Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ20

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Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ20

The DMC-FZ20's advanced zoom lens takes you all the way from 36mm wide angle to 432mm telephoto. Shoot open landscapes, zoom in on a room interior, or...

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11 reviews from the community

Review of "Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ20"

published 29/12/2005 | 5kutbag
Member since : 18/05/2004
Reviews : 34
Members who trust : 3
About me :
Excellent
Pro Ludicrously good value for money!
Cons Not a compact
very helpful
Picture Quality
Range & Quality of Features
Ease of Use
Durability
Reliability

"The best cam in its field. Easily!"

A bold claim, I hear you cry, but this is honestly the best damn digicam out at the moment, bar one problem. (Which I will deal with now before going on to why it rocks)

The problem: It's not a compact.
Sorry lads and ladies, no taking this one out on a night out for fun and games, its not a handbag cam.

Right, with THAT out of the way, let me explain to you why I think this is simply the most comprehensively well-designed and built model out there.

The lens is a meaty (yes, thats right MEATY) 12x zoom (30-360ish for 35mm people) This is the absolute maximum you can get on a digicam without going for a 'proper' SLR. The only thing you can't get with this is really tough wildlife shots, or REALLY tiny macro (thats very small stuff) shots. Actually, I just realized one more problem, the lens isn't a manual 'twisty' lens--- this means you have to adjust it by pushing a rocker switch around the shutter, which isn't as fast or accurate. Ahem.

The optics (glass) in the lens is made by LEICA. Thats pretty much the Ferrari of glass, for those not in the know. For example; they make 1000GBP pairs of binoculars. It's probably not as high quality as the aformentioned binoculars, but Leicas B-grade stuff probably beats the living poop out of most companies A**** grade stuff. This means no chromatic abberation, fringing and other scientific stuff that stops you getting sharp and clear picccies.

In the nicely ergonomic, tough yet light shell, there is a 5 megapixel CCD/Chip/Doohickey. I sense many readers are already yawning, so let me just say that because of this, little prints will come out fine and with a bit of practice you should be able to get A4 and A3's without any pixellation (distortion/messing up of photos)

It has a full range of preset modes for different occasions, but I always seem to go for full-auto or full-manual and never use these. Speaking of manual, you have a properly connected manual focus (so when you twist the ring, you are actually moving the glass). This lets you take over when the auto focus can't cope; but no amount of techno-wotsits can replace a good eye. Yet.......

Hmmmm. What else? The screens nice and bright, a decent size too. The shutter and zoom control are sort-of combined, so your two most important (I reckon) controls are usable with one finger. The back of the cam might seem empty to some, but everything YOU NEED is there. I better mention the flash too. Erm, it flashes? Not as much as a flash gun, but just as good as any other built in flash, with a red-eye mode etc....

Finally, a nice feature of this is the Optical Image Stabilizer. Imagine the chip inside is surrounded by tiny springs that stop it wobbling around. Now you don't get as many blurry photos, you can use it in darker places and there aren't really any other cams (Except Konica-Minoltas) that have this feature. For you techie types, Panasonic claim it lets you shoot at 3 stops less with the same results.

So why is it the BEST?

1. The lenses only fault is the lack of a manual zoom.
2. 5 megapixel IS high enough. The lens quality makes up for other cameras higher pixel counts. And then some!
3. Manual focus still missing from other models.
4. Built nice and tough, but not bricklike in weight.
5. Battery lasts a solid days snapping.
6. Image stabilizer innovative AND useful.
7. LEICA BABY LEICA!
8. The price is absolutlely STUPID. 200GBP or LESS, for a cam that was 350+ a few months back. And still worth it then!

Conclusion
----------------

This cam is for people who want a camera for creative purposes not just to record events. Would be perfect for learners considering an SLR but waaaaaaaay short of funds....or a family camera that won't be taken 'out on the town'.

A quick note on it's successor the FZ30.

Its much bigger, much more expensive, you DO get manual zoom, a twisty-out screen, 3 more megapixels and something that looks like a big mess. Its GOLD for god's sake! First the D50, and now this? Bleurgh. I guarantee if you stood about next to someone using this they'd think the fz-20 looked more 'pro', just cos it's black.

And thats why they're called 'black' ops, not 'gold' ops.

