Panasonic Lumix FZ45 review

Is that a monster zoom or are you just pleased to see me?

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For

  • Flexible 24x zoom lens
  • Bigger rear screen
  • Dead-easy HD movie mode

Against

  • Not full 1080p video
  • Shaky at full zoom
  • Cramped EVF

Panasonic's been on something of a roll this year, bringing out a roster of well-received cameras such as the TZ10, and of course, the excellent Lumix G2 hybrid.

Now we've got the 14.1 Megapixel Lumix FZ45, an upgrade of the Lumix FZ38.

The big selling point of the new camera is a fixed 24x optical zoom, while secondary benefits include an overhauled AF system (the grandiosely named 'Sonic Speed') and 720p HD video recording in both motion JPEG and AVCHD Lite format.

There's an intuitively placed video record button, and it's all very straightforward. Indeed, there are the lots of other helpful widgets for camera novices, such as Intelligent Auto mode, while more experienced users are catered for by a proper PASM dial. Intelligent Auto mode is also available when shooting HD video, along with Aperture Priority mode for more confident users.

fz45

The DMC-FZ45 is keenly priced at £349.99, and it's already being discounted to around £300.

At this price, we predict the DMC-FZ45 will do really well. It's significantly cheaper than more SLR-like hybrids such as the Olympus Pen 2 and Sony NEX-5, while still offering plenty of advanced features.

The DMC-FZ45 certainly seems better equipped than comparatively priced compacts such as the Canon IXUS 300HS, for example.

fz45

When it comes to big zooms, a key rival is the Fujifilm Finepix HS10. It offers an even more impressive 30x zoom and is now retailing around £350. Three hundred quid or so will also account for the lion's share of an entry level SLR such as the Canon EOS 1000D, which comes with an interchangeable, rather than fixed, lens.

fz45

Another challenge for Panasonic will be persuading customers to stump up the extra cash to buy this, rather than the excellent Lumix TZ10; as mentioned, much of the sales pitch is based on that monster zoom lens and foolproof video mode.

Tech Specs

Product TypeBridge Camera
Battery Size SupportedProprietary Battery Size
Green CompliantYes
Maximum Video Resolution1280 x 720
Effective Camera Resolution14.1 Megapixel
USBYes
HDMIYes
Wide AngleNo
PictBridgeYes
Product FamilyLumix
HD Movie ModeYes
Memory Card SupportedSecure Digital (SD) Card, Secure Digital High Capacity (SDHC) Card, Secure Digital Extended Capacity (SDXC)
Image StabilizationOptical
ColourBlack
Optical Zoom24x
Digital Zoom4x
Brand NamePanasonic
FeaturesFace Detection, Aperture Priority, Continuous Shooting Mode, Manual Control
Screen Size7.6 cm (3")
Video FormatsQuickTime Motion JPEG
Viewfinder TypeElectronic
Weight (Approximate)454 g
Green Compliance Certificate/AuthorityREACH
Image Sensor Size1/2.33" (6.13 mm x 4.60 mm)
Maximum Image Resolution4320 x 3240
Display Screen TypeLCD
Height79.8 mm
Width120.3 mm
Depth91.9 mm
Focal Length4.50 mm to 108 mm
Image FormatsJPEG
Focus ModesAuto, Manual
ManufacturerPanasonic
Product ModelDMC-FZ45
Product NameLumix DMC-FZ45 Bridge Camera
Product LineLumix
Exposure Control
  • Program AE
  • Aperture Priority AE
  • Shutter Priority AE
  • Manual
Aspect Ratio16:9
Manufacturer Part NumberDMCFZ45EBK
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.panasonic.co.uk
Marketing Information

The 14.1-megapixel DMC-FZ45 features a 25mm wide-angle 24x optical zoom f/2.8-5.2 LEICA DC VARIO-ELMARIT lens. The 25mm wide-angle lens has about twice the shooting area of the standard 35mm lens. The powerful 24x optical zoom can be used both in still and motion picture recording. The Extra Optical Zoom function uses the center part of the CCD to extend this 24x zoom ratio to powerful 50.6x zoom at a resolution of 3-megapixel or less in still picture recording.

Package Contents
  • Lumix DMC-FZ45 Bridge Camera
  • Battery Charger
  • Battery Pack
  • AV Cable
  • USB Cable
  • Shoulder Strap
  • CD-ROM
  • Lens Hood
  • Lens Cap
  • Lens Cap String
Limited Warranty1 Year