Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ30 Review
Timing & Performance
The lack of an extending powered zoom means the FZ30 is considerably (three times) quicker to start up and power down than its predecessor, the FZ20. Otherwise performance is broadly similar, though the new high speed focus modes are a real improvement, especially at the long end of the zoom. The FZ30 feels fast and responsive in use, thanks to the Venus II engine, and even though the burst (continuous shooting) mode is not quite as impressive as the FZ20 (due no doubt to the larger file sizes), it's still good for this class of camera.
All times calculated as an average of three operations. Unless otherwise stated all timings were made on a 2560 x 1920 Fine JPEG image (approx. 3,150 KB per image). The media used for these tests was a 1.0 GB SanDisk Extreme III SD card.
|Power: Off to Record||1.1|
|Power: Off to Play||Image displayed||1.5|
|Power: Record to Off||All activity ceased||1.7|
|Power: Play to Off||When buffer is empty||1.8|
|Record Review||Image displayed||~0.7|
|Mode: Record to Play||1.1|
|Mode: Play to Record||~0.7|
|Play: Magnify||To full magnification (16x)||~1.5 *1|
|Play: Image to Image||Time to display each saved image||~0.8|
|Play: Thumbnail view||3 x 3 thumbnails||1.2|
|Play: Thumbnail view||4 x 4 thumbnails||2.4|
|Play: Thumbnail view||5 x 5 thumbnails||4.2|
|Half-press Lag (0->S1)||Wide angle, Hi speed AF||~0.2 - 0.3|
|Half-press Lag (0->S1)||Wide angle, Standard multi-area AF||~0.7|
|Half-press Lag (0->S1)||Telephoto, Hi speed AF||~0.3 - 0.5|
|Half-press Lag (0->S1)||Telephoto, Standard multi-area AF||~1.0|
|Half to Full-press Lag (S1->S2)||LCD live view or EVF , IS mode 1||~0.1 *2|
|Half to Full-press Lag (S1->S2)||LCD live view or EVF , IS mode 2||~0.2*2|
|Full-press Lag (0->S2)||LCD live view, wide angle||~1.0|
|Off to Shot Taken||LCD live view||~1.6|
|Shot to Shot||Flash off||1.35|
|Shot to Shot||Flash on||1.6|
|*1||Magnifying requires four turns of the front dial - this is about as fast as you can do it.|
|*2||Using OIS mode 2 roughly doubles the shutter lag compared to shooting with OIS off, or set to mode 1.|
Lag Timing Definitions
|Half-press Lag (0->S1)
Many digital camera users prime the AF and AE systems on their camera by half-pressing the shutter release. This is the amount of time between a half-press of the shutter release and the camera indicating an auto focus & auto exposure lock on the LCD monitor / viewfinder (ready to shoot).
|Half to Full-press Lag (S1->S2)
The amount of time it takes from a full depression of the shutter release button (assuming you have already primed the camera with a half-press) to the image being taken.
(Take shot, AF/AE primed)
|Full-press Lag (0->S2)
The amount of time it takes from a full depression of the shutter release button (without performing a half-press of the shutter release beforehand) to the image being taken. This is more representative of the use of the camera in a spur of the moment 'point and shoot' situation.
(Take shot, AF/AE not primed)
The tables below show the results of our continuous shooting test, indicating the actual frame rate along with maximum number of frames and how long you would have to wait after taking the maximum number of frames before you could take another shot. Media used for these tests was a 1.0 GB SanDisk Extreme III SD card. Shutter speed was kept above 1/200 sec during these tests.
Continuous drive mode
In burst mode the FZ30 shows a brief review image for each frame taken, but the live preview does not work between frames. There are three continuous drive modes; High (H), Low (L) and No Limit (∞). Burst mode cannot be used with TIFF or RAW images.
