Archive: Compact and Bridge Cameras 2011-2012

REVIEW / Panasonic Lumix FZ48

113 readers want this So do I!
 
Add to favorites

Jump to...

Franck Mée
Morgane Alzieu
Published on September 13, 2011
Translated by Catherine Barraclough
 
This is an archive page, the content is no longer up to date.

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Sensor CCD 12 Mpx, 1/2.3" , 42 Mpx/cm
  • Lens 24x 25-600 mm f/2.8 -5.2
  • Stabilisation Optical
  • Viewfinder Electronic
  • Screen 7.6 mm, not TN, 460000 dots, 4:3, Not touch-sensitive
  • Sensitivity (ISO range) NC - NC ext. 43 mm
Panasonic's FZ-series cameras have been a long line of bestselling bridges, and are updated by the manufacturer with all the regularity of a well-oiled clock. However, they usually only see small changes and tweaks from one model to the next, as Panasonic has clearly found the winning formula and isn't too keen to change it. The FZ48 is therefore a fairly slight upgrade of last year's FZ45 with a new screen and sensor.

Handling

From the outside, the Lumix FZ48 very nearly a clone of the FZ45. It has exactly the same controls in exactly the same layout, and the only real differences between the two models are purely aesthetic tweaks—a few new logos, a flash that's better-integrated into the camera body, microphones that have been moved back a bit etc. The build is therefore pretty decent, although it's nothing out of the ordinary—the Fuji HS20, for example, feels more sturdy on first contact. The camera's design and controls are effective, relatively simple, and offer direct access to all the more frequently used settings, even if the location of the Q.Menu button is debatable.

Panasonic Lumix FZ48

One major difference in this 2011 model, however, is the screen. The FZ48 has finally got itself a 460,000-dot definition display, instantly making it much more pleasant to use. Just make sure you take care when sorting through and deleting photos in playback mode, as the screen's super-high contrast tends to overexpose bright parts of pictures, making them look more blinding onscreen than they actually are. On top of that, colours aren't reproduced particularly accurately.

Responsiveness

The FZ48 is a fairly responsive bridge. It starts up in under two seconds, which isn't great, but is still OK for this type of camera. The autofocus works well, particularly at wide-angle settings, and the photo-to-photo turnaround time is barely noticeable at around a second.

In this field, the 'hi-speed' CCD doesn't seem to bring any noticeable improvements, as the FZ48 is barely more responsive than the FZ45. The only truly noticeable difference is the burst mode, which now snaps at 2.8 frames per second.

Picture Quality

Picture quality should be pretty predictable with the FZ48, as the lens comes straight from the FZ45 and the electronics from the FT3.

Panasonic Lumix FZ48 review

However, the image processing system does seem to be a little different in the FZ45 compared with the FT3. The FZ48 takes pictures that are slightly lighter, which in turn makes noise a bit more visible, especially at 800 ISO. In practice, shots taken at 400 ISO are still fine but, like with the FT3, any higher ISO settings should be used with care.

Panasonic Lumix FZ48 test
Panasonic FZ48 review


The FZ48 has the same lens as the FZ45, even if some of the optical elements now have different surface treatments. In any case, we didn't notice any great differences: at wide-angle settings the picture is very good in the middle of the frame but some sharpness is lost around the edges. Quality becomes more consistent across the frame as you start to zoom and is excellent over the whole shot at 600 mm.

Video

Another major new feature in the FZ48 is Full HD video, now made possible by the 'hi-speed' CCD. The results are excellent too: the FZ48 shoots a very sharp image, even though the dynamic range could be better and fuzzy noise is visible in low light.

As with the FZ45, sound quality is good, with an audible stereo effect and hissing noises that are kept in check.
Fewer Megapixels
The main difference between the FZ45 and the FZ48 is that the sensor's resolution has been reduced to 12 Megapixels. Will this really have any effect on picture quality?

In fact, with similar technology, the difference between a 14-Megapixel sensor and a 12-Megapixel sensor isn't immediately obvious. In this case, both cameras use CCD sensors—a well-established technology that isn't likely to see any major overhauls in the near future (like the switch to 'backlit' models for CMOS sensors a few years ago). The 'hi-speed CCDs' seen in the latest Panasonic cameras boost the speed with which the sensor can handle and process data. This notably allows for Full HD video, which was previously impossible with CCD sensors. However, it does nothing to improve sensitivity.

In theory then, the FZ48 isn't expected to take pictures that are any better quality than the FZ45. Take a look at the 'Picture Quality' section of the review to see the results for yourself.

PROS

  • Good deign and handling, easy to use
  • Lens quality, particularly at long focal lengths
  • Good Full HD video mode with stereo sound
  • General responsiveness and fast burst mode

CONS

  • Sensitivity could be better (800 ISO is really the maximum feasible setting)
  • Electronic viewfinder isn't great
  • No swivel or tilt screen

CONCLUSION 4/5

The Panasonic Lumix FZ48 is a logical next step from the FZ45. Although it brings no major changes in design, handling or picture quality, video buffs are sure to appreciate the new Full HD video mode.
4 Panasonic Lumix FZ48 DigitalVersus 2011-09-13 00:00:00
Compare: Panasonic Lumix FZ48 to its competitors
Add to favorites

USER REVIEWS (0) 5/5

No users have reviewed this product yet. Post a user review
ADVERTISING

Similar Reviews

Find competing devices:

ADVERTISING