fz45

At around £300 the Lumix FZ45 is a very appealing buy, and a convincing upgrade of the FZ38 - though Panasonic has missed some tricks.

We liked:

This is well made camera, delivering rich and detailed images from the box. The 24x zoom lens removes the need to carry around an extra telephoto lens and it's almost impossible to mess up the HD video recording. There's a good range of helpful widgets but plenty of options for more experienced users too.

We disliked:

Camera shake is a real problem when you shoot at the telephoto end, so you must turn on the anti-shake system. The electronic viewfinder is cramped and you don't get full 1080p HD video. 24 x optical zoom is impressive, but it's not the longest in class.

Verdict:

There's a lot to like about this camera, so long as you're aware of the limitations of the monster lens and the HD video recording features. If you don't want the hassle of changing lenses, the DMC-FZ45's smart technology, quality optics and convincing image quality make it a great buy for £300.