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I inherited this camera from my husband over two years ago when he got a more advanced Nikon. At that time I had a simple 5Mpix Samsung, so was just in raptures to receive this one, a proper camera. Now, of course I would love to upgrade it to something more Nikony or Canony and with more megapixels. What I love about the more professional cameras is that they give a proper depth to photos, even in the auto mode. Now that you know my main quality requirement, let's talk about the camera itself.
1. A vast number of modes and settings. Not knowing much (= not knowing anything) about photography, I guess I am using no more than 10% of the modes and settings on this camera. I've got my favourite modes, naturally, and really appreciate the ability to shoot in black-and-white (and sometimes sepia). Some more advanced modern cameras don't have this setting.
2. Nice and compact design. The camera is convenient to hold and use the main controls. Having the pictures displayed on a decent size LCD screen is also a good idea. And at the same time, it is not bulky.
3. A good zoom. The 12x optical zoom is further assisted by a bit of digital zoom (which is disastrous for quality, so I wouldn't recommend using it).
4. Quality. This criterion depends on the purpose you use this camera for. It is quite capable of producing decent images at ISO80 and with good light, so if you are just shooting for yourself, not for an art gallery or a stock photography site, ths camera is pretty good. I use it to take pictures for my blog and under certain conditions it almost works magic, even though I do keep on sending envious glances at my husband's Nikon D60.
5. Pretty good battery life.
6. Add-on lenses (that you have to get separately) giving you an opportunity to adjust the camera for your requirements.
7. The lens cap attached to the camera on a thin lace. The devil's in the detail. At least you can be sure you are not going to lose the cap. Believe me, it's important. :)
What's not so good:
1. Quality. I did complain above about the depth of field which I (with my "deep" knowledge of photography) find rather hard to achieve without switching to manual focus of using lots of zoom. Quite often in normal English light images come out a bit grainy at 100%. And, of course, there is a difference between 6Mpix and, say, 12Mpix. After all, the camera is not that new now. Technology goes out of date quickly.
2. Multiple modes and settings. Yes, it is good, but it's also bad. As a non-professional user, all I want it to do is produce good quality images with as little effort on my side as possible. The camera instead gives me all the controls I know nothing about. So while I find certain modes vital, I keep on living in almost total ignorance of this Lumix's full power: am I getting the best of it or just the basics?
3. This is not a disadvantage, just a tip: get a decent size SD card for it. Mine is only 512Mb and I easily run out of space within a day when visiting some interesting places.
I guess my main problem with this camera is that it has only 6Mpix and isn't as quality-advanced as I would like it to be now, in 2011. And guess what? This problem has very little to do with the camera. It's just telling me I want to upgrade. Giving this Lumix 4 stars out of 5 only because it is rather dated now. Other than this, it is a very decent camera for everyday and even semi-professional use (I managed to sell a few photos taken with it).
Having owned this camera since new for about the last three years I've come to know what this camera does best and also where it falls short in certain areas.
The camera is what is known as a bridge camera, basically it's inbetween a normal point and shoot affair and a digital SLR..... It contains all the features of the simple point and shoot and most of the features of the SLR (it does fall short of some important points which I'll try and explain later).
So what does it do and how good is it really?
Well as a point and shoot it is good, very very good in fact! Having taken it on several holidays and many day trips I can say that the long zoom of 12x makes it possible to take some pictures that other point and shoots would have no hope of doing, we took it to Disneyland Paris and I was able to take a nice shot of the castle but not only that a full frame full 6 megapixel image of a gold cherub sat on the very top, the other cameras we took could not even get close!
It has a "simple mode" which allows pretty much anybody to use it, everything is simplified including the menus. Anybody I've handed it to has been able to take nice pictures without me showing them how to use it which is a big plus point to me, my whole family can take pictures whenever they want and they don't have to learn how to use it.
The photo's are very nicely coloured, very sharp, and take very minimal processing to get some very decent prints, the largest of which I have done been an whopping A3.
