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
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 Lens Extended Fully
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
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.
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.
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
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.
Wide - Focus / Shutter Response
Full zoom - Focus / Shutter Response
Switch on Time to Taking a Photo
Shot to Shot without Flash
0.7 (3 shots)
Shot to Shot with Flash
1.3 (2 shots)
(shots before slow down)
11fps (12 shots)
2.5fps (7 shots)
Continuous Shooting - Flash
Continuous Shooting - RAW
11fps (11 shots)
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.
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
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
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
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
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
Good image quality
Good noise performance at low ISO settings
Panasonic Lumix FZ48 Cons
Lacks built in panoramic stitching
Lens finger print prone