautifull images throughout the range. I can't say about the current market, but at the time of my purchase of this camera, it was probably the best lens in this type of camera. Another great feature of this lens: 1cm focus, so you can get really close. Great plus for walkabouts in the fields.
      Panasonic's Mega Optical Image Stabilization (Mega OIS) does an amazing job at keeping the images crisp, down to capture speeds that would induce motion blur in your photographs.

      With these two things going for it, it makes great pictures, which only lack that fine detail of big sensors when you peep at the pixel level. This comment is more for those who are looking at buying either this or a DSLR. Yes, the DSLR will have a larger sensor which provides greater detail. Most users and almost any viewing size except uncommonly big prints, you won't notice the difference.
      Since I'm on the topic of the sensor... I does have a drawback, at least mine did, and from what I've research so did a huge number of these cameras: high ISO banding.
      When you hit high ISOs the camera not only showed a lot of noise (more than competitors like Fuji), it also showed artifacts in the shape of purple-ish bands of noise. These weren't generally extremely obtrusive, but usually you could tell it was there. Not good.

      The camera feels well built, although plasticky, which is natural and par for the course in this type of camera.
      The controls are well laid out, and can be used fairly easily with thin gloves. When it gets cold I like to use a pair of thin gloves, but even with thin cloth, allot of controls can be hard to feel in many cameras. A big plus for this camera is the little joystick. Most actions I need to make in the menus are accessible through this joystick. Its not only easy and quick, but also the easiest to operate with gloves. Awesome.
      The rest of the ergonomics are good, but of course, if you have normal hands, the grip will feel small. Thats just how most are designed in this class and in compact cameras. One thing that this camera does well is the thumb rest, its well designed and well placed, allowing you to balance the camera well with one hand.

      For serious users, you will like the fact that it has RAW, which is common for all cameras in this class, I believe. But lets face it, if you looking to use the RAW, it'll be for professional work, in which case, you'll want a different sensor. There are of course those who are used to using RAW with theirs DSLRs and like the idea of it for this backup/walkaround/take-on-trip camera. So its a plus, but not essential.

      Another feature worth mentioning is the barrel around the lens. It allows you to attach a tube which then allows the use of filters of different size (the lens itself takes 46mm filters) as well as teleconverters. This is a great plus for those users who buy this camera to expand their experience in different types of photography.

      Hope this has been useful.

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      13.02.2010 04:50
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      A good all-rounder for amateurs to pros

      As an artist, working largely from a studio environment, I needed a camera which would take me beyond the point-n-click of budget digital cameras. I was prepared (reluctantly as I don't really do high-end cameras) to buy DSLR, and started my shopping search accordingly. When I found the Lumix FZ-18 it seemed too good to be true, and I had to check it out with a friend who is into high-end digital photography. My main requirement was maximum zoom as my compact just wasn't getting close enough in, and his words were "it's a Leica lens, x18 zoom, good build quality, why haven't you ordered it yet?". So I did. And I have to say it's the best buy I ever made, given that I had to race around trying to find one in stock. What really impresses me is the battery life, it's good for 100+ images with flash, and 250+ in daylight. There are good deals to be had on any major shopping site for genuine Panasonic powerpacks, however, beware the cut-price non-branded ones as I bought 2 and one has died, and the other only holds a charge for approximately 50 shots (daylight), and that's only after 3 months.
      To be fair I haven't utilised the camera functions to their utmost, the one drawback I have found is that my compact digi had a "museum" setting that works in very low-light conditions without flash and the Lumix doesn't have an easy pre-set to do this (it may exist but I've not found it). Nonetheless the automatic setting covers most eventualities, although I have invested in both a clear sky filter (it protects that Leica!) and a polarising filter to minimise reflection- a lot of my photos are shot on the beach where the light reflections are incredibly deceptive and I am learning how to maximise it; both filters were made by Hama and are very good value compared to the branded ones.

