Customer Review

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Excellent camera, compromised by AA batteries, 7 Aug 2009
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This review is from: Panasonic DMCLZ10 Digital Camera - Silver (10.1MP, 5x Optical Zoom) 2.5 inch LCD (Electronics)
There's no doubt that Panasonic produce superb cameras, and in many ways this is one of their better ones. The image quality is really excellent, very sharp indeed in reasonable or better light, and on a par with a good digital SLR. It's compact, has effective image stabilisation to prevent shake, has an excellent zoom lens and interprets the scene well to maximise the image quality..

The Intelligent Auto mode is a bit hit or miss - it often picks rather unusual interpretations of scenes - eg landscape or close-up when I'm photographing people, but despite that it seems to balance the exposure and colour balance well and deliver excellent photos. Face detection is also quite inconsistent - sometimes it detects faces, but it often doesn't.

The lens is top-notch, and I very much like the fact that it is (slightly) wide-angle - this makes a big difference to the usability as you do get a noticeably wider field of you than with typical compact cameras. With a 35mm equivalent range of 30-150mm, that's a very decent & useful range, and it produces very crisp and detailed images.

In video mode, the movies are reasonable quality - roughly equivalent to an old cine film in terms of graininess. Perfectly good for informal scenes, though as ever you need a proper video camera if you want good quality films.

My biggest gripe by far is Mr Panasonic's decision to power this otherwise decent camera with AA batteries. Why?????? One set of Duracells lasts about 100 photos (a good rechargeable Li-Ion battery in similar camera should give 6-800 photos or more), so you always have to have a spare set with you and be prepared to get through several sets in a busy weekend. Furthermore, AA batteries just don't provide the current needed to power a sophisticated camera properly, so if the camera thinks the light levels are a tad low, the whole thing goes black and inactive for quite a while as the flash slowly charges itself up. In low-moderate light, the demands on the batteries to power screen, flash, focus and anti-shake can really slow it down and delay pictures being taken, which is frustrating. Nevertheless, it balances the flash / exposure well, and takes very good images (eventually!) in low light. In good light, the batteries are less of an issue, it is quick to take images, and they are usually of superb quality.

Overall, it's a great camera at a great price, but seriously compromised by the choice of AA batteries to power it. Sure, it may be more convenient to buy new batteries than recharge them when you are away from base, but good rechargeable batteries last so long that it is rarely an issue. Furthermore, the poor performance of even good quality AA batteries has a real impact on the workings of the camera in moderate or low light. To be fair, I have yet to try this with disposable Lithium batteries, and just used good quality alkalines so far (which is what come with the camera). Lithium AAs may improve performance, in which case I'll feedback later.

This is my third Panasonic camera, and I think they make superb cameras that deliver better images than many major photo brands. If you prefer the "convenience" of AA batteries or spend a lot of time in remote places where you can't recharge batteries, then this is an excellent camera capable of producing exceptional images. You may want to add some Lithium AA batteries to your order though - they should do better than regular alkalines. However, if you take a lot of pictures and don't like being let down by poor battery performance, then I would look elsewhere - perhaps an equivalent Panasonic with a decent rechargeable battery.
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4.4 out of 5 stars (27 customer reviews)
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James Bury

Location: Gloucestershire, UK

Top Reviewer Ranking: 750