Panasonic Lumix DMC-LZ5 Review
Review Date: February 23rd 2006
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-LZ5 is a brand new compact digital camera with a 6 megapixel sensor and 6x optical zoom lens, equivalent to 37-222mm on a 35mm camera. The Panasonic LZ5, as with all Panasonic cameras, offers the company's MEGA O.I.S optical image stabilisation system for shake-free photos. The DMC LZ5 improves on the previous DMC LZ2 and LZ1 models with a larger LCD screen, High Angle mode that brightens the LCD when held overhead, faster 1-point auto-focus system and a new High Sensitivity mode with a fastest ISO speed of ISO 1600. Purely a point and shoot camera, the Panasonic LZ5 will be on sale in March for around $280. You can decide if the DMC-LZ5 is your perfect new camera by reading my review.
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The Panasonic Lumix DMC-LZ5 has a 6.37 megapixel, 1/2.5 inch CCD that delivers 6 effective megapixels. There are 3 different aspect ratios on offer (4:3, 3:2 and 16:9) each with a range of image sizes. In the 16:9 aspect ratio, there are 2,816 x 1,584 pixels and 1,920 x 1,080 pixels sizes. In the 3:2 aspect ratio, there are 2,816 x 1,880 pixels and 2,048 x 1,360 pixels sizes. In the 4:3 aspect ratio, there are 2,816 x 2,112 pixels, 2,048 x 1,536 pixels, 1,600 x 1,200 pixels, 1,280 x 960 pixels and 640 x 480 pixel sizes. All of these different configurations can be recorded as either Fine or Standard quality JPEGs. The camera's 6x Leica DC Vario-Elmarit optical zoom lens is equivalent to a 37-222mm lens on a 35mm format camera. There is also a 4x digital zoom and 8.3x Extra Optical zoom should you feel the need to use them. MEGA O.I.S. (Optical Image Stabilizer) is available with 2 different modes. The camera has 14Mb of built-in memory - it is not supplied with either a SD Memory Card or MultiMedia Card.
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-LZ5 offers Auto, Simple and Economy exposure modes plus 15 different scene modes (Portrait, Sports, Scenery, Night Scenery, Night Portrait, Fireworks, Party, Snow, Soft Skin, Starry Sky, Candle, Food, Baby1, Baby2, High Sensitivity. The maximum aperture is f2.8 (wide) – f4.5 (tele), and the shutter speed range is 60 secs. – 1/2000th sec. There are 4 ISO speeds ranging from 80 to 400, an Auto option and a new High Sensitivity Mode that allows ISO 800-1600. There are 4 different White Balance presets to choose from (Daylight, Cloudy, Halogen, White Set), plus an Auto setting and White Balance Adjustment (150K step, -1500K - +1500K). The camera offers exposure compensation in ± 2 in 1/3 EV steps and auto-bracketing is available.
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-LZ5 has a normal shooting mode, Self-timer (2 secs. or 10 secs.) and 2 different Continuous modes - High (3 fps) or Low (2 fps), with a maximum of 8 images in Standard JPEG Mode and 6 images in Fine JPEG Mode for both modes. There are 4 different colour effects available (Cool, Warm, Black and White and Sepia) and 3 picture adjustments (Natural, Standard, Vivid). The Macro setting allows you to focus on subjects that are as close as 5cms at the wide-angle lens setting. The camera offers 5 auto-focus systems - 1-point, 1-point high speed, 3-point high speed, 5-point and Spot - and you can choose from Normal or Macro focus. An AF assist lamp helps to achieve focus in low-light situations. The built-in flash offers 4 different modes (Auto, Auto/Red-eye Reduction, Slow Sync./Red-eye Reduction, Forced On/Off). The flash range is 30cm - 4.2m at the wide-angle lens setting and 0.5m - 2.6m at tele-photo.
To compose your images, you can use the LCD monitor - there is no optical or electronic viewfinder. The Panasonic Lumix DMC-LZ5 has a 2.5 inch Polycrystalline TFT LCD Display which has 85,000 pixels and offers 100% scene coverage. There is a new High Angle mode which allows you to hold the camera above your head and still see the LCD screen clearly. The Panasonic Lumix DMC-LZ5 can record movies with sound 640 x 480 pixels or 320 x 240 pixels, at either 30 fps or 10 fps. Video is recorded in the Quicktime with audio format. The length of the video is only limited by the size of the memory card that you are using. You can also record a 5 second voice memo and attach it to a still image. A histogram is available in both shooting and playback modes. The Panasonic Lumix DMC-LZ5 supports the DPOF (Digital Print Order Format) and PictBridge printing standards, and it connects to a computer via USB 2.0.
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-LZ5's dimensions are 100 (W) × 62 (H) × 45 mm (D) mm, and it weighs 186g without the battery and storage card fitted. The camera is powered by 2 AA size batteries Pack AA (Panasonic Oxyride Battery supplied), which has an approximate CIPA battery life of 235 shots. There is a plastic tripod mount in the left of the bottom of the camera.
Finally, the standard box kit contains a 2 x AA Oxyride Batteries, AV Cable, USB Connection Cable, Strap and Software CD-ROM (containing LUMIX Simple Viewer, ArcSoft PhotoBase, ArcSoft PhotoImpression, USB Driver). Note that you can only store 4 images at the highest quality JPEG setting on the 14Mb built-in memory card. You will therefore need to invest in some memory cards to store your images on.
PhotographyBLOG is a member of the DIWA organisation. Our test results for the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LZ5 have been submitted to DIWA for comparison with test results for different samples of the same camera model supplied by other DIWA member sites.