Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ20 Review
The FZ20 is designed to look - and operate as far as possible - like a traditional SLR (single lens reflex) camera, and it's not that much smaller either. The body is dominated by the large 12x zoom lens, which extends by about 20mm when powered up (the zooming is entirely internal, so this is as far out as the lens comes). There are plenty of external controls, covering all the most commonly accessed photographic functions, and the refinements to the body design (over the FZ10) are small, but welcome. The changes to the mode dial (which now includes the manual modes instead of scene modes) are welcome, but it's still too easy to knock out of position in use.
Side by side
Here you can see the FZ20 beside the camera it replaces, the four megapixel FZ10. As you can see the changes to the body design are quite subtle, mostly a rounding of edges and an increase and re-shaping of the hand grip (a significant handling improvement). Other changes are less obvious, the storage compartment door now opens to the center of the camera instead of forward, all connectors are now found on the right side of the camera (from the front) and the dioptre adjustment on the EVF is on the left side of the eyepiece. FZ10 owners will feel immediately at home with the FZ20.
In your hand
The combination of the new deeper hand grip, more rubber and the molded rear thumb grip make the FZ20 a fairly comfortable camera to hold. The large lens barrel automatically becomes the grip position for your left hand. You can shoot single-handedly - if you've got strong wrists and a steady hand - but the weight of the lens barrel makes it feel a little unbalanced, and you get much less camera shake when you support the camera with both hands.
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