Panasonic Lumix DMC-LZ30 Review

September 23, 2013 | Matt Grayson | Rating star Rating star Rating star


The Panasonic Lumix DMC-LZ30 is a digital compact camera with a powerful 35x optical zoom, giving a stunning range of 25-875mm. It also features a 16 megapixel sensor, Manual shooting mode, 3 inch LCD screen, HD video and 10 digital filter effects. It's a large zoom camera that will appeal to the happy snapper crowd as well as keen amateurs, thanks to some manual functions. But will the image quality stand up in our test? Priced at around £158.99, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LZ30 is available in black or red.

Ease of Use

From the outside, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LZ30 looks like any other bridge camera on the market today. Take for example the simplified command dial with only eight modes on it. There's no provision for shutter or aperture priority. The LZ30 also lacks an Electronic Viewfinder (EVF) so you can't use it as a normal camera by holding it up to your eye. The main issue that this has is when holding the camera out to watch the screen, it moves out of your centre of gravity and becomes harder to keep still. The result of this – especially as you zoom out – is that the camera has to overcompensate by using the image stabiliser or if that's not enough, ramping up the ISO.

For such a large camera, the controls are smaller, like what you'd find on a normal digital compact. Everything is arranged in a typical fashion with the command dial sat on the right shoulder next to the pop-up flash. The power buttons sits next to it with the direct video record button between that and the shutter release button. On the back, there's a simplified layout of the quick access buttons with the Exposure button (which we'll cover later) at the top, the Playback button just below and the navigation pad as the focus point for the area. The pad doubles up its commands so you can access other features, such as flash, macro, self-timer and exposure compensation.

The metal tripod bush and locking battery door – while small – are indications of a better build quality. The Panasonic Lumix DMC-LZ30 certainly doesn't feel light and the extra weight gives it an air of a superior build.  However, Panasonic have not even fitted the Mega OIS to the lens. A name that's been synonymous with high zoom Panasonics for years. The camera is well balanced when the batteries are in, which are 4x AA type.

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T90 Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T90
Front Rear

Panasonic have positioned the LZ30 just above the beginner market which is why there's a Manual mode on the command dial. The manual mode is pretty basic though. It only has two aperture values - which will vary depending on the focal length of the lens, but there will be one wide and one narrow. There's more variation on the shutter speed which is great for creative shots involving longer exposures. To operate the manual control, you have to put the camera to the M position on the command dial and then press the Exposure button on the back. The aperture and shutter speed on the screen will then highlight with arrows indicating which way you can increase or decrease the current values. Then it's a case of using the pad on the back to adjust them.

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-LZ30 has a start up time from cold of around 1.7sec which is a pretty good performance on the average of 2.5sec. There are two drive modes on the LZ30. A burst mode and continuous shooting mode. In the continuous mode, the LZ30 takes seven photographs in a ten second period. That works out at 0.7fps (frames per second). It plods along pretty respectfully and should do that until the card is full. The burst mode knocks the resolution down to 3 megapixels. It takes six images in the first two seconds before slowing to 1fps. It takes up to 14 seconds to get the rest of the information on to the memory card before it's ready to record again although this could be shorter with a faster card.

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T90 Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T90
Side Pop-up Flash

Using the menu system is pretty easy. The Q.Menu simplifies access to the main processes that you'll use in everyday shooting, such as resolution, ISO, white-balance and drive modes. In the Main menu, there are three sections to choose from; Rec, Motion picture and Setup. The Rec section extends what the Q.Menu offers  focusing or metering modes then the Rec section is what you need to choose. There's four pages of options and certain modes will blank out if they're not accessible in the mode you've selected. The Motion picture option is for video modes and there's only two for the recording quality and the focus modes. Finally the Setup menu is for the more core features of the camera such as the language settings, date & time, card formatting and monitor settings.

You can view pictures on the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LZ30 regardless of whether the camera is switched on or not. When the camera is on, simply press the Playback button on the back of the camera above the direction pad. If the camera is off, simply press the button and hold it down for a few seconds to get the camera to fire up. Images will be full screen and you can scroll through them by using the left/right buttons on the back of the camera. You can zoom in to the pictures by using the zoom switch and if you zoom the other way, the pictures zoom out into a thumbnail gallery. You can do this three times with the final option bringing up a calendar of dates you took certain photographs on the card.

