The FZ7 was a big improvement on the FZ5, and the FZ8 doesn't change a lot aside from minor interface tweaks. The new camera supports SDHC cards for anyone who wants to shoot a lot of movie clips, though there is a 2.0GB limit on a single clip.
The movies are recorded in QuickTime MJPEG (.mov) format, with fairly heavy compression - they work out at around 1.3 MB/sec, meaning you can fit around 11 minutes of VGA or 9.5 minutes of 16:9 footage onto a 1GB card at 30 frames per second.
Overall quality is pretty good, the only problem being the usual slight hunting at the long end of the zoom and the exposure system sometimes being caught out by rapid changes in scene brightness, but neither is any worse than competing models. Of course the image stabilization helps a great deal, avoiding excessive jerkiness even when shooting at the very long end of the zoom hand-held. You cannot zoom in movie mode, which is a pity as the lens is actually very quiet.
|As with stills recording you can choose the amount of information overlaid on the live preview image (though there's no histogram). You can, however, use the AE compensation controls.|
|In movie mode you get a slightly more basic set of menus (though there's still plenty here to play with!). Recording options include aspect ratio (4:3 or 16:9 widescreen), size and frame rate.|
|The quick menu (brought up by pressing the joystick) has been expanded to include focus, metering and white balance modes.|
|Playback mode shows a thumbnail of the first frame in the movie. As with stills you can choose the amount of information overlaid, including (as shown here) a histogram.|
|Movie playback is fairly basic stuff - you get controls for playing, pausing and fast forward/rewind. Nothing fancy here.|
640x480 pixels @ 30 fps
Shot at mid zoom (91mm equiv.)
Click on the thumbnail to view the movie (caution: large file!)