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        08.03.2009 01:06
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        A perfect camera for keen photographers on a budget

        I'd been after a decent camera for a while, having become fed up with the basic "point and squirt" compacts. Similarly, I couldn't afford a full-on DSLR, especially not with a decent range of lenses as I was interested in shooting wildlife, often from quiter a distance. Eventually I purchased the FZ18 and I have been very happy with it. After speaking to a few experts, I understand that it is very highly regarded as a crossover between compacts and DSLRs, with plenty of adjustable settings including a proper aperture diaphram. It's great to use in "Simple Mode" as the camera will basically adjust all of the setting for you in a fraction of a second, but on the other hand if you want to spend a little time getting that perfect shot, it has a very clear and simpe menu that allows you to experiment with all of the relevent settings with relative ease. The only criticism I have here is the manual focus funtion, which is operated by a switch and is a little dim-witted and fiddly. I would have rather spent more money to get the next model up with the manual focus rings on the lense-body itself.
        Regardless of this, though, this is a fantastic camera with a lot going for it. It's durable, surprisingly compact, has a decent battery life, a fantastic flash, and a superb lense that goes form wide-angle to 18x zoom in a couple of seconds - no swapping lenses over as you would have to do on a DSLR. I'm a relative beginner at photography, and this camera has enabled me to take some beautiful shots and improve my photography no end. it is a pleasure to work with.

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        26.01.2009 22:56
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        Best camera you can buy for under £300

        How do you start to describe this camera. Well I guess the lens is as good as place as any. The high quality Leica lens is the main reason you'll want to buy this camera. The optics are highly regarded in professional reviews which consistently rate the FZ18 head and shoulders above it's competitors. It has an outstanding focal range which is the equivalent to a 28-504mm zoom on a 35mm camera. There is inbuilt image stabilization to help cope with this huge zoom which works very well... but obviously it can't perform miracles so you will still get blurred images if shooting handheld shots at 18X in low light levels. When used in normal light or with a tripod, images are excellent. In wide macro you can shoot as near as 1cm from your subject. The zoom is just wow!!!!

        There is an almost overwhelming selection of modes on the FZ18 so you may be pleased to discover there is an Intelligent Auto Mode which will take care of everything... ISO speed, metering, face recognition, autofocus, etc, all you need to do is point and shoot. I use this Ai mode 80% of the time on all sorts of subjects and get superb results.

        About 10% of the time I use Program mode which allows me to set a slow film speed and then just leave everything else to the FZ18. This is handy when I have the camera on a tripod for landscapes and don't want it to sacrifice film speed to prevent camera shake. Occasionally I'll use Aperture Priority or Full Manual.

        There are numerous "scene" modes you can set for taking portraits, landscapes, sports, night shots etc. There are far too many modes to mention but trust me, Panasonic have everything covered from a candlelit dinner to a fireworks display! Handy if you are going to be taking several pictures in the same location but to be honest I have never used any of these modes nor the custom presets which you can set up yourself. The standard Ai mode is so good it detects faces, landscapes, backlighting and sets the appropriate exposure.

        If you've upgraded from an old SLR you'll probably enjoy using the Shutter Priority and Aperture Priority modes which both do exactly what it says on the tin and are great for classic photography. There is also a Manual mode in which you can set everything yourself including manual focus. The 2.5" LCD makes it easy to frame and review your shots.

        This camera has too many features to describe in a short review so perhaps it's easier to tell you what it lacks. Maybe there are just too many features, it can be difficult to navigate at times and you can spend ages trying to find something like autobracket. Image quality drops quite dramatically as ISO speeds gets higher. There is no remote or cable release. You cannot zoom once you have started filming in movie mode. An obvious but annoying thing is that the camera does not fit in your pocket. So while you don't need to carry a large camera bag full of extra lenses, flashes, etc, you do still need to sling a small bag over your shoulder. The LCD screen is fine but the viewfinder is very, very small which is disappointing as one of the main reasons I chose this camera was to use a viewfinder. Apart from that it's all good.

