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Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ45 review

Ben Pitt
16 Nov 2010
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
262
inc VAT

A gentle evolution to the award-winning FZ38, but bigger is not always better.

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Specifications

1/2.33in 14.0-megapixel sensor, 24.0x zoom (25-600mm equivalent), 498g

Panasonic’s collaborations with Leica have produced some stunning ultra-zoom cameras, combining Leica-branded lenses with Panasonic’s sensors, digital processing and knack for mass-market appeal. It’s a combination that earned the Lumix FZ38 a Best Buy award.

The FZ45 is a predictable evolution of the FZ38, upping the numbers in all the usual areas. The sensor moves from 12 to 14 megapixels, the zoom range is up from 18x to 24x and the screen has grown from 2.7in to 3in. Bigger screens can damage battery life, but in fact this too has increased, from 470 to 580 shots. The screen’s resolution remains at 230,000 pixels, though – a 460,000- or 921,000-pixel screen would have been nice.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ45

The lens is the most significant change, extending further for both wide-angle and telephoto shots. Focus was incredibly sharp throughout the range and right into the corners of the frame – a remarkable achievement for such versatile optics. The extra telephoto reach has obvious advantages for shooting distant subjects, but the 25mm wide-angle setting is just as useful. We particularly appreciated it for video, giving a dramatic widescreen field of view and minimising handheld wobbles. As with the FZ38, video quality was excellent, with the 720p AVCHD Lite format delivering a crisp picture with effective noise reduction and a detailed stereo soundtrack.

The cosmetic design is largely unchanged, but the FZ38’s mini joystick has been replaced by a clickable wheel that makes it quicker to dial in manual exposure and focus settings. Flash control has been relegated to the Quick Menu to make room for a dedicated ISO speed button – a much better use of the available space, especially considering that the pop-up flash can be suppressed simply by keeping it closed. As before, there’s a mass of photographic options in the menu, such as the ability to enter numerical white balance settings or to limit the range of the auto ISO mode. With RAW capture and well implemented manual exposure and focus, this is a camera that will appeal to creative photographers.

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