CNET First Look
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ40The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ40 is a solid megazoom, but its low-light photos need extra attention.
-Hi, I'm Josh Golden, Senior Editor for CNET and this is a look at the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ40. So, what you need to know about the FZ40 is that it's a full-size mega-zoom camera featuring an ultra wide angle lens with the 26 X zoom. It's the same lens that can be found on its line mate the FZ100. Both models shoot at a maximum resolution of 14 mega pixels, but the FZ40 uses a slower sensor. It ends up giving the FZ100 a leg up if you need fast continuous shooting. That's top priority for you, feel free to stop watching now and go check out the FZ100. If not the FZ40 is roughly 100 dollars cheaper and still has a lot to offer. You get a nice 3-inch LCD, electronic view finder, 720p HD movie capture, and a stereo mic on top, and use of the zoom while recording. Its controls are well laid out and shooting modes range from full automatic to full manual for both photos and movies. You also get a lot of scene moods including a handful on the mode dial that give you a little more control over results. As for the photo quality, the FZ40 is no different than a lot of compact cameras, it does well when you have a lot of light, but indoors and low light is not as good. In this case, Panasonic's JPEG processing results in smeary-looking photos with yellow blotching. Fortunately, this camera can capture raw files. And if you don't mind doing some simple editing on the computer with them, you will get much better low light high ISO results. On the other hand, shooting in raw drags the shot-to-shot time out to about 4 seconds, not good if you are in a hurry trying to take shots or if you are shooting in an event where seconds mean you do or don't get a shoot. This isn't a problem for the speedier FZ100 though, so, again if you need speed, check out that model. If you don't, the FZ40 is worth the investment. I'm Josh Golden and that's the Panasonic Lumix FZ40.