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Panasonic Lumix FZ18

Ralf Jurrien
IFA Report
Tuesday 24th, July 2007
Posted by: Ralf Jurrien

Panasonic introduces a new 8.1 Megapixel Lumix camera, featuring a 28mm wide angle Leica DC lens with a powerful 18x optical zoom (equivalent to 28-504mm on a 35mm camera) with f/2.8 brightness. Panasonic Lumix FZ series has been highly evaluated across the world, for concomitant realization of both high performance and ease of use, and the new Panasonic Lumix FZ18 has also been developed with no compromise of picture quality, operational ease and portability. The newly developed 28mm wide angle 18x optical zoom lens in the Panasonic FZ18 boasts notable optical performance and compactness, to open the door for the new world of expression that has ever been thought impossible with a single compact camera.

Panasonic Lumix FZ18

Panasonic FZ18 camera - Stabilizer
Panasonic also made an epoch in digital photography by providing all Lumix cameras with Intelligent Image Stabilization system that comprehends MEGA O.I.S.(Optical Image Stabilizer) to suppress hand-shake and Intelligent ISO control to prevent motion blur, allowing anyone to take clear, beautiful pictures with ease. Even going far beyond that, Lumix cameras pursue both the beauty of picture and the ease of operation at the same time to newly include the Intelligent Auto mode. In addition to two of the essential image stabilizing systems, this mode further features three new functions.

Panasonic Lumix FZ18 - Auto focus and Face detection
The Intelligent Scene Selector automatically sets the appropriate scene mode according to the scene you’re going to take. It is selected from most frequently-used scene modes such as portrait, scenery, macro, night scenery and night portrait. The Face Detection system helps the camera to recognize a human face and focus and set AE. The Continuous AF system allows the camera to keep focus on the subject even without pressing a shutter button halfway, to get best result out of a shutter chance by minimizing the AF time. These multi-capable functions happen automatically, so you can shoot without the bother of adjusting settings every time conditions change. Lumix and its powerful Intelligent Auto Mode does all the work for you. You can enjoy easy, trouble-free shooting in any situation and get the satisfaction that comes with capturing clear, beautiful images.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ18 Megazoom camera - Venus Engine
The high-speed, high-performance image processing LSI is the Venus Engine III, which boasts shooting at ISO 1600 in normal recording mode and even max. ISO 6400 in high sensitivity mode. Effective resolution has been increased to 8.1 Megapixels, which supports the Extra Optical Zoom function, that provides additional magnification - even up to 28.7x when taking photos with 3-megapixel resolution. The 2.5-inch large, high resolution LCD with 207,000 pixels, and the large, 0.44-inch Electric Viewfinder with 188,000 pixels, make it easy to see when monitoring and playing back images.

Panasonic DMC-FZ18 - RAW format and Design
Panasonic redesigned the FZ18 to make it more stylish and enhance its operational ease. AF/AE lock button and Macro button is now independent to allow quick and direct operation. A long battery life lets the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ18 take approximately 400 pictures (CIPA) on a single charge. And the Panasonic FZ18 can save image data in the RAW file format, which can be edited and developed with included software. A metal-finished mode dial also adds further strength to the design while enhancing the grip with rubber to make it easier to hold. For users who feel that ordinary compact cameras simply do not give them the functions and control they need for full enjoyment, the Panasonic FZ18 serves as a gateway to creative photography.

Panasonic Lumix FZ18 digital camera - Wide lens and Zoom
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ18 packages a 28mm wide angle LEICA DC VARIO-ELMARIT lens with f/2.8-4.2 brightness and powerful 18x optical zoom (equivalent to 28-504mm on a 35mm film camera) together with a 8.1 Megapixel CCD into a compact body. The lens unit comprises of eleven elements in eight groups, including three aspherical lenses and two ED lenses. Notably two ED lenses minimize the chromatic aberration that is likely to occur in telephoto images. This set of lenses secure picture quality high enough to pass Leica's stringent standards and delivers exceptional optical performance. With the long zoom range from 28mm to 504mm, equivalent to 18x, the Panasonic DMC-FZ18 can be the best suitable camera to take expansive scenery with dynamic perspective and a close-up of a distant subject, having the appealing angle of view. Further, in 3 Megapixel resolution mode, the Extra Optical Zoom function uses the centre part of the CCD to provide additional magnification, extending the zoom power to 28.7x.

