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February 2010

Digital Camera Reviews and Ratings By manufacturer:
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Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ20


panasonic_lumix_DMC_FZ20.jpgThe Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ20 is an upgrade of the popular Panasonic DMC-FZ10. It is a 5 megapixel digital camera with a big 12x Optical Zoom lens and Optical Image Stabilizer.

UK Readers buy the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ20
US Readers buy the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ20

DP Review has a good preview of the
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ20
and writes - 'The FZ20 has what we would coin an SLR-like appearance, although in this case the lens portion is fairly oversized compared to the body. The body itself is made from a very tough plastic material, the lens barrel is metal. The lens is the key to this camera, it provides a huge 36 to 432 mm equiv. zoom range with a very fast F2.8 maximum aperture even at full telephoto. In addition the lens has optical stabilization which will improve both telephoto and low light performance. This is coupled to a 1/2.5" Type five megapixel CCD. Panasonic have implemented their new 'Venus Engine II' in the FZ20 which promises faster performance, higher quality images and better image stabilization.'

DP Review also have a good review of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ20 and write - 'However, given the high resolution, sharp results produced, the excellent overall performance, lack of optical problems in 99.9% of shooting situations and keen pricing, it's impossible not to recommend the FZ20 - take a look at the samples gallery and decide for yourself if the level of noise is acceptable; we certainly think it's a small price to pay for such an impressive camera.'

DCRP reviews the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ20 and writes - 'While not perfect, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ20 is one of, if not the best, ultra zoom camera on the market. It takes very good, though slightly noisy photos, with accurate colors and exposure. Unlike most ultra zoom cameras, the FZ20 does not have a problem with purple fringing. Two image quality-related issues (in addition to noise) that you will encounter are above average redeye and barrel distortion. But let's not beat around the bush here, the big thing about the FZ20 is its awesome lens. This F2.8, 12X Leica lens isn't just impressive for its zoom power -- it also features an optical image stabilization system that will help reduce the effect of camera shake for those long telephoto shots, or just you take sharper shots indoors under less-than-adequate lighting.'

Steve's Digicams reviews the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ20 and writes - 'the Lumix DMC-FZ20 is a great addition to the Panasonic family. With its great image quality, speedy performance, and reasonable price tag of $599, its sure to make a great gift idea for your holiday gift list.'

Megapixel reviews the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ20 and writes - 'The FZ20 is a camera with a tough polycarbonate body, while the lens barrel itself and the removable trim are made of metal. While clearly a redesign of the DMC-FZ10, the FZ20 softens the more angular original design. The grip is now more rounded and comfortable, and offers a greater area that is rubber coated. Also, the sharp edges found on the FZ10's body are rounded on the FZ20, giving the camera a more modern appearance.' Rating: 8.2 for Functionality and 9.4 for Photographic Qualities.

CNET reviews the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ20 (black) and writes - 'The FZ20 produces very good images--with a caveat or two. Our test photos looked as sharp and detailed as those produced by the best 5-megapixel models. It renders colors quite accurately, and as such, less vividly than many other consumer digicams produce at their default settings. Exposures were generally good.

At default settings, there is a hint of electronic noise in images shot at ISO 80 and ISO 100, but it's of little consequence. Noise is about average at ISO 200, which is to say, easily visible at high magnification, and it's somewhat uglier than average in shadows at ISO 400. At ISO 80 and ISO 100, the high setting on the adjustable noise reduction slightly reduced the already modest noise without any discernable damage to sharpness. At ISO 200 and ISO 400, the three noise reduction levels produced increasingly visible differences in our photos, with higher settings reducing both noise and sharpness.'

Globe Technology reviews the Panasonic Lumx FZ20 and writes - 'In the end, the Lumix FZ-20 is still a fantastic camera. The picture quality is stunning for a five megapixel model, and the optical image stabilization quickly becomes indispensable. The move towards more manual control will certainly impress the more pro-oriented shutterbugs, and even though it's no replacement for a digital SLR model, it's certainly a great backup model. Now if only they could get the price down ...'

Imaging Resource reviews the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ20 Digital Camera and writes - 'Together with its 4-megapixel sibling the FZ15, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ20 is the clearest indication yet that Panasonic has fully arrived as a serious player in the digital camera market. The Panasonic FZ20 has an attractive case, a nice "feel" in the hand, an excellent image-stabilized lens, great versatility, and very good image quality. If you avoid its 9-area autofocus mode, it has reasonably fast shutter response for a long-zoom digicam, and its shot to shot cycle times are excellent. Image-wise, about my only quibble is that it tends to render skin tones a bit more yellow-looking than in real life, but I suspect most users wouldn't notice the relatively slight cast. Rather than repeat all my personal observations again here, I'll just refer interested readers back up to the "User's Report" section of this review. Bottom line, the DMC-FZ20 is a very capable camera that conveys a distinct sense of pro quality in a high-end consumer digicam, with an excellent 12x zoom lens, and optical image stabilization to boot. With a full range of exposure control modes, including a full manual setting and no less than nine preset "Scene" modes, the DMC-FZ20 is an approachable camera for both novices and more experienced users alike.'

