Previous page Next page

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ18 Review

November 2007 | By Simon Joinson, Lars Rehm


Review based on a production Panasonic DMC-FZ18

Barely half a year after the introduction of the DMC-FZ8, Panasonic added another model to its popular range of compact 'super zoom' Lumix cameras in the shape of the FZ18. Although obviously based on the FZ8 (they are externally almost identical), the FZ18 doesn't replace it; it's a sort of 'big brother' with a bigger zoom, more pixels and a smattering of new features.

The biggest news is the optically stabilized lens, which has 'grown' at both ends and now sports a whopping 18x (28-504mm equiv.) zoom, putting the FZ18 into direct competition with Olympus' SP-550UZ (now updated to the SP-560UZ) and Fujifilm's recently announced FinePix S8000fd.

Almost inevitably the FZ18 squeezes even more pixels onto its 1/2.5-inch sensor, although the increase has been fairly moderate from 7.3 to 8.3 megapixels. Other new features include a dedicated AF/AE button, Face Detection and a new Intelligent Auto mode which integrates Image Stabilization, Intelligent ISO, Face Detection and Scene Detection into a 'Super' Auto Mode.

Despite the usual noise issues you would expect from a tiny sensor/big zoom camera (and our dislike of Panasonic's approach to noise reduction), overall we were pretty impressed with the FZ8 when we reviewed it a few months ago. This was to a large degree due to the superb LEICA lens. So let's find out how Panasonic have tackled the noise challenge - and if the new lens, with it's much more ambitious zoom range, can match its predecessor, starting with a look at what's changed:

Major differences to DMC-FZ8

  • 18x optical zoom (28-504mm equiv.) - FZ8 has 12x (36-432mm) zoom
  • Smaller maximum aperture at long end of zoom (F4.2 vs F3.1)
  • 8.3 megapixel sensor (vs 7.2 megapixel)
  • Face Detection
  • Intelligent Auto mode
  • Manually selectable ISO 1600
  • ISO 6400 High Sensitivity mode
  • AF/AE lock button and dedicated AF/MF button
  • 1cm macro (was 5cm)
  • Custom mode and extra scene modes (plus 'advanced scene modes')
  • Five level Noise reduction (was three level)
  • Slower continuous shooting (burst)
  • Heavier and slightly larger

