Panasonic today expands its Lumix family of digital still cameras with the introduction of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ18, an 8.1 Megapixel compact camera with an impressive 18x optical zoom.
In addition to a premium 28mm wide-angle LEICA DC lens, the DMC-FZ18 joins the Lumix DMC-FX33 and DMC-FX55 as the first Panasonic digital cameras to offer Panasonic's new Intelligent Auto Mode, which includes Face Detection, Intelligent Scene Selector and Continuous Auto-focus functions.The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ18 is also equipped with a 2.5-inch high resolution LCD with 207,000 pixels, a 0.44-inch Electric Viewfinder with 188,000 pixels, f/2.8 brightness and is powered by the Venus Engine III, which boasts shooting at ISO 1600 in normal recording mode.
The Panasonic DMC-FZ18 has been redesigned to make the camera more stylish and easier to use. The auto focus, auto exposure lock, and Macro buttons are now independent, to allow quick and direct operation, while a metal-finished mode dial adds design strength and an enhanced rubber grip makes the camera easier to hold.
28mm Wide Angle Leica DC Lens with f/2.8 Brightness and Powerful 18x Optical
Zooming in a Compact Body
The DMC-FZ18 packages a 28mm wide angle LEICA DC VARIO-ELMARIT lens with f/2.8-4.2 brightness and powerful 18x optical zoom (equivalent to 28-504mm on a 35mm film camera) together with a 8.1-megapixel CCD into a compact body.
The lens unit comprises of eleven elements in eight groups, including three aspherical lenses and two ED lenses. Notably two ED lenses minimize the chromatic aberration that is likely to occur in telephoto images. This set of lenses secure picture quality high enough to pass Leica's stringent standards and delivers exceptional optical performance.
With the long zoom range from 28mm to 504mm, equivalent to 18x, the DMC-FZ18 can be the best suitable camera to take expansive scenery with dynamic perspective and a close-up of a distant subject, having the appealing angle of view. Further, in 3-megapixel resolution mode, the Extra Optical Zoom function uses the centre part of the CCD to provide additional magnification, extending the zoom power to 28.7x.
2. Great Photography is not only from the Professional Photographer Anymore- Intelligent Auto Mode
Panasonic incorporates both MEGA O.I.S.(Optical Image Stabilizer) to compensate for hand-shake and Intelligent ISO Control system to detect and suppress motion blur into all Lumix cameras, which are the industrys most advanced countermeasures against blurring.
In addition to these two paramount anti-blurring technologies, Panasonic keeps pursuing its own ideal that anyone at any technical level of photography can take beautiful pictures with ease, and Intelligent Auto mode is newly incorporated into Lumix. Increasing numbers of scene mode is one thing and taking advantage of them is another, and thats why here comes the Intelligent Scene Selector that automatically sets the appropriate scene mode according to the scene youre going to take among the most frequently-used scene modes such as Portrait, Scenery, Macro, Night Scenery and Night Portrait.
The Face Detection system helps the camera to recognize a human face and focus and set AE. Up to 15 human faces can be recognized simultaneously. The Continuous AF system allows the camera to keep focus on the subject even without pressing a shutter button halfway, to get best result out of a shutter chance by minimizing the AF time.
These multi-capable functions happen automatically, so you can shoot without the bother of adjusting settings every time conditions change. Lumix and its powerful Intelligent Auto Mode do all the work for you. You can enjoy easy, trouble-free shooting in any situation and get the satisfaction that comes with capturing clear, beautiful images..
3. High-Quality, High-Performance Image-Processing LSI: The Venus Engine III
The DMC-FZ18 features the Venus Engine III, Panasonic's advanced image-processing engine that can record at a sensitivity setting as high as ISO 1600 with full resolution. Noise reduction is also greatly improved, with picture noise removed in stages during image processing. First, critical noise is roughly undraped, then chromatic noise and luminance noise are separated. The chromatic noise, which has a greater effect on picture quality, is then selectively suppressed to a substantial degree. It also supports a High Sensitivity mode that lets the DMC-FZ18 record at a setting of up to ISO 6400 - sensitive enough to capture subjects in near-total darkness without using a flash*.
