The Panasonic Lumix DMC FZ48 is a high powered, super zoom digital camera. It is designed around the principals of a Digital SLR. The main attractions are its 24x zoom lens and range of features. This length of lens gives you the flexibility to take advantage of just about any photo opportunity.
Features include manual exposure controls and High Definition movies.
If you are looking for a camera with lots of zoom power and a range of more advanced controls the Lumix DMC FZ48 is very hard to beat. This view is based on the range of features, picture quality and the price tag.
Megapixels and Zoom
The Lumix DMC FZ48 has 12 megapixels and a 24x zoom lens. The lens has a focal length equivalent to 25 - 600mm in 35mm format. This gives you the flexibility to photograph more or less any subject from wide scenes to distant subjects such as wildlife and sports. The lens aperture range is F2.8 - 8.0 (lens zoomed out) / F5.2- 8.0 (lens zoomed in).
As with other Panasonic models you have the option of increasing the amount of zoom on offer if you use fewer megapixels. Extra zoom becomes available on a sliding scale as you decrease megapixels. The maximum zoom available is 46.9x at 3 megapixels.
Memory Cards and Batteries
Images are stored on SD, SDHC or SDXC memory cards. Power is supplied by a lithium ion battery. Panasonic supplies both a battery and charger with the camera.
LCD Screen and Viewfinder
The LCD screen is 3 inches in size. You also have the option of composing your photos using an electronic viewfinder.
For the more serious photographer there are a set of manual exposure controls. These are Fully Manual, Aperture Priority and Shutter Priority.
You can store your most used settings in a custom mode.
In addition to the manual modes there are a set of scene modes too. These are: Panorama Assist,Party, Candle Light, Baby1, Baby2, Pet, Sunset, High Sensitivity, / High-Speed Burst, Flash Burst, Panning, Starry Sky, Fireworks, Beach, Snow, Aerial Photo, Photo Frame and 3D Photo.
Image stabilisation helps to keep your photos looking sharp. This feature comes into its own as light starts to fade. As it gets darker slower shutter speeds are required. Image stabilisation helps to minimise the impact of not being able to keep the camera perfectly still while the shutter is open.
The Lumix DMC FZ48 can shoot Full 1920 x 1080 pixel High Definition movies. Stereo sound can be recorded to accompany your movies. Both the manual exposure controls and image stabilisation can be used when shooting movie clips.
For close up shots the Lumix DMC FZ48 is able to focus from 1cm away from your subject.
You can produce 3D still photos to be played back on a 3D television.
When you step up to this type of camera a number of more advanced features become available. In this case you have access to three types of metering (multi point, centre weighted and spot). Bracketing is available and there is a greater range of options for fine tuning white balance (Auto, Daylight, Cloudy, Shade, Incandescent, Flash, White Set 1, White Set 2, Color Temperature, White Balance Adjustment (2-axis adjustable, ±9steps each, Blue/Amber and Magenta/Green bias)).
Picture Quality Summary
One of the advantages of buying this type of digital camera with a physically larger lens is that they usually produce better picture quality than small compacts. That is the case here. There are no obviously weaknesses and plenty of strengths. When it comes to picture quality the Lumix DMC FZ48 is one of the best cameras of its type available.
Outdoor Scenic Shot 1
A number of questions are asked of a digital camera by this test. There are lots of light and dark areas. This is always a challenge for a camera to show high levels of detail across this type of shot. The Lumix DMC FZ48 rises to the challenge. There is plenty of detail showing on the boats and in the white slates under the roof of the building. Other than that focusing is impressively sharp from edge to edge. The colours and lighting combine to produce a photo that is easy on the eye.
Outdoor Scenic Shot 2
This lens offers quite extreme wide angle properties. This means you can squeeze wider scenes into your photos. There is often a trade off that means cameras can find it hard to produce edge to edge sharpness when zoom is not being used. In this case the camera performs very well. Sharpness levels are about as good as you can expect.
Outdoor Scenic Shot 3
Zooming in presents no issues. Once gain the scene is in sharp focus and colours are accurate. Another point worth mentioning is that any purple fringing is kept to an absolute minimum. This is often a problem with cameras with extra long zoom lenses.
Key elements of this test are how well focusing is retained towards the edges of the photo and depth of colour. The Lumix DMC FZ48 scores highly on both points. The whole shots is in sharp focus and there is extra depth to the colours that a lot of other cameras struggle to match.
This is another shot the Lumix DMC FZ48 gets spot on. Almost all digital cameras can focus perfectly from this distance so the most important points to look out for are lighting and colour. In this case the lighting is controlled perfectly to ensure good levels of detail and the colours used add a little warmth.