        While the quality of printed images are very good compared to point and shoot cameras, they are not in the same league as DSLRs. 7X5 prints are very good and 8X10 are OK. I haven't printed anything onto bigger paper.

        The supplied battery pack is excellent and recharges and holds it's charge much better than my Fuji.

        If you want a simple point and shoot camera to stick in your pocket, forget it. However, if you are pining for an expensive DSLR but haven't yet won the lottery this could be ideal for you. It looks cool, has more features than you can shake a stick at and is the best camera you can buy for under £300.

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          03.01.2009 09:40
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          I would be lost with out this camera

          There have been some great reviews written already so I will keep mine short.
          This camera was recommended to me by my brother who's into photography after I short listed a few within my budget.
          Specifications: 8.0 Megapixels, 28-505 optical zoom, maximum ISO 6,400, Burst mode shot-to-shot time 1.34 seconds how fast picture is taken at highest resolution possible), weight 450g size 7.5x12.5x11cm (approx)

          What I like about this camera is its ability to take top quality close ups and wide landscapes. The LCD shows you exactly what picture you are taking. Battery life is good and even for a novice it is easy to use. I was put off by the manual when I first got it but after sitting and going through it, I am now able to take much better photo's. Comes supplied with a lens hood which will minimise lens flare, which before I got this camera I didn't know what it was !

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          31.10.2008 13:05
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          A great step on from the compact cameras

          After developing an interest in photography through a previous job, I was keen to get an SLR camera. Having pestered my parents in the run-up to Christmas, I received this camera, and it was love within a few hours! My parents, understandably unsure of whether my new love of photography was simply a passing phase, had seen this as a good compromise between an SLR and the compact digital cameras. And they were right.

          The camera is lightweight and easy to use. I never actually read the instruction manual, but instead prefered to play around with settings and find what worked for me. With an impressive zoom and good size digital display screen, the quality of pictures you can take is amazing.

          The only downside for me, is that if you switch to using the viewfinder for viewing, it provides a digital picture, rather than what you are actually seeing, and it took a bit of getting used to for me to use the screen to take pictures, rather than the viewfinder.

          I've received many compliments on my pictures taken with this camera, and it's flexibility means you can either use it as a point-and-shoot or play around with settings and use it in a more manual fashion. I've even had people ask if the camera is an SLR!

          If you want slightly more from your camera, and want something a bit more substantial than the compacts, while maybe not having the technical level, bulk and cost of an SLR, then this may well be the camera for you.

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          04.10.2008 14:21
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          A superb camera for the price. Nice balance of features against cost

          Prior to buying this camera I had little experience with digital cameras. My previous Olympus SLR had served me well but the future is digital and I was fed up with carrying around the cumbersome zoom lens.

          What I needed was a camera with a reasonably high pixel count and with a very good zoom capacity. I also wanted something that could act like a 'point and snap' if necessary.

          In steps the Panasonic DMC-FZ18. It comes in black or silver. For some reason sometimes one colour is cheaper than the other and as I result I ended up with the silver version. The -S or -B at the end of the model number tells you whether it will be silver or black - otherwise, as far as I can tell, there is no difference.

          The camera looks nice and has a nice feel in the hand. It is chunky - this is not what you buy if you want a camera to slip into your top pocket - but this is the price you pay for that fabulous 18x zoom. It still weighs less than my old SLR and no need for extra lenses (though you can buy telephoto and close-up lens adaptors which further extend the range).

          The camera has a massive range of features and modes which result in a manual of about 140 pages. It is therefore somewhat daunting unless you are familiar with this type of camera. I found it best to put the camera on 'intelligent auto' (iA) mode and use it as a 'point and snap' whilst I familiarised myself with the manual and some of the features after that extending to other modes. The iA mode is great as it spots what sort of picture you are taking and automatically selects the right mode.

          If you are familiar with cameras where you can adjust shutter speed, exposure and so forth it has this capability - providing you with everything you might need if you are an experienced and knowledgeable photographer.

