Jun 24, 2011

Panasonic Lumic FZ40/ FZ45 review and performance guide.

Last updated on  March 7 2013
FZ40 aka FZ45 Review and Digital Camera Photography Guide

My personal review mixed with guide to get the best performance of FZ40/FZ45 superzoom .It can be a tips and trick to other camera brands and types especially a compact and superzoom digital camera.

My review is targeted to user that own this camera already not for anyone that not own this camera yet.One more thing,my review is not to give you information or knowledge to help you in making a decision to buying this camera.I'm not do any recommendation. My review and mixed with guide is to share my experiences with others to get a better images quality (IQ)when using this camera.That's all.

Panasonic Lumic FZ40 or FZ45 is a bridge type digital camera.Launched in 2010 with amazing 24x telephoto zoom.Its also called as a superzoom camera.With this superzoom ability means you can get even closer to the subject that never possible before in compact digital camera.
FZ40 also shipped with tons great features like manual control to determine a shutter speed,aperture,exposure,ISO and more others.

Before I go further, sorry for my bad English.

There are many review already about Panasonic Lumic FZ40/FZ45 Superzoom camera including a studio test.Among them there are an extensive review have been written but there are also a briefly reviews.Most of the reviews make by site owner that act like a camera tester and not exactly used this FZ 40/45 superzoom for everyday snapping.

So, as the owner of this FZ40/45 camera, I know this camera perhaps more better in aspect real life performance than the user that just testing this camera for a while.A review from the tester is more about technical aspect and they are all the best reviewer regarding in this field.

But I want to give a deeper review to expose the user practically how to use this camera.That why I like to make my personal review about my own camera FZ40/45 with my own experiences about ten months with this lovely superzoom bridge type camera.So included in this review is an addition of guide to push this FZ40/FZ45 performance to it best.

For the first impression, feel free to view the photos that has been taken by me with FZ40/45.
Terengganu Kuala Besut jalan ke Pulau Perhentian Island

Fz40 aka Fz 45 Close up macro beetle bug

 Lumix fz40 aka fz45 Macro Spider close up

Fz40 aka Fz45 Close up macro dragonfly

Panasonic Lumic FZ45/fz40 Superzoom Complete Features List

Will be update soon....But if you can't wait feel free to visit this site to get it http://www.dpreview.com/news/2010/7/21/panasonicdmcfz40. They write a good review too.
Panasonic Lumic FZ40/FZ5 Performance Guide and Review

My performance guide and review about FZ40/FZ45 may differ compare to other review out there.I will focus on aspect that not usually has been made before.I meant in different angle.The aspects that included in my review are like below and bundled with performance guide.
1. Sensor matter
2. Zoom feature
3. Auto mode
4. P,A,S,M mode
5. ISO performance
6. Speed matter
7. Focus feature
8. Image stabilization
9. Video features
10. Macro ability
11. Intelligent Technology

1. The FZ40/FZ45 sensor
Shipped with 1/2.33''(6.12 x 4.51mm) Type CCD sensor.Yes its just a small sensor compared to Four Thirds(Panasonic,Olympus) 17.3 x 13mm to 18.89 x 14.48mm,DSLR APS-C  (Canon, Nikon, Sony, Pentax)-that range between 22.3 x 14.9mm to 23.6 x 15.8mm.and bigger sensor 35mm Full Frame.
Another sensor size to compare is the biggest compact camera sensor 8.80 x 6.60mm and the new Nikon CX sensor 13.2 x 8.8mm.

Talking about the sensor size, this is the most important thing for determine the quality and speed offered by the camera.The bigger sensor means better quality and speed.Despite this factor, a 14 mega pixels isn't be a good balanced with the sensor since DSLR camera with 14mp on it bigger sensor still fight with notable noise at higher ISO (over 800 ISO) so many people gave the opinion about the resolution  must lower than 10mp.
Related to this factor a proper setup must be used to get an optimum performance from this camera.Several thing must be considered to achieve the quality.Crop is one of the choices.Use a lower ISO as possible.Well control shutter speed and aperture and the power of zoom.Using all of these, can increase the image quality of this camera.

2.  Zoom Feature

This camera is equipped with a 24x zoom.It is equivalent to 600mm in 35mm sensor format .The strength of 24x zoom can be considered as a great but not quite great when shooting subjects such as birds. But most of the time, it will be enough.Especially if you are able to maintain a distance not exceeding 25 feets or up to 9 metres. This distance must be taken into account if we want clarity on the subject in great resolution. But if the high resolution is not a priority, the range can be reach 35 feets.

After numerous attempts, I quite like the quality of this  FZ45 aka FZ40 zoom . It had a slight blurring at the edge of the frame as most digital cameras. It performed well with  ISO 80-100 up to ISO 200.
Means in good weather conditions,  FZ40 aka FZ45 can do a good job.But to handle the 24 x zoom is not so easy.