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Product Information : Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ20

Manufacturer's product description

The DMC-FZ20's advanced zoom lens takes you all the way from 36mm wide angle to 432mm telephoto. Shoot open landscapes, zoom in on a room interior, or pull a distant object right up close - all with instant zooming ease. With the FZ20, you get the same capabilities as a single-lens reflex camera equipped with a full set of interchangeable lenses. Use it to explore a new level of photographic expressivity. For example, use normal magnification for most ordinary shots, medium telephoto for portraits, and super telephoto for special long-range shots. The FZ20 even gives you the same capabilities as a super-telephoto lens in the 400mm, F2.8 class - something every serious photographer should have. Remarkably, the FZ20 offers the kind of specifications you get with a big, heavy lens, but in an extremely compact, lightweight package. With most compact zoom lenses, the brightness tends to be lower in the telephoto range. Not the FZ20. Its 12x optical zoom lens delivers F2.8 brightness all the way to full telephoto. This gives you more expressivity and greater ease of use because the exposure value doesn't change even when you zoom out to shoot long-range telephoto shots. The Elmarit lens made by Leica Camera AG of Germany has earned the acclaim of top photographers everywhere. Now some of the same cutting-edge technologies that make this lens so exceptional have been adapted to the digital camera. Presenting the LEICA DC VARIO-ELMARIT lens that inherits the traits that make Leica a legend in the camera world. Small in size yet featuring a large, bright aperture, this lens meets Leica's stringent quality standards. In fact, the FZ20 goes a step further by using ED (extra-low dispersion) glass in its lens, which helps minimize the refraction differences among light of different wavelengths. This helps to suppress the color bleeding that often occurs in telephoto shots, giving you crisp, vivid images no matter how far you've zoomed in on your subject. The CCDs used in most digital cameras have much smaller light-receiving areas than film does, so photos tend to have a high depth of field. This means that everything in the photo - including objects in the foreground and background - is in focus. The FZ20, however, takes advantage of its 12x zoom and large F2.8 aperture to offer the kind of expressivity you cannot get with conventional digital cameras. You can snap photos that capture the subject in a clear, sharp focus while giving the background a beautiful soft focus. Use the 4x digital zoom together with the 12x optical zoom and you've got ultra-powerful 48x zooming. That approximates a huge 1728mm lens on a 35mm camera.

Product Details

Product Description: Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ20 - digital camera, Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ20EG-K - digital camera, Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ20K - digital camera

Product Type: Digital camera - compact

Memory Card Slot: SD card

Sensor Resolution: 5.0 Megapixel

Lens System: Leica 12 x zoom lens - 6 - 72 mm - f/2.8

Focus Adjustment: Automatic, manual

Min Focus Distance: 30 cm

Digital Zoom: 4 x

Image Stabiliser: Optical

Camera Flash: Pop-up flash

Viewfinder: Electronic - 0.33" - colour

Display: LCD display - 2"

Supported Battery: 1 x Li-ion rechargeable battery - 680 mAh ( included )

AV Interfaces: Composite video

Dimensions (WxDxH): 12.8 cm x 10.6 cm x 8.7 cm

Weight: 0.5 kg

Manufacturer: Panasonic

Colour: Black

General

MPN: DMC-FZ20, DMC-FZ20EGMK, DMC-FZ20B

Product Type: Digital camera - compact

Available Body Colours: Black, silver

Sensor Resolution: 5.0 Megapixel

Optical Sensor Type: CCD

Total Pixels: 5,360,000 pixels

Effective Sensor Resolution: 5,000,000 pixels

Optical Sensor Size: 1/2.5"

Optical Zoom: 12 x

Digital Zoom: 4 x

Image Stabiliser: Optical

Auto Focus: TTL contrast detection

Auto Focus Points (Zones) Qty: 9

Digital Video Format: QuickTime

Image Recording Format: JPEG, TIFF

AV Interfaces: Composite video

Enclosure Colour: Black

Exposure & White Balance

Light Sensitivity: ISO 100, ISO 400, ISO 200, ISO 80

Exposure Metering: Multi-segment, centre-weighted, spot

Exposure Modes: Programme, automatic, manual, aperture-priority, shutter-priority

Shooting Programs: Portrait mode, party/indoor, surf & snow, night portrait, scenery, fireworks, night scene, panning, sports mode

Special Effects: Cool, Warm, Black & White, Sepia, Saturation, Contrast compensation

