|Panasonic FZ18 - Hand-fit & Mega O.I.S image stabilizer
Taking the camera in my hands, I can feel the ideal hand-fit straight away. The Panasonic Lumix FZ18 has a perfect handgrip and lies just right in my hand. The feeling Panasonic are able to create adds to a great extend to the ease of operating the camera. The FZ18 is a compact camera when we look at how the camera has been equipped but it carries many features from a digital SLR camera. The compact size is not at all a disadvantage regarding the operation of the camera. And in addition Panasonic applied their Mega O.I.S., an optical image stabilizer to support the 18x optical zoom. Mega O.I.S. contributes greatly to cameras with a large focus range.
Panasonic DMC-FZ18 - Battery & Memory compartment
The rear of the camera offers access to the compartment for the battery and the flash memory card. The cover is stopped from opening too far by a spring and neatly finished. The battery is kept in its spot by a safety catch which prevents it from falling out when opening the compartment. In the same compartment some room is created for the memory card. Panasonic, one of the founders of the SD format, naturally chose for SD but also offers support to the SDHC platform (Secure Digital High Capacity) so 4GB and more storage capacity can be used without a problem.
Panasonic Lumix DMC FZ18 - 2.5" LCD monitor
The back of the camera has a 2.5-inch sized monitor. I would have expected a different size here, either wide screen since Panasonic is promoting 16:9 or a 3-inch monitor. In any case, without wanting to push, a larger monitor is what I would have liked to have seen on this camera. The size of it hasn't changed compared with the one on the Lumix FZ8. The front of the camera is dominated by the 18x optical zoom. The brightness of the lens, carrying the name of Leica, is f/2.8-f3.3 and starts with a 28mm zoom. Panasonic delivers the FZ18 standard with a lens hood, a small but useful detail.
|Panasonic FZ18 - Built-in flash & Shutter release
The top of the Panasonic Lumix FZ18 carries a built-in flash with next to it the command dial with the main programs. The camera has not been equipped with a hot shoe but maybe we will see the latter appear on a future model. The command dial can be turned to the left as well as to the right 360 degrees and every setting is carried out with an audible click. The shutter release is large offering a clearly perceptible pressing point. The zoom ring around the shutter release is almost stepless which adds to precise focus.
Panasonic Lumix FZ18 - Good ergonomics
The ergonomics of the Panasonic Lumix FZ18 are perfectly in order. The buttons are easily accessible and although not too large in size, still easy for larger hands to operate. In combination with the perfect hand-fit and the handy size, Panasonic seem to have developed an utterly well thought-out Megazoom concept which does not leave them empty-handed.