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Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ8 Review

February 2007 | By Simon Joinson

Almost exactly a year after the introduction of the DMC-FZ7, Panasonic's popular compact super-zoom camera, comes its replacement; the Lumix DMC-FZ8. Where the FZ7 was a fairly major upgrade to the camera that came before it (the FZ5), the FZ8 is, perhaps inevitably, more evolutionary. The body design and operation is almost identical - no bad thing, given the huge improvements made over the FZ5 - and the only really big news is the inclusion of Raw shooting and a much better electronic viewfinder.

More controversially the new model squeezes even more pixels onto a 1/2.5-inch sensor, and uses the latest Venus III processor, which has had - to put it kindly - a mixed reception from reviewers and users alike. We are assured by Panasonic that the Venus III has been tweaked for the new Lumix generation (based, perhaps, on the less than stellar reviews and comments), and that the noise reduction system and sensor in this camera are delivering significantly better output. So let's find out if Panasonic has got it right with the DMC-FZ8 - and if it really has solved the few (admittedly important) issues we had with its predecessor, starting with a detailed look at what's changed:

Major changes / improvements over FZ7

  • 7.38 megapixel sensor
  • Venus III processor
  • Raw mode (SILKYPIX Developer Studio included)
  • Higher resolution screen
  • Larger, higher resolution electronic viewfinder
  • Manually selectable ISO 800 and 1250
  • A handful of new scene modes including an ISO 3200 High Sensitivity option
  • SDHC support and 27MB built-in memory
  • Minor feature and interface tweaks

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ8 vs DMC-FZ7 (feature & specification differences)

 

Panasonic DMC-FZ8

Panasonic DMC-FZ7
Sensor • 1/2.5 " Type CCD
• 7.38 million pixels total
• 7.2 million effective pixels
• 1/2.5 " Type CCD
• 6.37 million pixels total
• 6.0 million effective pixels
Processor VENUS III VENUS II
Raw mode Yes No (TIFF mode)
Image sizes
(max)
• 3072 x 2304 (4:3)
• 3072 x 2048 (3:2)
• 3072 x 1728 (16:9)
• 2816 x 2112 (4:3)
• 2816 x 1880 (3:2)
• 2816 x 1584 (16:9)
Shooting modes
(new modes in green)
• Program AE
• Aperture Priority AE
• Shutter Priority AE
• Manual
• Program Shift (P mode)
• Scene
• Simple
• Intelligent ISO
• Portrait
• Soft Skin
• Scenery
• Sports
• Night Portrait
• Night Scenery
• Panning
• Food
• Party
• Candle
• Fireworks
• Starry Sky
• Baby 1 & 2
• Aerial photo
• Snow
• High Sensitivity
• Beach
• Sunset
• Pet

• Snow
• Program AE
• Aperture Priority AE
• Shutter Priority AE
• Manual
• Program Shift (P mode)
• Simple
• Scene
• Macro
• Portrait
• Soft Skin
• Sports
• Scenery
• Night Scenery
• Panning
• Night Portrait
• Fireworks
• Party
• Food
• Candle
• Starry Sky
• Baby 1 & 2
• Snow
Continuous (burst) shooting • 3 or 2 fps
• Max 7 images (JPEG Standard) /
5 images (JPEG Fine)
• 3 or 2 fps
• Max 13 images (JPEG Standard) /
7 images (JPEG Fine)
Sensitivity • Auto
• ISO 80, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1250
• High sensitivity mode: ISO 3200
• Intelligent ISO mode
• Auto
• ISO 80, 100, 200, 400
• High sensitivity mode: ISO 800 / 1600
Viewfinder • 0.44" Color EVF
• 188,000 Pixels
• 0.33" color EVF
• 114,000 pixels
LCD monitor • 2.5" Polycrystalline TFT
• 207,000 pixels
• 2.5" Polycrystalline TFT
• 114,000 pixels
Battery life (CIPA) 380 shots 320 shots
Storage • SD / SDHC / MMC
• 27 MB built-in memory
• SD / MMC
Other

• Enhanced Multi Focus function
• Lower Shutter lag (claimed)
• Enhanced white balance fine tuning (2 axis)
• User interface tweaks

 

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ8 specifications

Street Price • US: $350 (tbc)
• UK: tbc
Body Material Metal and plastic
Sensor

• 1/2.5 " Type CCD
• 7.38 million pixels total
• 7.2 million effective pixels

Image sizes • 3072 x 2304
• 2560 x 1920
• 2048 x 1536
• 1600 x 1200
• 1280 x 960
• 640 x 480
• 3072 x 2048 (3:2)
• 2048 x 1360 (3:2)
• 3072 x 1728 (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 • 36-432mm (35mm equiv)
• LEICA DC VARIO-ELMARIT
• 12x optical zoom
Image stabilization MEGA O.I.S. (Mode1 / Mode2)
Conversion lenses Yes
Digital zoom • Extra Optical Zoom (4:3: 14.4x for 5MP, 18x for 3, 2, 1, 0.3MP, 3:2: 18x for 2.5MP, 16:9: 18x for 2MP
Focus • Autofocus
• AF-Macro
• Manual Focus(Joystick)
• Continuous AF On/Off
AF area modes • 1-point
• 1-point high speed
• 3-point high speed
• Multi-point
• Spot (user selectable)
AF assist lamp Yes
Focus distance • Normal: 30cm-infinity (wide) 200cm - infinity (tele)
• Macro: 5cm-infinity (wide) 200cm - infinity
• Tele Macro: 100cm - infinity
Metering • Intelligent Multiple
• Center-weighted
• Spot
ISO sensitivity • Auto
• ISO 100
• ISO 200
• ISO 400
• ISO 800
• ISO 1250
• High Sensitivity mode ISO 3200
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) F3.1 - 8 (tele)
Modes • Program AE
• Aperture Priority AE
• Shutter Priority AE
• Manual
• Scene
• Simple
• Intelligent ISO
Scene modes • Portrait
• Soft Skin
• Scenery
• Sports
• Night Portrait
• Night Scenery
• Panning
• Food
• Party
• Candle
• Fireworks
• Starry Sky
• Baby 1 & 2
• Aerial photo
• Snow
• High Sensitivity
• Beach
• Sunset
• Pet
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 Cool, Warm, Black & White, Sepia
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 - 6.0m (wide) 1.0 - 5.4m (tele)
Viewfinder 0.44" Color EVF (188K Pixels), Field of View : approx. 100%
LCD monitor • 2.5-inch Polycrystalline TFT
• 207,000 pixels
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) 310 g (0.68lb)
Dimensions 112.5 x 72.2 x 79.0 mm (4.43 x 2.84 x 3.11 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.

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This article is Copyright 2006 Simon Joinson / 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

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Comments

Roald46
By Roald46 (11 months ago)

You can find a VIDEO test of the LUMIX DMC-FZ72 here:
http://youtu.be/csSFrNPx2CI
Filmed in 1920 x 1080 50i

0 upvotes