New Panasonic Ultra Zoom digicam: Fz7

Jan 26th, 2006, 06:04 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 121
New Panasonic Ultra Zoom digicam: Fz7

Earlier this week Panasonic announced the successor to the Fz5. I've been an advocate for the more compact ultra-zooms over the full size Fz20 and Fz30, and I was hoping that February would bring a new small camera that incorporated some of the advances of the Fz30. A look at the specs suggests that is largely the case:

The cam is up to 6 megapixel, which isn't a big deal, but it incorporates the extended zoom of the Fz30 to offer a 3 megapixel, 16.5x (594mm) mode. It has the same 640x480 movie capability of the Fz30, plus a new widescreen 848x480. Another change is the addition of manual focus through a joy-stick. Unfortunately, they didn't upgrade the EVF resolution, so manual focus will probably be tougher than it could be.

There's also some high sensitivity mode, which is supposed to allow better pictures of fast moving subjects or ISO 800 or 1600 with the trade-off of a to-be-announced decrease in resolution. It sounds like a gimmick to me but we'll have to wait for the reviews. The camera is slated to ship in March at an MSRP of $399, so if you were planning a purchase I would wait to see what people think of the camera.

99mkw is offline  
Jan 26th, 2006, 07:19 AM
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 396
Wow. This sounds like almost the ideal safari camera for someone who doesn't want a DSLR. Seems like they've improved the few things I didn't like about my Fz20. Can't wait to try out.
linjudy is offline  
Feb 1st, 2006, 06:17 AM
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 4
Looks very interesting. I figured there must be a new model coming out when the price of the fz5 started to drop at Christmas time. I was going to buy an fz5 (I have an fz3) but now I'll wait for reviews on the fz7. They've squeezed an extra megapixel on the same size CCD chip so don't be surprised if the Panasonic digital noise curse persists on this camera. Hope I'm wrong.
andrewS5 is offline  
Feb 22nd, 2006, 12:27 PM
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 1,834
I would like to order and Fz7.
The list is $399 but dpreview has a link to a site called that has it for $ this deal to good to be true? Anyone familiar with this website?
cruisinred is offline  
Feb 22nd, 2006, 01:13 PM
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 304
That is weird. They've got the FZ7 priced $10 cheaper than the FZ5!
wjsonl is offline  
Feb 22nd, 2006, 01:16 PM
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 304
Meant to mention that they also say the camera is "not returnable." That would certainly be a red flag for me, something to definitely check out.
wjsonl is offline  
Feb 23rd, 2006, 08:24 AM
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 304
Here's an FZ7 for $306:

Again, the FZ7 is priced lower than the FZ5 ($343). Strange!
wjsonl is offline  
Feb 23rd, 2006, 08:43 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 121
The bottom line is that the camera isn't available yet, and most reputable retailers have it listed as "coming soon." Provantage had surprisingly good reviews on pricegrabber, Page camera was definitely mediocre. I think the best case is that they will wait list you. The more likely scenario, I'm afraid, is that you'll click buy, they'll call you to say it's not in stock yet, and then they'll start high-pressure sales pitch to buy overpriced memory, battery, warranty, etc, etc. That is one way some of these places get away with undercutting on price.

Jeff at dcresource is currently writing an fz7 review that should be posted in a week or two. He already has a galllery up of photos he's taken with the camera. I wouldn't buy any camera from any vendor without some feedback from an objective reviewer.

99mkw is offline  
Mar 17th, 2006, 11:44 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 121
I should have looked before I leapt/posted, as the Fz7 review was probably already up at dpreview when I made my last reply. At this time, the camera is reviewed at dpreview, dcresource, and steves-digicams. The camera is available at numerous vendors for around $350.

The consensus from the reviews seems to be that the high-sensitivity modes are indeed useless and that noise is not improved over the Fz5. It may or may not be worse but my guess is that it is a wash with the extra megapixel.

Thus the Fz7 seems to be an Fz5 plus an enhanced movie mode, manual focus, and extended optical zoom (4mp picture at 14.7x/529mm, 3mp picture at 16.5x/594mm). The movie mode mitigates what was the major advantage of the Canon ultra-zooms, although the Canon still has better sound and the ability to zoom while shooting. I will probably invest in the not to distant future (timed when my significant other will be least irritated by another tech purchase).
99mkw is offline  
Sep 6th, 2006, 08:26 AM
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 371
Matt, did you end up getting the FZ7 and and taking it on your recent safari? If so, how did it work out for you and the gorillas? Any tips on use or settings for both stills and movies? I got one to take to Kenya and Uganda end of Oct.
ovenbird is offline  

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 10:57 PM.