It features antishake technology to allow you to use the full length of that gorgeous Leica lens meaning that even in cases of low light levels you can still get that picture, oh talking of low light levels, it has a focus assist lamp that is missing on a lot of lower models meaning it can still focus in pretty much darkness however unfortunately, having that long zoom does mean it isn't as good at taking low light pictures as some others, it just doesn't seem to let as much light in meaning it has to choose a higher ISO setting allowing more noise from the sensor into the picture.
So where does it fall short?
It can take photo's in a variety of different JPEG compressed formats allowing you to fit more onto a card, if you want to have an uncompressed shot you can choose TIFF which will avoid JPEG artifacts but it would have been nice to have a RAW mode allowing for exposure changes and so on when importing from the camera, this is the one thing I miss from my previous Canon G2.
The low light level picture taking.
Would I buy it again? For sure, I do miss the (albeit shorter zoom) lens and features that are missing from my previous bridge camera but the for features and quality this is a hard camera to beat at it's retail price point.
You may have seen this review before because I have posted it on Ciao, It is all my own work and I wanted to post it on here so others could see what I think about the Panasonic DMC-FZ7.
I brought this camera nearly 3 years ago and I have taken thousands of photos with it in various conditions and it performs really well. The 12x zoom is a very useful feature which is a welcome on this "bridge" camera, there has been many times when I needed to long zoom to capture the action. The 3 frames a second image capture has been a real help when im photographing diffrent sports due to there fast movement. I have been to several motorsport events such as F1, rally, hillclimb and other events and its performs really well.
Being a bridge camera it has the P,A,S,M settings to control aperature,shutter etc or if your feeling lazy or are getting used to the camera and you can put everything to automatic so the camera does all the work for you. As you become more confident in using the camera you can then begin the numerus settings that are easily accessible through the camera's menu. The menu's and the camera itself are really easy to use and all the buttons are in sensible easy to reach places making it a joy to use.
Another bonus with the camera is that it can also shoot video which does come in handy. The only thing I dont like about the video is that when shooting you cant zoom in or out which can be a bit of a pain. But that said it is a camera and not a camcorder so I would rather have the video than not at all.
The picture quality is very good and I have printed a few of my photos out to A4 size and they look fine with no pixelation, It looks lovely seing photos I have taken at A4 size becuase you can appreciate them more.
Overall I have been very pleased with how the camera has performed and it has been used in many diffrent circumstances. For example I went to Iceland and I was using it when it was -9 with no problems at all. If I was asked to reccomend the camera to anyone without a doubt I would say yes.
I was tired of not having a decent digital camera (I was actually still using the old film cameras three years ago...) so, as usual, did a lot of net surfing to compare different models. I was definitely on the market for a bridge camera. That is to say, not a compact featureless camera, but not a professional reflex (and expensive) camera. After comparing many models I came across this one. It looked good on paper and the price of about £230 at the time seemed quite reasonable.
The camera is not heavy at little more than 300g and does not feel cheap. I thought I was handling my friend's expensive Canon film camera. The buttons are nicely laid out and a large turn wheel allows you to choose between the different preset picture modes, film mode, fully manual mode or photo playback.
The screen is large enough at 2.5" and lets you visualize the scenes before shooting with quite good comfort, also showing the different settings, battery life, how many pictures you can still take and the focus ares. Most of these are user configurable so you can have more or less information displayed,which will also cramp it up. It is bright enough for comfortable outdoor use. Instead of a viewfinder like in SLR cameras you have an electronic viewfinder consisting of a smaller high resolution LCD. You can switch between both at the press of a button.
The camera has what Panasonic calls a Mega OIS, or image stabilizer. Mega or not it does its work extremely well and you will particularly notice this in high zoom or low light conditions where you may find it impossible to take a decent picture without it.
The menus are simple and comprehensibly organized and most settings are self explanatory.
