Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ30 Review
Software - RAW conversion
Panasonic supplies two packages with the FZ30; Lumix Simple Viewer, an image viewer that does little more than display pictures (though it can resize them for emailing and can print), and there are many applications (including some shareware and freeware options) that do the job better. The second application is the slightly more capable PHOTOfunSTUDIO, which offers an ACDSee-style image browser and rudimentary RAW conversion. Given the typical user of a camera like the FZ30 I can't see either package being used very much.
JPEG & RAW Resolution compared
If we were disappointed by the lack of functionality or control offered by the PHOTOfunSTUDIO RAW conversion we were even less impressed with the results. It's not unusual for very basic RAW converters to produce results almost indistinguishable from an in-camera JPEG, but in this case the results are considerably worse. Not only is resolution lower (due to what appears to be very heavy noise reduction), but there is heavy moiré (color fringing) that you don't get with out-of-camera JPEGS or TIFFs. After using the software we were going to call it 'underpowered', having seen the results that opinion was revised to 'spectacularly useless'.
The good news is that if you use Adobe's Camera Raw plug-in to convert the files you'll get a lot more out of them, including a smidgeon more resolution and detail than with in-camera JPEGs or TIFFs. You need to tweak the settings to cure the luminance noise (see below) but at least there is more information in there to play with, and - if you invest in the Adobe software - the world of control offered by RAW file processing opens up to you. Word on the street is that Panasonic intends to offer an improved RAW converter at some point in the future; let's hope it's not too far in the future.
Update: we are informed by Panasonic that the latest version of Silkypix Developer Studio 2.0 can convert FZ30 RAW files for a more reasonable ¥16,000 (around $145), though we did not have time to try it for this review.
|Adobe Camera Raw
RAW -> TIFF (Default)
ACR 3.2 Beta
|JPEG from camera||Panasonic RAW
RAW -> JPEG
Studio shot comparison
As you can see from the 100% crops below the Panasonic supplied RAW converter is basically using very heavy-handed processing to mask the inherently noisy results from this new sensor. Converting using Adobe Camera Raw plug-in (using the default settings) produces an image with significantly better detail and sharpness, but one that suffers from noticeable luminance noise (certainly higher than we'd like to be seeing from an ISO 80 image - look at the red patch). By increasing the Luminance smoothing option in ACR you can remove this whilst preserving more detail than you get from either JPEG or RAW files processed using the supplied converter.
|Adobe Camera Raw,
RAW -> TIFF (Default), ACR 3.2 Beta
ISO 80 studio scene 100% crops
|PHOTOfunSTUDIO, RAW -> JPEG
ISO 80 studio scene 100% crops
|JPEG out of camera , High quality setting
ISO 80 studio scene 100% crops
The usually Apple-exclusive MacPhun software developer has announced that it will introduce PC versions of two of its most popular applications. Both Aurora HDR and Luminar should be available for the Windows operating system by the autumn of this year. Read more
Sony's newest G Master telephoto zoom, announced alongside the a9, is the first of the company's FE lenses to reach 400mm natively. We had one in California and photographed horses, portraits, and landscapes - check out how it did. Read more
Garmin has entered the 360-camera market with the VIRB, which captures 5.7K video at 30p as well as 15MP stills. Read more
Join DPReview editors Rishi Sanyal and Carey Rose on Facebook Live as they share their experience and answer your questions about the new Sony a9, Wednesday at 9:30 AM Pacific time. Click here for additional details and time zones
German media reports that the founders of the company behind the Panono 360-degree ball camera have filed for bankruptcy at a court in Berlin. Read more
With a claimed 800 new custom parts, Microsoft's updated Surface Pro comes with the latest Kaby Lake processors, better battery life, a new hinge, plus the Surface Pen is updated as well. Read more
DW Photo is attempting to resurrect the Hy6 medium format camera, though the legal tangles of its development may stop it being branded Rolleiflex.
The Kodak EKTRA, the company's 'camera first' smartphone, is now available to purchase in the United States. Read more
Apple and Nokia have settled their years-old patent dispute. Apple will make an undisclosed payment to Nokia and sign a licensing agreement related to digital health products with the Finnish company.
David Gibson, one of Britain's best known street shooters, shares all.
Photographers from the SKYGLOW project travelled 150k miles and took 3 million photos in increasingly rare locations: those without light pollution.
The world's fastest 200mm was produced for 16 years. In that time, only 8000 were made.
Photokina, the biennial photo industry trade show in Cologne, Germany, has announced that it will become an annual event beginning in 2018, and expand its focus to additional areas of imaging technology. Read more
No mic socket? No problem. In this video, Daniel Peters at Photo Gear News shows you how to make a lapel microphone using just a smartphone and a pair of earbuds.
How does the iPhone 7 Plus stack up against the Arri Alexa cinema camera? Watch this short video to find out.
Canon Australia's video series "The Lab" is designed to make photographers experiment and think outside the box. In the latest video a group of photographers create images based on their sense of taste.
The GH5 is expected to get a firmware update this summer to support 400Mbps internal recording. NewsShooter explores what memory cards you'll need to make it work.
Microsoft's new Surface Pro offers Intel's latest processor generation and improved battery life.
Riding a mountain bike downhill is dangerous enough in daylight, but potentially lethal at night. Which is where drones come in.
Rumors abound that Canon (and maybe Nikon) may produce a mirrorless camera based using their existing DSLR mount. Does this guarantee immediate great lens choice or a perpetually second-rate experience? Read more
According to rumors, the next camera from Nest will be able to capture 4K video, though that resolution will be only used for 'virtual' pan and tilt functions.
Boundary's Prima 'fully modular' backpack is expandable to 30L and has a removable camera case and tablet sleeve. Early Kickstarter backers can get one for $189.
Stanley Greene captured 'brutally honest' photographs in the war zones of the Middle East, Chechnya and Georgia. He was also one of the few African-American photographers working internationally.
Owners of Leica M cameras that suffer from peeling CCDs will be able to claim a free repair in the future so long as the camera was purchased within five years of the fault becoming apparent, the company has announced. Read more
The Carl Zeiss Jena BIOTAR 75mm F1.5 Red T lens is very rare and priced accordingly. It can be yours today for the low, low price of $15,000.
The MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) has developed a drone that does not require any human control for recording tracking shots. Read more
In this terrifying video, Iraqi journalist Ammar Alwaely narrowly misses a sniper's bullet, which takes out his chest-mounted GoPro. Warning: strong language. Watch the video
A new report expects action camera growth to increase about 15% by 2021, with Ultra HD cameras driving demand. Read more
Profiles for Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom have been released for Irix's ultra-wide 11mm and 15mm primes. Like all profiles, these correct for distortion and vignetting.
An upcoming firmware update from DJI will cripple its drones unless they are 'activated' on the company's website. Live streaming will be turned off and flight radius/altitude will be limited.