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Mark Peters : November 7th 2006 - 00:30 CET

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ50 review


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PanasonicPanasonic Lumix DMC-FZ50 digital camera review : As more and more digital SLR cameras are becoming attractively priced, the market for high-end compact cameras seems to have shrunk significantly. Undeserved perhaps, as the top class segment offers first-rate compact cameras that can almost compete with a digital SLR as far as quality is concerned, and offer the additional bonus of being considerably more compact. Moreover, there are plenty of interesting, perky models, such as -for instance- the so-called Megazoom cameras, which certainly have an identity of their own. Although we must say these too seem to have suffered a recent loss of popularity. Panasonic, however, remain an advocate for the super zoom, and the brand recently introduced the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ50.
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ50 reviewPanasonic FZ50 - 12x Optical zoom
The Panasonic FZ50 is a Megazoom camera in its truest form. The 12x optical zoom provides a range of 35 up to 420mm, when compared to a 35mm camera. All in all, a considerable range. A pity, however, that we do not find a little more wide-angle, especially now that Panasonic are strongly asserting themselves with the 28mm campaign. Let's hope Panasonic will start to take notice of the demand for this type of range, especially considering the fact that there seems to be quite a bit of wide-angle interest amongst the Lumix FZ-users. Although creating a proper wide-angle on a small sensor in addition to a sizeable tele remains a somewhat tricky job, we have already seen plenty of proof that it can indeed be done.

Panasonic DMC-FZ50 - LCD monitor & Auto Focus
The DMC-FZ50 has been equipped with a 2.0-inch flip-out LCD display, which is adjustable to 180 degrees both vertically and horizontally. This assists smooth shooting even in high- and low-angle shooting positions. The pixel mixed readout method performed at the CCD achieves high sensitivity to offer sufficient brightness for easy shooting even in low-lit situations. The Auto Focus mode can be selected according to the shooting situation: 9-point, 3-point high speed, 1-point high speed, 1-point normal speed and Spot. In the 1-point and 1-point high speed AF mode, the AF area is selectable from the nine focusing areas with the joystick to best fit the composition of the subjects. Due to an AF assist lamp it becomes easier to focus in difficult shooting situations.

Panasonic Lumix FZ50 review

Panasonic Lumix FZ50 - MEGA O.I.S & Intelligent ISO Control
To fight against the major cause of blurred images, Panasonic invented the MEGA O.I.S. system taking advantage of its lens technology to compensate for handshake - a feature which has long been incorporated into the Lumix range of cameras. In addition, to also compensate for the other major cause of blurred images, movement of the subject, the Panasonic FZ50 is also equipped with a Intelligent ISO Control and max. ISO 1600 recording capabilities within the image processing Venus Engine III.

Panasonic Lumix FZ50 Megazoom - Camera resolution
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ50 camera is already Panasonic's fourth FZ10-series Megazoom camera, the FZ40 never existed. It has to be said the step from FZ20 to the FZ30 was quite a leap indeed. The step to the Lumix FZ50 isn't quite as large, yet every bit as remarkable. This isn't just related to the higher resolution of 10 Megapixels. The ten Megapixel resolution is in fact a "logical" upgrade of the segment high resolution compact cameras. As far as efficiency is concerned, however, the resolution boost doesn't really add that much. The increased resolution results in the fact that the pixels on the sensor have even become smaller, which certainly affects the quality of the pixel itself.

Panasonic Lumix FZ50 review

Panasonic Lumix DMC FZ50 review
Just as with the FZ30, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ50 Megazoom camera allows you to capture your photos in the 16:9 and 2:3 ratio. It is the 16:9 format in particular that proves wonderful in practice. We do not yet see that many manufacturers involved in working with this HDTV ratio. However, Panasonic and Epson have made a deal to further explore this feature, an interesting development. The Panasonic FZ50 is an evolved version of the FZ30. Panasonic have applied plenty of developments and improvements to ensure their latest model is even more interesting. We had the opportunity to test the Panasonic Lumix FZ50 in practice for a considerable amount of time. Our findings can be read in the following Panasonic Lumix FZ50 review.





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