Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ35 Review

 
Camera Reviews / Panasonic Lumix Cameras i Review

Panasonic FZ35 Optics


Lens

Zoom
An impressive 18x optical zoom lens with very good overall performance. Average results from the 4x digital zoom.

27mm eq. 486mm eq. 4x Digital Zoom

The Panasonic FZ35's optical zoom offers an impressive 18x optical zoom range, equivalent to a 27-486mm zoom on a 35mm camera. Performance at full wide-angle is very good, with only minor blurring and coma distortion in the corners, and moderate chromatic aberration near the edges of the frame. At full telephoto, detail is also quite good throughout the frame, but with a bit more blurring and chromatic aberration in the corners. The camera's 4x digital zoom is a little softer than average, with the typical loss in fine detail associated with digital enlargement.

Macro
A small minimum macro area, with very good detail. The Panasonic FZ35's flash was not usable at such a close distance.

Macro Macro with Flash

The Panasonic FZ35's macro setting captured a small-sized minimum area measuring 1.33 x 1.00 inches (34 x 25 millimeters). Resolution and detail are quite good, but corners are soft, with some visible chromatic aberration as well. (Most cameras have some softening in the corners in macro mode.) It was difficult to produce an even exposure with ambient light this close, so the left side is overexposed while the right is a bit dim. Not surprisingly for such a large lens, the Panasonic FZ35's flash was not effective at this range, being almost entirely blocked by the lens barrel.

Geometric Distortion
Low distortion in JPEGs, but higher than average barrel distortion at wide-angle in RAW files.

JPEG: Barrel distortion at 27mm is 0.2%
JPEG: Pincushion at 486mm is less than 0.1%

JPEG. The Panasonic FZ35's 0.2% barrel distortion at wide-angle is much lower than average compared to the most consumer digital cameras, especially for a 27mm long-zoom. At the telephoto end, the Panasonic FZ35's less than 0.1% (about 0.06%) pincushion distortion is extremely low and imperceptible. Distortion is the tendency for the lens to bend straight lines outward (like a barrel -- usually at wide-angle) or inward (like a pincushion -- usually at telephoto).

RAW: Barrel distortion at 27mm is 1.0%
RAW: Pincushion at 486mm is less than 0.1%

RAW. With such a low distortion at wide-angle in the JPEGs, we suspected the FZ35 was correcting for geometric distortion, so we converted RAW files with a raw converter that doesn't apply manufacturer specified corrections (dcraw). As you can see above, barrel distortion is quite high at wide-angle at 1.0%, however there is very little distortion at the telephoto end. Note that most RAW converters that support the Panasonic FZ35 (such as SilkPix, Adobe Camera Raw, etc.) will automatically correct this distortion, as specified by Panasonic.

Chromatic Aberration
Low to moderately high in JPEGs, very high and bright in RAW files.

Wide: Low
top left @ 100%
Wide: Low,
top right @ 100%
Tele: Moderately High,
top left @100%
Tele: Moderately High,
top right @100%

JPEG. Chromatic aberration is fairly low at wide-angle, showing only about 4-6 pixels of muted coloration on either side of the target lines. At full telephoto, chromatic aberration isn't as well corrected, showing up to 12 pixels of brighter coloration. Chromatic aberration is a form of distortion visible as a slight colored fringe around the objects at the edges of the field of view on the resolution target. (Apologies for the uneven lighting.)

Wide: High and bright
top left @ 100%
Wide: High and bright,
top right @ 100%
Tele: High and bright,
top left @100%
Tele: High and bright,
top right @100%

RAW. Above are crops from uncorrected dcraw converted RW2 files. Chromatic aberration is high at wide-angle, showing about 8-12 pixels of bright coloration on either side of the target lines. At telephoto, the amount and brightness of the chromatic aberration is even higher, though exacerbated by the additional corner softness. Again, just as with geometric distortion, most RAW converters that support the Panasonic FZ35's RW2 files will automatically minimize chromatic aberration, producing results similar to the in-camera JPEGs. Indeed, this was the case when we tried converting these files using Adobe Camera Raw (not shown).

Corner Sharpness
Minor blurring in the corners of the frame at wide-angle, stronger blurring at full telephoto.

Wide: Slightly soft in the
corners (upper left).
Wide: Sharp at center.
Tele: Moderately soft in the
corners (upper right).
Tele: Sharper at center.

The Panasonic FZ35 produced slightly soft corners of the frame at wide-angle, with the top-left corner being the softest. Softness from the top left extended pretty far (about 1/3rd) into the frame. At full telephoto, sharpness (and contrast) was lower overall, with the upper right corner being the softest. Keep in mind this is with a fairly fast lens wide open (f/2.8 at wide-angle and f/4.4 at tele), and that sharpness generally improves when the lens is stopped down to a smaller aperture.

Viewfinder

Coverage
Excellent accuracy from the EVF and LCD monitor.

27mm eq., EVF 486mm eq., EVF
27mm eq., LCD 486mm eq., LCD

The Panasonic FZ35's electronic viewfinder and LCD monitor both showed essentially 100% coverage accuracy at wide-angle and at telephoto. There is a slight vertical and/or horizontal offset, though, possibly due to in-camera geometric distortion correction. Still, great results!

 

The images above were taken from our standardized test shots. For a collection of more pictorial photos, see our Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ35 Photo Gallery.

Print the optics page for the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ35 digital camera reviewPrint this Page

Note: For details, test results, and analysis of the many tests done with this camera, please click on the tabs at the beginning of the review or below.

Follow Imaging Resource

Purchase memory card for Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ35 digital camera
Enter this month to win:

1 $300 Adorama Gift Certificate

2 $200 Adorama Gift Certificate

3 $100 Adorama Gift Certificate