Using high zoom  means  aperture value increased (automatically becomes F5.2 at full zoom) . When this happens, the camera will lose speed. The higher the zoom, the higher the  aperture value (F number) . As a result the speed has dropped. ISO had to be raised to obtain the required speed. The problem started to come when the ISO is increased. High ISO values will cause noise attack and picture quality decreases. The speed can be more critical especially in poor light conditions or when the subject is under the shadow.
At a higher zoom power, we need a faster shutter speed.At full zoom(24x) we need a 1/600s. But in my experiences, a 1/100s will do the job.If you get 1/200s at full zoom, it may enough speed to play around.You must choose between aperture(related to the zoom power) and ISO.To get rig of this, use lower ISO.Why?I will explain about this later.

So, how does the zoom factor can improve the picture quality?

Without sufficient  zoom power , subjects such as birds only fulfill a small part of the frame size. The subject seem small even displayed at the highest resolution, for example 14 MP. Display with the entire MP will lead to a reduction in picture quality. Therefore, we need to use only 50 to 75 percent of the existing resolution. This reduction is done to get the best photo quality. In this case, the small subject looks smaller! That is why we need a large enough subject size. These are among the major zoom role.Use the zoom as much as possible not only for composition but also for cropping.ISO value must be set not higher than 200.If you cant get sufficient shutter speed just make a try....Or support your hand on any object near you.
Zoom to your subject closely during composition adjustment and snap!

I will upload some of my birds shot to showing this...
Fz40 aka Fz45 Close up Bird bulbul

I will show the EXIF data later.
Actually the EXIF data is allready in the photo.Just view a bigger version, right click and choose properties.
For instance info: Shutter speed 1/640s, ISO 200, Aperture F4.8.
Taken under a good light condition.

And another series....
Fz40 aka Fz45 Close Up Bird Shot
1/15s, ISO200, F5.2
Fz40 aka Fz45 Close up macro bird portrait bulbul
1/4s, ISO100, F4.2
This bird shot was done in a slowest shutter speed at that moment. This shot was selected from a series of many shots - around ten shots if I not mistake.The ISO previosly selected here is really low leads to a very-very slow shutter speed. Actually, I need a ISO 3200 here to gain more speed but I know FZ40 can't since I am in aperture mode. High ISO up to 6400 is possible in high sensitivity scene mode but it shot in 3MP only..The suitable ISO here is up to 400 indeed.
The only strategy here is to rest my hand on something to compensate the effects of vibration.

3.  Auto Mode
An auto mode can be activate from the dial button  on the top  labelled as iAuto.
In auto mode, available option are setting to change photo size, burst mode, color effects and  face recognition.It can be found with Menu button.Aperture, shutter speed, ISO and metering unadjustable in auto mode but you can play with exposure.Its do a job like its name - auto!

In auto mode, we just let the camera to choose what is best for us and it do what it should as a photo machine. Not much we can do but just snap and snap till the battery drains out.It sounds easy. Yes of course.

4.  PASM Mode.
PASM stands for Program, Aperture priority, Shutter priority, and Manual mode.
This is an important topic if you want to know your camera better and to know how to use the camera to its best performance.

4.1 P- Program Mode let us to change shutter speed to get a right exposure.The camera at first, will automatically select the right combination off two ; aperture and shutter speed.Camera will choose a fastest shutter speed for us according to ISO value given. Using a dial, we can increase or decrease a shutter speed to our desire.Changing this will affect the aperture. Faster speed will increase aperture value(smaller F number) and vice versa.If you want higher speed, ISO value must be higher too and you can rotate a dial to get a faster speed.

4.2 A  Aperture Mode is a mode that give ability to change aperture any time we want it. Aperture mode usually used to capture portrait or wedding events.Bokeh is most important part in portrait photography. If you want a beautiful bokeh you have to use aperture wide open or a small F number. But there is a relationship between bokeh and sharpness that controlled by aperture value. A lower F number will give you narrow depth of field(DoF) means more bokeh and less sharpness while a higher F number will produce wider DoF means less bokeh but more for sharpness. So a user should make a choice which one they want between bokeh or sharpness. Aperture is a key for this effect.

4.3 S  Shutter Mode. In this mode, you are a 'speed' controller. You control a shutter speed while camera choose a right aperture for you.Shutter selection is a bit difficult to decide since we didnt know exactly whether the camera at that moment didnt or did have enough light to reflect the shutter speed. This can lead to low exposure if there is not enough light and your photo will/may be dark.
Last updated on  March 7 2013.

...to be continued..

No comments:

Post a Comment