Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ18K 8.1MP Digital Camera with 18x Wide Angle MEGA Optical Image Stabilized Zoom (Black)

Pinned on October 10, 2013 at 4:01 am by Reginald Buxton

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ18K 8.1MP Digital Camera with 18x Wide Angle MEGA Optical Image Stabilized Zoom (Black)


Product Features


Prog Rock Fan "Yes fanatic" says:

Oustanding quality for the price! I’ve had this camera about 3 weeks. This is my third digital camera – supplementing a Pentax Optio S4i. I researched this class of camera (more versatility and better quality than a sub-compact, but not as expensive as a DSLR) for a couple of months. If you look, there are a ton of sites doing very helpful, detailed camera reviews, although as a brand new model, there is not yet much on the FZ18.I wanted something that was point and shoot for my wife (she takes great photos, but does not want the hassle of making adjustments) but versatile for me. I used to have a film SLR, and understand the basics of controlling shutter speed, aperture, etc. I loved the idea of 18x optical zoom, the 28mm wide angle, and all the shake reduction/face finding, etc. I seriously considered the Sony DSC H5, H7, and H9; the Canon S5 IS; the Olympus SP-550UZ/560UZ and the Panasonic FZ8. The Sony looks and feels great, but the spec is not as good as the newer FZ18, and many reviews refer to the no-intuitive user interface and long learning curve. The Olympus and Canon offerings in this class just did not match the FZ18 specs, and the earlier model FZ8 was getting great reviews, so I went with the latest FZ18.Bottom line – both my wife and I are very pleased with the FZ18. The first set of vacation photos are superb. My daughter was with us and borrowed the Pentax, so we have some pretty good side-by-side comparisons, and the FZ18 wins hands down on everything, except fitting in a pocket! Even then, it’s pretty light, and with a 4Gig ultra fast card, has loads of capacity. I can highly recommend this camera as the current state of the art in this class. Easy to use for those who want a point-and-shoot, flexible for those who want more control, great specs, and superb quality photos. I even found the manual fairly easy to use – a rare treat with some sophisticated electronics!You will read critics complaints about noise (speckles) when you push the limits of the sensor – unless you are always shooting in very low light conditions, and blowing the results up into huge posters, you won’t be troubled by noise. If you are, the problem is common to all compacts (from my research), so if it concerns you, spend another few hundred bucks and get a DSLR!One warning – this camera is available at a deep discount on a couple of sites – when I tried to purchase one from one of these, it became apparent it was a “gray market” camera from Japan. Not a great idea for a US user! I ended up getting mine through an Amazon partner – no problems at all, and a decent price.

Jerry Saperstein says:

The FZ18 is a gem Panasonic puts a great deal of effort into their Lumix line. And they keep producing winners. The FZ18 is, in one word, a gem. There is little radical in the way of new design. The well-established basic Lumix FZ design remains intact. Not quite a pocket camera like the worthy Lumix TZ3 and smaller than the somewhat more sophisticated and substantially larger FZ50. Panasonic’s Venus III engine is dependable, relatively fast and capable. It is the new features of the FZ18 that make it a standout. The 18x zoom is marvelous: 28mm to 504mm in the palm of your hand. Mind-blowing is the only word for it. And the Leica designed optics are as sharp as any on the market and, in fact, sharper than most. Coupled with an 8 Megapixel sensor, you’re set for just about any common photographic need. The FZ18 is not intended to substitute for a Nikon or Canon dSLR. It is an everyday camera. But it is fine for photographing tourist vistas, family events, the everyday things that are the subjects of most photos. Color rendition is accurate, though not perfect. The inclusion of an ISO 1600 equivalent is nice producing noisy, but usable, shots. Focusing is generally fast, with some hunting in low light on the long end of the zoom. The image stabilization is, as usual with the Lumix line, superb. The flash is adequate out to about 15 feet or so with rapid fall-off on the edges. There is no shoe for an external flash. Do not use the supplied lens hood with the flash: it casts a shadow. One of the new features is a three-shot option on the self-timer, which is surprisingly handy. It takes three pictures so if Aunt Tilly thinks she had her eyes closed, you don’t have to walk back to the camera to reset the self-timer. Works with the flash nicely. There’s a face detection feature and an auto-focus zone selector. I haven’t quite decided on the value of either of these features yet. You can save to RAW or RAW+JPG. Saving to RAW takes substantially more time than saving to JPG format. When shooting action, I suggest you avoid the RAW formats. The controls follow the Lumix pattern to date and are well spaced. You have 12 selectable modes from the main dial, which is nice, and many more accessible from the menu screens. You can acheive full manual control of the camera which is unusual in a camera in this price range. I have one criticism: the zoom control does not extend quite far enough off the main camera body. It is just a wee bit difficult to use. Not a big deal, but a bit of a bother. Zooming is smooth and fast. Battery life also seems to be a bit lower than promised. Overall, a great camera for anyone and beyond great for those who want the enormous zoom range of this camera. The additional wide-angle range on the low end is fantastic – and being able to zoom to 504mm is just awesome.Jerry

ubat says:

As good as it gets before a dSLR Having owned Olympus, Minolta and Canon digital cameras, I was somewhat reluctant to go through a new brand’s learning curve, but on paper the FZ18 had everything I wanted, so I went for it. I use digitals mostly for wildlife and nature photography, therefore optical zoom, image stabilization, fast focusing capability and good handling of low-light situations were my main priorities. I didn’t want to shift to dSLRs mainly because of weight issues; I was looking for a compromise, for something that would give me flexibility and quality without the hassle. I have to say that, after several weeks of subjecting this camera to everything that came my way, I am pleasantly surprised. The FZ18 is FAST, especially with a SDHC card (check that your card reader handles these, otherwise get a newer reader), and although I usually work with the optical zoom fully extended and no tripod, there has been no shake. This camera does well in low natural light, focuses ultrafast, colors are mostly true (sometimes it oversaturates reds a tad)and below ISO 400 there is no discernible noise — I never use anything above that anyway. I have control over all the settings, too, but if I get lazy I can let the camera do all the thinking for me: it does equally well as a point-and-shot and as an advanced amateur camera. I like that I can extend zoom even more if I reduce resolution. Menus are intuitive and I’ve had no trouble learning how to handle them. The one thing I don’t like much are the proprietary batteries: I’d rather be able to use AA’s. But this is a minor setback, considering all the FZ18′s qualities.January 2008: After using this camera for a few months and taking a couple thousand pictures (bird photos: if you’re lucky, one in ten is passable!), I stand by what I said before. But there is one issue that I perceived over time, and that has been annoying me. There is a tiny lag between pressing the button and the camera actually registering the image (optical zoom fully extended, maximum resolution). This tiny lag has made me lose a lot of pictures, especially of birds in flight. I’ve been trying to learn to compensate for it, but I can’t say I’ve been successful — understandably, since birds don’t always fly predictable paths… This lag isn’t bothersome when you’re shooting landscapes or slow moving objects. I never perceived this with my previous camera, a Canon S3 IS, and I’d like to know from other users if they have noticed this in the FZ18 as well.

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