|Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ18 - ISO values
One segment that a compact camera forever struggles with is the amount of noise at high and sometimes even at low ISO values. It is a problem that keeps popping up. The small image sensor with the increased amount of pixels eliminates the effect of increasing the resolution with a strain on the quality of the ISO setting. A perfectly working noise reduction system can make up for a lot, but usually this is at the cost of detail in a picture. The Panasonic FZ18 is no exception. The low ISO up to 400 is of good quality although we see the noise reduction doing its job. From ISO 400 and higher the Panasonic Lumix FZ18 encounters some problems. Panasonic has applied a quite 'intelligent' noise reduction system but it does not stop me from coming to the conclusion that the camera should be set to ISO 100 and be left that way.
Panasonic DMC-FZ18 - JPEG & RAW files
Besides the possibility of shooting JPEG format with the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ18, RAW files belong to the possibilities as well. This might be nice to know for the photographer and for everybody who likes to keep control over the end result concerning image editing, but for the final quality you might as well forget about it. The JPEG quality is excellent and the difference between conversion through the camera and manually converting from RAW to JPEG is insignificant. There is an advantage when using RAW for you have more control over the white balance, sharpness etc. And besides that you control the noise reduction yourself, so you might be able to keep more detail in the picture.
Panasonic FZ18 - Auto white balance
The auto white balance of the Panasonic FZ18 functions quite stable under normal circumstances. At incandescent light the camera gets it wrong occasionally. Manual correction will offer the solution and does filter colour cast sufficiently. Striking is the lack of a setting to correct fluorescent light. The built-in flash can naturally contribute to a correct exposure. The effective range Panasonic claim is similar to the range I tested in practice. The flash pictures have good colour rendition and are well exposed.
|Panasonic Lumix FZ18 - Macro pictures
I'd almost forget to mention that a Megazoom camera is not only good for taking telephoto pictures. Besides the wide angle of 28mm, letting you capture landscapes and indoor pictures, the Panasonic FZ18 is also capable of taking macro pictures. In telephoto it is rather difficult with a distance of 2 metres, but in wide angle a distance of only 1cm is possible. The only thing you have to be aware of is that you have to create enough light, in order to use a low ISO value without using the flash because the built-in flash is not able to expose an object correctly on such a short distance. Other than that, the macro pictures are of excellent quality and it is surprising to see a Megazoom camera like the Panasonic FZ18 capable of delivering close-ups of this fine quality.
Panasonic FZ18 - Good image quality
The Panasonic Lumix FZ18 is a versatile Megazoom camera that offers everything that is technically possible to offer at this moment. The quality that can be obtained from such a small image sensor is reaching its limits which is visible in the effect of the ISO settings. The Panasonic FZ18 delivers a high quality picture providing you don't use an ISO setting higher than 400 ISO. If you want more you will have to go for a digital SRL camera which is a good alternative. And guess what? Panasonic just added the L10 DSLR to their assortment….