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Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ48 Ultra Zoom Review

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Category: Compact Cameras
Product: Panasonic Lumix FZ48
Price: £130.00
Rating: 4.5 out of 54.5 out of 54.5 out of 54.5 out of 54.5 out of 54.5 out of 5

Panasonic Lumix FZ48 Ultra Zoom Review - Joshua Waller reviews the new Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ48 - Panasonic's new ultra zoom features a 12 megapixel sensor and Full HD video.

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Features
Handling
Performance
Verdict
Specification

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ48

The Panasonic Lumix FZ48 (aka FZ47) is the update to the Panasonic Lumix FZ45 and replaces the 14.1 megapixel CCD sensor with a 12 megapixel High Speed CCD sensor for improved ISO performance and low noise. Other improvements include a new nano surface coating on the lens and Full HD video recording.

Panasonic Lumix FZ48 Features


Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ48
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ48

The Panasonic Lumix FZ48, like the FZ45 before it, features a wide angle 24x optical zoom lens, a 3 inch screen and full manual controls letting you get creative when shooting. Or alternatively you can use the many scene modes or creative filters to help add some style when taking photos. The FZ48 updates the FZ45 with a 12 megapixel sensor instead of a 14.1 megapixel sensor, this should enable lower noise images and ideally better image quality overall. Another update is the inclusion of Full HD video which is an upgrade over the FZ45's 720p video.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ48
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ48 Lens Extended Fully

Key Features

  • 25mm wide-angle 24x optical zoom
  • f/2.8 - 5.2 Leica DC Vario-Elmarit lens
  • Full HD Movie in AVCHD with Creative Movie Mode
  • 12.1 megapixel high speed CCD sensor
  • iA (Intelligent Auto) mode with Power OIS
  • Intelligent Resolution Technology
  • 32x Intelligent Zoom
  • Intuitive Manual Control and Creative option
  • My Colour Mode
  • 3in LCD with wide-viewing angle

Panasonic Lumix FZ48 Handling


Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ48

The Panasonic Lumix FZ48 design is identical to the FZ45 it replaces, with just the name and side print letting you know that there is any difference between the two models. Although on closer inspection the position of the AF-assist lamp has also moved. In comparison, the FZ150 has an additional zoom control and focus buttons on the left of the lens, increased quality buttons on the back, additional grip surrounding the lens and a continuous shooting button on the top. The FZ48 also adds a new miniature mode and full HD.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ48

The camera features a large rubberised hand grip at the front and a textured thumb grip at the rear. The dedicated mode dial makes selecting the mode easy and it is feature packed with full manual controls, as well as aperture and shutter priority modes. There are a number of scene modes on the dial each giving access to similar scenes for example, the portrait setting lets you choose from Normal, Soft skin, Outdoor and Indoor.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ48

Menus - The Panasonic Lumix FZ48 menus are easy to navigate, with each set of options clearly colour coded. For example the options are: Record, Motion Picture, Setup and in Playback the menus are Playback Mode, Playback and Setup. The camera gives a lot of options, with 7 pages of Setup options, 5 pages of Record options and 3 pages of Playback options. The text is easy to read and clear.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ48
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ48

Battery Life - rated at 400 shots according to CIPA standards - we were able to take over 400 shots before the battery ran out. This is good and should mean you are able to go a number of days without having to charge the battery.

Speed - We took a number of shots to test the camera's responsiveness, from switch on to first photo, shot to shot, focusing speed etc. We take a number of shots and then use the average to ensure accurate and consistent tests, making it easy to compare with other cameras.


Panasonic FZ150
Panasonic FZ48
Shutter Response 0.05
0.05
Wide - Focus / Shutter Response 0.15
0.15
Full zoom - Focus / Shutter Response 0.25
0.15
Switch on Time to Taking a Photo 1.6
1.7
Shot to Shot without Flash 0.6 (~)
0.7 (3 shots)
Shot to Shot with Flash 0.8 (~)
1.3 (2 shots)
Continuous Shooting
(shots before slow down)
11fps (12 shots)
2.5fps (7 shots)
Continuous Shooting - Flash N/A
N/A
Continuous Shooting - RAW 11fps (11 shots)
N/A

Performance is very good with impressively quick focus (quick AF on), shutter response and a quick shot to shot time. While the continuous shooting is nowhere near as quick at the FZ150, it's still respectable at 2.5fps. A high speed burst mode is available in the scene modes, at a reduced resolution of 3mp and 8fps. A high speed flash burst mode is also available at 3mp, and shoots every 0.6 seconds.

