Panasonic's new Lumix DMC-FZ5 is an upgrade to the popular DMC-FZ3, and brings with it a higher resolution CCD and a slightly tweaked design. Although seemingly identical to its predecessor, closer inspection reveals a more substantial grip and a better-placed shutter button.
- Very solidly built
- Image noise at higher ISO levels
A competent entry into the 8 megapixel arena.
Price$ 769.00 (AUD)
While it has the same outstanding Leica 12x optical zoom lens as before, the change from a 1/3.2in 3Mp CCD to a 1/2.5in 5Mp sensor has slowed the aperture to F2.8-F3.3 (the DMC-FZ3 was F2.8 throughout).
In use, the camera is very responsive, with a fast start-up (about 3sec) and marginal processing time between shots. The improved optical image stabiliser is a useful accompaniment to the long zoom, with none of the fringing that this feature caused in previous models. However, despite claims of improvement, we found the autofocus a little sluggish and not always accurate. A full manual focus mode would help, but that's a feature reserved for the more expensive DMC-FZ20.
That aside, the DMC-FZ5 provides a range of advanced controls, including shutter/aperture priority and full manual modes, live histogram display, three metering modes and six autofocus settings. Image quality is extremely good - although you'll notice pronounced barrel distortion at wide angle - and if you're not happy with the default colour balance, you can increase or decrease the saturation, but not the sharpness.
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