PC Mag reviews the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ20 and writes - 'Larger than most superzooms, Panasonic's top-of-the-line Lumix DMC-FZ20 is similar in size and look to a digital SLR. It combines very good image quality with top-notch specs and features. It isn't perfect, but if we could take only one camera with us on vacation, it would be high on our list. With its impressive zoom lens and other capabilities, there are few scenes this camera couldn't handle with aplomb.'

PC World has a review of the Panasonic DMC-FZ20 and recommends - 'The DMC-FZ20 earned high marks for exposure quality in our lab tests, but it fared less well in resolution-dependent tests like those for sharpness and distortion; this was mainly because it was up against several models with 7-megapixel or higher resolution, and the DMC-FZ20 has only 5 megapixels' worth. Of course, in some cases the very long zoom could more than make up for the modest resolution, because you may be able to zoom instead of cropping the image in software later. However, the zoom takes a toll in battery life: In our tests, the DMC-FZ20 lasted long enough to take only 308 shots, which put it near the bottom of our current batch of cameras.'

Panasonic Press Release
New 5-Megapixel Digital Camera DMC-FZ20
Combine 12x Optical Zoom with Advanced MEGA O.I.S.

Panasonic is introducing the incoming LUMIX model DMC-FZ20, the world-leading 5-Megapixel CCD model with MEGA O.I.S. (Optical Image Stabilizer) incorporating a 12x optical zoom (equivalent to 36mm to 432mm on a 35mm film camera) with full-range F2.8 aperture. The DMC-FZ20 is the true heir to the internationally renowned DMC-FZ10, enhancing its excellence not only with the total number of pixels but also with the technical improvements in the image processing LSI, the accuracy of O.I.S and the flash performance, in addition to a basic overhaul of physical usability to assure a firm grip by redesigning its exterior.

The most remarkable advancement is the complete improvement of the image processing LSI, the brain of a digital camera which handles the image processing. In the previous Venus Engine, the luminance signal is extracted from all RGB pixels to improve the diagonal resolution by 50%. In addition to that, the newly developed Venus Engine II gains new imaging process which adds the luminance signal extracted only from the G pixels upon detecting the horizontal / vertical lines in the image. This results in the improvement of the horizontal and vertical resolution by more than 10% compared to the former Venus Engine, while maintaining the 50% in the diagonal resolution. Besides, that the amount of the noise reduction is controllable according to the brightness level of each subject in the image, which reduces the noise in the dark areas as low as 1/3 without affecting the resolution in bright areas of the image.

Thanks to the further improved multi-task image processing, response has also been accelerated, resulting in the industry-leading release time lag of approx. 0.008 sec minimum and a shutter interval*1 of approx. 0.4 sec for achieving more stress-free operation. It also boasts high consecutive shooting performance, realizing the shooting at 3 frames/second at full resolution. Newly installed Infinite Consecutive Shooting function*2 allows limit-free consecutive shooting up to the capacity of the SD memory card.

MEGA O.I.S., which we strongly believe indispensable for a high-magnification model, is subsumed with 2 selectable modes. In “Mode 1”, the O.I.S. lens continuously compensates the vibration, and in the all Panasonic’s own “Mode 2”, the O.I.S. lens suppresses hand-shake only at the moment the shutter button is pressed. In this mode, the lens can move in all directions at the moment to maximize its effect, and higher-resolution image can be taken by capturing the image as close as to the center of the lens. Venus Engine II also encourages this advantageous performance in the point of enhancing the accuracy of hand-shake detection, which allows you to use the 1-step slower shutter speed than that of the models with previous Venus Engine. Consequently, even without using a tripod, it allows you to reduce the shutter speed 3 or 4 steps compared to the conventional cameras without O.I.S., while assuring clear images.

As with the conventional LUMIX models, the DMC-FZ20 incorporates LEICA DC VARIO-ELMARIT lens that promises high resolution and low aberration images. The use of 3 aspherical lenses, which Panasonic boasts its in-house manufacturing know-how, accomplish conspicuous downsizing even with 12x optical zoom model. The ED lens contributes to suppress the color aberration that often occurs in telephoto shots.

The LUMIX DMC-FZ20 still leaves a wide variety of faculties pursuing the manual control, including ring-operated manual focus and manual exposure, for the high-end amateurs and professionals who prefer the pure creative freedom.

