The Panasonic Lumix DMC FZ38 is a 12 megapixel digital camera with an 18x optical zoom lens. There are plenty of features to attract the more serious hobby photographer. These include a variety of exposure controls, manual focusing and image stabilisation. Images can be captured in RAW format and an electronic viewfinder is available.
Additional zoom becomes available when shooting at lower resolutions. If you reduce the resolution to 3 megapixels you can access up to 35.2x zoom. This gives the camera a great deal of flexibility. To further increase the flexibility of the camera conversion lenses can also be added to the camera.
Panasonic has built in one of the most advanced movie modes you will find on a current digital camera. Aside from shooting High Definition clips the Lumix DMC FZ38 can record stereo sound. You can also zoom in and out while recording is in progress and set the aperture and shutter speed.
Why Buy The Panasonic DMC FZ38
I like the fast response times and picture quality offered by the camera.
117.6 x 75.8 x 88.9mm
Where to Buy - Panasonic DMC FZ38
Image Quality - See Sample Images Below
Outdoor Scenic Shots in Good Light
Outdoor 1 (Medium Zoom):
The first thing that strikes me about the photo is the amount of brightness the Lumix DMC FZ38 has managed to capture. This helps to give the photo a vivid look. The shot is sharp and the camera has also managed to control noise levels well in light shade. An example of this is the name of the front boat.
Outdoor 2 (No Zoom): I have noticed a tendency with other Panasonic digital cameras to produce a very dark shade of blue in the sky. This can overpower a photo. That does not happen here and the colours take on a much better balance. Considering the fact this shot was taken with a wide angle lens I am very happy with focusing too.
Outdoor 3 (Maximum Zoom): In my test the Lumix DMC FZ38 outperforms the majority of similar digital cameras when it comes to keeping purple fringing under control. This photo is virtually clear of the problem. This means you should not need to clean up your photos if you are looking to make larger prints. Focusing is also above average.
Outdoor 4 (Building): Aside from a minor slippage in sharpness towards the edge of this photo and my third outdoor shot the Lumix DMC FZ38 has performed very well when it comes to produce crisp looking photos at distance.
This is another example of how the camera is able to inject a bit of extra brightness into the photos it takes. This helps to give my portrait shot an extra lift.
Indoor Portrait with Flash: Here we can see the advantage of a camera where the flash pops up away from the lens. Despite the fact the photo is very well lit there is little or no bounce back from the flash unit into the lens. This means there are no shiny areas on the face giving the photo a much more flattering look.
Indoor Portrait without Flash: Once again the camera proves it is able to add in extra brightness to a shot. As with my first outdoor shot noise levels are controlled well even though the available light is not perfect.
Macro, Colours and Noise
I have noticed that cameras with larger lens units tend to produce better quality macro shots than smaller compacts. This happens here. Once again the Lumix DMC FZ38 is able to produce a shot with plenty of brightness.
Colours: The colours have a subtler feel to them than smaller Panasonic cameras often manage. I think this helps the way the photos look.
ISO 400 and ISO 1600: This camera came through my tests for noise well when looking at my indoor portrait and some of the more shady areas of my test shots. However, if you opt to push up the ISO levels you will notice noise in your shots, especially in the darker areas.
I am very impressed with the picture quality offered by the Lumix DMC FZ38. It compares very well against other super zoom digital cameras.
The Lumix DMC FZ38 feels good in the hand. It has a sturdy feel to it. Shape-wise it looks like a cut down version of a Digital SLR.
Shutter Lag Times
Single Shot With Flash
Five Shots With Flash
Turn on Time
Ease of Use
I think Panasonic has set the Lumix DMC FZ38 up well. Buttons on the top and back of the camera give you instant access to key functions. There is also a dedicated movie button. This means you do not have to change shooting modes before you start recording a movie.
Points I Like
Picture quality - advanced features - shutter lag times - -advanced movie mode with stereo sound
Where it Could Improve
Nothing stands out
I really like the Panasonic Lumix DMC FZ38. Sometimes you just hit it off with a camera and that seems to be the case here. I am very happy with the pictures I took with it and it stands up very well against other super zoom cameras.
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