The best feature of this camera by far is its excellent lens made by Leica, a German company that also manufactures highly advanced and precise research microscopes. It features a 12x optical zoom that can be extended to 14.7x in lower resolution settings. Even in the highest zoom setting the pictures remain sharp and show very little chromatic aberrations. Plus, the lens fits in quite a compact space and the zooming mechanism is internal meaning that once powered the lens will extend out but will not extend further when zooming.
Another feature that was decisive for my choice was the battery life. It is advertised that you can take 320 shots on a single charge. Of course real life use is more demanding with constant power on and off, flash, etc, but I found that even still it last for many many shots. At my friend's wedding a few weeks ago I took more than 250 shots throughout the day, including night shots with flash and finished the day without recharging it.
It also has its bad sides, unfortunately, and the one I can pinpoint to this otherwise perfect machine is that the sensor tens to get noisy in high ISO settings. This can be at times quite noticeable.
In the end this is a very capable machine and I can only imagine that the new models that came out from the same series are a step further.
I have owned this camera for nearly 2 years now and have had very impressive results. It has 6 million pixels and a 12 x zoom lens.
The model I own is actually the same as this but with the suffix K to denote the all black body rather than the silver and black model illustrated, I found this colour more appealing and less prone to sticky finger prints and discolouration.
The lens is the real star of this camera made by German specialist Leica. It has a zoom range of 36 - 432 mm which is very impressive in a body of this size.
Coupled with the lens is Panasonics Venus II engine electonics, which is both fast and reliable and includes a nice function that help to prevent hand shake especially with long shutter settings. And this really works.
There is a simple mode which is great for beginners or when you hand the camera over to somebody else, there are also some handy preset modes such as portrait, starry sky, beach as well as full manual controls for the more serious user.
The body of camera is larger than most compacts but no where near as bulky as an SLR camera, its a good middle ground. This camera has a lot more manual functions than most compact cameras alllowing you to experiement and be more creative, manual focus, shutter and aperature are available.
Pictures are stored on a SD card but you will really need to upgrade the supplied card to a bigger 1GB plus size.
The camera is also cabable of recording video images upto 30 frames per second in a variet of modes including a 16:9 widescreen aspect mode.
As I said before I have very good results from this camera in a variety of conditions. It does take a while to understand some of the more complex settings but the inclusion of a simple point and shot mode means anyone can use it, but you have the advantage of moving up into a more complex camera without having to change the camera.
Reliability has been excellent.
After much internet surfing and comparison i purchase one of these from currys online for £229(couple of months ago now so prices have come down since)
My main aim was to use this for wildlife photos as well as the usual family snapshots.
The thing that drew me to this model was the 12x optical zoom and thanks to this i have taken some great bird pictures and even had a few published.
The camera operates fantastically on the simple mode it even automatically focuses on moving subjects but focus but the biggest problem for me is that this is a really high spec camera and i am only using about a tenth of the functions.
The main reason being i am not an expert photorapher (on the other hand i am not stupid either) but the manual may as well be written in a foriegn language!!
If you have quite a bit of expert knowledge already its probably really simple otherwise i would opt for a point and press type camera instead
I have 3 DSLR (Fujifilm S1 Pro, S2 Pro & S3 Pro), whilst they serve me well, and helped me make tons of money, I've always wanted a compact camera that is small and light enough to carry with me everyday. Lugging either one of the Fujifilm Pro series camera would be a nightmare and less fun. The Lumix FZ series caught my attention about a year ago with its handsome and solid design, back then it only offers 5 megapixel, whilst it recieved rave reviews then, it did not give me a strong enough reason to pick one up. However, the latest FZ7 have since made some small but significant improvements, like moving up to 6 mega pixels together with some light nip and tucks here and there to make it even better looking. Thumbs up to Panasonic in keep the design simple and clean.
I was looking for a 12 x camera with OIS, and I was considering a FZ5 when I come across the Panasonic DMCFZ7BS. For just £30 more, I thought it would be better to get a newer camera.
