The Panasonic DMC LZ8 is an 8 megapixel digital camera with a 5x optical zoom lens. It includes manual exposure controls. It can also produce widescreen movies. The LCD screen has a special mode that makes it easier to see if you are holding the camera above eye level to take a shot. The amount of zoom available can be increased to a maximum of 8x when shooting at lower resolutions.
Why Buy The Panasonic DMC LZ8
The DMC LZ8 is a step up in terms of features from more basic point and shoot cameras. The manual controls are likely to appeal to someone who would like a bit more control over the way the final photo will look. The fact that extra zoom becomes at lower resolutions is also a very useful bonus.
97.5 x 62.0 x 33.3 m
Image Quality - See Sample Images Below
Outdoor Scenic Shots in Good Light
Outdoor 1 (Medium Zoom):
Where the sun strikes the boats there is a hazy effect. This causes some of the detail to be lost. There is also a touch of purple creeping into the blue lines on the boats. This is another problem caused by the glare of the sun.
Outdoor 2 (No Zoom): As with other Panasonic digital cameras colours, especially blues can be strong. The picture is on the dark side. This is most noticeable in the corners at the top of the photo. The hazy effect is in evidence in this photo as well. It is less pronounced than in the first photo, but it does detract from the overall sharpness of the shot.
Outdoor 3 (Maximum Zoom): This photo falls below average for this test. The DMC LZ8 doesn't really hit the spot when it comes to sharp focus. On top of this there is purple fringing showing in the photo.
Outdoor 4 (Building): This is a better attempt than with the zoom lens fully extended. Even so The DMC LZ8 is not one of the sharpest cameras when it comes to focusing.
Once again there is plenty of colour in the shot. This helps to give the photo a warm feel. For many people I think the colours may be too strong.
Indoor Portrait with Flash: This is one of the better test shots taken with the DMC LZ8. There is a touch of red eye in the shot though.
Indoor Portrait without Flash: Taking into account the good lighting levels when this picture was taken the result is darker than expected. This leads to extra noise levels in the shot. It looks like you will get better results with flash whenever lighting is less than perfect.
Macro, Colours and Noise
The macro shot works well enough. Focusing is good. There is a purple tinge to the shot in places.
Colours: The colours produced by the DMC LZ8 are very vivid. In places they lose the more natural feel managed by many other digital cameras.
ISO 400 and ISO 1600: When it comes to higher ISO the DMC LZ8 performs inline with expectations. There is noise in the shots, this is especially true in darker areas. Once you reach ISO 1600 most of the picture quality has gone.
The DMC LZ8 is a bit like my old school reports I guess. It could do better. As a group the photos are below average.
Panasonic have made the DMC LZ8 smaller than previous models in this series. Even so it is still on the large side for fitting into a pocket. It has a useful, raised grip area on the front. This can help to hold the camera steady when taking a shot.
Shutter Lag Times
Single Shot With Flash
Five Shots With Flash
Ease of Use
Even taking into account the manual exposure controls Panasonic have still managed to make the DMC LZ8 easy enough to use.
Points I Like
Ease of use - wide screen movies
Where it Could Improve
Shutter delay could be that little faster, especially with flash.
As much as I would like to give a glowing review to every camera I test it is not always possible. Although the Panasonic DMC LZ8 has some good features there are other cameras with a similar set of features that I prefer.
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