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T90 Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T90
Memory Card Slot Battery Compartment

You will notice on the pictures, if you press up on the navigation pad, you can access the Creative Retouch menu. In this menu, you can add various effects to the photographs, such as Retro, High key and Low key, Sepia and various HDR effects. The Panasonic Lumix DMC-LZ30 has an HDR mode which will blend multiple images to create a neutrally exposed image with detail in the shadows and no burn out in the highlights. The process takes three pictures in quick succession; one over exposed, one perfectly and one under exposed. It then blends them together in camera. The pictures are taken at 3 megapixel – which is a real shame – and we hoped that it may blend them to create a larger resolution image, but it doesn't.

In the box, you get the camera and a set of AA batteries to get you started. A small bag on the top layer contains a basic starter guide in multiple languages, the usual European warranty information and a software CD that contains the full User Manual as well as PHOTOfunSTUDIO 9.0 which is an editing program. There's also a trial version of LoiLoScope for editing videos.

Image Quality

Image quality is arguably the most important part of the test. If the camera can't create decent images then it's not worth getting, right? At full resolution, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LZ30 records images around 4.5Mb in size. Drop that down to the normal compression and the pictures are around 3.15Mb.


What can we say about the noise results from the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LZ30? Mid-range tones and hilights look great. They're sharp, clean and well exposed. Then we look at the low key areas such as shadows and dark materials in the pictures. Our test shots show blotches of red and blue noise showing through at ISO 100. That's not good by all accounts. Move through to ISO 200 and the colour issues get worse in terms of volume, but not intensity.

At ISO 400, the blue and red seems to drop off, arguably combated by noise reduction software. However, if NR was at work, it would have done a better job so we wonder what it's been doing all this time. Image detail has started to degrade and sharp edges are starting to get broken down.

Move up to ISO 800 and the green drops off with just blue showing this time. Details are getting smudged about in a bid to remove salt and pepper noise. Primary colours are desaturated to try and cap the colour coming through. At ISO 1600 sharp edges are soft and squidgy while primary colours are barely there. Green noise is back which is just really odd.

ISO 100 (100% Crop)

ISO 200 (100% Crop)

iso100.jpg iso200.jpg

ISO 400 (100% Crop)

ISO 800 (100% Crop)

iso400.jpg iso800.jpg

ISO 1600 (100% Crop)


Focal Range

The focal length of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LZ30 is 35x. That ranges from 25mm at the wide end to an eyebrow raising 875mm at the top end. There's also the option to increase that to 78.8x zoom using the Extra Optical Zoom function. It reduces the resolution to 3 megapixel and uses the centre of the sensor to bring the subject closer. It's a feature that's been available on some Canon high end compacts – such as the G series – for some years now.



focal_range1.jpg focal_range2.jpg


We don't normally see a difference in image quality when using the sharpening tools in editing suites such as Adobe Photoshop. This is because when the image goes through the processor, one of the things it does is sharpen the picture. Still, we saw a definite increase in sharpness on our test shots.

Original (100% Crop)

Sharpened (100% Crop)

sharpen1.jpg sharpen1a.jpg
sharpen2.jpg sharpen2a.jpg

File Quality

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-LZ30 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 (4.52Mb) (100% Crop) 16M Normal (3.16Mb) (100% Crop)
quality_fine.jpg quality_normal.jpg

Chromatic Aberrations

Chromatic aberration is seen easily on high contrast edges which are generally light over dark. They show as various colours and it happens because the camera hasn't focused all the colours of the spectrum on the sensor.

Chromatic Aberrations 1 (100% Crop)

Chromatic Aberrations 2 (100% Crop)

chromatic1.jpg chromatic2.jpg


There are two close focusing modes on the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LZ30. Panasonic say that the camera can get as close as 1cm but that's an ambiguous statement to make. It can only do that in Super Macro which cuts off the zoom function. Normal macro focuses further away and while the lens kept flashing the words 0.3m at us (30cm), we got to around 10cm.


Macro (100% Crop)

macro1.jpg macro1a.jpg


At wide-angle, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LZ30 does suffer from vignetting in the corners of the frame. It remains as you zoom in, but the camera can't focus on it as well, so it phases out to be barely noticeable. Our test was against a white wall. In normal shooting conditions, you won't see that. Adding flash stabilises the light and increases it slightly. However, it is an intelligent flash system and will work with the metering to give the impression of ambience.

Flash Off - Wide Angle (25mm)

Flash On - Wide Angle (25mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64

Flash Off - Telephoto (875mm)

Flash On - Telephoto (875mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-LZ30 has a red-eye removal software program, so if you do get it. You can completely eliminate it. However, in our tests, we never got it and we think this is down to the fact that it's a pop up type. Because of the angle that the light enters the pupil, it doesn't bounce off the retina in  a way that will reflect into the camera lens.

