Panasonic Lumix DMC-LZ7 Review

 
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Panasonic Lumix DMC-LZ7 Optics


Lens

Zoom
A generous 6x optical zoom with good performance. Digital zoom performance is a little better than average.

37mm 222mm 4x Digital Zoom

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-LZ7's optical zoom covers the equivalent of a 37-222mm lens, about double the range of the average consumer digital camera. Details are reasonably sharp at full wide angle, with moderate coma distortion and some noticeable blurring in the corners. Results at full telephoto are sharper with better detail, though some noticeable chromatic aberration toward the edges of the frame around the high contrast details. The camera's 4x digital zoom did a much better job of holding onto detail and resolution than average, as a lot of fine detail remained visible. Resolution was definitely decreased, but results were still pretty good considering the digital enlargement.

Macro
A small macro area with good detail and high resolution. Closest focusing distance is too close for the flash.

Standard Macro Macro with Flash

The Panasonic DMC-LZ7's macro setting performed quite well, capturing a small minimum area of 2.04 x 1.53 inches (52 x 39 millimeters). Detail and resolution were both very good, with surprisingly little softening in the corners from the lens. (Most cameras have some softening in the corners in macro mode.) The Panasonic LZ7's flash had trouble throttling down for the macro area, however, and was partially blocked by the camera's lens, resulting in a very uneven, severely blown-out exposure. Plan on using external lighting for any macro shots with the Lumix LZ7.

Distortion
High barrel distortion, though very low pincushion.

Barrel distortion at 37mm is 0.9%
Pincushion at 222mm is less than a pixel.

This 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). The Panasonic DMC-LZ7's 0.9% barrel distortion at wide angle is a lot higher than average, and quite noticeable in many of its full wide angle images. At the telephoto end, the DMC-LZ7's pincushion distortion was quite low, about half a pixel.

Chromatic aberration
Low at wide angle, higher at telephoto. Slightly noticeable effect on some images in the corners toward full telephoto.

Wide: Low
top left @ 200%
Wide: Quite low,
top right @ 200%
Tele: Higher but still only moderate,
top left @200%
Tele: Stronger,
top right @200%

Chromatic aberration is low at wide angle, showing only a couple of pixels of faint coloration on either side of the target lines. However, at telephoto, the effect is stronger and a little brighter, noticeable in some images with high-contrast elements near the corners. It's actually not bad for a 6x zoom. (This distortion is visible as a slight colored fringe around the objects at the edges of the field of view on the resolution target.)

Corner Sharpness
Strong blurring in the corners of the frame at wide angle, a fair amount at telephoto as well.

Wide: Slightly soft in the
corners (upper left).
Wide: Sharp at center.
Tele: Quite soft in the lower left corner,
slightly soft in the others.
Tele: Sharp at center.

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-LZ7 produced quite soft corners of the frame at full wide angle and telephoto. At full telephoto, blurring encompassed a slightly larger area, whereas at full wide angle, the blurring was strongest in the extreme edge compared to the lower right portion of the box outline in the crop above left. Notice also the sharpening halo around the black elements in the center shot.

Viewfinder

Coverage
Very good accuracy from the LZ7's LCD monitor.

101% frame accuracy at 37mm eq.
98% frame accuracy at 222mm eq.

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-LZ7's LCD monitor showed about 101% coverage accuracy at wide angle, and about 98% at telephoto. Very good results.

 

The images above were taken from our standardized test shots. For a collection of more pictorial photos, see our Panasonic Lumix DMC-LZ7 Photo Gallery.

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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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