Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ30 Review
Announced almost exactly a year after the launch of the FZ20 (the model it replaces), the DMC-FZ30 (launched in July 2005) is the latest flagship model in an ever-growing range of 'super zoom' cameras from electronics giant Panasonic. Like its predecessors the FZ20 sports a Leica-branded DC Vario-Elmarit zoom with a whopping 12x optical range (35-420mm equiv), though this time without the constant F2.8 aperture. It also boasts Panasonic's tried and tested Mega Optical Image Stabilization system and the Venus II engine.
Much of what made the FZ20 such a popular camera remains, however, there are some significant changes, many of which address concerns voiced by users and reviewers of the FZ20. The FZ30 has a new 12x optical zoom lens which features a mechanically-linked zoom ring, manual focus ring (electronic), full internal zoom and focus (non-extending) and several improvements to the control layout. The FZ30's 8 million pixel CCD is also very slightly larger than that of the FZ20, (approximately 1.75 mm larger diagonally), and the FZ30 also now provides a RAW capture option, which promises more flexibility in image processing for the more advanced photographer.
Similar in design to the FZ20 the FZ30's lens barrel is shifted over slightly and the hand grip has been made larger, there are also more controls available on the camera body. Other changes include a higher resolution flip-down LCD monitor and control dials front and rear. Full details of changes are shown below.
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ30 vs DMC-FZ20 (feature & specification differences)
|Sensor||• 1/1.8" Type CCD
• 7.18 x 5.32 mm (info)
• 8.0 million effective pixels
• 9-pixel readout for video
|• 1/2.5" Type CCD
• 5.76 x 4.29 mm (info)
• 5.0 million effective pixels
• 2-pixel readout for video
|• 3264 x 2448 (4:3)
• 3248 x 2160 (3:2)
• 3072 x 1728 (16:9)
|• 2560 x 1920 (4:3)
• 1920 x 1080 (16:9)
• 35 - 420 mm equiv.
|• 36 - 432 mm equiv.
• 12x optical zoom
• F2.8 (throughout range)
• 13 elements in 8 groups
• MEGA OIS Image Stabilization
• Extending type
|Zoom||Mechanically linked zoom ring||Lever zoom (electronic)|
|Digital zoom||• 2x or 4x
• "Extra optical zoom" for smaller sizes
|• 2x or 4x|
|AE Lock||• Half-press shutter release
• AE-Lock button
|Half-press shutter release|
|Control dials||Front and Rear||None|
|Macro mode||On focus mode switch (lens barrel)||On mode dial|
|Manual focus||• On focus mode switch
• Has one-shot AF button
|On focus mode switch|
|Shutter speed||60 - 1/2000 sec||8 - 1/2000 sec|
|Aperture||• Wide: F2.8 - F11
• Tele: F3.7 - F11
|F2.8 - F8|
|Scene modes||14 modes||9 modes|
|Viewfinder||• 0.44" EVF
• 235,000 pixels
• In-line with center of lens
|• 0.33" EVF
• 114,000 pixels
• Offset to left of LCD
|LCD monitor||• 2.0" TFT LCD
• 235,000 pixels
• Flip-down and twist
|• 2.0" TFT LCD
• 130,000 pixels
|Thumbnail index||• 9 images
• 16 images
• 25 images
|• 9 images|
|Battery||• Lithium-Ion rechargeable
• 730 mAh, 7.2V
|• Lithium-Ion rechargeable
• 680 mAh, 7.2V
|Weight (inc batt)||740 g (1.6 lb)||556 g (1.2 lb)|
|Dimensions||141 x 86 x 138 mm (5.5 x 3.4 x 5.4 in)||128 x 87 x 106 mm (5.0 x 3.4 x 4.2 in)|
Other changes / improvements
- Wider, deeper hand grip
- Faster startup time (thanks to non-extending lens); 1 vs. 5 seconds (FZ20)
- New smaller add-on ND filter, telephoto and wide-angle lenses screw onto front of lens
- Tripod mount now in line with lens
- SD card door moved to side of camera rather than with battery
- Brighter LCD and EVF performance in low light because of 9-pixel CCD readout (binning)
- Video capture now uses 9-pixel CCD readout for better low light performance
Panasonic DMC-FZ30 Key specifications
|Street price|| US: $590
|Body Material||Metal and Plastic|
|Sensor|| 1/1.8" Type CCD
8.3 million pixels total
8.0 million effective pixels
• 3264 x 2448
|Movie clips||• 640 x 480 / 320 x 240
• 30 / 10 fps
• With audio
• Limited only by storage
• QuickTime M-JEPG (.mov) format
• 35 - 420 mm equiv. (12x zoom)
• 1 point
Program (with shift)
ISO 80, 100, 200, 400
|Shutter speed||• All modes except Manual: 8 - 1/2000 sec
• Manual mode: 60 - 1/2000 sec
|Aperture||• Wide: F2.8 - F11
• Tele: F3.7 - F11
|Metering||• Intelligent Multiple
• Center weighted
Contrast (Low, Standard, High)
|Continuous|| Full resolution: 3 or 2 fps
Full resolution: max 9 images (standard mode), 5 images (fine mode)
Infinite consecutive 2 fps
|Flash|| Built-in pop-up flash
Modes: Auto, Auto with red-eye reduction, Slow sync, , Slow sync with red-eye reduction, On/Off
Range: 0.3 to 7.0 m (wide)
External flash via hot-shoe
• Flash exposure compensation (+/-2 EV in 0.3 EV steps)
|Viewfinder|| EVF (230,000 pixels), 0.44-inch
Field of view approx 100%
-4 to +4 dioptre adjustment
|LCD monitor|| 2.0 " TFT LCD
• Flip down and twist
USB 2.0 Full Speed (12 Mbits/s)
Lithium-Ion rechargeable battery
|In the box*||
PictBridge and DPOF compatible
|Weight||740 g (inc batt)
674 g (10.4 oz) (no bat)
|Dimensions||141 x 86 x 138 mm (5.5 x 3.4 x 5.4 in)|
* Supplied accessories may differ in each country or area
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