Forced On

Forced On (100% Crop)
flash_on.jpg flash_on1.jpg

Auto/Red-eye Reduction

Auto/Red-eye Reduction (100% Crop)

flash_redeye.jpg flash_redeye1.jpg


We tested the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LZ30 using the Night scene mode and Program mode. Because of the camera's seeming inability to remove noise at low ISO, the processor has worked overtime on the long exposures of the night shots. In Night mode, the camera selects the ISO although in our test it chose ISO 100. Night mode does benefit from a longer shutter speed selection. In Program, the camera is limited to one second.

We did get to choose the white-balance setting in Program mode though and it shows with a much more balanced colour temperature.

Night Scene

Night Scene (100% Crop)

night_scene.jpg night_scene1.jpg

Night Program

Night Program (100% Crop)

night_program.jpg night_program1.jpg

Sample Images

This is a selection of sample images from the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LZ30 camera, which were all taken using the 16 megapixel Fine JPEG setting. The thumbnails below link to the full-sized versions, which have not been altered in any way.

Sample Movie & Video

This is a sample movie at the quality setting of 1280 x 720 at 30 frames per second. Please note that this 33 second movie is 121Mb in size.

Product Images

Panasonic Lumix DMC-LZ30

Front of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LZ30

Panasonic Lumix DMC-LZ30

Side of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LZ30

Panasonic Lumix DMC-LZ30

Side of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LZ30

Panasonic Lumix DMC-LZ30

Pop-up Flash

Panasonic Lumix DMC-LZ30

Rear of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LZ30

Panasonic Lumix DMC-LZ30

Rear of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LZ30 / Image Displayed

Panasonic Lumix DMC-LZ30

Rear of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LZ30 / Turned On

Panasonic Lumix DMC-LZ30

Rear of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LZ30 / Quick Menu

Panasonic Lumix DMC-LZ30

Rear of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LZ30 / Creative Controls

Panasonic Lumix DMC-LZ30

Rear of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LZ30 / Scene Modes

Panasonic Lumix DMC-LZ30

Rear of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LZ30 / Main Menu

Panasonic Lumix DMC-LZ30

Rear of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LZ30 / Rec Menu

Panasonic Lumix DMC-LZ30

Rear of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LZ30 / Motion Picture Menu

Panasonic Lumix DMC-LZ30

Rear of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LZ30 / Setup Menu

Panasonic Lumix DMC-LZ30

Rear of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LZ30 / Playback Menu

Panasonic Lumix DMC-LZ30

Rear of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LZ30 / Creative Retouch Menu

Panasonic Lumix DMC-LZ30

Top of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LZ30

Panasonic Lumix DMC-LZ30

Bottom of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LZ30

Panasonic Lumix DMC-LZ30

Side of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LZ30

Panasonic Lumix DMC-LZ30

Side of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LZ30

Panasonic Lumix DMC-LZ30

Front of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LZ30

Panasonic Lumix DMC-LZ30

Memory Card Slot

Panasonic Lumix DMC-LZ30

Battery Compartment


The Panasonic Lumix DMC-LZ30 is effortlessly easy to use because of its easy point and shoot approach. The controls follow a tried and tested formula that brings everything within easy reach of probing fingers. However, the Manual mode is available for anyone wanting to take their photography further and begin to understand about the fundamentals. The features of the Manual mode are extremely basic but the fact that they're there in the first place is a step forward.

On the outside, the DMC-LZ30 is built very well. It's solid enough to hold, doesn't weigh much, has a metal tripod bush and battery door locking switch. Our discovery of hard chromatic aberration shows that the lens isn't in the same place, quality-wise. The screen also sticks out of the body slightly, which can be an indication of a cheaper unit being used.

The image quality can either be summed up with one word, or we can give a longer, less crude opinion. The fact that the camera shows blue and red noise spots in our test is terrible. We even checked the sample images and they showed consistent results. This would be acceptable at ISO 800 or even 400 at a push. But to have such bad noise showing at ISO 100 is sub-standard. Aside from that, the LZ30 produces well exposed and sharp images. Although, the focusing is a bit slow. Once it's in the zone of finding the focus point, everything else has to wait.

Thank the lucky stars that the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LZ30 costs less than £160, because from an image quality point of view, it's not a very good camera. And this is a shame because the rest of it has been made well. You could argue that viewing the pictures at normal size will negate the noise issue because it's unlikely to be seen and it depends on how pedantic you want to be about it. As reviewers, we have to be pedantic in order to bring all the information and this is our Panasonic Lumix DMC-LZ30 summary: a well built, good looking, easy to use bridge superzoom camera with poor image quality at all settings. Take a close look at our test shots before making your own mind up about whether to buy this camera or not...