Frames in a burst *1
|3264 x 2448 JPEG Fine||Continuous H||2.6 fps||5||~2 sec pause*3|
|3264 x 2448 JPEG Fine||Continuous L||2.0 fps||5||~2 sec pause*3|
|3264 x 2448 JPEG Fine||Continuous ∞||2.0 fps||limited by card capacity||n/a|
|3264 x 2448 JPEG Standard||Continuous H||2.8 fps||9||~2 sec pause*3|
|3264 x 2448 JPEG Standard||Continuous L||2.14 fps||9||~2 sec pause*3|
|3264 x 2448 JPEG Standard||Continuous ∞||2.15 fps||limited by card capacity||n/a|
|5M / 3M JPEG Fine||Continuous H||2.7 fps||5||~2 sec pause*3|
|5M / 3M JPEG Fine||Continuous L||2.0 fps||5||~2 sec pause*3|
|5M / 3M JPEG Fine||Continuous ∞||2.0 fps||limited by card capacity||n/a|
|5M / 3M JPEG Standard||Continuous H||2.8 fps||9||~2 sec pause*3|
|5M / 3M JPEG Standard||Continuous L||2.0 fps||9||~2 sec pause*3|
|5M / 3M JPEG Standard||Continuous ∞||2.0 fps||limited by card capacity||n/a|
|*1||In a single "burst" (finger held down on shutter release). Average figure (the FZ30 speeds up slightly after the first shot in a burst).|
|*2||In H and L mode continuous shooting stops when the buffer is full (5 or 9 frames according to the file quality setting. This is the delay before the next burst|
|*3||The delay of around 1.5-2.3 seconds is mainly down to the need to refocus before the next burst. By switching to manual focus you can reduce this to ~1.0s.|
Not a bad performance at all, though we couldn't get the 3.0 frames per second quoted in Panasonic's literature. The buffer clears very quickly, and most of the delay between bursts is due to the fact that you cannot just hold down the shutter and wait - you have to take your finger off the shutter and press it again. This means waiting for the camera to refocus. By switching to manual focus you can reduce this to around a second. It's an annoying quirk shared with the FZ20; if the camera can clear the buffer so quickly why not let you continue shoot, albeit at slightly lower rate without having to take your finger off the trigger and start again? If you want to take a really long burst with no pauses you can always switch to the 'no limit' mode (which averages around 2.0 frames per second).
File Write / Display and Sizes
Timings shown below are the time taken for the camera to process and "flush" the image out to the storage card, the timer was started as soon as the shutter release was pressed and stopped when activity indicator went out. This means the timings also include the camera's processing time and as such are more representative of the actual time to "complete the task". The media used for these tests was a 512MB SanDisk Extreme (aka Ultra II) SD card. .
Time to store
File size *1
Images on a *2
1.0 GB Card
|3264 x 2448 RAW||~3.6||~0.6||14,864 KB *3||55|
|3264 x 2448 TIF||~3.6||~0.6||23,425 KB *4||38|
|3264 x 2448 JPEG Fine||~2.1||~0.7||3,150 KB||250|
|3264 x 2448 JPEG Standard||~1.6||~0.6||1,550 KB||495|
|2560 x 1920 JPEG Fine||~1.3||~0.45||1,900 KB||405|
|2560 x 1920 JPEG Standard||~1.2||~0.35||1,425 KB||626|
|*1||All file sizes are an average of three files. As is the case with JPEG it's difficult to predict the size of an image because it will vary a fair amount depending on the content of the image (detail and noise).|
|*3||All RAW files are 15,864 KB, and each is saved with a 1,470K (std quality) JPEG|
|*4||All TIFF files are 23,435 KB, and each is saved with a 1,470K (std quality) JPEG|
With write times averaging around 3.6 seconds for a 23.4MB TIFF the FZ30 is very fast indeed for a 'compact' digital camera - approximately 6500KB/s, and JPEGs - whatever the size or quality setting - are saved in a second or under (most of this time will be taken up by the processing). Very impressive stuff, and proof that the Venus II engine is more than mere hype. Note that longer exposures (0.5 seconds or longer) take longer to save due to noise reduction.
|Waffles with fruits by Coolinarka|
from Food photography (desserts)
|Vestrahorn Frozen Reflection by Will B Milner|
from Ice cold
Canon's new EF-S 35mm F2.8 Macro lens is not only compact and affordable, but it is a pretty good performer as well. We put it to the test with eyeballs, flowers and even some antique cameras. Read more
Google has updated its Photos mobile apps to support the recently announced service for creating and printing physical photo books.
