If you are an amateur, interested in outdoor photography, and occasionally wild life too, then Panasonic FZ8 is right for you. It offers much more than the point and shoot class.
With the present day norms, FZ 8 comes somewhat lean in megapixels, only 7.2 for that matter. But I don’t think it is in any way restrictive for the regular user. (Of course it is not targeted to the professionals.) It has an excellent zoom, 12X and if you are ready to sacrifice some megapixels, it can be extended to 18X. I am not sure if it is some real optics at work or just some digital trimming. (If you are at 12X and switch over to a lesser image size, say 3.5 mp, the zoom automatically shifts to 18X. You won’t get any further lens movement but a much zoomed picture.)
Other positive features are the Leica lens, 2.5” LCD display and the Mega optical image stabilizer.
Nobody needs any explanation on what the Leica lens means. Even from my childhood I was hearing photographers talking with great admiration on Leica cameras and their ultimate dream of having one. Thanks god, times have changed and even I can own a Leica lens.
The LCD display is really cool. It is fixed, but offers some digital adjustments for angled view, in case you need to take pictures with the camera well above the eye level. The camera offers a multitude of display options, explaining them all are beyond the scope here. The menu is quite straight forward and intuitive. Panasonic have provided a joystick for easy navigation. Enumerating every feature will be a waste of time and space here, and for that you can visit the numerous sites offering those data.
I have serious doubts regarding the image stabilization. I wonder if it works at all. The camera promptly, warns us regarding the shakes in appropriate situations, but unless we use a tripod or something like that the picture comes out blurred. But with the tripod and the correct settings, the results are magnificent.
The camera offers an array of automatic and manual settings, including an intelligent mode. But the camera’s intelligence doesn’t seem to be in same frequency with ours. J. In the point and shoot modes the results are not excellent in lowlight situations. Indoor photos, even when we think it is well lit, come out with lot of noises. But the out door photos are excellent.
Once you become acquainted with the manual settings, you yourself can identify the quantum improvement in the picture quality. You need to be familiar with the camera to take good pictures. Or you can remain happy with the mediocre pictures in the automatic modes.
The camera is powered by lithium ion battery, supplied along with. Charge lasts pretty good and enough for more than 350 pictures.
Panasonic provides graphic software bundled, but I haven’t tried any. Picassa and Gimp already installed in my computer manages every need. (For the same reason I have not tried the raw format.)
Verdict: This camera is an excellent buy in its class and price range. (I bought it for 15K on an offer from Pixetra, 8 months back.) It have excellent potential for good photos. It is a camera for occasions and not a take it everywhere. For that purpose use your mobile phone camera.
Review originally posted at www.mouthshut.com