          The camera comes with a battery and it is not a bad idea to buy a second one if you are likely to be out and about as the zoom can use quite a bit of power (this is true for any of these super-zoom cameras). Having said that, I found when taking holiday snaps it lasts for ages (the manual estimates 400 pictures).

          The camera has some 27Mb of built-in memory, but you will need to get a memory card if you are going to take anything more than a minute number of photos. You will often find a decent package offering memory card and camera as a bundle for virtually no extra cost so worth looking at the total cost of purchase. A word of warning on memory cards though: this camera uses full size SD cards. If you want to use cards above 2Mb then they must be SDHC cards (2Mb or less can be standard SD cards). High speed cards are recommended for video.

          Quality-wise the pictures are excellent. I cannot criticise in any way. Perhaps if I was a professional or dedicated photographer I could comment, but for the average joe-public the quality is astounding, even when at full zoom.

          The only criticism I have of the camera at all is that sometimes I find the auto-focus a little slow to react and settle. Pressing the shutter button half way down does seem to make it focus, but there's probably a setting somewhere I need to change!

          Overall, a superb package. It delivered exactly what I needed - high quality photos, great zoom capability, but the ability for simple point-and-snap. The range of features allows me to take a greater range of photos than I ever could with my SLR - well done Panasonic!

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            11.09.2008 21:52
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            A great camera for novice users

            I love this camera. I started an interest in photography a year ago and my family chipped in and got me this camera. It's brilliant especially for a first time user. It's not too technical and extremely easy to use. The quality of the pictures are fantastic I got some real stunning shots using this.

            Its got an ati shake mode, so my pictures are hardly blurry! There's many different modes too. I tend to use the I mode and can adjust the MP and ISO.

            It's a really good feature to have on a camera. It's easy to upload pics too. I just pop my memory card into the laptop and off i go.

            I am still getting used to all the functions. I have to confess the simple modes a godsend, but need to be encouraged to use the other fuctions to get the best use out of the camera.

            The zoom and focus are good too, you can get some real good close ups which are very clear.

            All round camera great for beginners! Ooh and my profile pic was taken using this camera.

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              27.03.2008 19:34
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              An excellent camera, by far the best that I have ever used.

              I had been after a Digital SLR for some time, and when the opportunity arose to buy one I did just that. Well, that's not actually technically true. By rights this camera is not a digital SLR, but in fact a compact 'superzoom' camera, it looks like a digital SLR and definitely performs like one though. I had been saving for a while, not really with anything particular in mind to buy at the end of my saving spree, just in the knowledge that if I saved for long enough then I could eventually buy something that I would not normally be able to. As it turns out, the product I ended up buying was this very camera and I have to say that I have not been at all disappointed with my purchase. I bought it from Pixmania.co.uk for a price of £245, a reliable website that I have used many a time in the past for a number of different electrical goods.

              Aesthetically the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ18 is beautiful, a lovely looking camera and one of the best looking of its kind in fact that I have ever seen. It's all black appearance was greatly alluring for me, and was the reason I looked into the camera further and eventually decided to buy it. For many a year I had wanted to purchase a Nikon SLR, I have long been an admirer of their D40 model and will no doubt one day buy this dream camera of mine, but for the foreseeable future this Lumix is the camera for me. It will be a long time before I'm in the market for a digital SLR camera, and my outlay of £245 therefore seems a lot less substantial than I had previously thought. I tried and tested a number of different cameras before finally settling with this one, and am certainly glad that I made the final choice that I did. Not once has this camera let me down, and always the pictures that I take impress.