Indoor Portrait With Flash
It is not just the amount of light a flash unit kicks out, but how it distributes it over an area that is important. The Lumix DMC FZ48 gets both of these variables right. The even spread of lighting lights tricky areas such as the hair. The fact that the light is not concentrated towards the centre of the face means that light reflections are minimised and skin tones are not washed out.
Indoor Portrait Without Flash
Out of the batch of eight cameras I tested at the same time this was the best quality picture taken without flash. The camera is able to pull in enough light to keep noise levels low. This improves the overall definition and therefore level of detail in the shot.
If you are looking for a camera capable of taking high quality close up shots then this camera is an excellent choice. The clarity of the shot is outstanding. The only negative is that although the specification says the camera can focus from 1cm from your subject light can be reduced when you are very close in owing to the large size of this camera casting a shadow.
Colours pack a punch, but are not overpowering. They are well balanced and no one colour dominates. The extra white balance features available to you mean that you can fine tune colours to your own personal taste.
Noise levels are kept to an absolute minimum. You will see a degree of noise if you set the ISO levels high or if you leave ISO on auto in fading light. This is the same with any compact digital camera.
Canon Powershot A4000 IS Rating 84/100
You get quite a lot for your money with the Canon Powershot A4000 IS. If you only plan to make small sized prints or share your photos on the Internet you may not see a great deal of difference between the photos taken with this camera and those taken with other models available at around the same price. What you might notice is that the pictures have a touch more clarity. This is likely to become more evident if you make larger prints. To sum up, if you are looking for a handy compact camera, at a reasonable price, that can cope very well with most photo opportunities this camera is hard to beat.
Read Review: Canon Powershot A4000 IS Review
Panasonic DMC S5 Rating 84/100
If you are looking for a cheap pocket sized digital camera it is difficult to find one offering better picture quality than the Panasonic Lumix DMC S5. It is such a small camera and very easy to use. It is almost the ideal snapshot camera if you do not want to spend a great deal of money.
Read Review: Panasonic DMC S5 Review
Panasonic DMC S3 Rating 84/100
The Panasonic Lumix DMC S3 is an excellent value for money pocket camera. It is very hard to beat when compared alongside its direct rivals. Picture quality and features have an edge over many of its competitors while the rapid response times are also a big plus point. If you are looking for a cheaper compact digital camera then you can’t go far wrong with the Lumix DMC S3.
Read Review: Panasonic DMC S3 Review
Review Date: March 2012
The Panasonic Lumix DMC FZ48 is very hard to beat. It is up against some stiff competition, but the combination of features, image quality and pricing makes it the outstanding model in its category. When it comes to picture quality it has few weaknesses and its length of lens means it can cope with more or less any photo opportunity.
Ease of Use:
Value for Money:
120.3 x 79.8 x 91.9mm
Single Shot With Flash:
Five Shots With Flash:
Turn on Time:
The Lumix DMC FZ48 has the classic Digital SLR design. The combination of plenty of room, a grip on the front and a lens unit to take a hold while taking a photo means you can get a very good hold of the camera.
The flash unit pops up on top of the camera. It is well out of the way of any fingers that may block light from the flash. This adds some distance between the flash unit and the lens. That distance can help to reduce problems such as red eye in portrait shots.
LCD Screen and Viewfinder Quality
You should find the LCD screen easy enough to see in anything other than direct, strong sunlight. It may not be of the highest quality and clarity, but it offers better viewing than the majority of cameras. There is a viewfinder, but these are always a fairly small size on a compact digital camera.
Turn on Time and Shutter Delay
Turn on times and shutter responses are good. The Lumix DMC FZ48 fires off a short burst of photos relatively quickly and turning on flash has only a minor impact on response times.
Build quality may not match shiny pocket cameras, but construction appears to be fairly solid.
Camera controls on the top of the camera are: main control dial, on / off switch, focus control, shoot movie button, shutter button and zoom ring.
On the back of the camera along the top is a button to pop up the flash, a button to switch between viewing through the viewfinder or LCD screen and a button to set auto exposure and auto focus lock. At this level there is also a dioptre control wheel to set focusing of the viewfinder to suit your eyesight and a jog wheel to change settings quickly.
Moving down there are buttons to select focusing type, change the LCD screen information and review photos.
Below this sits the main control section. This has options to adjust exposure compensation, set ISO, access popular functions and set the self timer. Also in this section is a button to access the menu system and confirm settings. Finally there is a button to give you access to a quick menu. This button doubles up to delete photos in playback mode.
Looking through the menu system the shooting menu runs to 23 options spread over 5 pages. There are 5 options for movie shooting. Finally there is a setup menu running to 7 pages and 33 options.