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Reviewed: Panasonic FZ30

Head06
The Panasonic FZ30 is a semi pro camera that has most of the functions of a dSLR. I was able to get my hands on one of these and test it out over several days. The selling point of this camera is the 8MP, the Leica 12x lens, and the low price.
Initially, the camera feels solid, but a bit hollow. Being used to the lighter Canon 350D, i still felt that the Panasonic was a bit empty. otherwise, the grip was solid and the buttons well placed. the large lens looks beautiful and it's probably the most eye catching of the whole camera layout. the 12x zoom lens is very smooth and with a flick of the zoom ring, you can go from 0 to 12x. There is also an addition manual focus ring.
The photographic ability of this camera can not be compared to true dSLRs, but it's a fun camera to have. for instance, it can take video with audio, do some photo manipulations, and still take pretty good pictures. Since it is not a true SLR, there is no mirror sound or loud shutter noises. the viewfinder is a miniature LCD and the foldable LCD can also work for taking photos, unlike the dSLRs. the 2.5 inch LCD is super sharp and you can see exactly how your photos turned out without having to really zoom in on it. on my Canon 350D, i have to Zooooom in order to make sure there's no blur. the flip LCD can also be used to photo yourself (but i think it's pretty difficult with such a large camera), and also for some interesting views, like a medium format camera. (looking down)
The photos came out pretty sharp, and the colors were true. the larger ISO speeds resulted in some pretty grainy photos though and not recommended. i can not really get into the details of all the functions on the camera, because it's just not directly comparable to a dSLR.
All in all, this is a great camera for around 600 USD that will take sharp 8MP photos and with that great Leica lens, you won't need to change own many lenses just to cover the zoom range. the image stabilizer is pretty good and even with long shots, the result is pretty sharp. The flash is built in and quite high on the shoe. This camera has a great screen and people will be impressed when you share the photos with them right away. I would recommend this camera only to the casual shooter, but it's a great deal none the less. [equipbug]
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www.panasonic.jp

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