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Panasonic DMC-FZ30 review Gordon Laing, January 2006


 



 




The following images were taken with the Panasonic DMC-FZ30. The recording mode was set to 8M Fine mode, thereby using the full 8 megapixel resolution and the least-compressed JPEG setting; unless otherwise stated, the pictures were taken in Program mode with the default settings. The individual file sizes, shutter speeds, aperture, ISO and lens focal length are listed for each image.

The crops are taken from the original files, reproduced at 100% and saved in Adobe Photoshop CS2 as JPEGs with the default Very High quality preset, while the resized images were made in Photoshop CS2 and saved with the default High quality preset. The three crops are typically taken from far left, central and far right portions of each image.


Church: 3.91MB, Program, 1/200, f8, ISO 100, 7.4-88.8mm at 7.4mm (equivalent to 35mm)

Panasonic DMC-FZ30 at 7.4mm   Panasonic DMC-FZ30 at 7.4mm upper left crop   This shot of a city-center church demonstrates the FZ30's wide angle capabilities.

The crops are sharp and detailed, but it's worth comparing the overall coverage with that of the Fujifilm S9500 taken from the same spot.

The FZ30 composition is fine, but the S9500's wider angle allowed us to capture people sat outside the front.
     
  Panasonic DMC-FZ30 at 7.4mm middle crop  
     
  Panasonic DMC-FZ30 at 7.4mm lower right crop  


Market: 3.88MB, Aperture Priority, 1/3, f8, ISO 100, 7.4-88.8mm at 7.4mm (equivalent to 35mm)

Panasonic DMC-FZ30 at 7.4mm   This photo of a market stall was taken under dim lighting conditions. We wanted a large depth-of-field so set the aperture to f8.

At 100 ISO, the FZ30 metered an exposure of just 1/3 of a second which would normally be impossible to handhold. The FZ30's optical image stabilisation though has eliminated any camera shake, delivering a sharp result.

To achieve a hand-holdable exposure with the non-stabilised Fujifilm S9500 we needed an ISO of 400, producing a noisier result - see here.

 

Panasonic DMC-FZ30 at 7.4mm upper left crop   Panasonic DMC-FZ30 at 7.4mm middle left crop   Panasonic DMC-FZ30 at 7.4mm lower right crop  


City: 2.97MB, Program, 1/400, f8, ISO 80, 7.4-88.8mm at 28mm (equivalent to 132mm)

Panasonic DMC-FZ30 at 28mm   Panasonic DMC-FZ30 at 28mm upper middle crop   This photo of St Paul's Cathedral from London's Millennium Bridge was taken on a sunny day with the FZ30's zoom at an equivalent of 132mm.

As you would expect with an ISO of 80 and aperture of f8, the crops are sharp, detailed and exhibit low noise levels, albeit not quite as smooth as the Fujifilm S9500 when viewed at 100%.
     
  Panasonic DMC-FZ30 at 28mm middle right crop  
     
  Panasonic DMC-FZ30 at 28mm lower right crop  


Macro: 3.93MB, Program, 1/320, f5.6, ISO 80, 7.4-88.8mm at 13mm (equivalent to 61mm)

Panasonic DMC-FZ30 at 13mm   This close-up shot of a leaf demonstrates the FZ30's Macro facilities.

It may not focus as close as Fujifilm's S9500, but in practice can still deliver very good results as pictured here.

The crops show a high level of detail and low noise as you'd expect at 80 ISO.
Panasonic DMC-FZ30 at 28mm left crop   Panasonic DMC-FZ30 at 28mm middle crop   Panasonic DMC-FZ30 at 28mm right crop  


City: 3.45MB, Program, 1/200, f8, ISO 80, 7.4-88.8mm at 74mm (equivalent to 350mm)

Panasonic DMC-FZ30 at 74mm   This shot of The City of London was taken from the opposite side of The River Thames using the FZ30 zoomed-into an equivalent of 350mm.

With a maximum equivalent of 420mm at its disposal, it's possible to zoom-in even further.

Once again the image stabilisation ensured camera shake at this high magnification wasn't an issue.

As shown here and on the Features page, the stabilisation is one of the most impressive aspects of the FZ30, and is preferred to the high ISO solution provided by Fujifilm.
Panasonic DMC-FZ30 at 74mm middle left crop   Panasonic DMC-FZ30 at 74mm middle crop   Panasonic DMC-FZ30 at 74mm right crop  


All words, images, videos and layout, copyright 2005-2014 Gordon Laing. May not be used without permission.

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