1. The world-leading 5-megapixel 12x optical zoom model
The LUMIX DMC-FZ20 digital camera is equipped with a 5.0 megapixel effective pixels and LEICA DC VARIO-ELMARIT lens, offering 12x optical zoom (equivalent to 36mm to 432mm with a 35mm film camera) with F2.8 aperture throughout the entire zoom range. The combination of 3 aspherical lenses and 1 ED lens generates high optical performance while preserving the compactness of the unit. The zoom range can be totally extended to 48x when combined with 4x digital zoom.

2. Upgraded MEGA O.I.S. offers clear, sharp images even in difficult situations
MEGA O.I.S. , which we strongly believe indispensable for a high-magnification model is subsumed with 2 selectable modes. In “Mode 1”, the O.I.S. lens continuously compensates for vibration, and in the all Panasonic’s own “Mode 2”, the O.I.S. lens suppresses hand-shake only at the moment the shutter button is pressed. In this mode, the lens can move in all directions at the moment to maximize its effect and higher-resolution image can be taken by capturing the image as close as to the center of the lens. Venus Engine II also encourages this advantageous performance in the point of enhancing the accuracy of hand-shake detection, which allows you to use the 1-step slower shutter speed than that of the models with previous Venus Engine. Consequently, even without using a tripod, it allows you to reduce the shutter speed 3 or 4 steps compared to the conventional cameras without O.I.S., while assuring clear images.

Its outstanding benefit can be reaffirmed especially with the shootings in telephoto, in low light or in macro.

3. With greatly improved resolution and response, the world's highest level performance: the Venus Engine II
Panasonic has achieved great improvements in both resolution and response compared to the previous Venus Engine. In the previous Venus Engine, the luminance signal is extracted from all RGB pixels to improve the diagonal resolution by 50%. In addition to that, the newly developed Venus Engine II gains new imaging process which adds the luminance signal extracted only from the G pixels upon detecting the horizontal / vertical lines in the image. This results in the improvement of the horizontal and vertical resolution by more than 10% compared to the former Venus Engine, while maintaining the 50% in the diagonal resolution. Besides, that the amount of the noise reduction is controllable according to the brightness level of each subject in the image, which reduces the noise in the dark areas as low as 1/3 without affecting the resolution in bright areas of the image.

Thanks to the further improved multi-task image processing, response has also been accelerated, resulting in the industry-leading release time lag of approx. 0.008 sec minimum and a shutter interval* of approx. 0.4 sec for achieving more stress-free operation. It also boasts high consecutive shooting performance, providing shooting at 3 frames/second at full resolution. Newly installed Infinite Consecutive Shooting function* allows limit-free consecutive shooting up to the capacity of the SD memory card.

4. Enhanced AF and flash functions
With the DMC-FZ20, an AF method can be selected according to the shooting situation: 9-point AF, 3-point AF, 1-point AF, or spot AF. Meanwhile in the 3-point AF, high-speed AF is achieved by obtaining the focus information from the CCD by double frequency. In addition, AF assist lamp is newly equipped for expanding the AF ability even at night or under the low-light conditions.

The built-in flash delivers flash lighting at a distance up to 7m at ISO AUTO.

5. High-end usability and full manual operations
While inheriting the original design of the DMC-FZ10, the grip has been improved to help stable hold. All renowned functions of the FZ10 such as ring-operated manual focus, one-shot AF, manual exposure, and program shift function are taken over while the functions such as aperture-priority AE, shutter-priority AE or manual exposure, which were previously selected from menu screen are now be selectable directly by the mode dial. Newly adopted OSD supports easy-to follow operation even with the expanded scene modes.

Last but not least, the EVF magnification is extended from 7.6x up to 11x to afford a larger view and now you can save the majestic image in non-compressed TIFF file format.

Combining the latest advances in optical and digital technologies, the LUMIX DMC-FZ20 opens the door to a new level of creativity.

6. Optional accessory
Wide Conversion Lens (DMW-LWZ10) - Allows shooting at 0.8x with F2.8 brightness across the entire 29mm to 58mm zoom range (35mm lens equivalent). Lets you take photos with excellent perspective.

Tele Conversion Lens (DMW-LTZ10) - Allows shooting at 1.5x with F2.8 brightness across the entire 324mm to 648mm zoom range (35mm lens equivalent). Lets you take powerful telephoto shots.

Remote Shutter (DMW-RS1) - For shooting with tripod

External Flash (DMW-FL28) - For more brightness control
*1 Not including the time for AF
*2 The speed of the consecutive shooting varies depending on the SD memory card.

Get more information on the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ20 at:
DP Review: Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ20







Posted by Darren in our Panasonic category on July 21, 2004