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I bought this camera for my partner as she had been pestering me for ages for one, and to say she was over the moon is putting it lightly! With its 12 megapixels, 18x optical zoom 28x when using the camera digital zoom, 2.7 TFT LCD screen and all the rest of the bells and whistles!
On first use it does pay to actually read the manual as if you are a novice to these newfangled cameras then all these various settings and options can prove rather daunting, but if you persevere then its as though your photographic life can begin anew.
I tend to just leave the camera in "Auto" as this covers nearly all the situation I find myself in and the camera does all the work bar pushing the shutter release. The camera is easy to use and is not to heavy or bulky so you can take it with you on most journeys or excursions. As an added bonus you can take HD movies and i have found then to be of fantastic quality! I find that when my partner allows me to use the camera I just pop in my SD card and away I go. Its as easy as point and click at the subject or target and you get amazing shots as if a professional had been snapping them!
On the downside I found that with all the different options you can find yourself lost trying to find how to change the ISO settings or find the right setting to capture the close up image of a drop of dew on a petal, but it is still the best camera I have ever used and would recommend it to anyone looking to invest in a great piece of photographic equipment.
When my husband bought me this camera as a present and I was both ecstatic and overwhelmed. It looks like a professional SLR, it has hundreds of features and honestly I had no idea how to use it.
This model will set you back about £200-300, a drop in the ocean compared to a proper SLR, but still not cheap for a camera.
The camera looks like a SLR, it's big and bulky, but not too heavy. It fits nicely into your hands and looks pretty professional.
This camera has a whole slew of features.
12.1 megapixels and 18x optical zoom.
It takes HD movies and intelligent auto with face recognition
There is also many different scenes and settings to help the less experiences user out
The 2.7 TFT Screen LCD display is great for reviewing your images
Ease of Use
As overwhelming as this camera might look to the novice, it really is as simple as point and click to start. Just turned the dial to auto, press down to focus and then press to take the photo. This is plenty to take some amazing photos. The quality is fantastic, clear, concise and usually very good in composition. You can also choose a different scene, like fireworks, candlelight or pet and many many others, to really get the perfect image.
The more experienced user can play with any setting possible to compose the perfect image, to adjust for atmospheric conditions and light and to alter the appearance to create mood. There are so many options, you will never get bored of trying new things.
I love how easy it is to take a good quality picture. I don't need to really think about it, just point at my subject and click. If I want to play with all the settings I have that option too, and I have tried new things out since getting this camera. For example, recently I tried light painting using a long exposure, and I've really had fun playing with camera techniques. The camera is heavy as you'd expect, but not too heavy to carry around all day if you want to.
The zoom is brilliant, and I think you can add another lens if you want to increase zoom, but as it is, it works very well and is as easy as just moving a little switch back and forth.
To change the automatic setting, you can simply turn the dial to macro setting, or action setting in seconds and simply work from there without needing to play too much with the settings.
The LCD screen is the perfect size and works well, even in bright light and the HD movies are very high quality and better than some video cameras I have.
The battery power is fine, you can use it all day and not run out. In fact if you don't use it at all, or only a little bit, one full charge lasts weeks and weeks.
I think there are so many options that finding the right one can be difficult. Other than that I don't really have any complaints.
I'm sure there are better cameras out there, but this one is the perfect combination of high-end digital SLR and easy-to-use novice camera. I am still learning the features of this camera over 18 months later, and I suspect I will be enjoying it for many years to come.
If you want an SLR, but don't want to pay SLR prices this is a great start. In fact I can't think of anything else I could want in a camera.
Was looking for a good camera to go on holiday with and take some really good pictures. Looked at quite a few point and shoots and a few DSLRs but found both types were not to my liking. The point and shoots did not have many features and controls. The DSLRs were way to expensive and too complicated. So I was pleasantly surprised when I found this camera on some camera website and they described it as the best of both worlds. It have the body and functions of a DSLR but much smaller and cheaper. It is also is easy to use like a point and shoot and quite similarly priced.
When I received it, i was surprised to find that it was not as big as I had initially thought. It was also quite light and well shaped. I could quite easily use 1 hand to fiddle with the controls and take a picture. The picture quality is just great in daylight but like most cameras, you need a steady hand when taking pictures in low light conditions. Though the built is auto steady feature is so good that the majority of my low light pictures turned out ok. And if you fiddle with the settings and increase the shutter speed, you can get quite good pictures at night.
The video taking capabilities of the camera is pretty good. Image quality is great and crisp at 720p and the sound quality from the dual microphones give is great. But you will need to convert the video files to another format if you want to share it with others as the .mts format adopted by panasonic is not widely used.
Battery life is truly incredible, with it lasting over 3 days of my holiday without needing to be recharged (I think I took about 1000 photos but did not take many with the flash so that is probably why it lasted so long)
Overall, I am very satisfied with this camera and would recommend it to anyone who is looking for a new camera.
My first proper digital camera was a simple point and shoot which allowed me to fall in love with photography. After a few years I decided to upgrade from a simple point and shoot and buy a higher quality camera.
I chose this camera to be my upgrade becuase it is as close as you can get to an SLR without it actually being one. Firstly its cheaper and has many of the same features such as full manual control. The things it misses out on are that the sensor is not as good a quality and you cannot change the lense. The reason i dont like SLR's is because they are too fiddly and to be able to have a good zoom you have to buy a huge and very expensive lense, which i couldn't and can't afford. This camera removes this problem becuase it has a huge 18x optical zoom which allows you to focus in on subjects a very very long distance away. And also a great macro ability which can focus on objects actually touching the lense. I have been able to take beautiful pictures of birds and other wildlife using it. The results are flawless providing you have the right setting selected.The camera has great anti blur so even images that you take zoomed right in are free from blur.