With its multi-task image-processing capability, the Venus Engine III also boasts outstanding response time. Shutter release time lag is as short as 0.005 second and the shutter interval is as short as 0.7 second**. This fast response makes it easy to capture sudden, spur-of-the-moment shots together with the quick start-up time of 1.5 second. In burst shooting mode, the FZ18 can fire off three shots per second at full resolution***. It also allows unlimited consecutive shooting**** - you can continue snapping shots until the SDHC/SD memory card is full.
This advanced processing engine is also energy efficient. Its low power consumption means you can shoot around 400 images (CIPA) on a single charge, for a full day of shooting fun.
*In 3-megapixel(4:3), 2.5-megapixel(3:2), 2-megapixel(16:9) recording.
**Not including the time for AF.
***Max. seven images in standard mode / four images in fine mode.
****The consecutive shooting speed varies with the memory card, image size, and image compression mode. The number of shots depends on the memory card size, battery life, image size and image compression mode.
4. More Intuitive Control, More Comfortable Operation and Easy-to-see Intelligent LCD
The joystick that was so popular in the sister model DMC-FZ8 for its superbly easy operation is now included in the DMC-FZ18. This allows a host of settings, such as manual focusing and exposure, to be made quickly and easily. When manually focusing, both the focal length and the depth of field according to the zoom range and aperture are displayed. The MF assist function lets you enlarge the focus area and even move it around with the joystick, to achieve quick focusing to suit the composition even when framing is fixed due to the use of a tripod.
The newly incorporated
AF/AE lock button maintains the focus and exposure values that were automatically
fixed when the lock button was pressed. This means that there are no more
worries about accidentally changing a delicate focus point after you have
worked hard to get it just right. The Custom Setting mode is also incorporated
for the camera to memorize your frequent setting patterns to be instantly
applied by simply selecting this function with the mode dial.
The DMC-FZ18 boasts a 2.5-inch large Intelligent LCD with full 207 k pixels resolution for comfortable viewing while both monitoring shots and playing back the results. The camera detects the light condition and automatically boosts the LCD backlighting by 40% when shooting outdoors in bright sunshine, and boosts signals by pixel-mixed readout method when shooting under low-lit situation to secure a clear image in any circumstances.
The High Angle mode,
which can be accessed quickly and easily via a dedicated button, makes
the LCD screen extremely easy to view when the camera is held high, such
as to shoot over a crowd.
With TV screens getting
bigger and picture definition getting higher, consumers want to be able
to shoot higher-quality still images and motion pictures. Panasonic has
long focused on making photography more enjoyable, such as by letting
people view their images easily on a Viera TV, with its internal SD card
slot. With the FZ18, you can shoot high-definition 1920 x 1080 pixel photos
that are ideal for full-screen viewing on a wide-screen (16:9) TV. Panasonic
also offers the DMW-SDP1 HDTV Photo Player, which makes it easy to view
a slideshow of Lumix photos in 1080i high-definition quality.
In addition to recording
standard VGA (640 x 480), the DMC-FZ18 can record WVGA (848 x 480) motion
images at 30 frames per second. Fitting a wide-screen TV perfectly, these
wide aspect motion images captured by the FZ18 make for extremely
The DMC-FZ18 also offers an exceptional function that lets you select and display thumbnails of nine sequential frames from a motion image. This is useful, as an example, for analysing the way you swing a golf club or tennis racquet.6.Quick and Smart AF and Easy Manual Focusing
the shooting situation and subject's position, the user can select from
six auto-focusing methods: face detection, multi, 3-point high-speed,
1-point high-speed, 1-point normal-speed, and spot. With the 1-point AF
or spot AF method, the auto-focusing area can be chosen from as many as
11 points with the joystick or cursor button. Various group area patterns
can also be selected in the new Multi method.
The newly added Face
Detection system helps the camera to recognize a human face to capture
it bright and clear. Up to 15 human faces can be detected simultaneously.
