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Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ45 review

Verdict

Decent photos and videos, especially at this price, but performance and features are lacking

Review Date: 18 Jul 2011

Reviewed By: Jim Martin

Price when reviewed: £190 (£228 inc VAT)

Overall Rating
4 stars out of 6

Features & Design
4 stars out of 6

Value for Money
5 stars out of 6

Performance
4 stars out of 6

Image Quality
4 stars out of 6

The DMC-FZ45 is an evolution of the older FZ38, with an improved zoom range of 24x. That might sound impressive in isolation, but it’s eclipsed by models offering 30x and more.

The 3in screen is large, but has a relatively low resolution of 230kpixels. The 14-megapixel figure looks more impressive, but with a the same 1/2.3in sensor as most superzooms, the benefits are minimal.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ45

Gripes aside, there’s still much to admire about the FZ45. Its battery lasts almost 600 shots, rivalling many DSLRs. All the controls are sensibly arranged, and a clickable jog dial means adjusting settings is easy. There’s full manual control, and Panasonic’s Intelligent Auto mode is excellent for point-and-shoot use. Autofocus tracking, meanwhile, helps when shooting moving objects.

The lens, although shorter than others, is sharp right across its range and into the corners of photos. At 600mm, shots were crisp in good light thanks to effective optical stabilisation, and the 25mm wide-angle setting is great for shooting indoors. Videos record at 720p and look great, too, plus you can zoom while recording.

There are two menu buttons. The QMenu lets you get at the most-used settings quickly. The main menu is overflowing with options, including the ability to set maximum ISO and minimum shutter speeds. You can also choose to shoot in RAW mode and JPEG simultaneously.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ45

As with other 14-megapixel bridge cameras, noise is obvious, but exposures are well judged and colours accurate. Details looked smudged, but we were happier with the images than with some more expensive cameras. Low-light performance wasn’t bad, despite some noise being apparent.

In the end, it was a close-run battle between the FZ45 and Kodak’s Z990 for best budget camera. The FZ45 just misses out thanks to the Z990’s superior quality in bright light and longer zoom.

Author: Jim Martin

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User comments

Too many Megapixels

All this shoe-horning of extra pixels on to a tiny sensor is the problem.
Manufacturers, and the photography press, seem to think huge pixel counts are important. But they create more problems than they solve. noise at high ISO levels is one, the need for a new computer is another. The average non-pro photographer surely needs no more than 8 Mp. So apart from marketing, what is the point of a 14Mp camera to the average camera user?

By flashsalmo on 21 Jul 2011

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