Sunday, January 03, 2010

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ35 12.1MP Digital Camera with 18x POWER Optical Image Stabilized Zoom and 2.7 inch LCD

All the reviews are right, Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ35 camera is really nice. I could go on and say all the positive things others have already mentioned, but I'll just list some very minor negatives.

1) Sometimes the camera's auto white balance arbitrarily makes the pictures overly warm, which is fixable in many ways, but if you are just shooting along in iA mode, some of your pictures will come out orange-ish. I had the same issue with my FZ28 as well.

2) The flash must be deployed manually. In other words, if the camera's sensors detect / determine that a shot could use the flash, it can't automatically pop the flash up for you, you have to press the mechanical release button yourself. Some may not see this as an issue, but for me, if the shot will come out better with a flash, and I'm in "intelligent auto" mode, shouldn't it be smart enough and automatic enough to use the flash automatically?

3) The battery life is good, but not amazing. You'll probably have enough juice in one battery to photo / video one, 2 to 3 hour event (although not continuously). However, if you are going on a day-long tour or something, you'll need a spare battery for sure. (By the way, the Lenmar DLP006 battery sold here on Amazon works great, I have 3... no difference from the official battery as far as I can tell).

4) It's not a pocket camera in the slightest, nor is it trying to be one... but I thought I'd mention this to people considering this as their ONLY camera. If you think it's too bulky to lug-around with you and you leave it behind, you'll miss great photos. My wife always has a small L19 Nikon pocket camera in her purse for less formal / everyday events / impromptu shooting.

PRO-TIP: One of the biggest tips I can give people when they try to use digital cameras to take quick pictures (kids in motion, pets, sports, etc) is to pre-focus. Holding down the shutter ("take the picture" button) half-way (half-press) a few seconds before the magic moment happens allows you to snap that picture off in a fraction of a second. What it does is the camera gathers all the focus and other info it needs in order to be "automatic" when you half-press... then, when you fully click it down it just records the light coming in the lens. It doesn't need to calculate / measure / determine, etc... so bottom line... Want to capture your kid in that split second they are laughing? PRE-FOCUS WITH A HALF-PRESS a couple seconds before, then fully click it in that exact moment... that's the secret to getting fast, DSLR-like speed.

FINAL WORD: Awesome camera. The above are super minor points that shouldn't really sway you away.

p.s. In my opinion it would be nice if the next version of this camera (FZ42?) had a larger 3" LCD that articulated (moved around on an arm), automatically deployed flash pop-up, automatic lens cap / cover, recorded 1080p video, uses standard AA-sized batteries (NiMH, Li-Ion 14500, Lithium primaries, and in a pinch, Alkalines) instead of a proprietary battery (although I'm glad they don't lock-out 3rd party batteries like they do with the ZS3), a bit quicker to respond zoom (it's a bit sluggish to get going on the FZ28 & 35 models, and I wouldn't mind if the camera was a bit less "light-plasticy" feeling (although there's something to be said about the benefits of it being light), it just doesn't psychologically feel solid / hefty / quality, if you can pick up what I'm lay'in down. Oh, and if they could smooth out some of the Engrish in the menus, that would be a plus too. Panasonic, are you listening?

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