I’ve no intention of trying to produce a professional review. I’m not a professional photographer for a start, and my standard is little more than average hobbyist. For really thorough reviews check out Camera Labs or Photography Blog. All I will waffle on about is the user experience I’m getting from the camera, and a handful of early shots I have taken. Plus a video, which I’ll post later.
I mentioned in my previous post, First Impressions, that the camera fits nicely in the hand, is lightweight but feels solid enough. I omitted to mention how nicely familiar all the controls are, having shot with a different Panny camera previously. It’s all very intuitive to use. The camera does have a million features and settings though, and it will take time to find, practise and get used to them all.
A couple of features I instantly appreciated though were the Movie button on the back and the dedicated Macro setting on the dial. Much easier than the processes I had to go through on my TZ5 to access these. I also suspect that I’ll soon learn to fully appreciate some of the other settings that can be set straight from the dial.
I also love the 18x zoom lens and the much, much faster auto focus on this camera. There are cameras out there now with up to 30x lenses, so the FZ35 is hardly at the top end of the market here. But without a tripod, I suspect going much beyond 20x, especially in poor light, will produce a lot of blurry photos. You have to hold the FZ35 pretty steady, even in good light, to avoid blur. The top two photos of the selection below give a good idea of the range of the zoom. The snap on the right is of the Virgin image on the church wall at full zoom. The lens produces pretty sharp pictures even at full zoom, and colour seems good across the lens range. Although I do usually increase black levels and contrast, more so at full zoom.
I’m pretty impressed with interior, low light performance and limited noise intrusion as well. Again, you really have to hold the camera steady, but it is possible to get some pretty decent shots even when hand holding the camera. The two photos in the middle are both interior shots, the latter in far more challenging light conditions than the first. The last couple of photos show the zoom range again, of three pigeons on the church roof, and of the macro abilities. The real proof will come with time though, as I learn more about the camera and its capabilities, and put that into practice. For the full set of test photos in full size, click here.