3 stars

Ratings (out of 5)
Design 4
Features 4
Ease-of-use 4.5
Image quality 3
Value for money 3.5

Main Rivals

Listed below are some of the rivals of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LZ30.

Canon PowerShot SX500 IS

The Canon PowerShot SX500 IS is a pocket-friendly super-zoom camera with a remarkable 30x zoom lens. The Canon SX500 also offers 16 megapixels, a 3-inch LCD screen, full manual controls and 720p HD movies. Read our expert Canon PowerShot SX500 IS review to find out if it's the right camera for you.

Fujifilm FinePix S4200

The new Fujifilm FinePix S4200 super-zoom camera boasts a 24x zoom lens, 14 megapixel sensor, 3 inch LCD screen and 720p movies, all for under under $150 / £150. Does the S4200 cut too many corners though? Find out by reading our in-depth Fujifilm FinePix S4200 review...

Nikon Coolpix L820

The Nikon Coolpix L820 is an affordable super-zoom compact camera with a 30x zoom lens. The 16 megapixel bridge-style Nikon L820 has a 3-inch LCD screen, 1080p movies and uses AA batteries. Read our Nikon Coolpix L820 review to find out if this is the right super zoom camera for you...

Olympus SP-720UZ

The Olympus SP-720UZ is an affordable new ultra-zoom compact camera, featuring a 26x zoom lens with a focal range of 26-676mm. Other key features offered by the SP-720 UZ include a 14 megapixel sensor, 1080p HD video recording, sensor-shift image stabilisation and a range of Magic Filters. Priced at £230, we find out if the Olympus SP-720UZ super-zoom is all the camera you'll ever need...

Pentax Optio X90

The Pentax Optio X90 is a brand new super-zoom compact camera featuring a 26x image-stabilized zoom lens with a focal range of 26-676mm. Successor to the X70 model, the X90 has a 12 megapixel sensor, 2.7 inch screen, full range of creative shooting modes and can record 720p HD movies. Retailing for £329.99 / $399.95, does the Pentax Optio X90 offer enough to match its super-zoom rivals? Gavin Stoker finds out in our Pentax Optio X90 review.

Samsung WB5000

The WB5000 / HZ25W is Samsung's first entry into the big boy world of all-in-one super-zoom cameras. Offering a 24x zoom lens with 26mm wide-angle setting, the WB5000 literally has most photographic subjects covered, for both 12 megapixel stills and 720p movies. Throw in a range of hand-holding smart modes for beginners and RAW format and Manual mode for advanced users, and Samsung could be onto a winner at their very first attempt. Read our expert Samsung WB5000 / HZ25W review to find out if Panasonic, Olympus et al have anything to fear...

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H200

The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H200 is a new superzoom compact camera that won't break the bank. The Sony H200 features a 26x 24-633mm lens, 20 megapixel CCD sensor, 720p HD video with stereo sound, 3-inch screen, and even a manual shooting mode. Read our expert Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H200 review to find out if it's the right super-zoom bridge camera for you...

Review Roundup

Reviews of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LZ30 from around the web. »

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-LZ30 was launched in January 2013 and is a mid-range ultra-zoom bridge camera, with 35x optical zoom lens, manual controls, optical image stabilisation and it uses AA batteries. It is available for £149.00.
Read the full review »


Dimensions (W x H x D)

123.8 x 83.7 x 91.4 mm
(4.87 x 3.30 x 3.60 inch)

Weight (Approx.)

465 g (1.03 lb) without Battery and SD Memory Card
558 g (1.23 lb) with Battery and SD Memory Card

