Panasonic Lumix DMC-LZ5 digital compact camera
With the Panasonic Lumix DMC LZ5, Panasonic offer a very attractive camera indeed. It offers the consumer true value for money, a fact that is only emphasised by the combination of the 6x optical zoom and the optical image stabiliser, which proves an undeniable asset of the camera. The Panasonic LZ5 has quite a few predecessors, and it is always good to see that a new generation has been improved or upgraded on at least several points. The camera's compact design allows you to carry it along easily, whilst the user-friendliness and easy operation ensure it can be used by all types of photographers.
Panasonic LZ5 - 6x optical Lumix DC Vario zoom lens
The 6x optical Lumix DC Vario zoom lens performed superbly during the practice tests. The images are sharp, and excellent results are produced over the entire range. Although a certain degree of chromatic aberration and distortion is visible in the wide-angle mode, it is not insurmountable. Upon zooming in lightly, these small wrinkles are quickly evened out, which ensures you will be presented with a decent and attractive end result. The zoom lens is easy and accurate to operate, and the combination with the optical image stabilisation (MEGA O.I.S.) enables care-free, effortless photography. Everyone knows nothing is quite as disappointing as coming home with blurry tele images. Rest assured that the Panasonic LZ5 sees to it that this is pretty much a thing of the past.
Panasonic DMC LZ5 - LCD display & ISO values
Despite the changes that have been made to this new generation of the Lumix LZ-series, Panasonic still leave room for improvement. Although the LCD display has been enlarged from 2 to 2.5 inch, the resolution of 85,000 pixels trails undeniably behind. Furthermore, the monitor struggles somewhat when working in sunny conditions, which makes you instantly aware of the absence of an optical viewfinder. In also has to be pointed out that the signal/noise ratio from 200 ISO and up could certainly be improved. The 200 -and in particular the 400- ISO value simply produces too much noise to be able to contribute to the quality of the image. Although the MEGA O.I.S. system ensures you will not often have to resort to a high ISO value, I really do expect a revised approach from Panasonic in the future. However, the High-Angle function that the camera offers is a truly wonderful feature. It is activated by holding the High Angle button pressed down for a longer period of time. Once activated, it enables you to hold the camera high above your head whilst maintaining a decent view on the monitor even from a large angle. An ingenious and effective solution!
Panasonic Lumix DMC LZ5 - Image processor
The image processor of the Panasonic Lumix LZ5 is very prominently present, which can be noticed virtually immediately from the camera's economical power consumption. In addition to this, series of images are quickly processed, and the camera is able to capture a fast series of 3fps. A pity, however, that Panasonic have not yet managed to carry this speed through on all fronts. The camera's start-up time, for instance, is a little slow, and the flash really does take its sweet time to recharge. The navigation of the menu is both enjoyable and fast. The remaining functions that can be accessed through the buttons on the back side of the camera also prove to react instantly.
Panasonic Lumix DMC-LZ5 - Superb digital camera
At the end of the tests, the Panasonic LZ5 leaves us with a pleasant and particularly positive feeling. For its price-tag, the camera offers the consumer a great deal of ease and functionality. The novice photographer will undoubtedly feel happy as a king with so much user convenience. It is impressive to see how Panasonic manage to integrate the MEGA O.I.S. into all their digital cameras. This feature is a truly valuable asset of the LUMIX digital camera. The Panasonic Lumix DMC LZ5 is a superb digital camera for those who consider themselves novice digital photographers, but do desire that little bit extra from the zoom range. All in all, the Panasonic LZ5 forms an excellent first step to a future advanced camera - and who knows, perhaps even to a future (Panasonic) D-SLR camera?
SanDisk Extreme III Secure Digital card
The camera's handgrip holds the card slot for the Secure Digital memory card. Just like the majority of the current digital cameras, the Panasonic LZ5 supports this small card, which should by now be regarded as the standard. The Secure Digital memory card is available is a variety of storage capacities and speeds. I chose to equip the camera with the Extreme III Secure Digital card by SanDisk for our practice tests. Although this is in fact one of the fastest cards available on the market, the Panasonic LZ5 cannot benefit from it fully. Granted, it is perhaps a bit of overkill; the Panasonic Lumix LZ5 is practically just as fast with a standard card. Formatting the small SD card is done more rapidly, and the images are stored just that little bit faster.
Considering 512MB of storage capacity:
Resolution 2816 x 2112 pixels - JPEG Fine - 4:3 mode - 160 images
Resolution 2816 x 2112 pixels - JPEG Normal - 4:3 mode - 320 images
Resolution 2816 x 1880 pixels - JPEG Fine - 3:2 mode - 180 images
Resolution 2816 x 1880 pixels - JPEG Normal - 3:2 mode - 350 images
Resolution 2816 x 1584 pixels - JPEG Fine - 16:9 mode - 210 images
Resolution 2816 x 1584 pixels - JPEG Normal - 16:9 mode - 420 images
Resolution 2560 x 1920 pixels - JPEG Fine - 4:3 mode - 195 images
Resolution 2560 x 1920 pixels - JPEG Normal - 4:3 mode - 380 images
Resolution 2560 x 1712 pixels - JPEG Fine - 3:2 mode - 210 images
Resolution 2560 x 1712 pixels - JPEG Normal - 3:2 mode - 430 images
Resolution 2560 x 1440 pixels - JPEG Fine - 16:9 mode - 250 images
Resolution 2560 x 1440 pixels - JPEG Normal - 16:9 mode - 510 images
Resolution 2048 x 1536 pixels - JPEG Fine - 4:3 mode - 300 images
Resolution 2048 x 1536 pixels - JPEG Normal - 4:3 mode - 590 images
Resolution 2048 x 1360 pixels - JPEG Fine - 3:2 mode - 340 images
Resolution 2048 x 1360 pixels - JPEG Normal - 3:2 mode - 650 images
Resolution 1920 x 1080 pixels - JPEG Fine - 16:9 mode - 450 images
Resolution 1920 x 1080 pixels - JPEG Normal - 16:9 mode - 860 images
Resolution 1600 x 1200 pixels - JPEG Fine - 4:3 mode - 480 images
Resolution 1600 x 1200 pixels - JPEG Normal - 4:3 mode - 940 images
Resolution 1280 x 960 pixels - JPEG Fine - 4:3 mode - 730 images
Resolution 1280 x 960 pixels - JPEG Normal - 4:3 mode - 1370 images
Resolution 640 x 480 pixels - JPEG Fine - 4:3 mode - 2320 images
Resolution 640 x 480 pixels - JPEG Normal - 4:3 mode - 3770 images
Video resolution 640 x 480 pixels - 30fps - 5 min 20 sec
Video resolution 640 x 480 pixels - 10fps - 16 min 20 sec
Video resolution 320 x 240 pixels - 30fps - 16 min 20 sec
Video resolution 320 x 240 pixels - 10fps - 47 min 50 sec