The detection keeps working on the faces even if subjects are moving so
that the time for AF is minimized before you click away the shutter.
Manual focusing, which is a valuable tool for professional-level photography, is also easy thanks to the previously described joystick. Instant switching between AF and MF is available with the independent AF/MF button. The DMC-FZ18 is also equipped with AF Macro button and it activates One-Shot AF function in MF mode with a single press of the button. In both AF/MF, the subject just 1cm away can be finely captured sparing no detail of it. You can experience the dynamic close-up of macro shots.
7. Other Advanced Features
In addition to its outstanding basic specifications, a host of other improvements make the DMC-FZ18 an ideal tool for creative photography. One additional function that broadens the fun of photography is an Advanced Scene Mode, that provides the users more fine control over some frequently-used scene modes; Portrait, Sports, Landscape and Night portrait.
Selecting the Portrait or Sports mode and youll further have options to define whether it is in outdoor or indoor. Selecting Landscape mode, youll have options to specify if youre going to take nature or architecture. Thus more suitable compensation for the scene will be available on the picture to get the best results. On the other hand, you can simply select the original mode without any further adjustment or select Creative mode that even allows manual controls over an aperture or a shutter speed.
SILKYPIX Developer Studio
2.1SE software application comes bundled with the DMC-FZ18 for editing
and developing images in the RAW file format. Using this software, you
can freely adjust RAW data settings such as exposure bias and white balance
even after shooting for greater enjoyment of digital photography.
Also interesting is the new Title Edit* function, which allows inputting text as an additional information of the picture, for example, names of children or pets, and travel places. When combined with Text Stamp function*, the FZ18 can show on which day of the trip a photo was taken together with the place you went in addition to showing the date a photo was taken for pictures using Travel Date function. It can also stamp your baby or pet's age in months on a photo together with his/her name, after you've taken the shots. These dates, which can be helpful when making a photo album, can be stamped on photos whether you print them yourself at home or have a photo shop do them.
The FZ18 also provides
Category Playback function, which sorts images into such categories as
portraits, scenery, night scenery, events, baby, pet, food, travel date-stamped
and motion pictures, so you can play back or make slideshows of a particular
type of image.
*When the date is stamped on a photo, the photo is automatically resized to 3-megapixel, or the original size is maintained for photos smaller than 3-megapixel. However, you can choose either to save or overwrite the original picture.
8. More Fun with Optional Accessories
The Panasonic DMC-FZ18 offers a wide line of optional accessories to expand shooting possibilities. A tele-conversion lens with 1.7x power (equivalent to 857mm on a 35mm film camera) and a close-up lens can be mounted using a lens adaptor. A ND filter and MC protector are also available to provide the FZ18 with true high-end camera capabilities.
*Requires Lens Adaptor
(DMW-LA3) for attachment
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ18 Digital Camera Specifications
*1. Shooting conditions: 23°C with 50% humidity; LCD on; using SD Memory Card; starting to shoot 30 seconds after turning on the power; shooting once every 30 seconds with the flash in full operation for every other shot; changing the zoom setting from telephoto to wide, or wide to telephoto, for each shot; and temporarily turning the power off after each 10 shots (long enough to lower the battery temperature).
*Some accessories are not available in some countries.
*The use of recorded or printed materials that are protected by copyright for any purpose other than personal enjoyment is prohibited, as it would infringe upon the rights of the copyright holder.
*Leica is a registered trademark of Leica Microsystems IR GmbH.
*The LEICA DC VARIO-ELMARIT lenses are manufactured using measurement instruments and quality assurance systems that have been certified by Leica Camera AG based on the company’s quality standards.
*All other company and product names are trademarks of their respective corporations.
*QuickTime and the QuickTime logo are used under license. QuickTime is a registered trademark in the U.S. and other countries.
*This unit is compatible with both SD Memory cards and SDHC Memory cards. You can only use SDHC Memory cards on devices that are compatible with them. You cannot use SDHC Memory cards on devices that are only compatible with SD Memory cards. (When using a SDHC Memory card on another device, be sure to read the operating instructions for that device.)