Camera Effective Pixels 16.1 Megapixels
Sensor Size / Total Pixels / Filter 1/2.3-inch CCD sensor / 16.4 Total Megapixels / Primary Color Filter
Aperture F3.0 - 5.9 / 2-step (F3.0 / 7.7 (W), F5.9 / 15.3 (T))
Optical Zoom 35x
Focal Length f = 4.5 - 157.5 mm (25 - 875 mm in 35 mm equiv.)
(30 - 1,050 mm in 35 mm equiv. in video recording)
Extra Optical Zoom (EZ) 44.2x (4:3 / 10M), 63.0x (4:3 / 5M), 78.8x (4:3 / under 3M)
Lens 14 elements in 10 groups
(1 Aspherical Lens / 2 Aspherical Surfaces, 3 ED Lenses)
Optical Image Stabilizer O.I.S. (On / Off)
Digital Zoom Max. 4x
Focusing Area Normal: Wide 30 cm - infinity / Tele 200 cm - infinity
Macro / Intelligent Auto / Motion Picture: Wide 1 cm - infinity / Tele 150 cm - infinity
AF Assist Lamp Yes (On / Off)
Focus Normal / AF Macro / Zoom Macro, Continuous AF (On / Off), AF Tracking
AF Metering Face / AF Tracking / 1-area / 9-area / Spot
Shutter Speed Approx.15 - 1/2,000 sec
Recording File Format Still Image: JPEG (DCF / Exif 2.3)
Motion Picture: QuickTime Motion JPEG
Rec Mode (Mode Button) Intelligent Auto, P (Program), M (Manual), Creative Control, Scene, Portrait, Scenery, Sports
Creative Control Expressive, Retro, High Key, Low Key, Sepia, Dynamic Monochrome, Impressive Art, High Dynamic, Cross Process, One Point Color
Still Image Scene Mode Panorama Shot, Night Portrait, Night Scenery, Food, Baby*, Sunset, High Sensitivity, HDR
* Birthday only.
Continuous Shooting Mode Full-resolution Image: Approx. 1 frame / sec
High-speed Burst: Approx. 3 frames / sec
(recorded in 3M for 4:3, 2.5M for 3:2, 2M for 16:9, 2.5M for 1:1)
Motion Picture Recording*1
HD Video: 1,280 x 720 pixels (HD), 30 fps (Motion JPEG)
STD Video:

640 x 480 pixels (VGA), 30 fps (Motion JPEG)
320 x 240 pixels (QVGA), 30 fps (Motion JPEG)

Exposure Program AE, Manual
Exposure Compensation 1/3 EV step, ±3 EV
Auto (AE) Bracketing 1/3 - 2 EV step, Max. ±2 EV, 3 frames
Light Metering Multiple / Center Weighted / Spot
ISO Sensitivity
(Standard Output Sensitivity)
Auto / 100 / 200 / 400 / 800 / 1600
High Sensitivity Mode (ISO1600 - 6400)
Still Image Recording
4:3 Aspect Ratio: 4,608 x 3,456 pixels (16M),
3,648 x 2,736 pixels (10M EZ),
2,560 x 1,920 pixels (5M EZ),
2,048 x 1,536 pixels (3M EZ),
640 x 480 pixels (0.3M EZ)
3:2 Aspect Ratio: 4,608 x 3,072 pixels (14M)
16:9 Aspect Ratio: 4,608 x 2,592 pixels (12M)
1:1 Aspect Ratio: 3,456 x 3,456 pixels (12M)
Image Quality Fine / Standard
White Balance Auto / Daylight / Cloudy / Shade / Incandescent / White Set / White Balance Adjustment (Except Auto)
Color Mode Standard, Black & White, Sepia, Vivid
Digital Red-Eye Correction
(Red-Eye Removal)
Self Timer 2 sec / 10 sec
Playback Mode Normal Play, Slide Show, Category Selection, Calendar
Thumbnails /
Zoomed Playback
12, 30 thumbnails /
Calendar Display Yes
Show Histogram Yes
Set Protection Yes
Retouch Creative Retouch
Resize /
Yes /
Copy Yes
PictBridge Support Single / Multi / All
OSD Language English, German, French, Italian, Spanish, Polish, Czech, Hungarian, Russian, Chinese (Traditional), Chinese (Simplified), Netherlandic, Thai, Turkish, Portuguese, Arabic, Persian, Japanese, Swedish, Danish, Finnish, Greek, Vietnamese, Hindi
* Check the website of Panasonic sales company in your country / region or ask customer support for details of the OSD language available on the products sold in your country / region.
LCD 3.0" (7.5 cm) TFT Screen LCD Display (460K dots)
Field of View: Approx. 100%
Auto Power Monitor Mode, Power Monitor Mode, High-angle Mode
Built-in Flash Auto, Auto / Red-eye Reduction, Forced On, Slow Sync. / Red-eye Reduction, Forced Off
0.6 - 10.0 m (Wide / ISO Auto), 1.5 - 5.0 m (Tele / ISO Auto)
Recording Media Built-in Memory, SD Memory Card, SDHC Memory Card, SDXC Memory Card
Built-in Memory Approx. 100 MB
Microphone / Speaker Mono / Mono
Interface AV Output, USB (AV / USB Multi)
Power Alkaline AA Battery / Ni-MH Battery x 4
Battery Life*2
380 pictures (AA Battery) (CIPA Standard)

Included Software

PHOTOfunSTUDIO 9.0 LE, Adobe Reader
Standard Accessories Alkaline AA Battery × 4, AV Cable, USB Cable, Shoulder Strap, CD-ROM, Lens Cap, Lens Cap String
* Check the website of the Panasonic sales company in your country or region for details on the standard accessories on the products that are available in your market.

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