Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ72 Review

4.5
August 19, 2013 | Matt Grayson |

Image Quality


All pictures were taken at full resolution unless otherwise stated. A full resolution JPEG records an image around 6Mb. Drop it down to the normal compression setting and it records around 4Mb. You can record in raw which pumps out 18Mb of information. If you shoot in raw, you need to download the Silkypix raw conversion software by following the instructions that are buried in the instruction manual on the enclosed CD. We then converted to TIFF which increased the file size even more to 45Mb.

Noise

We recorded the JPEG ISO test shots at third stop intervals to try and gauge where the no9ise starts to come in. We also shot the standard ISO settings in raw to see if there's any change made by the processor as it makes the adjustments for JPEG.

The level of detail in the raw images can definitely be appreciated in low ISO. Images are sharper in JPEG, but that's the processor's doing. No noise is showing through at either setting, though. Shooting in raw is great for seeing where a camera sensor starts to fail, because the processor has no input. So because of that, we begin to see noise show through at ISO 200 in the raw pictures, but not the JPEG.

It is noticeable in JPEG by ISO 400 and the stepped shots show it showing up by ISO 320. After that it's a downward spiral with the processor trying it's best to remove the noise, but it can't cope after ISO 800. Raw images really suffer from ISO 400 or higher with lots of colour JPEG artefacts littering the image. By ISO 1600, the raw shots are taking a real hammering with a colour casting over the entire frame.

When comparing to the raw image, the noise reduction software does a great job of removing noise. It still manages to get through, though which is a shame. And it starts to come through relatively early. We can see instances of it at ISO 400 and it steadily gets worse. Not as bad as it could be. In fact, we do check these results at full magnification of the image. At normal viewing size, the pictures look ok throughout the stages. So the argument could be made that if you're not going to enlarge or print the pictures, you could easily knock the ISO up to help in low light and not worry too much. IN fact, you could probably use it up to around ISO 800 in JPEG without worrying too much.

JPEG

RAW

ISO 100 (100% Crop)

ISO 100 (100% Crop)

   

ISO 200 (100% Crop)

ISO 200 (100% Crop)

   

ISO 400 (100% Crop)

ISO 400 (100% Crop)

   

ISO 800 (100% Crop)

ISO 800 (100% Crop)

   

ISO 1600 (100% Crop)

ISO 1600 (100% Crop)

   

ISO 3200 (100% Crop)

ISO 3200 (100% Crop)

Focal Range

The focal range of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ72 is simply stunning. 20Mm at it's widest and rushing out to a nostril flaring 1200mm. The most stunning thing about this new technology is that the Power OIS can cope with it. We got lovely, sharp images from the full telephoto while hand holding the camera.

Edge to edge sharpness at the wide-angle setting seems good although there's some loss in the corners of the frame. We did see some pin cushion on straight lines, but it's not much and there's bound to be some distortion with a lens this wide.

20mm

1200mm

Sharpening

JPEGS are sharp enough from the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ72 to begin with and the same can be said about the raw files if kept in focus. At low ISO, the pictures do improve slightly with a standard sharpen in an editing suite. Anything over that and the black & white noise exacerbates to noticeable levels.

Original (100% Crop)

Sharpened (100% Crop)

   

File Quality

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ72 has 2 different image quality settings available, with Fine being the highest quality option. Here are some 100% crops which show the quality of the various options, with the file size shown in brackets.

16M Fine (6.06Mb) (100% Crop) 16M Normal (4.07Mb) (100% Crop)
   
16M RAW (18.8Mb) (100% Crop)  
 

Chromatic Aberrations

We certainly expected to find chromatic aberration in the pictures and we weren't disappointed. However, what we did notice is that it only occurs in very high key images with harsh contrasting lines and only at the extreme edges of the frame. In the everyday shots, we couldn't find any instances of it, but the studio shots with bright light did exhibit it.

Chromatic Aberrations 1 (100% Crop)

Chromatic Aberrations 2 (100% Crop)

Macro

Not only can the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ72 zoom into things terribly far away, it can also focus on things terribly near. The macro mode has a close focus of 1cm at 20mm. That's near enough to make even the boldest ladybird get worried. Edge definition does start to dissipate early when you get very close, but it's good to have it there. The great thing about the macro mode is that it works throughout the zoom range. That doesn't mean you can zoom to 1200mm and still focus at 1cm, it's a minimum of 150cm but the compression you get is brilliant. The background gets completely thrown out of focus.

Macro

Macro (100% Crop)

Flash

Without the flash activated, we found that there's an obvious vignette in the corners of the frame. This dissipates when the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ72 is zoomed in. Using flash suppresses it, but it's still clearly seen.

Flash Off - Wide Angle (20mm)

Flash On - Wide Angle (20mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64
   

Flash Off - Telephoto (1200mm)

Flash On - Telephoto (1200mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64

And here are a couple of portrait shots. Because of the high vantage point of the flash unit when activated, red-eye isn't an issue. However, there's a red-eye reduction mode in the flash options along with a red-eye removal mode in the Main menu. Using the latter will erase any problems you may get.

Forced On

Forced On (100% Crop)
   

Auto/Red-eye Reduction

Auto/Red-eye Reduction (100% Crop)

Night

Because of the manual modes available on the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ72, it's possible to use a tripod and set up a long exposure on Manual. That way, you can use ISO 100 and be noise free. We also wanted to see what the Program and Night scene modes would do for us.

The  Night scene mode gave the best result in terms of colour reproduction. The warmth of the sunrise was captured better than what the program mode managed. There's also slightly more detail in the darker areas. Should you decide to want more detail in a shot like this, you could always use the HDR mode.

Night Scene

Night Scene (100% Crop)

   

Night Program

Night Program (100% Crop)

Entry Tags

hd video, 3 inch LCD, review, video, movie, super-zoom, RAW, 1080i, super zoom, wideangle, ultra-zoom, flash, mega-zoom, Panasonic, Lumix, 1200mm, hotshoe, 50i, 20mm, 60x, DMC-FZ72, fz72, fz70, 60i, DMC-FZ70, dmc fz72, dmc fz70, 20-1200mm, 9fps. 16 megapixel. 1920x1080

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