Panasonic Lumix LZ30 Review
|Dimensions:||4.9 x 3.3 x 3.6 in.
(124 x 84 x 91 mm)
|Weight:||19.7 oz (558 g)
Panasonic LUMIX LZ30 Preview
by Roger Slavens
Panasonic introduced the LUMIX LZ20 last July as an affordable, entry-level long zoom with a 21x optical range. About half-a-year later comes the Panasonic LZ30, a 35x optical superzoom that ups the stakes -- not only with increased reach but also with Intelligent Auto (iA) mode that lets the camera do the bulk of the work in capturing great images by merging Panasonic's Optical Image Stabilizer, Face Detection, Intelligent Scene Selector and Intelligent Exposure all in one setting.
The LZ30's 35x zoom lens ranges from an ultra-wide 25mm -- perfect for outdoor landscapes and indoor group portraits -- to a mega telephoto 875mm (in 35mm equivalence). Using 14 elements in 10 groups. the lens including 3 Extra-low Dispersion elements and 1 dual-side aspherical lens, while retaining a relatively compact footprint. Maximum aperture ranges from f/3.0 at wide angle to f/5.9 at telephoto.
The Panasonic LZ30 appears to use the same 1/2.3-inch 16.1-megapixel CCD sensor as its predecessor, and the camera's image processor captures images up to a max of ISO 6400 in High Sensitivity mode.
Aside from the increased zoom range, improved ease-of-use appears to be the biggest selling point of the LZ30. Panasonic's Intelligent Exposure was designed to adjust image brightness to counteract the effects of low light, backlight and flash. Meanwhile, the Intelligent Scene Selector automatically switches between six different scene modes -- ranging from macro to night scenery -- to try to achieve the best results. There's nothing revolutionary here, but it does make the LZ30 a great candidate for casual photographers who just want to point and shoot and let the camera (hopefully) do some magic.
That said, the Panasonic LZ30 does offer both Program and Manual modes for those who want more control of their shots.
Video recording is HD, but just 720p max in Motion JPEG. The LZ30 features a dedicated video button (which is pretty typical these days, but not guaranteed), and allows for fast switching between capturing stills and movies.
The Panasonic LZ30 incorporates the manufacturer's latest raft of filters and fun modes, called Creative Control and Creative Retouch. Creative Control lets you apply filters (such as Retro or One Point Color) before you take the image, and Creative Retouch such effects as Toy and Miniature in-camera after shooting. Panoramic Shot mode creates in-camera stitched panoramas in either horizontal or vertical orientation.
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-LZ30 will ship in March 2013. Pricing and colors were not available at press time.
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