White Balance: Custom, automatic, presets

White Balance Presets: Cloudy, Flash, daylight, halogen

Max Shutter Speed: 1/2000 sec

Min Shutter Speed: 8 sec

Exposure Compensation: ±2 EV range, in 1/3 EV steps

Auto Exposure Bracketing: 3 steps in 1/3, 1/2 or 1 EV steps

Lens System

Type: Leica 12 x zoom lens - 6 - 72 mm - f/2.8

Focal Length Equivalent to 35mm Camera: 36 - 432mm

Focus Adjustment: Automatic, manual

Min Focus Distance: 30 cm

Macro Focus Range: 5cm

Zoom Adjustment: Motorised drive

Lens Construction: 8 groups / 13 elements

Features: ED glass, aspherical lens

Camera Flash

Camera Flash: Pop-up flash

Flash Modes: Fill-in mode, slow synchro, auto mode, flash OFF mode, red-eye reduction

Features: AF illuminator, flash +/- compensation

Effective Flash Range: 0.3 m - 7 m

Additional Features

Continuous Shooting Speed: 2 frames per second, 3 frames per second

Self Timer Delay: 10 sec, 2sec

Flash Terminal: Hot shoe

Additional Features: Audio recording, built-in speaker, RGB primary colour filter, auto power save, digital noise reduction, date/time stamp, DPOF support, PictBridge support, histogram display, resizing an image

Viewfinder

Viewfinder Type: Electronic

Viewfinder Colour Support: Colour

Viewfinder Diagonal Size: 0.33"

Viewfinder Resolution: 114,000 pixels

Field Coverage: 100%

Display

Type: 2" LCD display

Resolution: 130,000 pixels

Display Features: Built-in

Connections

Connector Type: 1 x USB ¦ 1 x composite video/audio output ¦ 1 x DC power input

Memory Card Slot: SD card

Software

Software: Drivers & Utilities, ArcSoft PhotoImpression, ArcSoft PhotoBase, ArcSoft Panorama Maker

System Requirements for PC Connection

Operating System Support: MS Windows XP, MS Windows 2000, MS Windows ME, MS Windows 98, MS Windows 98 SE, Apple Mac OS X, Apple Mac OS 9.x

Peripheral Devices: USB port, CD-ROM Drive

Miscellaneous

Included Accessories: Lens hood, lens cap, hand strap, lens adaptor, USB cable, audio / video cable, power adapter with battery charger

Battery

Details: 1 x Li-ion rechargeable battery - 680 mAh ( included )

Memory / Storage

Memory Card Slot: SD card

Supported Memory Cards: MultiMediaCard, SD Memory Card

Included Memory Card: 16 MB SD

Image Storage: TIFF 2560 x 1920 : 1 - with 32MB card ¦ Fine JPEG 2560 x 1920 : 5 - with 16MB card ¦ Standard JPEG 2560 x 1920 : 11 - with 16MB card ¦ TIFF 2048 x 1536 : 1 - with 16MB card ¦ Fine JPEG 2048 x 1536 : 9 - with 16MB card ¦ Standard JPEG 2048 x 1536 : 17 - with 16MB card ¦ TIFF 1600 x 1200 : 2 - with 16MB card ¦ Fine JPEG 1600 x 1200 : 14 - with 16MB card ¦ Standard JPEG 1600 x 1200 : 28 - with 16MB card ¦ TIFF 1280 x 960 : 3 - with 16MB card ¦ Fine JPEG 1280 x 960 : 22 - with 16MB card ¦ Standard JPEG 1280 x 960 : 41 - with 16MB card ¦ TIFF 640 x 480 : 13 - with 16MB card ¦ Fine JPEG 640 x 480 : 69 - with 16MB card ¦ Standard JPEG 640 x 480 : 113 - with 16MB card ¦ TIFF 1920 x 1080 : 2 - with 16MB card ¦ Fine JPEG 1920 x 1080 : 13 - with 16MB card ¦ Standard JPEG 1920 x 1080 : 25 - with 16MB card

Video Capture: QuickTime - 320 x 240 - 30 fps - 25 sec - with 16MB card ¦ QuickTime - 320 x 240 - 10 fps - 75 sec - with 16MB card

Dimensions & Weight

Width: 12.8 cm

Depth: 10.6 cm

Height: 8.7 cm

Weight: 0.5 kg

Environmental Parameters

Min Operating Temperature: 0 °C

Max Operating Temperature: 40 °C

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Listed on Ciao since: 07/12/2004