Europeana Photography is a new online image archive that includes more than 2 million historical photographs from European collections in 34 countries, covering the first 100 years of photography. Read more
Manufacturers love to state CRI (color rendering index) numbers to prove that their LED lights will provide great color, but a single CRI score doesn't tell the whole story.
NASA's Juno spacecraft is sending back its first images from Jovean orbit, and they're beautiful. Read more
We got our hands on the first zoom lens available for Fujifim's new digital medium format system. Check out the samples
As summer really gets going over here in the Northern hemisphere, the team at Imaging Resource has put together a list of the best cameras for backpacking.
The Ukrainian Parliament banned statues of Lenin in 2015. Two years later, the monuments no longer adorn public buildings or stand watch over town squares, but they're still there.
If you had to choose one camera to bring along for the ultimate West coast road trip, what would it be? DPR's Sam Spencer choose the X100F. Read more
The a9 boasts impressive capability. As more examples of it in practice pour in, Sony's claims hold up. Watch the a9 track and maintain focus on a rapidly approaching basketball.
Last week, more than a million tonnes of Californian coastline slid into the ocean, taking part of Highway 1 with it. Check out the remodeling in photos taken before and after the landslide.
Even after eighteen months of reviewing the latest, greatest, shiniest and must-buy-me-est new gear, DPReview staffer Carey Rose has continued to use older DSLR cameras for his freelance work. But now, that might be changing. Read more
Sony is the world's leading mirrorless camera brand but remains third for ILCs overall, it's said in a presentation to investors. A focus on high value cameras and lenses should boost operating income, it says. Read more
It's nicknamed the 'Cycloptic Mustard Monster,' and is a 3D printed medium format camera. Read more
The new NanGuang LED lights are battery powered and come with accessories including filters and diffusers.
Have you been telling yourself, "Hey, I really need one of those 8K displays?" A video about Dell's new 8K monitor shows you what to expect. Is it really that much better?
Tamara Lackey, a Nikon ambassador USA and pro shooter, discusses embracing self-consciousness as a means of connecting with subjects.
There's a new Spiderman movie coming out and the poster been generating a lot of online chatter. Mostly about how it looks like the creation of a fevered teenager that just discovered Photoshop.
An honest defense of the system's merits, with photos as proof.
Copyright disputes are no fun at all. 'Binded' is a new startup that aims to simplify the process of registering - and enforcing - copyright for photographers. Read more
Not everyone wants to pay a premium for a long zoom camera. Thankfully, there are many reasonably priced cameras available, though they won't offer the same image quality as enthusiast models. In this updated roundup we look at big zoom cameras with more consumer-friendly price tags. Read more
Think Tank Photo has updated two of its popular bag lines with improvements to functionality. Read more
We’ve all seen Bob Jackson’s Pulitzer Prize winning photo, but there's another.
The sample footage looks good.
It will automatically pick the best camera settings depending on shooting conditions. It even promises enhanced functionality for your camera, like exposure and focus stacking. It already supports many cameras from Canon, Fuji, Nikon and Sony. Read more
As if $13,950 wasn’t enough to pay for a special edition lens, the Leica Store in San Francisco is offering a prototype of said lens for $24,995. Read more
Make those old photos disappear without deleting them forever.
Firmware updates enable 10 fps shooting with adapted A-mount lenses, and faster startup times and better compatibility for 20 fps shooting when using native lenses on the a9.
Fujifilm has released firmware updates for its camera models X-T2, X-Pro2, GFX 50s, X-T20, X100F and X-T1 and updates to three of its software products.
A 22 year-old Romanian photographer uses his DJI Phantom 4 drone to capture unique perspectives of the city where he now lives.