Panasonic Lumix DMC-LZ2 Review
Timing & Performance
Panasonic has made much of the performance enhancements offered by its Venus Engine Plus processor (which appears to be a cut down version of the Venus II used in the higher-end cameras), and the LZ2 seems to bear out many of the claims. It feels very responsive indeed for a 'budget' camera. Even the burst mode - something rarely worth bothering with on cheaper cameras - is pretty impressive. Only the shot-to-shot time with flash disappoints, though the three seconds or so you need to wait after powering up before you can take your first shot can also be a bit of a drag.
All times are calculated as an average of three operations. Unless otherwise stated all timings were made on a 2560 x 1920 Fine JPEG image (approx. 2,260 KB per image). The media used for these tests was a 1.0GB SanDisk Extreme III SD card.
|Power: Off to Record||1.5 *1|
|Power: Off to Play||Image displayed||1.8|
|Power: Record to Off||All activity ceased||1.9|
|Power: Play to Off||When buffer is empty||1.2|
|Record Review||Image displayed||~0.6|
|Mode: Record to Play||1.0|
|Mode: Play to Record||Lens already extended||0.9|
|Play: Magnify||To full magnification (16x)||~0.8 *2|
|Play: Image to Image||Time to display each saved image||~0.6|
|Play: Thumbnail view||3 x 3 thumbnails||1.0|
|Zoom from Wide to Tele||37 to 222 mm (6 x)||1.8|
|Half-press Lag (0->S1)||Wide angle||~0.55|
|Half-press Lag (0->S1)||Telephoto||~0.8|
|Half to Full-press Lag (S1->S2)||LCD live view||<0.1|
|Full-press Lag (0->S2)||LCD live view, wide angle||~0.8|
|Off to Shot Taken||LCD live view||~3.7|
|Shot to Shot||Flash off||2.1|
|Shot to Shot||Flash on (anti red-eye off)||3.9|
|*1||The LZ2 only takes around a second and a half to power up, but isn't ready to actually take a picture for 2.9 seconds.|
|*2||Magnifying images to 16x takes four presses of the zoom button - this is about the fastest you can do it.|
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 1.0GB SanDisk Extreme III SD card. Shutter speed was kept above 1/160 sec during these tests.
Continuous drive mode
In burst mode the LZ2 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
|2560 x 1920 JPEG Fine||Continuous H||3.0 fps||3||2.5s pause*3|
|2560 x 1920 JPEG Fine||Continuous L||1.7 fps||3||2.5s pause*3|
|2560 x 1920 JPEG Fine||Continuous ∞||1.5 fps||limited by card capacity||n/a|
|2560 x 1920 JPEG Standard||Continuous H||3.0 fps||5||2.5s pause*3|
|2560 x 1920 JPEG Standard||Continuous L||1.7 fps||5||2.5s pause*3|
|2560 x 1920 JPEG Standard||Continuous ∞||1.5 fps||limited by card capacity||n/a|
|2M/3M JPEG Fine||Continuous H||3.0 fps||3||2.5s pause*3|
|2M/3M JPEG Fine||Continuous L||1.8 fps||3||2.5s pause*3|
|2M/3M JPEG Fine||Continuous ∞||1.5 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 (3 or 5 frames according to the file quality setting. This is the delay before the next burst|
|*3||This is the average delay (which varies from around 2.2 to 2.9 seconds), mostly taken up with refocusing before the next burst.|
Not a bad performance at all for a 'budget' camera, though we couldn't achieve the quoted 2.0 fps in Continuous-L mode. 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.. If you want to take a really long burst with no pauses you can always switch to the 'no limit' mode (which averages around 1.5 frames per second). Note that when we only managed to get unlimited shots in this mode by using a fast card.
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 the 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
1.0 GB Card
|2560 x 1920 JPEG Fine||~0.9||~0.6||2,260 KB||405|
|2560 x 1920 JPEG Standard||~0.7||~0.5||1,085 KB||794|
|2048 x 1536 JPEG Fine||~0.7||~0.3||1,336 KB||626|
|1600 x 1200 JPEG Fine||~0.6||~0.3||856 KB||1015|
|*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).|
With write times averaging under a second for a 5MP Fine JPEG the LZ2 is again surprisingly speedy for a budget camera - approximately 2500KB/s. Write times were much longer when using a slower card, so again, buy a fast one if you don't like to be kept waiting.