              - Size and Weight -

              First and foremost, when buying a new camera you need to consider the size and weight of any given camera before making a purchasing decision. You'll be wanting to take the camera out and about with you, and therefore if the camera is too big then it's going to prove to be too bulky when on the move and it's just going to annoy you. Similarly, if a camera is too heavy then carrying it around can become quite a chore and you may find yourself not wanting to take the camera out and about with you due to its cumbersome presence. This particular camera has a weight of 360g and dimensions of 4.63 x 2.96 x 3.47 inch (width, height and depth respectively). This camera I feel is the perfect size and weight, any larger and it would be quite a nuisance to carry but it's just right I feel. When holding the camera I do not feel that it is at all on the large side, and its weight merely makes it feel sturdy and strong. Too light and you wouldn't be able to hold the camera with comfort, and similarly you may not notice if it had gone from your person (I'm prone to losing things). The weight of this camera allows it so sit comfortably in the hand, and it makes its presence well known without ever feeling overly heavy.


              - Ease of Use -

              I am by no means a professional photographer, somewhat of a novice in fact; but even I can take a professional quality photo with this camera. I would therefore suggest that this camera is extremely easy to use then, I certainly have no problems in utilising its many features. In the past I have done little more than point and click with the cameras that I have owned, if the picture was good then I was glad of it, if bad then so be it. Since purchasing this Panasonic Lumix camera however I have found myself taking far more care over my photos and adjusting settings in order to take the best photographs possible. It's not difficult to do, and the camera does in fact have many features to take full advantage of.


              - Picture Quality -

              As my first digital SLR style camera, I have nothing really to compare the quality of my prints to. I have however looked at pictures taken by various other similar cameras on-line and find the quality of those taken with this Lumix to be up there amongst the best. Regardless of situation, this camera always seems to come up trumps in taking an excellent photo and never appearing at all dull or dreary. The photographs taken with the camera are always rich in colour and beautiful to look at, I've definitely been thoroughly impressed with some of the fine camera work I have shown since I purchased this camera. A few years back I was taking photos I was really quite ashamed of, no such worry now though as I capture some beautiful images that are bursting at the seams with colour and life.

              Images can be taken in four different formats; Fine, Standard, RAW, and RAW+ JPEG. Picture quality using all four modes I have found to be excellent, but there are certainly some major drawbacks in utilising 'RAW' and 'RAW+ JPEG'. If using either of these modes then you can prepare for a long wait when taking your photos. 'RAW' will take around 10 seconds to save pictures, and 'RAW+ JPEG' will take an even more frustrating 15 seconds. The times I am quoting are if you're utilising the inbuilt memory of the camera, but if saving to an SD card then the time taken to save is still quite long (although roughly half what it is when saving the files to the camera internally).

              Due to the 8.1MP rating of this camera, pictures as large as 3264x2448 can be taken. Although this is obviously something that is not always necessary, it is nice to have these sorts of capabilities with the camera (even if it is quite memory draining to take pictures at such high resolution). Only a couple of times have I utilised the capabilities of this camera to that degree and on all occasions I have been greatly impressed with the photographic outcome.


              - Video Recording -

              As well as being able to take stills, video capture is also possible with this particular Panasonic Lumix camera. I have never owned a video camera, I have never felt the need to really (although deep down I've always wanted to buy one, I just can't justify the expense), I have used this camera for capturing videos quite a bit though. Much like with taking pictures, video quality is excellent with this camera and has always impressed me. Videos can be captured at a maximum resolution of 848 x 480 pixels, and in my opinion this is excellent. I did not buy the camera for taking videos, just for taking photographs, but the video recording capabilities of this camera have been greatly pleasing to see. Ultimately I do want to own a video camera eventually, technology astounds me and I love to own all the latest gadgets; this camera however is great for capturing video and the need for a Video Camera for me is therefore no longer there.


              - Memory -

              Built-in to this camera is roughly 27MB of memory. This is obviously not going to be enough to meet your requirements and in fact allows you to store very little at all. The camera does however accept SD cards, SDHC cards, and MultiMedia cards also, so there are plenty of options open to you for expanding upon the memory that is already built-in to the camera. When I bought this camera, at the same time I also bought a 4GB SD card to store all my photographs on. Shop around and you can find one of these for as cheap as £10, it really is quite incredible how cheap SD cards are becoming and I could in fact have bought an 8GB SDHC card for only £28.99 from mymemory.co.uk had I felt the requirement to, but decided that 4GB would be plenty enough space for me.


