Panasonic DMC LZ20: Average Performer Showcasing Moments of Brilliance
Point and Shoot cameras can be extremely functional and are considered as the more fitting entry-level devices for satiating the photographer is most of us. While the DSLRs can be a bit too extreme for most, these point-to-shoot entities have a well-defined hierarchy which often shells out near perfect images if not at par with the varied DSLRs. Amidst this furor and need, Panasonic comes out with the latest DMC LZ20 which is certainly a budget friendly gadget, mostly meant for the starters. While the feature sets are kind of restricted, this one is still the best in the business if the entry level points are to be stressed upon.
Pros: The 21X optical zoom is quite a lot and puts it in the megazoom category. HD recordings are supported whereas the LCD screen does take care of the framing and multiple capturing needs.
Cons: As compared to the contemporaries, the CCD sensor is more of a liability and performs with perpetual lags. A few more megapixels would have been quite a good option followed by the inclusion of a better AF mechanism.
We did feel quite a ease while reviewing this gadget as it is extremely easy to use and manipulate whereas the interactive interface and the slimmer structure is definitely worth looking at.
Performance and Operability:
Meant for the beginners, the DMC LZ20 is one from the fabled Lumix series and offers multiple functions to choose from. Here is an Intelligent Auto mode which performs at par with any shooting condition while shelling out some near perfect images. While the mistakes and vibrations are drastically reduced, the camera also incorporates the face detecting mechanism followed by the hyped OIS. This stabilizer takes care of all the intricacies resulting out of the moving subject and works perfectly in unison to the Intelligent Scene Selector. We did find the Intelligent Exposure to be quite a great addition as it helps one to readily aim at the subject while minimizing the manual efforts. Brightness corrections are carefully meted out whereas the darker regions are seamlessly corrected on adding this feature along. One may choose among the 6 scene modes as with the Macro, Scenery and much more while bringing together a sense of prudence into the scheme of things. Manual operations are also available mostly in the P and M modes whereas the dynamic panoramic range does set the priorities straight.
Design and Interface:
The DMC LZ20 does shave out quite a bit of weight as with the features so as to incorporate the same in a much better way. In comes an ergonomically designed body which features a sturdier grip in addition to the exquisite build. The device although weighs a sizeable 500g inclusive of all the accessories and even the battery. Here is a 3 inch LCD screen which incorporates the 460K dot pixel resolution as well besides the richer textural levels. Be it the previewing needs or the viewfinder specific capabilities, the DMC LZ20 also supports video playbacks while viewing the same over the LCD monitor.
The DMC LZ20 comes with a 21X optical zoom prowess which also supports a 16.1MP image resolution. This allows one to operate the camera from a sizeable distance whereas the 25mm ultra-wide lens covers a wider area with enhanced functionality. Be it the panorama mode or the 720p HD recording schemes, this device works out a perfect balance between utility and effectiveness. The CCD type sensor isn’t as effective as the CMOS variants whereas one can also regulate the shutter speed as per the auto mode with 1/2000 second as lower limit. One might also make use of the 4X digital zoom with varied wide angle aperture at f/3.1. The telephoto range however goes up to a staggering f/5.8 besides the standard burst rate of 1.2fps.
As the equivalent focal length extends up to a whopping 525mm, the captured images are top-notch and extremely detailed. ISO sensitivities up to 6400 are supported whereas the camera performs sharply at even 800 to 1600 levels. We might encounter minor softness in low-light conditions but the stills do look vibrant and exceedingly sharp even at the higher ISO levels. Multiple image formats are supported whereas one can easily record HD videos while taking the Panorama shots at the full potential. Quick motion JPEGs look great whereas the stills come under the DCF and JPEG based categories.
Here is a mid-range performer with certain enviable aspects at the given price range. If you are willing to start-off with the photographic career, one step at a time, then the DMC LZ20 happens to be the perfect tool owing to the high-end ISO support and the 21X optical zooming limit.
Panasonic Lumix DMC LZ20 Rivals:
Nikon Coolpix L810
Nikon Coolpix L310
FujiFilm Finepix S2980
Sony CyberShot DSC H100