Panasonic Lumix camera - Optical Image Stabilizer
Panasonic incorporates both MEGA O.I.S.(Optical Image Stabilizer) to compensate for hand-shake and Intelligent ISO Control system to detect and suppress motion blur into all Lumix cameras, which are the industry’s most advanced countermeasures against blurring. In addition to these two paramount anti-blurring technologies, Panasonic keeps pursuing its own ideal that anyone at any technical level of photography can take beautiful pictures with ease, and Intelligent Auto mode is newly incorporated into Lumix. Increasing numbers of scene mode is one thing and taking advantage of them is another, and that’s why here comes the Intelligent Scene Selector that automatically sets the appropriate scene mode according to the scene you’re going to take among the most frequently-used scene modes such as Portrait, Scenery, Macro, Night Scenery and Night Portrait. The Face Detection system helps the camera to recognize a human face and focus and set AE. Up to 15 human faces can be recognized simultaneously. The Continuous AF system allows the camera to keep focus on the subject even without pressing a shutter button halfway, to get best result out of a shutter chance by minimizing the AF time. These multi-capable functions happen automatically, so you can shoot without the bother of adjusting settings every time conditions change. Lumix and its powerful Intelligent Auto Mode do all the work for you. You can enjoy easy, trouble-free shooting in any situation and get the satisfaction that comes with capturing clear, beautiful images.

Panasonic Lumix DMC FZ18 - LSI processor and Action photography
The Panasonic FZ18 features the Venus Engine III, Panasonic's advanced image-processing engine that can record at a sensitivity setting as high as ISO 1600 with full resolution. Noise reduction is also greatly improved, with picture noise removed in stages during image processing. First, critical noise is roughly undraped, then chromatic noise and luminance noise are separated. The chromatic noise, which has a greater effect on picture quality, is then selectively suppressed to a substantial degree. It also supports a High Sensitivity mode that lets the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ18 record at a setting of up to ISO 6400 - sensitive enough to capture subjects in near-total darkness without using a flash. With its multi-task image-processing capability, the Venus Engine III also boasts outstanding response time. This fast response makes it easy to capture sudden, spur-of-the-moment shots. In burst shooting mode, the Panasonic FZ18 can fire off three shots per second at full resolution. It also allows unlimited consecutive shooting - you can continue snapping shots until the SDHC/SD memory card is full. This advanced processing engine is also energy efficient. Its low power consumption means you can shoot around 400 images (CIPA) on a single charge, for a full day of shooting fun.

Panasonic Lumix FZ18

Panasonic FZ18 Megazoom - Operation and Control
The joystick that was so popular in the sister model DMC-FZ8 for its superbly easy operation is now included in the Panasonic DMC-FZ18. This allows a host of settings, such as manual focusing and exposure, to be made quickly and easily. When manually focusing, both the focal length and the depth of field according to the zoom range and aperture are displayed. The MF assist function lets you enlarge the focus area and even move it around with the joystick, to achieve quick focusing to suit the composition even when framing is fixed due to the use of a tripod. The newly incorporated AF/AE lock button maintains the focus and exposure values that were automatically fixed when the lock button was pressed. This means that there are no more worries about accidentally changing a delicate focus point after you have worked hard to get it just right. The Custom Setting mode is also incorporated for the camera to memorize your frequent setting patterns to be instantly applied by simply selecting this function with the mode dial.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ18 – LCD screen and View finder
The new Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ18 Megazoom camera boasts a 2.5-inch large Intelligent LCD with full 207 k pixels resolution for comfortable viewing while both monitoring shots and playing back the results. The camera detects the light condition and automatically boosts the LCD backlighting by 40% when shooting outdoors in bright sunshine, and boosts signals by pixel-mixed readout method when shooting under low-lit situation to secure a clear image in any circumstances. The High Angle mode, which can be accessed quickly and easily via a dedicated button, makes the LCD screen extremely easy to view when the camera is held high, such as to shoot over a crowd. The large 0.44-inch in-line Electric Viewfinder has high, 188,000-pixel resolution to provide easy, corner-to-corner focusing confirmation even in manual focus mode.

Panasonic FZ18 Megazoom digital camera - High Definition
With TV screens getting bigger and picture definition getting higher, consumers want to be able to shoot higher-quality still images and motion pictures. Panasonic has long focused on making photography more enjoyable, such as by letting people view their images easily on a Viera TV, with its internal SD card slot. With the FZ18, you can shoot high-definition 1920 x 1080 pixel photos that are ideal for full-screen viewing on a wide-screen (16:9) TV. Panasonic also offers the DMW-SDP1 HDTV Photo Player, which makes it easy to view a slideshow of Lumix photos in 1080i high-definition quality.