              - LCD Screen -

              The screen on this camera is plenty big enough at 2.5 inches. It is crisp and clear, a perfect place to view your photos in small before blowing them up later on the computer. It is a 230K Pixels screen and pictures as a result can be displayed in great detail, beauteous in their full glory and never with this screen do they ever appear dull. LCD screens on digital cameras are an extremely important feature I feel as if the camera is not blessed with a decent screen then you never know quite whether you've taken a good picture or not. The screen on this Lumix certainly allows you to tell, and if you do ever take a bad picture with this camera (a difficult task) then you will soon know about it.


              - Zoom Feature -

              Being quite a beginner in the photography field, my knowledge about the 'zoom' capabilities of cameras had been quite limited. When spending out £250 however, I certainly looked into this more closely and found that this particular camera is greatly blessed in the way of zoom. It has 18x optical zoom, and 4x digital zoom. This I feel is extremely substantial and allows for excellent pictures to be taken in all circumstances, a feature that renders interchangeable lens cameras as somewhat pointless. Great pictures can be taken without the need to keep changing lenses with this camera, an easy to use and highly practical solution to all your picture taking requirements that's for sure.


              - Computer Connectivity -

              When you purchase this camera, you are supplied with not only the camera itself, but USB cable, battery and all the required software also. Once the camera is bought you can simply install the software to the computer/s of choice, and then you'll be ready to go and will be easily able to connect the camera to your computer using the USB cable supplied. Given that the camera utilises SD memory, the great thing is that if you've got a computer that has a built-in SD drive then you can simply take the SD card out of the camera, insert it into the computer and view the files this way. This removes the need for using a USB cable, and if you're using a laptop and are quite limited in the way of USB ports as I am then this is something that you may find to be particularly useful.


              - Battery Life -

              With a professional camera of this sort, as great a battery life as possible is always most appreciated. I have found the battery life of this particular camera to be more than adequate. The battery will last for roughly '400 pictures' according to the specification, and this should be more than enough to fulfil your picture taking requirements. I can't say I've counted the number of pictures I can take before the battery life runs low with this camera, but this certainly sounds like a realistic figure to me and is one that I really can't complain with. On very few occasions have I drained the battery entirely, generally I'll recharge long before the battery runs low and I feel that this method is really of best benefit. I always feel that running the battery down to nothing hampers the performance of electrical products slightly sometimes, that's certainly something I've found in the past anyway and am therefore always quite weary of this.



              - Final Thoughts -

              Given that you can pay upwards of £1000 for a digital SLR camera, I feel that the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ18 actually offers exceptional value for money. It may sound quite expensive when you look at the figure on paper, but the excellence of the camera certainly justifies the price tag and makes the monetary investment well worth your while. Obviously if you're on a tight budget then this camera is not really a realistic avenue for you to go down, but then again I think that it's worth saving up for if you can. It's quite economical in that if you buy this camera then you won't need to buy another for a long, long time, whereas if you go for a cheaper model then you will perhaps find yourself upgrading far sooner. The camera comes in either silver or black, but I personally feel that the black is the far more beautiful of the two and therefore I took little time in opting for the black model as opposed to silver.

              This is the best quality camera that I have ever owned , and it's certainly opened up my eyes to a whole new level of photography. I find myself thinking about angles, lighting, and camera settings when taking my pictures now, something that I have never done before. My photography efforts have before been a bit lacking, but now my creative energy surprises me. I'm starting to think like a professional photographer now, all as a result of my beautiful Panasonic Lumix. I'm not a professional, but from the quality of the pictures I can now take you'd never know it. Photography is so much more fun now that I have my lovely Lumix and I thoroughly suggest that you too consider investing in this camera. You certainly won't be left disappointed.

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                09.02.2008 16:27
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                A great camera to learn new skills with!