This camera was great; a big improvement over my LZ1. The best thing (and selling point) about this camera is its 12 x zoom. What it did not say on the box is that it becomes 16.5 x zoom if the picture is taken below 6MP, which is over 450mm! The OIS works to cancel out hand shake at such huge zoom numbers. There are bags of controls for you to fool around with. You can even set/fine tune your own white balance, the weakest point of most digital cameras. Although having said that, the flash is not neutral, and if you are using the flash, you must set it to flash wb, unlike Canon cameras. But that has not been a problem yet.
Some digicams can have filters fitted to them, but you need to buy an adaptor. Not with the FZ7. The lens hood adaptor also works with 52mm filters. Although I am not an expert with filters, this allows me to play around with them. I have a UV filter permently fitted to it these days to protect the lens.
With any cameras, the most important thing is the image quality. The FZ7 is fairly good in this aspect. The Leica lens helps a lot here. There are some complaints with noise on this camera, but with OIS, I can be using ISO80 most of the time and the pictures will turn out perfectly fine.
Macro mode is meaningless on this camera. It can successfully focus down to 5cm from the lens. I had never found the need for switching to Macro mode.
What I do not like (but have to live with it) is it does not use AA batteries. This means I have to make sure my main and spare are fully charged before going on a long trip.
Another thing is that Panasonic does not make a custom bag for it. I had to use a SLR bag, but this camera is not really SLR size. I can fit this AND my LZ1 in the bag nicely, which says a lot about the small size of this camera.
The main design fault of this camera is the joystick control thing. Most people do not find it easy to use, as it is not in the most natural position. The IR assist lamp tends to be blocked by the other hand, but it still managed to focus correctly without the light (at most times).
As a whole, this camera is perfect for a serious amateur who wants to play a little with SLR like controls but also wants to have a point and shoot when he does not feel like it.
When I broke my Olympus Mju recently and was able to replace it on the house insurance, I decided to opt for a camera where picture quality and optical zoom were the important issue. Not the size (I figure with mobile phones having a 3.2 cybershot camera, that's all I need in my pocket) and I can do without another little tiny fiddly camera where I'm scared to place my fingers because they may be in the way. So I was open minded about trying a new (to me) type of camera, possbibly chunkier etc.
So off I toddled to my local city centre and wandered around the various camera shops, asked lots of questions and got a lot of advice. In each shop the final thing I asked was "If you had £350" to spend on a camera and weren't bothered about size, more about lense and Zoom, which would you buy?" In each shop I got the same answer, the Panasonic FZ7. I decided to give it a try, knowing I could take it back if I didn't like it.
It only comes with an 8mb card which on 6 million megal pixels alows for one photo which is a pig really, so I had to wait a couple of days for my 2GB SD card to arrive from 7DayShop.com (about £18 - not bad). That will hold about 350 pictures at the optimum quality, much better! Once it came I got playing and WOW! For a camera that looks a bit bulky, it is SO light, this is partly down to the build which can feel a bit plasticy when you are used to a metal Mju, but also down to the lithium battery which saves on weight. The LCD screen in HUGE and the controls are very easy. I have to admit to not actually reading my instruction manual yet as I am very impatient and like to work it out and just have a play, but for the more advanced features and to get the best used out of it, I really must do once the children have gone back to school.
The camera has a Lumix lense which I'll admit means nothing to me as I am just an enthusiastic Mum who fancies herself as a hobby photographer and has taked about 50 billion pics of her poor children, but with this camera I can pass myself off as knowing what I am doing. It takes absolutley AMAZING pictures and there is virtually no time lag, I love the feature for taking loads of photos one after the other, in conjunction with the 12x zoom it means I can get great pictures I would have otherwise missed. The 'record' function for recording a sound bite after each picture is very handly for ebayers etc who want to know what each picture is of.
All in all, this is a FAB camera, I have no regrets so far. I now ant to do a photography course (and read the manual of course). Only down-sides, comes with a pathetic 8mb card which is neither use nor ornament. It doesn't come with a case which I think is rather mean when you pay £300 for a camera.