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ18 specifications

Street Price • US: $360
• UK: £270
Body Material Metal and plastic
Sensor

1/2.5" Type CCD
• 8.3 million pixels total
• 8.1 million effective pixels

Image sizes • 3264 x 2448
• 2560 x 1920
• 2048 x 1536
• 1600 x 1200
• 1280 x 960
• 640 x 480
• 3264 x 2176 (3:2)
• 2560 x 1712 (3:2)
• 2048 x 1360 (3:2)
• 3264 x 1840 (16:9)
• 2560 x 1440 (16:9)
• 1920 x 1080 (16:9)
Movie clips • 640 x 480 @ 30 / 10fps
• 320 x 240 @ 30 / 10fps
• 848 x 480 @ 30 / 10fps (16:9)
File formats • JPEG Exif v2.2
• DPOF
• QuickTime Motion JPEG
Lens • 18x optical zoom
• 28 - 504 mm (35 mm equiv)
• LEICA DC VARIO-ELMARIT
• F2.8 - F4.2
Image stabilization MEGA O.I.S. (Mode1 / Mode2)
Conversion lenses Yes
Digital zoom up to 4x
Focus AF-Macro On/Off, AF/MF Switchable, Manual Focus(Joystick), One Shot AF, Continuous AF On/Off
AF area modes Face / 1-point / 1-point high speed / 3-point high speed / Multi-point / Spot
AF assist lamp Yes
Focus distance • Normal: 30 cm-infinity (wide) 200 cm - infinity (tele)
• Macro: 1 cm-infinity (wide) 200 cm - infinity (tele 6-11x)
• Tele Macro (at 12-18x) : 100cm - infinity
Metering • Intelligent Multiple
• Center-weighted
• Spot
ISO sensitivity • Auto
• ISO 100
• ISO 200
• ISO 400
• ISO 800
• ISO 1250
• ISO 1600
• High Sensitivity mode Auto (ISO 1600 - 6400)
Exposure compensation +/- 2EV in 1/3EV steps
Exposure bracketing +/- 1/3 EV -1EV step, 3 frames
Shutter speed • Program AE: 1-1/2000 sec
• Aperture Priority AE / Shutter Priority AE: 8-1/2000 sec
• Manual: 60-1/2000sec.
• Starry Sky Mode: 15, 30, 60sec
Aperture F2.8 - 8 (wide) F4.8 - 8 (tele)
Modes • Intelligent AUTO
• Program AE
• Aperture Priority AE
• Shutter Priority AE
• Manual
• Custom
• Portrait mode
• Scenery mode
• Sports mode
• Night portrait mode
• Scene
• Motion picture
• Print
• Playback
Scene modes • Food
• Party
• Candle Light
• Sunset
• High Sensitivity
• Baby1
• Baby2
• Pet
• Panning
• Starry Sky
• Fireworks
• Beach
• Snow
• Aerial photo
Advanced scene mode • Portrait mode : Normal, Soft Skin, Outdoor, Indoor, Creative
• Scenery mode : Normal, Nature, Architecture, Creative
• Sports mode : Normal, Outdoor, Indoor, Creative
• Night Portrait : Night Portrait, Night Scenery, Illuminations, Creative
White balance • Auto
• Daylight
• Cloudy
• Shade
• Halogen
• Flash
• White Set 1/2
White balance fine tune 2-axis adjustable, ±9steps each, Blue/Amber and Magenta/Green bias
Self timer 2 or 10sec, 10sec / 3 images
Continuous shooting Full-Resolution: 3 frames/sec or 2 frames/sec max. 7 images (Standard mode), Max. 5 images (Fine Mode)
Image parameters • Contrast
• Sharpness
• Saturation
• Noise Reduction
• 5 levels (-2 to +2)
Flash • Auto
• Auto / Red-eye reduction
• Forced On
• Forced On / Red-eye Reduction
• Slow Sync / Red-eye reduction
• Forced Off
• Flash output adjustment 1/3EV step, +/-2 EV
• Range: 0.3 - 6.0 m (wide) 1.0 - 4.0 m (tele)
Viewfinder 0.44" Color EVF (188K Pixels), Field of View : approx. 100%
LCD monitor • 2.5-inch Polycrystalline TFT
• 207,000 pixels
• Auto Power LCD mode, Power LCD mode, High angle mode
Connectivity • DC in
• AV out
• USB
Print compliance PictBridge
Storage • SD / SDHC / MMC
• 27 MB built-in memory
Power • Li-ion battery pack
• Optional AC adapter
Weight (no batt) 360 g (12.7 oz)
Dimensions 117.6 x 75.3 x 88.2 mm (4.6 x 3.0 x 3.5 in)


If you're new to digital photography you may wish to read the Digital Photography Glossary before diving into this article (it may help you understand some of the terms used).

Conclusion / Recommendation / Ratings are based on the opinion of the reviewer, you should read the ENTIRE review before coming to your own conclusions.

Images which can be viewed at a larger size have a small magnifying glass icon in the bottom right corner of the image, clicking on the image will display a larger (typically VGA) image in a new window.

To navigate the review simply use the next / previous page buttons, to jump to a particular section either pick the section from the drop down or select it from the navigation bar at the top.

DPReview calibrate their monitors using Color Vision OptiCal at the (fairly well accepted) PC normal gamma 2.2, this means that on our monitors we can make out the difference between all of the (computer generated) grayscale blocks below. We recommend to make the most of this review you should be able to see the difference (at least) between X,Y and Z and ideally A,B and C.

This article is Copyright 2007 dpreview.com and the review in part or in whole may NOT be reproduced in any electronic or printed medium without prior permission from the author. For information on reproducing any part of this review (or any images) please contact: Phil Askey

Previous page Next page
28
I own it
0
I want it
49
I had it
Discuss in the forums

Comments