Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ7 Review

June 23, 2006 | Mark Goldstein | PhotographyBLOG | 12 Comments |

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ7With a massive 12x zoom lens and SLR-like handling, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ7 is a bridge camera that should satisfy the needs of most photographers. A focal range of 36-432mm, optical image stabilisation, full range of both automatic scene modes and manual exposure controls, ISO 80-1600, manual focusing and a 2.5 inch LCD screen are just some of the tempting features that the Panasonic FZ7 offers. But does all of this add up to make the DMC-FZ7 the right ultra-zoom camera for you? Read our review to find out… 

Website: Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ7 Review



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#1 max meier

I use this 8Mb version for a couple of weeks now and must say a good camera but since the autofocus is REAL lousy pictures simply come out too bad too often, I dont understand what kind of quality control panasonic has because that there is something wrong everyone can see after some shooting sessions.

4:46 pm - Monday, June 19, 2006

#2 Zoltan

Thanks Mark for your review of yet another interesting camera!

I have two questions. You write that the camera is "quick to find focus if you use the new 1-point high-speed AF option". Could you elaborate in what ways is the 1-point high-speed AF option new? I recall the FZ4 already had one (IR said in their review of the FZ4, "New to the FZ4 is high-speed focusing, available only for the 3-area or single-area AF modes.") Now the FZ4 was apparently the fastest-focussing compact digital camera of all times - can you confirm if the FZ7 is better or worse? Can you say AF speed is comparable to what you get from entry-level DSLRs with a kit lens?

My other question concerns image noise. I understand it's quite high from ISO 200 up in pictures taken at the highest-resolution of 2816x2112 pixels. But the FZ7 has 2-, 3- and 4-megapixel modes too, and noise is usually lower at lower resolution settings. What would you say, does the FZ7 have more or less noise at its 4-megapixel (2304x1728-pixel) setting as the 4-megapixel FZ4 at its highest resolution (same 2304x1728 pixels)?

1:24 pm - Tuesday, June 20, 2006

#3 Mark Goldstein

Hi Zoltan.

I can't comment on the FZ7 vs the FZ4, as I've never reviewed the latter. I can say that the FZ7's focusing speed is comparable to an entry-level DSLR with a kit lens.

9:35 am - Wednesday, June 21, 2006

#4 Zoltan

Thanks Mark, that is actually very good news!

11:59 am - Wednesday, June 21, 2006

#5 dougsinnott

Regarding your review of the Panasonic FZ7,you state that there is NO in-camera sharpening adjustment available.That is incorrect,as three levels are available,via the menu system.headed "picture adjustment".
As regards the High Sensitivity mode,that does work surprisingly well,and as long as you are not expecting large 10 by 8 prints,produces perfectly acceptable results ,much like my Fuji S7000.
It certainly much easier on the shoulder than my Canon 300d,with a 28-200mm lens attached,and in some ways,faster to use.
Also NOT mentioned anywhere in reviews of the FZ7, is the ability to use the High Level lcd option to take low level pictures,holding the camera upside down.
In this position,the screen is easy to see,and composition is straightforward.
When restored to the normal viewing position however,the captured image is then rotated in camera,this can be very useful in macro photography of flowers,etc.
It's better than lying on your stomach!!

9:59 am - Wednesday, August 16, 2006

#6 dougsinnott

A further comment re noise.
Noise is not a problem at all,as far as I can determine in my A4 prints,nearly all cropped to some degree,using mainly ASA settings up to 200,i.e 99% of all my photographs.
Most people would hardly ever use the higher ASA settings anyway,but they can be useful on the odd occasion
Even at 400ASA the average person would not find any fault with my prints,and the results at this setting are as good,if not better,than most similar bridge cameras.
Doug

