Review posted for the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ4|
(Wednesday, August 3, 2005 - 12:33 EDT)
Following on the popularity of the FZ3 digital camera, Panasonic has introduced the FZ4 and FZ5, the latter we've already reviewed and given a Dave's Pick.
While the FZ4 looks the same, I found it to be a mixed bag when compared to the FZ5. I was very pleased with the FZ4's speed. It has some of the fastest full-autofocus shutter lag numbers I've yet seen in a consumer digital camera, actually better than it's higher-megapixel brother, the FZ5. Unlike the FZ5, however, the image quality of the FZ4 is disappointing.
Image noise was higher than I'd like, resolution was a bit on the low side relative to other four-megapixel digital cameras we've tested, and I didn't feel that its color rendition was quite as good as that of the FZ5. Its lack of audio to accompany video recordings makes it less complete than most long zoom digital cameras on the market, with the heavy emphasis going to that big OIS lens at the cost of all else.
That said though, if you want a really fast digital camera for shooting sports or other distant action, the FZ4 is a good choice: It combines a very long zoom lens with optical image stabilization, and some of the fastest shutter response and shot to shot times of any (non-SLR) camera I've tested. The bottom line is that for the $50 or so difference in "street" prices, I think the Panasonic FZ5 is a much better deal than the FZ4.