The Panasonic Lumix DMC LZ5 is a compact-sized digital camera with a reasonably light weight, which allows you to carry it along easily. Although the camera isn't ultra-thin (which isn't always advantageous in the first place) it certainly is compact enough when carried in a small (hip) bag or plainly attached to the wrist strap. Despite its large format, the Panasonic Lumix LZ5 is equipped with a 6x optical zoom. It has to be said that this type of range is simply a luxury to work with, both for the novice and the advanced photographer. Naturally, this will come in handy during your holidays or weekend trips, but you will notice your average daily subjects will also benefit from this all-round range. The camera aims at the photographer that values ease and convenience, as well as user-friendliness and a clear, straightforward design.
Panasonic Lumix LZ5 - Pre-programmed scenes
The Panasonic LZ5 features a minimal amount of buttons. The main dial holds a variety of automatic programmes, which require virtually no previous camera experience from the user, so that the first shot can be easily captured. The Panasonic LZ5 keeps the concept comprehensible and conveniently organised, whilst providing an effective solution to capture a great image in virtually every imaginable situation by offering a large diversity of pre-programmed scenes. The applications are quite clear, and are explained to the user by additional text and information. Although you can choose to rely fully on the camera's automatic mode, you also have the option to work from a more creative angle, by using the variety of scenes.
Panasonic DMC LZ5 - Menu & Quick buttons
As said, the amount of buttons on the Panasonic Lumix LZ5 has been kept to a minimum, which means you will frequently have to resort to the camera's menu. The quick buttons located on the right side of the monitor provide direct access to essential features of the camera, such as flash settings and exposure compensation. In addition, they offer the user the option to instantly display the most recently captured image. The settings are clearly shown on the monitor - the only obstacle is formed by sunny weather, which may cause a little hindrance as far as the view is concerned. The novice photographer may opt to work with the so-called Simple mode, which enables the easiest, most effortless form of photographing. In this mode, the menu is reduced, whilst the letters are displayed in a bigger size. In fact, the same even goes for the AF sign on the monitor. As a result, this entire part of the camera's operation comes across particularly easy and hassle-free, which is exactly what Panasonic aim for. Personally, I did not once experience the need to grab the user manual; all is simply as clear as can be.
Panasonic LZ5 - Optical image stabiliser
No matter how striking a 6x optical zoom lens may be, if it does not come with an image stabiliser, there will be a high risk of blur caused by movement of the photographer's hand. Therefore, I am very positive about the fact that the Panasonic Lumix DMC LZ5 digital compact camera features an optical image stabiliser.
Although we see this type of image stabiliser pop up a little more often these days, most manufacturers have not yet integrated this valuable feature - or just in the form of a digital stabiliser. The latter is not nearly as effective and works via the method of noise increase/fast shutter speed. The 6x optical zoom allows to be set quite accurately with 19 small steps, whilst zooming in from wide-angle to tele with average speed. The minimal movement from the photographer's hand is immediately strongly amplified, which will undoubtedly be noticeable as blur in the image later. However, the MEGA O.I.S. eliminates this jitter instantly, which can be told from the actual image, a perfect performance! Once you have worked with this type of system you will simply never want to do without.
Panasonic Lumix DMC LZ5 - Venus Engine II
Panasonic have chosen to equip their digital cameras with a powerful image processor. The Venus Engine II produces more speed and image quality by using fast algorithms. Remarkable is the fast shutter release lag of 0.006 seconds, which prevents the irksome delay when capturing your image. In addition, the Panasonic LZ5 is able to capture with an image speed of 3fps and a maximum of 6 images in the highest quality. Although this does not quite mean the Panasonic Lumix DMC LZ5 should be considered a full fast action camera, it certainly does come close. Besides optimizing the speed, the Venus Engine II also contributes to the camera's power economical features.
Panasonic Lumix LZ5 - Good handgrip
When taking the Panasonic Lumix LZ5 into your hands for the first time, you will notice it feels particularly pleasant to hold. The short yet clearly present handgrip ensures the camera is both stable and comfortable to carry, and you will instantly feel you are holding a camera. The Panasonic Lumix LZ5 reacts very swiftly, and the buttons have all been very clearly arranged. A pity, however, that the menu does not yet offer an extensive amount of languages. A point where the competition proves ahead of Panasonic. After all, the option to familiarise yourself with a new camera in your native language is one of the most important assets to the novice photographer. Overall, the Panasonic LZ5 is a pleasant camera to work with, and leaves a very decent impression indeed.