Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ8 Review

 
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Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ8 Performance


Timing and Performance

Good to average speed for a consumer camera.

Startup/Shutdown

Power on
to first shot

2.8 seconds

Time it takes for LCD to turn on and lens to deploy.

Shutdown

2.5 seconds

How long it takes to retract lens.

Buffer clearing time

4 seconds
(buffer clearing after RAW shot)

Worst case buffer clearing time. -- This is the delay after a set of shots before you can remove the card. Some cameras won't retract their lenses and shut down until the buffer is cleared.

Mode switching

Play to Record,
first shot

0.5 second

Time until first shot is captured.

Record to play

1.9 seconds

Time to display a large/fine file immediately after capture.

Display
recorded image

0.7 second

Time to display a large/fine file already on the memory card.

Shutter response (Lag Time)

Full Autofocus Wide

0.58 second

Time from fully pressing shutter button to image capture, zoom lens at wide angle position.

Full Autofocus Tele

0.64 second

Time from fully pressing shutter button to image capture, zoom lens at telephoto position.

Full Autofocus
High Speed Mode
0.46 second
Time from fully pressing shutter button to image capture, zoom lens at wide angle position.

Prefocused

0.019 second

Time to capture, after half-pressing and holding shutter button.

Continuous AF
0.64 second
This mode usually shows no speed increase with our static subject; we have no way to measure performance with moving subjects.
Manual focus
0.31 second
For most cameras, shutter lag is less in manual focus than autofocus, but usually not as fast as when the camera is "prefocused"
Cycle time (shot to shot)
Single Shot mode
Large Fine JPEG
1.68 seconds

Time per shot, averaged over 20 shots.

Single Shot mode
640x480 JPEG

1.58 seconds

Time per shot, averaged over 20 shots.

Single Shot mode
RAW

3.91 seconds

Time per shot, averaged over 20 shots.

Early shutter
penalty?

Yes

Some cameras refuse to snap another shot if you release and press the shutter too quickly in Single Shot mode, making "No" the preferred answer.

Continuous mode
High

Large Fine JPEG

0.35 second (2.86 frames per second);
5 frames total;
1 second to clear

Time per shot, averaged over buffer length or 20 shots, whichever came first.

Continuous mode
High

640x480 JPEG

0.35 second (2.86 frames per second);
7 frames total;
1 second to clear

Time per shot, averaged over buffer length or 20 shots, whichever came first.

Continuous mode
Low

Large Fine JPEG
0.48 second (2.07 frames per second);
5 frames total;
1 second to clear
Time per shot, averaged over buffer length or 20 shots, whichever came first.
Continuous mode
Low

640x480 JPEG
0.48 second (2.10 frames per second);
7 frames total;
1 second to clear
Time per shot, averaged over buffer length or 20 shots, whichever came first.
Continuous mode
Infinite

Large Fine JPEG
0.49 second (2.06 frames per second);
1 second to clear
Time per shot, averaged over buffer length or 20 shots, whichever came first.
Continuous mode
Infinite

640x480 JPEG
0.48 second (2.07 frames per second);
1 second to clear
Time per shot, averaged over buffer length or 20 shots, whichever came first.

Flash recycling

3.5 seconds

Flash at maximum output.

Download speed

Windows Computer, USB 2.0

721 KBytes/sec

Typical Values:
Less than 600=USB 1.1;
600-769=USB 2.0 Low;
Above 770=USB 2.0 High

*Note: Buffer clearing times measured with a Kingston Ultimate 133x SD memory card. Slower cards will produce correspondingly slower clearing times. Slow cards may also limit length of bursts in continuous mode.

The Lumix DMC-FZ8's performance ranges from quite fast to about average, depending on what you're trying to do. It starts up fairly quickly considering its large 12x optical zoom lens, which extends forward on power-up. Shutter response is pretty good at both wide angle and telephoto, at 0.58s and 0.64s respectively, and even faster at 0.46s in 1-Area High Speed AF mode. "Prefocusing" the camera by half-pressing and holding down the shutter button before the final exposure results in a blistering lag time of only 0.019 second. Shot-to-shot cycle times are slightly better than average for a long zoom, at about 1.68 seconds for large/fine JPEGs, and the camera appears to capture shots continuously in single-shot mode without having to stop and clear the buffer. Continuous High burst mode is also quite good, at 2.86 frames-per-second for 5 large/fine JPEG frames, and an Infinite option captures frames at the slower 0.49-second rate without any limitation (apart from card capacity) on the number of files. The flash takes 3.5 seconds to recharge after a full-power shot, which is also above average, especially considering how powerful it is. Connected to a computer or printer with USB 2.0, download speeds are slower than most cameras in 2007. Bottom line, the DMC-FZ8 is responsive enough to handle most family photo opportunities, and even some sporting events.

Battery and Storage Capacity

Battery
Above average battery life for a Lithium-ion design.

Operating Mode Number of Shots
Lithium-ion Rechargeable Battery,
(CIPA standard)
380

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ8 uses a custom rechargeable lithium-ion battery for power, and ships with a charger. Although battery life is above average, we recommend you pick up a spare battery and keep it freshly charged and on-hand for extended outings.

The table above shows the number of shots the camera is capable of (on either a fresh set of disposable batteries or a fully-charged rechargeable battery as appropriate), based on CIPA battery-life and/or manufacturer standard test conditions.

(Interested readers can find an English translation of the CIPA DC-002 standards document here. (180K PDF document))

Storage
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ8 accepts SDHC/SD/MMC memory cards, and includes about 27MB of internal memory.

Image Capacity with
27MB Internal Memory
Fine Normal RAW
3,072 x 2,304
Images
7
15
1
File Size
3.7 MB
1.9 MB
17.6 MB
2,592 x 1,552
Images
11
22
-
File Size
2.6 MB
1.3 MB
-
2,304 x 1,728
Images
17
33
-
File Size
1.7 MB
865 KB
-
2,048 x 1,536
Images
27
54
-
File Size
1.1 MB
542 KB
-
1,600 x 1,200
Images
42
78
-
File Size
695 KB
373 KB
-
640 x 480
Images
133
216
-
File Size
220 KB
136 KB
-

We strongly recommend buying a large capacity SDHC or SD memory card at least a 1GB card, preferably a 4GB one, to give yourself extra space for extended outings and video. (Check the shopping link above, cards are really cheap these days, so no reason to skimp.)

 

Panasonic DMC-FZ8

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