10:12 am - Wednesday, August 16, 2006

#7 Dr. Nicolas Rao

My URL may have little to do with the delightful little Panasonic FZ7 it is mostly about my late son, Staff Sergeant Noel Rohn Rao. whose burial I attended in Arlinton, Virginia along with his fellow heroes, but I had no digital camera at that time to record my sentiments or feelings. My other children carried 3Mg little Sony's and came up with great pix and memories, which tempted me to dump my Nikon and Hasselbald kit which took too much time to pull out of the bag let alone carry to funeral!
I decided to go digital with a vengence then, In any case with my heart full of sorrow and a small budget, no one wanted to buy my F90s, my micro nikkor 105 and all other juicy lenses and I was tired of carrying them along with some medium format cameras that I never got to take out of my bag.
In anycase with a small budget of US$ 500 more, if I could manage to sell even one of my my Hasselblad filters, I was still on a budget too small for a APS sized sensor camera, so my choice was( in April 2006 Canon S2IS or the Lumix FZ7.
I do not mean to brag, but I have been taking pix for 35 years, use my Besellers enlarger to print and do most of my processing except trannys ( Where are the Q labs now and what choice due you have for emulsions for your taste?)
Old men tend to dwell on their memories and if any of you want to see some poignant ones. please go to http://360.yahoo.com/nicolasrao and you will know what I mean.
In conclusion, what I want to say is that there seem to be so many critics these days and after taking apart some very delightful optics that would have served us well in the old days, complain about the very thing that they( the young generation) did not like, dirtying their hands with chemicals. Why is it you have not learned to tweak your pictures to perfection? You have so many image manipulating software available. Why do make a noise about noise. In the little FZ7 there is Tiff given, it may not be the best brand, but have you sat and shot the same picture under all the settings in your hands. Besides if you want to take pix with a small camera, god help you with a bigger one,you must learn to control every aspect of those cameras before you even get a picutre. There is more to a camerea apart from its view finder and its shutter button and now it view screen.
If you cannot take a good picuture with the FZ7 you probably will settle for a soft and diluted image of your grandmother whom you do not remember as your greatest work of art not because it is a good picture, but just because a good grandmother is such a rarity these days. Nothing to do with photography, but all to do with your mind!
Learn your tool and use it well. This is true for all parts of your life. You could make yourself happy and a lot of others too, and that is what photography and art is all about. Have fun, enjoy your creation. It is yours,
Dr. Nicols Rao

6:53 pm - Friday, October 13, 2006

#8 Ian Baldwin

My previous digital was an Olympus Camedia bought 3 years ago. I recently tried to buy another media card only to find that they are now obsolete (considering film is still available for cameras nearly 100 years old this is not very good Olympus !) As a result I made a decision never to buy another Olympus. The choice was between a Kodak Easyshare Z710 with high zoom and the Panasonic FZ7 at around £30 more but with Leica Lens and image stabiliser. I am very pleased with this camera. It's power up time is far faster than the Olympus. I could never have afforded a zoom lens of this quality for a 35mm camera. Controls are easier to use than the Olympus. Highly recommended.

6:34 am - Saturday, April 28, 2007

#9 Mark Goldstein

(Posted on behalf of Dr. Nicolas Rao)

Thank you for forwarding this message to me. I am very grateful. I apologize for the delay in acknowledging your mail, as I was away doing a presentation in NE India, near the base of the Himalayas. I talk about things like Green Tea extract and Chlorophyll as health supplements and that is the Tea capital of the world.


I will visit again later this month and will tryout the FZ7 in that beautiful part of the country and see if there is anything more to add.

Thanks once again,
Nicolas

9:56 am - Wednesday, May 9, 2007

#10 mousi

i like how you set up this page

10:56 am - Saturday, August 11, 2007

#11 Dr. Nicolas Rao

This discussion is coming along nicely, though I seem to be the biggest mouth around. I tell you I am Enjoying! this camera. It has wonderful results if you know how to use it. I friend of mine who is a well know Nature photographer in India also feels the same way. It is light, fast and super sharp when you use it the right way. And for those of you who have problems with noise, which in fact adds the necessary detail more often than not, why do you not download the free software called Noiseware " the community edition is free" and is quite ample for most needs. That is if you really want it and maybe you can try Noiseninja the photshop plug-in or photneat I think is the other, but I recommend Noiseware it should do!

6:34 pm - Monday, August 13, 2007

#12 Michiel

I had a Canon Ixus v2 before and it made better pictures than the panasonic fz7. The indoor pictures are disappointing. With or without flash. I decided to buy a an Ixus again to have a camera that fits in my pocket and to buy an SLR for the real stuff. This in between solution doesn't do it for me. I mean size and quality. (You can buy my -hardly used- fz7: http://link.marktplaats.nl/228089454 )

10:08 am - Friday, February 13, 2009