Panasonic Lumix DMC FZ18 digicam - Wide screen recording
In addition to recording standard VGA (640 x 480), the Panasonic DMC-FZ18 can record WVGA (848 x 480) motion images at 30 frames per second. Fitting a wide-screen TV perfectly, these wide-aspect motion images captured by the Panasonic FZ18 make for extremely impressive viewing. The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ18 also offers an exceptional function that lets you select and display thumbnails of nine sequential frames from a motion image. This is useful, as an example, for analyzing the way you swing a golf club or tennis racquet.

Panasonic Lumix DMC FZ18 camera - Focus and Face recognition
To match the shooting situation and subject's position, the user can select from six auto-focusing methods: face detection, multi, 3-point high-speed, 1-point high-speed, 1-point normal-speed, and spot. With the 1-point AF or spot AF method, the auto-focusing area can be chosen from as many as 11 points with the joystick or cursor button. Various group area patterns can also be selected in the new Multi method. The newly added Face Detection system helps the camera to recognize a human face to capture it bright and clear. Up to 15 human faces can be detected simultaneously. The detection keeps working on the faces even if subjects are moving so that the time for AF is minimized before you click away the shutter. Manual focusing, which is a valuable tool for professional-level photography, is also easy thanks to the previously described joystick. Instant switching between AF and MF is available with the independent AF/MF button. The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ18 is also equipped with AF Macro button and it activates One-Shot AF function in MF mode with a single press of the button. In both AF/MF, the subject just 1cm away can be finely captured sparing no detail of it. Experience the dynamic close-up of macro shots.

Panasonic FZ18 - Advanced photography
In addition to its outstanding basic specifications, a host of other improvements make the DMC-FZ18 an ideal tool for creative photography. One additional function that broadens the fun of photography is an Advanced Scene Mode, that provides the users more fine control over some frequently-used scene modes; Portrait, Sports, Landscape and Night portrait. Selecting the Portrait or Sports mode and you’ll further have options to define whether it is in outdoor or indoor. Selecting Landscape mode, you’ll have options to specify if you’re going to take nature or architecture. Thus more suitable compensation for the scene will be available on the picture to get the best results. On the other hand, you can simply select the original mode without any further adjustment or select Creative mode that even allows manual controls over an aperture or a shutter speed. SILKYPIX Developer Studio 2.0SE software application comes bundled with the Panasonic DMC-FZ18 for editing and developing images in the RAW file format. Using this software, you can freely adjust RAW data settings such as exposure bias and white balance even after shooting for greater enjoyment of digital photography.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ18 - Memory and SDHC flash card
Approximately 27MB of built-in memory is provided, and the camera accommodates large-capacity SDHC memory cards. Also interesting is the new Title Edit function, which allows inputting text as an additional information of the picture, for example, names of children or pets, and travel places. When combined with Text Stamp function, the Panasonic FZ18 can show on which day of the trip a photo was taken together with the place you went in addition to showing the date a photo was taken for pictures using Travel Date function. It can also stamp your baby or pet's age in months on a photo together with his/her name, after you've taken the shots. These dates, which can be helpful when making a photo album, can be stamped on photos whether you print them yourself at home or have a photo shop do them. The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ18 also provides Category Playback function, which sorts images into such categories as portraits, scenery, night scenery, events, baby, pet, food, travel date-stamped and motion pictures, so you can play back or make slideshows of a particular type of image.

Panasonic Lumix FZ18 - Optional accessories
The Panasonic DMC-FZ18 offers a wide line of optional accessories to expand shooting possibilities. A tele-conversion lens with 1.7x power (equivalent to 857mm on a 35mm film camera) and a close-up lens can be mounted using a lens adaptor. A ND filter and MC protector are also available to provide the Panasonic FZ18 with true high-end camera capabilities.
• Panasonic DMW-LT55 Tele conversion lens
• Panasonic DMW-LC55 Close-up lens
• Panasonic DMW-LND46 ND filter
• Panasonic DMW-LMC46 MC protector
• Panasonic DMW-LA3 Lens adaptor
• Panasonic DMW-AC7 AC adaptor
• Panasonic CGR-S006 Battery pack
• Panasonic DMW-CZS7 Soft case
• Panasonic DMW-CZ18 Camera Bag

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