With Compact System Cameras attracting so much attention these days, it's easy to forget another alternative to the DSLR: the superzoom bridge camera. Traditionally these have married long zoom lenses with DSLR-like manual control, and more recently added Raw shooting and HD video capabilities. Panasonic's latest FZ45 is the latest in a line of well-received superzooms, and manages to offer all these features and more, but with a price tag just shy of 300 it has to put in quite a performance to outgun its cheaper rivals.
Panasonic Lumix FZ45 Review - Features
The camera's 24x optic may not have the broadest range in its class, but starting at 25mm and finishing up at 600mm means there should only be a handful of shooting situations that lie outside its capabilities. The two aspherical and three ED elements within its construction should also help maintain image quality throughout the focal range, while the previously-seen Power OIS system is said to better correct for hand-shake image blur than Panasonic's previous MEGA OIS technology.
The FZ45's 14.1MP sensor captures images in both Raw and JPEG options, and outputs Raw images in Panasonic's proprietary .RW2 format. HD movie recording, using the AVCHD Lite format, is possible to a maximum resolution of 1280x720p, with a Motion JPEG option offered alongside, while movies recorded using the Creative Movie mode also allow the photographer to adjust the same exposure parameters as provided by the standard PASM quartet, in addition to providing control over maximum sensitivity, colour options and a range of other options.
There's little out of the ordinary with the camera's LCD screen and EVF, the former measuring 3 inches and with a 230,000dot resolution. The camera also accepts the SD, SDHC and SDXC trio of memory card formats, and is supplied with a rechargeable lithium ion battery which is claimed to last for up to 580 shots once fully charged.