The camera also has the ability to record 720p HD video which has produced great quality videos with strong colours and minimal shake, you can even zoom while recording which some cameras do not allow. The battery is great and lasts for about 400 shots.
The only downside i have found with this camera is that it is not so good at taking images at low light as when the ISO is above 200 i found the images to become grainy, so you cannot use that to your advantage, if wanting high quality low light pictures.
Overall and AMAZING camera for the price and would highly recommend it to annyone who wants a great camera.
I've always had a bit of an interest in photography and recently bought this camera to take me away from a simple point and click and into something a bit more substantial! It was on offer at Amazon and having reviewed the 'customizability' of the camera decided there was enough which could be done with it to satisfy my needs.
The camera can be used as a point and click by simply taking it out of the box and using on intelligent auto setting, however for those of us who likes to experiment (or 'mess about' if you're not comfortable using a technical term for what is essentially a case of just having fun!) there is plenty to get on with by turning the dial and having a go with the shutter priority setting (good for getting longer exposures) for indoor shots where you're perhaps not supposed to be using a camera (ie situations where you don't want a great big FLASH to give you away!).
The camera also takes fantastic close ups and I've successfully taken really detailed photos of spiders (money spiders not tarantulas!), however to really get the best out of your close ups you probably need the micro lense which can be bought separatelt (alongside an adapter to allow it's attachment).
The video function is good, I didn't notice much noise when zooming (zooming in itself was a novelty as my previous camera didnt allow zoom whilst recording video) and the image quality is more than reasonable. If you want a video recorder buy one, if you just enjoy taking random videos at random times then the abilioty to record via a one-click method is great.
I'm still relatively new to the camera however it's been a pleasure to use so far!
As a student who is interested in photography, I wanted a camera which allowed me to experiment with the settings and try out different techniques. I couldn't afford an SLR, but I didn't want a simple point and shoot, so I decided on this mid-range camera.
Inside the box, I found the camera, a lead to attach to the computer via USB, a lead to play photos and videos on a TV, a battery and battery charger, neck strap, lens cap, and lens hood. Everything worked and the camera was easy to start using straight away.
The camera looked good and was easy to use and hold. The large size took a while to get used to, as I was used to smaller compact cameras, and a camera of this size and weight can be a little annoying to carry around all the time. The screen was large, and I liked the option of looking through a viewfinder, as you would with a traditional camera. The buttons were arranged well, and the camera menus were easy to navigate. One slight problem was the "joystick", which is used to focus and change other settings - it is too small in my opinion, and easy to push in the wrong direction. The shutter button is large and easy to press, and the zoom is conveniently positioned just in front of it. On top of the camera is a wheel to change between modes, which is quick and easy to use.
The camera is suitable for almost everyone, as beginners can use the intelligent auto mode and the wide variety of scene settings to take great quality pictures without the hassle of changing settings manually, while there is also the option to experiment.
There is a scene option for virtually every situation, and the camera has face detection which automatically focuses on the faces of the people in the picture. You can even teach the camera to "recognise" certain people, and focus specifically on them. This is a great feature, and you can even allocate names and ages to people/pets.
The scenes available to choose are -
High Speed Burst
Macro (close up)
Using these settings the camera does all the work, all you have to do is press the shutter and the results are usually pretty good. The scene modes also have an explanation in the camera, which helps you to choose the best one.
If, like me, you prefer to experiment more and choose your own settings, then this camera will not disappoint. This camera has many manual settings, allowing you to control shutter speed, aperture, iso and flash. You can use autofocus, or focus manually on subjects - when using manual focus the camera enlarges part of the scene, which is very helpful. In "creative mode" you can change the brightness, contrast and colour of pictures, and choose different colour modes like sepia, warm, cool and black and white, making many different types of photo possible. A self-timer with 2 second and 10 second options allow the photographer to be in photos, as well as reducing camera shake when using a tripod. The pop up flash helps to get good lighting, although can cause red eye. The zoom is good, and even far off objects are seen in great detail.
As well as taking photos, the camera records HD video, and there is a button just above the screen which allows you to start recording immediately, meaning that you'll never miss an opportunity. The video quality is good, although the sound could be better. Connecting the camera to a TV to show off your photos is fun - you can choose from several slide show options which will add music and transitions to your pictures!
I have owned this camera for around 6 months now, and I am still finding new things to do, meaning the camera is always fun to use.
I was torn between going up to a digital slr or staying in the compact world... Then I was drawn to the myriad of features of this 'bridge' camera that covers the middle ground between the convenience of a compact and the more creative features of an slr. What appeals to me about these bridge cameras are things such as the long zoom range (18x) on this model + there's 720p HD video recording with stereo sound too! Lots and lots of features that I'm still discovering on this great camera. Everything from the extremely clever Ai that detects the type of photo you're trying to take and adjusts itself automatically for the best shot to great quality HD video. But there's plenty of manual overrides too if you're feeling creative! The photo quality is superb! I took this camera on a recent trip to New York and it did a great job especially from the top of the Empire State Building - I could zoom right down to the streets below - amazing! I can heartily recommend this great camera to anyone who fancies that bit more creative freedom and breadth of features without the need to carry a ton of slr lenses around with you. It's all there - all of the time!