Panasonic Lumix FZ48 Performance

Here are several sample photos taken in a variety of lighting conditions, click "Hi-Res" to view full size sample photos, there are more sample photos in the equipment database where you can also add your own photos and review:

Panasonic Lumix FZ48 Sample Photos

1/80 sec | f/3.3 | 12.1 mm | ISO 100

1/80 sec | f/3.3 | 12.1 mm | ISO 100
High-Res

1/400 sec | f/5.6 | 7.1 mm | ISO 100

1/400 sec | f/5.6 | 7.1 mm | ISO 100
High-Res

1/100 sec | f/2.8 | 4.5 mm | ISO 100

1/100 sec | f/2.8 | 4.5 mm | ISO 100
High-Res

1/60 sec | f/3.4 | 14.5 mm | ISO 160

1/60 sec | f/3.4 | 14.5 mm | ISO 160
High-Res


Sample photos show good colour and detail and although there is some purple fringing and highlight clipping there is generally low noise at the lower ISO settings. The portrait shot shows virtually no red-eye and good detail.

Panasonic Lumix FZ48 Lens test images

Wide - 1/250 sec | f/5.0 | 4.5 mm | ISO 100

Wide - 1/250 sec | f/5.0 | 4.5 mm | ISO 100
High-Res

Full optical zoom - 1/125 sec | f/5.2 | 108.0 mm | ISO 125

Full optical zoom - 1/125 sec | f/5.2 | 108.0 mm | ISO 125
High-Res

1/60 sec | f/2.8 | 4.5 mm | ISO 100

1/60 sec | f/2.8 | 4.5 mm | ISO 100
High-Res

Macro - 1/40 sec | f/2.8 | 4.5 mm | ISO 400

Macro - 1/40 sec | f/2.8 | 4.5 mm | ISO 400
High-Res


Lens test images show good detail at both wide angle and when using full optical zoom. Macro performance is excellent allowing you to focus on subjects right in front of the lens. Purple fringing is low considering the amount of zoom on offer, but can be noticed in areas of extreme contrast.

Panasonic Lumix FZ48 ISO test images

1/10 sec | f/3.4 | 16.8 mm | ISO 100

1/10 sec | f/3.4 | 16.8 mm | ISO 100
High-Res

1/20 sec | f/3.4 | 16.8 mm | ISO 200

1/20 sec | f/3.4 | 16.8 mm | ISO 200
High-Res

1/40 sec | f/3.4 | 16.8 mm | ISO 400

1/40 sec | f/3.4 | 16.8 mm | ISO 400
High-Res

1/80 sec | f/3.4 | 16.8 mm | ISO 800

1/80 sec | f/3.4 | 16.8 mm | ISO 800
High-Res

1/125 sec | f/4.0 | 16.8 mm | ISO 1600

1/125 sec | f/4.0 | 16.8 mm | ISO 1600
High-Res

1/60 sec | f/3.4 | 16.8 mm | ISO 3200

1/60 sec | f/3.4 | 16.8 mm | ISO 3200
High-Res


ISO test images show some noise at ISO100, this increases at ISO200, ISO400 sees an increase in chroma noise (coloured splotches), ISO800 sees noise increase further, with colour loss as well. ISO1600 shows the most noise and the camera struggles to reduce chroma noise. To access higher ISO settings above ISO1600, you need to go into the scene mode and select High ISO, this reduces the image size to 3 megapixels.

Panasonic Lumix FZ48 White-balance test images

AWB Tungsten - 1/20 sec | f/3.1 | 7.1 mm | ISO 200

AWB Tungsten - 1/20 sec | f/3.1 | 7.1 mm | ISO 200
High-Res

Tungsten Preset - 1/20 sec | f/3.1 | 7.1 mm | ISO 200

Tungsten Preset - 1/20 sec | f/3.1 | 7.1 mm | ISO 200
High-Res

AWB Fluorescent - 1/8 sec | f/3.1 | 7.1 mm | ISO 200

AWB Fluorescent - 1/8 sec | f/3.1 | 7.1 mm | ISO 200
High-Res


White balance performs extremely well in auto white balance under any lighting situation, with the tungsten preset mode giving a warmer result.

Panasonic Lumix FZ48 Digital filters

Standard Colour - 1/60 sec | f/3.2 | 10.0 mm | ISO 200

Standard Colour - 1/60 sec | f/3.2 | 10.0 mm | ISO 200
High-Res

Vivid Colour - 1/60 sec | f/3.2 | 10.0 mm | ISO 250

Vivid Colour - 1/60 sec | f/3.2 | 10.0 mm | ISO 250
High-Res

Natural Colour - 1/60 sec | f/3.2 | 10.0 mm | ISO 160

Natural Colour - 1/60 sec | f/3.2 | 10.0 mm | ISO 160
High-Res

Monochrome - 1/60 sec | f/3.2 | 10.0 mm | ISO 160

Monochrome - 1/60 sec | f/3.2 | 10.0 mm | ISO 160
High-Res

Scenery Colour - 1/60 sec | f/3.2 | 10.0 mm | ISO 200

Scenery Colour - 1/60 sec | f/3.2 | 10.0 mm | ISO 200
High-Res

Portrait Colour - 1/60 sec | f/3.2 | 10.0 mm | ISO 160

Portrait Colour - 1/60 sec | f/3.2 | 10.0 mm | ISO 160
High-Res

High Dynamic - 1/500 sec | f/5.6 | 4.5 mm | ISO 400

High Dynamic - 1/500 sec | f/5.6 | 4.5 mm | ISO 400
High-Res

Miniature - 1/30 sec | f/3.1 | 6.7 mm | ISO 400

Miniature - 1/30 sec | f/3.1 | 6.7 mm | ISO 400
High-Res


Digital Filters / Colour modes - here we've shown the full range of colour defaults available, as well as two of the digital filters available. The colour modes can be customised letting you change contrast, sharpness, saturation and noise reduction levels. To see the full range of digital filters / creative effects have a look at the Panasonic Lumix FZ150 review.

