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Panasonic Lumix DMC-LZ40 Review

We review the Panasonic Lumix LZ40 - an affordable ultra zoom camera with a 42x optical zoom lens.

| Panasonic Lumix LZ40 in Compact Cameras


Panasonic Lumix DMC-LZ40 Review: Panasonic Lumix LZ40 (4)

The Panasonic Lumix LZ40 is an entry level ultra zoom bridge camera, with a 42x optical zoom lens, a 20 megapixel sensor and a 3inch screen on the back. The camera lens has optical image stabilisation, but does not feature an electronic viewfinder. The LZ40 is available for around £140.

Panasonic Lumix LZ40 Features

Panasonic Lumix DMC-LZ40 Review: Panasonic Lumix LZ40 (5)

The Panasonic Lumix LZ40 features a 42x optical zoom lens, equivalent to 22mm wide-angle to 924mm in 35mm terms. Optical Image stabilisation helps keep shots steady in low light or when using a lot of optical zoom.

The camera has a number of creative shooting modes and effects, scene modes, panoramic shooting, an automatic mode, as well as manual controls. The camera uses a 20 megapixel CCD sensor, so the continuous shooting speed is relatively slow. The camera also has an HDR mode that will automatically combine a number of shots in camera, to give you an image with a wider dynamic range, although this is at a reduced resolution?. 

Unfortunately the camera doesn't feature built-in Wi-Fi, and only records 720p videos, rather than full HD. When recording videos, optical zoom is available. The camera has a built-in pop-up flash, and the DSLR styling includes a rubber grip. The LZ40 is powered by a rechargeable lithium-ion battery, and has a battery life rating of 320 shots.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-LZ40 Review: Panasonic Lumix LZ40 (3)

Key Features

  • 20 megapixel CCD sensor
  • 42x optical zoom lens, f/3.0-6.5, 22-924mm equivalent
  • Optical image stabilisation 
  • 3inch screen, 460k dots
  • USB charging
  • 720p video mode, mono sound
  • ISO100 to ISO1600
  • 1cm macro focus
  • HDR / Panoramic shooting modes

Panasonic Lumix LZ40 Handling

Panasonic Lumix DMC-LZ40 Review: Panasonic Lumix LZ40 (7)

The Panasonic Lumix LZ40 has a good-sized handgrip with a rubber coating, that makes the camera comfortable to hold in the hand, and by holding the camera with two hands you can get a steady grip on the camera, which is particularly useful when using a lot of optical zoom. The lack of an electronic viewfinder is a downside, as this can be useful to keep ultra zoom bridge cameras even steadier. The build quality is good despite being make almost entirely of plastic, apart from a metal ring around the lens.  

Panasonic Lumix DMC-LZ40 Review: Panasonic Lumix LZ40 (1)

There is a good range of buttons and controls on the camera, with a mode dial that gives quick access to all the modes, including a manual mode. There is also an exposure button on the back for use with manual mode so that you can adjust the aperture and shutter settings. The Q. (Quick) Menu button brings up some of the popular settings on the rear screen so you don't have to use the menus too much. However, if you do need to use the menus, then these are clearly laid out with built-in help, making it easy to find your way around the camera settings. The screen is reasonably clear, although care needs to be taken in bright sunlight, as it can become more difficult to view. There are a number of options to make it brighter though, so this can help. 

Battery life - Battery life is rated at 320 shots according to Panasonic / CIPA test results, which is reasonable.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-LZ40 Review: Panasonic Lumix LZ40 (9)

Speed - In general terms, the Panasonic Lumix LZ40 is quick enough, although not as quick as some, and the flash charge time seemed very slow. Focusing can struggle indoors in low light as well. 

Panasonic Lumix LZ40 Performance

The performance section is where we look at the image quality performance of the camera. Additional sample photos and product shots are available in the Equipment Database, where you can add your own review, photos and product ratings.

Panasonic Lumix LZ40 Sample Photos

Panasonic Lumix LZ40 Lens test images

Camera Performance - Portrait photos taken with flash show no red-eye, and good colour. Macro performance is particularly impressive, with the camera able to focus on subjects just 1cm away from the front of the lens, in the wide-angle position. You can also focus on subjects 10cm away from the front of the lens, when using up to 11.8x optical zoom, giving extremely close focus. Colour saturation and exposure are both reasonably good, although detail isn't great in the corners of images. It also took us a number of shots when using the full optical zoom, before we got a sharp image. Purple fringing is visible in images with high levels of contrast, although shouldn't be too much of a problem if you're simply sharing images on the web. 

