Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ45 review
Decent photos and videos, especially at this price, but performance and features are lacking
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.
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.
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.
|Price ex VAT||£190|
|Price inc VAT||£228|
|Features & Design||4|
|Value for Money||5|
|Camera megapixel rating||14.1mp|
|Camera screen size||3.0in|
|Camera optical zoom range||24x|
|Camera maximum resolution||4,320 x 3,240|
Weight and dimensions
|Dimensions||120 x 92 x 80mm (WDH)|
|Battery type included||Lithium-ion|
|Aperture range||f2.8 - f5.2|
|Camera minimum focus distance||0.01m|
|Shortest focal length (35mm equivalent)||25|
|Longest focal length (35mm equivalent)||600|
|Minimum (fastest) shutter speed||1/2,000|
|Maximum (slowest) shutter speed||1 mins|
|Bulb exposure mode?||no|
|RAW recording mode?||yes|
|Exposure compensation range||+/- 3EV|
|ISO range||80 - 1600|
|Selectable white balance settings?||yes|
|Manual/user preset white balane?||yes|
|Progam auto mode?||yes|
|Shutter priority mode?||yes|
|Aperture priority mode?||yes|
|Fully auto mode?||yes|
|Burst frame rate||1.8fps|
|Memory-card type||SDHC, SDXC|
|Secondary LCD display?||no|
|Data connector type||Proprietary USB|
Manual, software and accessories
|Full printed manual?||no|
|Software supplied||PhotofunStudio 5.2 HD Edition, Silkypix Developer Studio 3.1 SE|
|Accessories supplied||Lens hood, USB and AV cables|