                As a lot of people on this site already know I am a professional photographer and as such I own many cameras but the camera I am about to review is actually one that I do not personally own but have been spending a lot of time with of late.

                At my photography club we have access to many cameras as well as the ones we own, this is very beneficial to a serious photographer because different cameras operate in slightly different ways just like the photographers themselves.

                I gave this one a few weeks run out on the advice of a friend and what sound advice it turned out to be. The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ18EB-K is not a DSLR camera although it might look like one but it is far more advanced than an average point and shoot digital camera. This type of camera is known as a bridge camera because that's exactly what it is doing, bridging the gap between point and shoot and DSLR.

                DSLR cameras are completely controlled by the photographer whereas a point and shoot digital camera will have loads of pre-set settings to enable the photographer to get better results without knowing much about the settings. This camera can do both, it comes with many built in pre-sets but can also offer the photographer the chance to set things like shutter speed, focus, ISO and aperture settings manually.

                This camera would therefore be an excellent choice for someone making their first step up from basic point and shoot photography such as holiday snaps and family albums to more serious photography such as portrait and landscape. It is however fully functional enough to be of use to serious amateurs and maybe even low end professionals. I have had great fun using it but it falls a long way short of the £1800 DSLR I am used to.

                The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ18EB-K comes with MEGA Optical Image Stabilizer which is great for taking shots without a tripod as it eliminates almost all blur that may occur from an unsteady hand. It is an 8.1 megapixel camera with an 18x optical zoom, 28mm wide-angle Leica DC VARIO-ELMARIT lens and unique Intelligent Auto Mode. The perfect choice for any photographer with varied photographic needs.

                Important specifications
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                Optical Zoom 18 x
                Digital Zoom 4 x

                ISO Sensitivity Auto /100 / 200 / 400 / 800 / 1250 / 1600
                White Balance Auto / Daylight / Cloudy / Shade / Halogen / White Set,

                Shutter Speed Program AE : 1-1/2000 sec
                Image Quality Fine / Standard / RAW / RAW+ JPEG

                Built-in-Flash Auto, Auto/Red-eye Reduction, Forced On, Slow Sync./Red-eye Reduction, Forced Off

                LCD Monitor 2.5 Inch Polycrystalline TFT LCD Display (230K Pixels), Field of View : approx. 100 per cent, AUTO Power LCD mode, Power LCD mode, High angle mode

                Power Li-ion Battery Pack (7.2V, 710mAh) (Included)

                You will notice from the list of specifications that this camera allows you to store images in RAW format this is especially important for professional photographers or for anyone serious about image editing programmes. When shooting models I always use RAW format because this allows you to trim figures and airbrush imperfections from the photos with the best results.

                The images I have taken in the few weeks of using this camera have mostly been of very high quality, there is sometimes a very slight discolouring at the very edges of pictures taken on the highest ISO setting but this will not affect the average photographer in the slightest and only really comes into effect when the image is intended to be greatly enlarged.

                The camera is not too heavy and is just the right size to feel comfortable in your grip, the controls are all easily accessible whilst the camera is in use and it's easy to switch from one setting to another in the blink of an eye. As with most digital cameras these days this one can take video footage as well as still images, it does this quite well but obviously not to the standard of a camcorder so do not be tempted into getting rid of a camera and camcorder thinking this could take the place of both. As a camera it is excellent but as a video camera it doesn't compare!

                I have done a bit of research into the price and availability of this camera and can tell you that it can be found on line for prices ranging from £269.99 - £329.00 but check carefully what accessories and guarantee are being offered because this varies too.

                All in all for around the three hundred pound mark I would say this is a great camera for someone serious enough about their photography to warrant the spend.

                Thanks for reading, hope this has been of some use to you!

                ©2008 thebigc1690

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              • Product Details

                PRODUCT FEATURES:

                MEGA optical image stabilizer

                Intelligent auto

                8.1 megapixel

                18x optical zoom

                2.5 inch LCD