Product Type: Panasonic digital cameras
Newest Review: ... focus, so you can get really close. Great plus for walkabouts in the fields. Panasonic's Mega Optical Image Stabilization (Mega OIS) does a... more
A very good super zoom with a problem with high ISO
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ18
Member Name: kirnist
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ18
Advantages: Mega OIS, Leica lens, 18x zoom!
Disadvantages: High ISO not that great, Purple Banding...
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.
Summary: A great camera to take with you and explore everything, just don't push it to high ISOs
|Ease of use:|
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