Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ5 Review
Operation and controls
Like its predecessor, the FZ5 packs a wealth of features and functions into its compact body, offering everything from point-and-shoot scene modes to advanced manual photographic controls. Although inevitably many of the controls are accessible only via the excellent on-screen menus, pretty much everything you need for everyday shooting gets its own external control. The challenge for designers of such sophisticated cameras is to minimize the inevitable complexity of operation resulting from offering so many options and controls. The good news is that the guys at Panasonic have learnt many lessons over the last few years, and - though you need a few days to truly master it - the FZ5 is surprisingly easy to use - and if you are a total novice there's even a friendly 'Simple' mode with fewer controls and simplified displays. I found I was able to pick up the FZ5 and use virtually the myriad controls without even having to open the manual - always the mark of a well designed interface.
Rear of camera
All the camera's controls are placed above, and to the right of, the 1.8-inch LCD screen. Directly behind the flash is the pop-up flash button. Directly below this we have the viewfinder/LCD toggle, Display button (changes the amount and presentation of on-screen information), Exposure button (used to change settings in manual/semi automatic modes) and on/off switch. To the right of the LCD is the main menu button and the four-way controller. In record mode three of the four arrow keys have a single function; Quick Review (look at the last image saved), flash mode and self-timer. The top (up) arrow cycles through AE-Compensation, Flash Exposure Compensation, AE Bracketing and (if you are not using Auto White Balance) an unusual White Balance Adjustment (a 20-step slider from more red to more blue). At the bottom is a final button used to delete images in playback mode (or in Quick Review). This button can also be assigned as the focus trigger, for faster shooting (the shutter release no longer activates the AF if this option is enabled).
Top of camera
|The top of the camera shows the slight redesign of the grip since the FZ3 - the shutter release is now in a much better position and there is a new OIS (image stabilization) button.|
Display and menus
Scrolling through the FZ5's menu system, which is virtually identical to the FZ3 and FZ20, gives you some idea of just how feature-rich the camera is, and how much thought has gone into making it not only versatile, but easy to master too. The menus are clean, bright and easy to read. They're fast too, and Panasonic has done an excellent job of taming some of the complexity inherent in such a large feature set.
|The most basic preview screen in record mode is completely free of any overlays or icons. You can also, by pressing the Display button, get a simple grid to aid framing.||Half-press the shutter release and the camera will calculate exposure (AE) and focus (AF) indicating the AF area used and the aperture/shutter speed chosen. You'll also get a warning if camera shake is a danger.|
|If you want all the information, but like to see your preview without all the clutter, choose the 'out of frame' mode - designed to mimic a professional SLR viewfinder.||One more press of the display button gives you the full monty; full shooting information, plus a live histogram.|
|In aperture priority, shutter priority and manual mode you need to press the 'Exposure' button to change values (using the four-way arrow keys).||Pressing the 'up' arrow repeatedly cycles through Exposure compensation, Flash level, White Balance adjustment and AE Bracketing. The left/right arrows change the actual settings.|
|Pressing the down arrow brings up an instant review of the last image recorded without having to go into playback mode. You can zoom in and delete this image (or in fact any other if you scroll through them).||The three-page record menu covers options such as white Balance, sensitivity, picture size/quality, metering and focus modes and image adjustments. Here is also where you'll find options for the alternative focus trigger and the unique 'flip animation' function. This allows a series of shots to be turned into a QuickTime movie - make your very own 'Chicken Run'.|
|Turn the main mode dial to SCN (scene) and press the menu button to choose a subject mode (from the 9 available). Press the menu button again and you get most of the options in the normal record menu.||New for the FZ5 is the 'info' button to the right of each scene mode. Select this and you get a simple description of the mode, and how to get the most out of it.|
|Switching to the 'Simple' mode (indicated by a heart symbol on the mode dial) gives you a friendlier, simpler OSD with larger icons and less information.||The menus for simple mode are - naturally - much simpler, and there are far fewer options on offer to trip up the inexperienced user.|
|The two page playback menu offers the usual array of printing, erasing, protecting and slideshow options. There's also the option to add sound to saved files, as well as crop (trim) and resize them. One new feature is auto rotation (the FZ5 now has an orientation sensor).||As when in record mode you can choose the amount of information displayed in playback mode - from nothing at all to full data and histogram (as shown here).|
|Moving the zoom lever to the left ('zoom out') to view nine thumbnails (again you can turn off the frame numbering and menu bar with the display button).||Moving the zoom to the right enlarges the playback image. There are only four steps (2x, 4x, 8x and 16x), but it's very quick. The four arrow keys are used to scroll around enlarged images.|
|The setup menu - accessible from either playback or record mode - has four pages of basic camera-related settings, from monitor brightness and auto review settings to power management, sounds and date and time settings.||Finally a quick mention for the movie mode. The 320x240 pixel (30 or 10 fps) is nothing special, but there are more than the usual array of options, many of which are the same as when shooting stills.|
|Street Food 2017 by ziggyzag|
from Your City - Fast Food
|Running free by LassiM|
|1969 Oldsmobile 442 Resto-Mod by J Warren|
from O is for...