Video - Video is recorded as Full HD 1920x1080 video at 30fps with stereo sound, which is a massive improvement over the FZ45, which only recorded video at 720p. Optical zoom is available as can be seen in the example video below and image quality is good with the built in image stabilisation helping, although when using the full 24x optical zoom a tripod is recommended.


Value For Money - priced at £260 at time of review this puts the Panasonic Lumix FZ48 somewhere in the middle of the range of ultra zoom cameras. Alternatives to look at include the Olympus SZ30MR (compact camera with 24x optical zoom), Nikon Coolpix P500 (8fps), Sony Cybershot HX100v (with GPS and 10fps), Fujifilm FinePix HS20EXR (flash hot-shoe) with more choices available in our Top 10 Ultra Zooms. The FZ48 is very good value for money in comparison to the FZ150, which at £395 is nearly £130 more!

Panasonic Lumix FZ48 Verdict

The Panasonic Lumix FZ48 is an extremely competent all round camera providing a wealth of useful features and large optical zoom with an emphasis on image quality, thanks to the 12 megapixel sensor. This means the FZ48 gives better image quality than it's predecessor the FZ45 and it also improves video recording by giving Full HD quality. The camera is priced competitively and it would make an excellent choice for beginners and advanced photographers. Battery life is good and the camera responds quickly with snappy focusing and shutter response.

The Panasonic Lumix FZ48 performs quickly and takes great photos all for a good price.

Panasonic Lumix FZ48 Pros

Excellent macro performance
Full HD video, stereo sound and optical zoom
24x optical zoom lens
Manual controls
Good image quality
Good noise performance at low ISO settings

Panasonic Lumix FZ48 Cons

Lacks built in panoramic stitching
Lens finger print prone

FEATURES
HANDLING
PERFORMANCE
VALUE FOR MONEY
OVERALL

Panasonic Lumix FZ48 Specifications

ManufacturerPanasonic
Lens
Max Aperture f/2.8 - f/5.2
35mm equivalent 25mm - 600mm
Optical Zoom 24x
Image Sensor
CCD pixels 12.1Mp (Megapixels)
Pixels (W) 4000
Pixels (H) 3000
Sensor Type CCD
Sensor Size 1/2.33 inch
Sensor Size (width) 6.08mm
Sensor Size (height) 4.56mm
Aspect Ratio
  • 4:3
  • 3:2
  • 16:9
  • 1:1
LCD Monitor
LCD Monitor 3in
Screen resolution 460k dots
Touch Screen No
Focusing
Min Focus 1cm
Focusing modes
  • Autofocus
  • Manual
  • Spot
  • Face Detection
  • AF Tracking
  • Multi
Exposure Control
Shutter speeds shortest 1/2000sec
Shutter speeds longest 60sec
Exp modes
  • Program
  • Aperture-Priority
  • Shutter-Priority
  • Manual
Metering
  • Centre-weighted - Average
  • Multi Pattern
  • Spot
ISO sensitivity 100 - 1600
White balance
  • Auto
  • Manual
  • Outdoors/Daylight
  • Cloudy
  • Incandescent
  • Shade
Exposure Comp +/-3
Shooting Options
Continuous shooting 3.7fps
Video
Movie mode Yes
Video Resolution
  • 1920x1080
Video FPS 30
Stereo Sound Yes
Optical Zoom with Video Yes
Other Features
Image Stabilisation Yes
Interface
HDMI Yes
USB USB 2
Wi-Fi No
Storage
Card Type
  • SD
  • SDHC
  • SDXC
File Type
  • JPG
Power Source
Battery Type Li- ion Battery Pack (7.2V, Minimum: 895mAh)
CIPA Rating 400
Box Contents
Box Contents Battery Charger, Battery Pack, AV Cable, USB Cable, AC Cable, Shoulder Strap, CD-ROM, Lens Hood, Lens Cap, Lens Cap String
Dimensions
Weight 454g
Width 120.3mm
Height 79.8mm
Depth 91.9mm

View Full Product Details



Lexar memory was used in this review.

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Comments

Epicuros
Epicuros  6 Greece
2 Nov 2011 - 7:09 PM

It's good that this camera can shoot at such fast speed, because its predecessor Lumix FZ-18 is extremely slow in recording images onto memory card (several seconds!). I would expect somewhat higher resolution though!

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