Panasonic Lumix LZ40 ISO test images

ISO Noise Performance - Noise is visible in images taken at the camera's lowest ISO setting, so we wouldn't recommend viewing images at 100%. Despite this detail is reasonably good at ISO100 and ISO200, and colour also remains fairly good regardless of what ISO setting you are using. This should mean that images shared to the web will look good. 

Panasonic Lumix LZ40 White-balance test images

White Balance Performance - Auto White Balance performs very well in both tungsten and fluorescent lighting, and the tungsten preset also produces good results. There are no fluorescent presets available. 

Panasonic Lumix LZ40 Digital filters

Digital Filters - There are a large number of digital effects available, with the "Creative Effects" having it's own position on the mode dial. The panoramic mode produces images with a very low resolution. 

Video - The camera records 720p video with mono sound, and optical zoom is available. Results are reasonably good, although the camera does pick up the noise of the lens if you use zoom or when it needs to refocus. 

Value For Money

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-LZ40 is available for around £140 which makes it reasonable value for money. Alternatives include the Sony Cyber-shot H400 (£159, 63x optical zoom lens, 720p video, EVF), Nikon Coolpix L840 (£149, 38x optical zoom lens, FullHD video, Wi-Fi), Kodak Pixpro AZ521 (£169, 52x optical zoom lens, FullHD video) and Panasonic Lumix FZ72 (£198, 60x optical zoom lens, FullHD video, EVF).

Have a look at more ultra-zoom / bridges in our Top 10 Best Ultra Zoom Bridge Cameras 2015. You'll also need to buy a memory card and a case or bag to keep your camera safe and protected - have a look at our complete guide to camera bags.

Panasonic Lumix LZ40 Verdict

The Panasonic Lumix LZ40 offers a decent amount of optical zoom with a 42x optical zoom lens, and is reasonable value for money. Colour is generally good in images, although noise is noticeable at all ISO settings, so images will look best when shared to the web where resized photos will look better. The biggest issue is that there are a number of alternatives available, with others offering either more optical zoom, and / or FullHD video, and some even offer built-in Wi-Fi. The LZ40 would definitely be better if it didn't have a 20 megapixel CCD sensor, as this results in images with lots of noise, which negatively affects image quality. One of the most impressive features of the camera, is its macro performance - the camera can focus on subjects just 1cm away from the front of the lens, and when using up to 11x optical zoom, it's also possible to focus on subjects that are 10cm away from the camera, which means it's possible to take some impressive, albeit noisy, macro photos. 

Panasonic Lumix LZ40 Pros

42x optical zoom lens 
22mm wide-angle equivalent
Excellent macro mode
Reasonable value for money
Manual controls

Panasonic Lumix LZ40 Cons

Non-standard USB charging cable - not MicroUSB
No electronic viewfinder
Panoramic images are very low resolution
Noise visible in all images



Panasonic Lumix LZ40 Specifications

Max Aperturef/3 - f/6.5
35mm equivalent22mm - 924mm
Optical Zoom42x
Image Sensor
Pixels20Mp (Megapixels)
Pixels (W)5152
Pixels (H)3864
Sensor TypeCCD
Sensor Size1/2.3inch
Sensor Size (width)No Data
Sensor Size (height)No Data
Aspect Ratio
  • 4:3
  • 3:2
  • 16:9
  • 1:1
LCD Monitor
LCD Monitor3in
Screen resolution460k dot
Touch ScreenNo
Min Focus1cm
Focusing modes
  • Autofocus
  • Spot
  • Face Detection
  • AF Tracking
  • Centre
Exposure Control
Shutter speeds shortest1/1500sec
Shutter speeds longest15sec
Bulb modeNo Data
Exp modes
  • Program
  • Manual
  • Scene modes
  • Centre-weighted - Average
  • Multi Pattern
  • Spot
ISO sensitivity100 - 1600
White balance
  • Auto
  • Incandescent
  • Manual
  • Outdoors/Daylight
  • Cloudy
  • Shade
Exposure Comp+/-3
Shooting Options
Continuous shooting1.1fps
Movie modeYes
Video Resolution
  • 1280x720 HD 720p
Video FPS30fps
Stereo SoundNo
Optical Zoom with VideoYes
Other Features
Image StabilisationYes
Card Type
  • SD
  • SDHC
  • SDXC
File Type
  • JPG
Power Source
Battery TypeLithium-Ion
Battery Life (CIPA rating)320shots
Box Contents
Box ContentsBattery Pack, AC Adaptor, USB Cable, Shoulder Strap, Lens Cap, Lens Cap String

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Photographs taken using the Panasonic Lumix LZ40

Rievaux Abbey

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