Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ7 Review

 
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Panasonic DMC-FZ7 Operation

While it has some advanced features, operating the FZ7 isn't difficult especially in the Simple, or "Heart" mode. (Is it just me or is it there something off-putting about using a cutesy red heart icon for the easy mode?) All the other modes are also pretty straightforward with a P icon for Program AE, an A for Aperture-priority, an S for Shutter-priority, a flower icon for Macro mode, a film slice for Motion picture mode, SCN for scene mode and the ubiquitous arrowhead icon for Playback mode. Panasonic does a good job of clearly identifying all the vital info on the Panasonic FZ7's screen in each mode - a shaky hand for image stabilization for instance, and large, easy-to-read fonts for ISO, aperture, shutter speed, etc. Menus are also very simple to scroll through with roll-outs on each setting.

 

Panasonic DMC-FZ7 Modes and Menus

Record mode: Pressing the Panasonic FZ7's Menu button in Record mode pulls up the following options, though not all options are available in all modes.

  • White balance: Auto, daylight, cloudy, halogen, flash, White preset 1, White preset 2, User custom preset.
  • ISO Sensitivity: Auto, 80, 100, 200, 400, (800, 1600 in High Sensitivity mode)
  • Aspect Ratio: 4:3, 3:2, 16:9
  • Picture Size: 6M, 4MEZ, 3MEZ, 2MEZ, 1MEZ, 0.3MEZ
  • Quality: Standard JPEG, Fine JPEG, TIFF

  • Audio Recording: On, Off
  • Metering mode: Spot, Multiple, Center weighted
  • AF Mode: 9-area focusing, 3-area focusing (high speed), 1-area-focusing (high speed), 1-area focusing, spot focusing
  • Continuing Focus: On, Off
  • AF Assist Lamp: On, Off

  • Digital Zoom: On, Off
  • Color Effect: Off, Cool, Warm, B/W, Sepia
  • Picture Adjustment: Contrast, Sharpness, Saturation, Noise Reduction
  • Flip Animation: Picture Caption, Create Motion Picture
  • Lens Conversion: (When using a conversion lens) Off, Wide, Tele, Close-up

 

  • Scene Menu: For each Scene mode option, you can press the left arrow button on the Lumix FX9 to receive a brief description of the mode.
    • Portrait: Utilizes a larger aperture to decrease the depth of field, and emphasizes flesh tones, resulting in a sharply focused subject in front of a slightly blurred background.
    • Soft Skin: Smooths any skin tone it detects in the image.
    • Scenery: This mode fixes focus at infinity, and is best for capturing wide vistas and landscapes.
    • Sports: Employs a faster shutter speed to "freeze" fast-moving action.

    • Night Portrait: As with the mode above, the camera uses a slower shutter speed for better color in night shots. However, the flash is set to Slow-Sync with Red-Eye Reduction mode.
    • Night Scenery: In this mode, the camera slows the shutter speed to as long as 8 seconds, capturing more ambient light and preserving color in darker exposures. (The flash is disabled.)
    • Panning: Allows capture of moving objects with a blurred background by slowing the shutter speed.
    • Food: Takes a macro shot of food with a more natural hue than the ambient lighting may provide.

    • Party: Best for taking pictures under dim indoor lighting with a flash, you can select between Forced Red-Eye Reduction and Slow-Sync Red-Eye Reduction modes. Biases white balance for indoor lighting.
    • Candle Light: For capturing the atmosphere of candle-lit subjects. Tripod recommended.
    • Fireworks: Here, the camera uses a slower shutter speed and enhances color slightly to capture the full pattern and color of fireworks.
    • Starry Sky: For taking pictures of extremely dark subjects like a starry sky. Requires a tripod.

    • Baby 1 & 2: Enhances flesh tones and tones down the flash when used. During playback, the baby's age can be displayed when the birthday is set in advance in the Baby scene dialog box. Two Baby modes are included to cover two baby birth dates at once.
    • Snow: This mode adjusts the white balance and exposure to counter the bright snowy areas of the scene, preventing the camera being fooled into underexposing the shot.
    • High Sensitivity: Raises the ISO to allow easy handheld capture of images in low light.

     

    Playback Mode: This mode lets you review captured images and movies on the memory card, as well as erase them, protect them, or tag them for printing and transfer. Pressing the Menu button displays the following options:

    • Slideshow: Lets you play back images in order for a fixed duration with or without audio.
    • Favorite: Lets you mark your favorite pictures with a star for easy review.
    • Rotate Display: Automatically displays the picture rotated based on the rotation sensor.
    • Rotate: For rotating pictures after they're shot.
    • DPOF Print: Sets the picture to print and sets the number of prints.

    • Protect: Protects accidental erasure of pictures.
    • Audio Dub: Lets you add audio after taking a picture.
    • Resize: Lets you make the picture smaller in-camera.
    • Trimming: Enlarges a picture and trims it.
    • Aspect Conversion: Changes the aspect ratio of a 16:9 picture
    • Format: For initializing the memory card.

    SETUP Menu: This menu is one of the selections in both the record-mode and playback-mode main menus. It contains the following options.

    • Clock set: For setting the time and date.
    • Monitor: For lightening or darkening the monitor by three steps.
    • Travel date: Records which day of a vacation you recorded a picture.
    • Play on LCD: For playing images back on LCD if you are using the electronic viewfinder to record.
    • Power save: Set to "sleep" at 10 min, 5 min., 2 min. and 1 min. intervals.

    • Auto Review: Disables the automatic image review, or sets the review time to one or three seconds. A Zoom option displays the captured image for one second, then zooms it 4x for one second for easy focus verification.
    • MF Assist: When manual focus is engaged, MF1 enlarges the center of the screen for easier focusing; MF2 enlarges the whole screen.
    • Beep: Off, Soft, Loud
    • Shutter sound: No shutter sound, Soft, Loud
    • Volume: Adjustable in seven steps

    • No. Reset: For starting the file number of the next recording to 0001
    • Reset: Returns camera to original settings
    • USB mode: Select on connection, PC, PictBridge
    • Highlight: Blown out highlights in image playback are shown as blinking in black and white when this feature is turned on.
    • Video Out: NTSC, PAL

    • TV Aspect: 16:9, 4:3
    • MF m/ft: In manual focus the distance to the subject is displayed in meters or feet.
    • Scene Menu: Auto, Off
    • Language: English, German, French, Spanish, Italian, Chinese, Japanese

     

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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.

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