Panasonic Lumix DMC-LZ1 conventional digital camera
Typical selling price (approx): UK£179, US$199, EU€249
I think Panasonic's Lumix DMC-LZ1 is great value for money. You get a very versatile and sharp 6x zoom lens and optical image stabilisation in an attractive and affordable four megapixel package. Image quality and ease of use are booth very good, with only the lack of manual exposure controls being a slight sore point for more ambitious photographers.
Compared to the other cameras in this feature, the LZ1 starts up faster, is more responsive, with virtually no shutter lag. Its image stabilisation feature is a real boon in low light or when using the telephoto end of the zoom.
The DMC-LZ1 is a 'proper' digital still camera and it ought to trounce its company here in terms of image quality and that it certainly does.
Now this is more like it! You can see in the shadows, the grass has texture and the highlights haven't been blown away. The colour is slightly on the side of yellow bias, which is typical of some Japanese cameras, but overall this print knocks the others into a very cocked hat.
Again, compared to the others, the print is crisp and punchy, but retains smooth and grain-free tones. The tee-shirt is slightly over-saturated but that's forgivable, as is the bleached cap on the right. I also took one with fill-in flash and if anything, that was even better.
Goodness! The sky has some blue in it at last and the scene is both sharp and smooth. There is no evidence of purple fringing. It's just… right.
There is probably as much detail in this selected enlargement as the whole print produced by some of the others looked at. This is the only camera that reveals the tops of the trees behind the building. There is no break up of the boundary between the tree foliage and the sky and there is no moiré effect on the roof.
Again, the DMC-LZ1 produced a much sharper print of the flowers than any of the others, but the colour is lacking a little of the purple I recall from the original scene.
Once again, the magnified corner sharpness is a revelation compared to the other cameras. Of the four, the LZ1 would be the only camera I’d have confidence in printing a selective enlargement.
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