Panasonic Lumix FZ45 review

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

TODO alt text

fz45

It needs to be said from the start that that 24x zoom lens can be a mixed blessing.

In terms of optical performance, we were impressed. For the money there is minimal distortion and the DMC-FZ45 delivers sharp and punchy images from the box. The biggest problem, along with most fixed-lens super zoom cameras, is shake.

See full-res image

full zoom
ANTI-SHAKE: In decent light, the built-anti shake really helps keep things steady at full 24x zoom

To get the most from the impressive telephoto reach of this lens you must use a tripod, or at the very least select a fast shutter speed/higher ISO setting. As mentioned, the DMC-FZ45 is quite a light camera, so even braced against a wall, keeping that lens steady while shooting handheld would challenge an SAS sniper.

See full-res image

max
LOW LIGHT: But in trickier light, it struggles to beat camera shake – you'll need to get a tripod to get the most from this camera

And you absolutely must turn on the lens stabilization. For some reason this sensor-shift system is not turned on by default, which is really annoying.

The anti-shake system works well enough when you do turn it on, though we found we needed to activate the most powerful mode when shooting in low light at the full 24x zoom. A far better solution is to get a tripod and cable release (to be fair to Panasonic, it's wise to use a tripod when shooting with a long lens on a similarly priced interchangeable lens camera, too).

See full-res image

fz45
LENS: The quality f/2.8 lens and long zoom makes it easy to blur background

Otherwise, image performance is impressive. The large sensor and image processor deliver well exposed and colourful images and the metering system is flexible and intelligent.

We noticed the overhauled AF is faster too, though the maximum burst rate of this camera isn't as good as some of its competitors.

See full-res image

fz45
COLOURS: Colours are rich and pleasing without being overblown or garish

Noise is pretty well controlled on the DMC-FZ45 (see ISO tests). Things start to get smudgy and smeary at ISO 800 but images are impressively clean below that. The DMC-FZ45 is also good for close-ups. The Macro enables you to focus on a flower, for example, that's just one centimetre away (remember to retract the lens to wide-angle mode though).

See full-res image

fz45
SHARPNESS: Lens performance is good for the money with minimal distortion

The much-vaunted Intelligent Resolution feature uses smart image processing technology and digital zoom to beef up the resolution of standard shots. As with so many of these clever widgets, we couldn't see a huge improvement, so if you want maximum detail and resolution from your shots, shoot in RAW.

See full-res image

fz45
METERING: The smart metering system copes well with a variety of challenging light conditions though it's blown out some highlights here…

See full-res image

fz45
MACRO: Close up/Macro performance is also impressive for the money

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