Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ8 Review
Timing & Performance
Like the FZ7 (and the FZ5 before that) the FZ8 feels very responsive in use. Despite the claims made for third generation Venus Engine, as the measurements below show, there isn't a huge difference in the overall performance between the new model and its predecessor, some things are slightly slower, some slightly faster. One thing the Venus III does allow is a perfectly usable raw mode.
Again focus (using the high speed AF mode) is very fast. Shutter lag is marginally slower than the FZ7 - the difference is down to the video lag on the live preview (the actual delay between pressing the button and the shot being taken is almost instantaneous). Continuous shooting, though not quite as good as the FZ7, is impressive for a camera in this class.
All times calculated as an average of three operations. Unless otherwise stated all timings were made on a 7MP Fine JPEG image (approx. 3,380 KB per image). The media used for these tests was a 1.0GB SanDisk Extreme III SD card.
|Power: Off to Record||2.6|
|Power: Off to Play||Image displayed||1.8|
|Power: Record to Off||All activity ceased||2.8|
|Power: Play to Off||When buffer is empty, lens extended||2.8|
|Power: Play to Off||When buffer is empty, lens already retracted||1.4|
|Record Review||Image displayed||~0.8|
|Mode: Record to Play||2.1|
|Mode: Play to Record||Lens already extended||~0.6|
|Mode: Play to Record||Lens retracted||1.3|
|Play: Magnify||To full magnification (16x)||~1.0*1|
|Play: Image to Image||Time to display each saved image||~0.3|
|Play: Thumbnail view||3 x 3 thumbnails||0.9|
|Play: Thumbnail view||5 x 5 thumbnails||4.0|
|Zoom from Wide to Tele||36 to 432 mm (12 x) Full speed||2.6|
|Zoom from Wide to Tele||36 to 432 mm (12 x) Low speed||8.4|
|Half-press Lag (0->S1)||Wide angle, Multi AF||~0.5|
|Half-press Lag (0->S1)||Wide angle, High speed 3 point AF||~ 0.3|
|Half-press Lag (0->S1)||Telephoto, Multi AF||~0.9*2|
|Half-press Lag (0->S1)||Telephoto, High speed 3 point AF||~0.5*2|
|Half to Full-press Lag (S1->S2)||LCD live view or EVF, IS mode 1 (or off)||~0.07|
|Half to Full-press Lag (S1->S2)||LCD live view or EVF, IS mode 2||~0.12|
|Full-press Lag (0->S2)||LCD live view, wide angle, High speed AF||~0.7|
|Off to Shot Taken||LCD live view||~2.7|
|Shot to Shot||Flash off||1.3|
|Shot to Shot||Raw Mode||~3.0|
|Shot to Shot||Flash on (red eye off)||1.8|
|Shot to Shot||Flash on (red eye on)||2.0|
|*1||This is about as fast as you can do it using four separate presses of the zoom button|
|*2||Focus speed at the long end of the zoom varies quite widely - from 0.4 to 1.0 seconds, depending on the mode used and the subject matter.|
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 1.0GB SanDisk Extreme III SD card. Shutter speed was kept above 1/200 sec during these tests.
Continuous drive mode
In burst mode the FZ8 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 (∞).
Frames in a burst *1
|5MP/7MP JPEG Fine||Continuous H||2.8 fps||5||~ 2.0s pause*3|
|5MP/7MP JPEG Fine||Continuous L||2.0 fps||5||~ 2.0s pause*3|
|5MP/7MP JPEG Fine||Continuous ∞||2.1 fps||limited by card capacity||n/a|
|5MP/7MP JPEG Standard||Continuous H||2.8 fps||7||~ 2.0s pause*3|
|5MP/7MP JPEG Standard||Continuous L||2.2 fps||7||~ 2.0s pause*3|
|5MP/7MP JPEG Standard||Continuous ∞||2.3 fps||limited by card capacity||n/a|
|*1||In a single "burst" (finger held down on shutter release).|
|*2||In H and L mode continuous shooting stops when the buffer is full (5 or 7 frames according to the file size/quality setting. This is the delay before the next burst|
|*2||The delay of around one and a half seconds is mainly down to the need to refocus before the next burst|
Not bad at all for a compact in this class. The number of images per burst has decreased and the fastest shooting speed has dropped slightly since the FZ7, but with a fast card its still possible to shoot at over 2 frames per second until the card is full. Even in the fastest mode there is only a slight delay after each burst (some of which is taken up with refocusing when you press the button again), and overall there's nothing to complain about.
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 1.0GB SanDisk Extreme III SD card.
Time to store
File size *1
Images on a *2
|7MP RAW||~2.2||~0.3||11,343 KB *3||60|
|7MP JPEG Fine||~1.3||~0.3||3,380 KB||282|
|7MP JPEG Std||~1.0||~0.3||1,524 KB||557|
|5MP JPEG Fine||~1.1||~0.2||2,370 KB||404|
|3MP JPEG Fine||~0.7||~0.2||1,451 KB||625|
|*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 11,343 KB, and each is saved with a 1,500KB (std quality) JPEG|
With write times averaging around 2.2 seconds for a 11.3MP Raw file, the FZ8 is pretty fast - approximately 5100KB/s. Very impressive stuff, and - with a shot -to-shot time of under 3.0 seconds one of the more usable compact camera raw modes.
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