Our review of the Sony a7 III is well underway and, as part of this, we're publishing our studio test scene. We'll be building out the review in the coming weeks as we test and shoot the camera in a series of situations.
The new ExaDrive offers a three times higher capacity than the previous largest SSD, a 30TB model by Samsung.
A pair of images show what may be the upcoming DJI Phantom 5 drone featuring an interchangeable lens camera. While nothing is confirmed, it wouldn't be outside the realm of possibility given the company's recent experience with camera system development.
We were saddened to hear of the death last week of Chuck Westfall, a 35-year veteran of Canon USA, and a legend in the photography industry.
Nikon looks to be positioning its D850 as a serious video rig with today's announcement of its D850 Filmmaker's Kit. The kit includes the body, 20/35/85mm F1.8G lenses, an Atomos Ninja Flame external recorder, two microphones and an extra battery.
Photographers shopping around for Lightroom alternatives have likely encountered Alien Skin's Exposure X3. Here's an overview of its organization and editing controls, and how they differ from the competition.
Alien Skin has released a significant update for its Exposure X3 image editor, adding greater precision to adjustment tools and more printing capabilities, among other improvements.
The FAA has ordered helicopter pilots and operators to halt certain doors-off flights in the wake of a tragedy that killed five passengers.
Analysts TechInsights have torn down a Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus to have a closer look at the device's internal components and their cost.
Oppo's new high-end phones bear an uncanny resemblance to the iPhone X, with features like face unlock to a portrait lighting mode.
Recently we visited the 2018 CP+ show in Yokohama, Japan and as usual, we booked interviews with senior executives from several major manufacturers, including Sigma.
At this year's CP+ show in Yokohama, we sat down with senior executives from several major manufacturers, including Canon. Topics of conversation included Canon's ambitions for high-end mirrorless cameras, and the importance of responding to the demands of the smartphone generation.
We were recently able to follow local frame builder Max Kullaway as he created one of his AirLandSea bikes. Here are our picks of the photos we got, as the project progressed from bare tubes all the way to rideable bicycle.
On paper, the Sony a7 III is a tempting option for photographers who've been considering a switch to full-frame mirrorless. But how does its image quality stack up? We compare it to the Mark II and a few of its other peers.
Erez Marom shares the details behind this beautiful aurora photograph, captured on Haukland Beach in the Lofoten Islands, Arctic Norway, on a moonless evening.
Google Lens uses artificial intelligence and 'computer vision' to identify and provide information about businesses, landmarks and other objects using your phone's camera. And now it's available for iPhone users, too.
The company posted a record quarterly revenue of $2.08 billion for the first quarter of the 2018 fiscal year. That represents incredibly healthy year-over-year growth of 24 percent.
In the job posting, the Times' describes this role as "one of the most important and high-profile jobs in visual journalism." If you're looking for a high profile job in photojournalism, you could do a lot worse than being Photo Director at The Gray Lady.
According to a recent report out of South Korea, Samsung is increasing production of its ISOCELL image sensors in a bid towards market leadership for image sensors. To reach this goal, Samsung will have to dethrone current market leader Sony... no small task.
In this video, large format photographer Ben Horne shows off the incredible resolving power of 8x10 slide film by pixel peeping a massive 709.6-megapixel drum scan of one of his landscape shots. And you thought 100MP medium format was big...
Photographer Wendy Teal tells the heart-breaking story of a wedding she shot at a hospital on just 24-hours notice. The mother of the bride had been given one week to live, and Wendy responded to the couple's desperate social media plea for someone to capture their special day.
This tiny little plug-and-play VR/AR camera for Android phones uses a pair of greater-than-180° FOV fisheye lenses to offer both 360° video/photo capture and 360° livestreaming at 1440p resolution.
Syrp has announced the Magic Carpet Pro: a slider that offers filmmakers an 'infinitely extendable' range thanks to built-in track levers that let you connect lengths of track without the use of tools.
At CP+ we sat down with executives from several major manufacturers. Among them was Kenji Tanaka, of Sony, who talked to us about the a7 III as well as its plans to attract more pro shooters – without ignoring APS-C and entry-level customers.
How do you shoot macro photography on an 18x24cm large format wet plate camera? You 'connect' two large format cameras together! That's how wet plate photographer Markus Hofstaetter did it, and you can read about the whole process in this article.
The Fujifilm X-H1 is a top-of-the-range 24MP mirrorless camera with in-body stabilization and the company's most advanced array of video capabilities. We've tested the X-T2's big brother extensively to see how it performs.
Motorsports photojournalist Jamey Price recently flew to Canada with Lamborghini for the car company's Winter Accademia 2018, where clients get to drive the latest Lamborghini supercars on snow and ice. Yes... it is exactly as awesome as it sounds.
For the Pixel 2 smartphone's Motion Photos feature, Google built on its existing Motion Stills technology by adding advanced stabilization that combines software and hardware capabilities to optimize trimming and stabilization.
This "high-capacity advanced spider tripod" system can handle a maximum load of 65kg / 143lbs thanks to its reinforced design and 8-layered carbon fiber legs.
Photographer William Briscoe captured the beautiful two-for-one timelapse just outside Fairbanks, Alaska on January 31st, braving -31°F (-35°C) temperatures to get the shot.