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Panasonic Lumix DMC FZ50 | Digital Camera Review | Control
Although the Panasonic Lumix FZ50 certainly isn't a small camera, it is still more compact than a digital SLR camera with a 400mm lens. Its measurements and somewhat hefty lens ensure the camera is both easy and comfortable to hold. Positioning your left hand below the lens provides a firm and stable grip, and sees to it that both zooming in and out can be done without any trouble whatsoever. During the practice tests, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ50 thus proved a pleasant camera to carry along. It is the MEGA O.I.S in particular that enables effortless, trouble-free photography.
Panasonic Lumix DMC FZ50 | Digital Camera Panasonic Lumix DMC FZ50 | Digital Camera
Panasonic Lumix FZ50 - Release button & Focussing
The Panasonic Lumix FZ50 features a start-up time of approximately 2 seconds, which is admittedly a little longer than we generally see with the camera's closest rivals. Anyway, you could of course also opt to leave the camera switched on after starting up. The shutter release button has a pleasant pressure point, and proves very intuitive to work with; the camera will focus upon holding the button pressed half-way down. The auto focus, which is then activated, proves surprisingly fast. However, the fact that your image will momentarily freeze on the screen is a bit of a nuisance. Although this shouldn't cause any problems for still images, it will become somewhat trickier when trying to capture a moving subject. If you wish to focus manually, a certain part of the image will be enlarged, which allows you to assess the sharpness with reasonable accuracy. A handy feature!

Panasonic FZ50 - LCD display & Electronic viewfinder
To frame your shot, you can either use the LCD screen on the back of the camera or the electronic viewfinder. The resolution of the monitor has decreased slightly, but this proves virtually unnoticeable in practice. It is a bright and attractive monitor, which makes it perfectly suitable to work with. Personally, I find it hard to get used to an electronic viewfinder, although I have to admit the viewfinder of the Panasonic FZ50 is of considerable quality. However, I think it is likely to be a while before the electronic viewfinder will conquer the optical viewfinder. When shooting in a surplus of direct sunlight, the electronic viewfinder does prove a lot easier to work with than the monitor on the back of the camera.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ50 - Zoom ring
The zoom ring that surrounds the lens is very pleasant to work with. In my opinion, this is a much better solution to zoom in and out with than the buttons that many other compact cameras feature. The zoom ring simply allows much more accurate and faster assessing of the frame. The indication on the lens has already been converted to 35mm format, so that you instantly know what you're dealing with. The camera also features a real ring for the manual focussing; yet another feature that performs superbly in practice. It are the more experienced photographers in particular that will find this typical feature a valuable tool. It is pleasantly familiar, and -as said- considerably accurate.
Panasonic DMC-FZ50 - Optical image stabilisation
Especially when working with long focal points, you often find hand-held photography without the assistance of an (optical) image stabilisation is pretty much impossible. The Panasonic FZ50 features two modes for the MEGA O.I.S. When working with mode 1, the image stabilisation will be running continuously, even when framing. The main advantage is that you will have a calm and stable image on the monitor or in the viewfinder. However, it proves a little less effective than mode 2, in which the MEGA O.I.S. isn't activated until the image is shot. This does affect the shutter release lag somewhat; it takes a little longer before your image is actually captured. Generally, mode 1 is likely to suffice, and we would certainly recommend to keep using the image stabilisation. At first it may seem a little unclear why Panasonic have opted for two modes. However, after you have worked with it in practice, and once you have assessed several types of images in the various modes, you will soon know exactly which mode to activate.

Panasonic Lumix FZ50 - Camera menu & Function button
The menu of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ50 camera is clear and well-arranged. As a result, it is unlikely you will have to search for a specific setting. Ideal is the new function button, which allows quick access to the most important functions, such as white balance, white balance correction, sensitivity and image format. Consequently, extensive searches through the menu are a thing of the past. In fact, there's isn't all that much of a need to be in the menu in the first place. All in all, this makes working with the Panasonic FZ50 a very enjoyable experience indeed.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ50 - Custom function
Virtually all settings can also be stored in a custom function. The Panasonic Lumix FZ50 even offers three storage spots. This means you have the option to save the ideal setting for three different situations, which will save you the hassle of having to search, and means you won't have to keep setting everything over and over again. After all, we all know how those things go; you're bound to forget at least a thing or two. It is clear a lot of thought and effort has gone into the camera's general operation; which is both clever and straight-forward. The camera proves stable in your hand, and the combination of a large optical range and the MEGA O.I.S. is undeniably powerful, which makes the Panasonic Lumix FZ50 universally employable.
Panasonic Lumix DMC FZ50 Panasonic Lumix DMC FZ50
   
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