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As a lot of people on this site already know I am a professional photographer and as such I own many cameras but the camera I am about to review is actually one that I do not personally own but have been spending a lot of time with of late.
At my photography club we have access to many cameras as well as the ones we own, this is very beneficial to a serious photographer because different cameras operate in slightly different ways just like the photographers themselves.
I gave this one a few weeks run out on the advice of a friend and what sound advice it turned out to be. The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ18EB-K is not a DSLR camera although it might look like one but it is far more advanced than an average point and shoot digital camera. This type of camera is known as a bridge camera because that's exactly what it is doing, bridging the gap between point and shoot and DSLR. DSLR cameras are completely controlled by the photographer whereas a point and shoot digital camera will have loads of pre-set settings to enable the photographer to get better results without knowing much about the settings. This camera can do both, it comes with many built in pre-sets but can also offer the photographer the chance to set things like shutter speed, focus, ISO and aperture settings manually.
This camera would therefore be an excellent choice for someone making their first step up from basic point and shoot photography such as holiday snaps and family albums to more serious photography such as portrait and landscape. It is however fully functional enough to be of use to serious amateurs and maybe even low end professionals. I have had great fun using it but it falls a long way short of the £1800 DSLR I am used to.
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ18EB-K comes with MEGA Optical Image Stabilizer which is great for taking shots without a tripod as it eliminates almost all blur that may occur from an unsteady hand. It is an 8.1 megapixel camera with an 18x optical zoom, 28mm wide-angle Leica DC VARIO-ELMARIT lens and unique Intelligent Auto Mode. The perfect choice for any photographer with varied photographic needs.
Important specifications ___________________
Optical Zoom 18 x
Digital Zoom 4 x
ISO Sensitivity Auto /100 / 200 / 400 / 800 / 1250 / 1600
White Balance Auto / Daylight / Cloudy / Shade / Halogen / White Set,
Shutter Speed Program AE : 1-1/2000 sec
Image Quality Fine / Standard / RAW / RAW+ JPEG
Built-in-Flash Auto, Auto/Red-eye Reduction, Forced On, Slow Sync./Red-eye Reduction, Forced Off
LCD Monitor 2.5 Inch Polycrystalline TFT LCD Display (230K Pixels), Field of View : approx. 100 per cent, AUTO Power LCD mode, Power LCD mode, High angle mode
Power Li-ion Battery Pack (7.2V, 710mAh) (Included)
You will notice from the list of specifications that this camera allows you to store images in RAW format this is especially important for professional photographers or for anyone serious about image editing programmes. When shooting models I always use RAW format because this allows you to trim figures and airbrush imperfections from the photos with the best results.
The images I have taken in the few weeks of using this camera have mostly been of very high quality, there is sometimes a very slight discolouring at the very edges of pictures taken on the highest ISO setting but this will not affect the average photographer in the slightest and only really comes into effect when the image is intended to be greatly enlarged.
The camera is not too heavy and is just the right size to feel comfortable in your grip, the controls are all easily accessible whilst the camera is in use and it's easy to switch from one setting to another in the blink of an eye. As with most digital cameras these days this one can take video footage as well as still images, it does this quite well but obviously not to the standard of a camcorder so do not be tempted into getting rid of a camera and camcorder thinking this could take the place of both. As a camera it is excellent but as a video camera it doesn't compare!
I have done a bit of research into the price and availability of this camera and can tell you that it can be found on line for prices ranging from £269.99 - £329.00 but check carefully what accessories and guarantee are being offered because this varies too. All in all for around the three hundred pound mark I would say this is a great camera for someone serious enough about their photography to warrant the spend.
Thanks for reading, hope this has been of some use to you!