Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ40 Overview
The Panasonic Lumix FZ40 couples a 14.1 effective megapixel, 1/2.33-inch RGB CCD image sensor with a Leica DC Vario-Elmarit-branded 24x optical zoom lens with an impressive range from a generous 25mm wide angle to a powerful 600mm telephoto. The Lumix FZ40 includes Panasonic’s POWER O.I.S. lens-based image stabilization system, that is said to offer double the stabilizing power compared to the earlier Mega O.I.S. system. The Panasonic FZ40’s lens has a maximum aperture that varies from f/2.8 to f/5.2 across the zoom range. The minimum focusing distance for the Panasonic DMC-FZ40 is ordinarily some 30 centimeters at wide angle, or 200 centimeters at telephoto, but drops to just one centimeter at wide angle, or 100 centimeters at telephoto, when switched to Macro mode.
As you’d expect for a long-zoom camera, the Panasonic FZ40 offers both an electronic viewfinder and an LCD display. The Panasonic FZ40’s EVF is a 0.20-inch LCD type with 201,600 dots of resolution, and yields a 100% field of view. The FZ40 also includes a 3.0-inch LCD display with 230,000 dot resolution and 100% coverage. The Panasonic DMC-FZ40 has a 23-point autofocus system which also includes a single-point “high speed” focusing mode. As with many digital cameras these days, there’s also a face-detection function, with Panasonic’s implementation using the information when determining both focus and exposure variables. In addition, the FZ40 can be programmed to recognize the faces of an unspecified number of specific individuals for labelling purposes. The Panasonic Lumix FZ40 also has an implementation of autofocus tracking, which can monitor a subject as it moves around the frame, continuing to update autofocus as required.
ISO sensitivity ordinarily ranges from 80 to 1,600, with the ability to extend this as far as ISO 6,400 equivalent in High Sensitivity Auto mode. Shutter speeds from 1/2,000 to 60 seconds are possible, controlled automatically. The Panasonic DMC-FZ40 uses Intelligent Multiple metering, with Center-Weighted and Spot metering modes also on offer. There are nine white balance settings including Auto, two Manual modes, five fixed presets, and a color temperature option. A generous selection of 17 scene modes let users tailor the look of their images. For the creative types there are both manual and aperture- / shutter-priority modes on the Panasonic FZ40. A My Color mode allows the user to adjust color, brightness and saturation and preview the effect immediately on the camera’s display, and there are also new Pin Hole, Film Grain, High Dynamic and High Dynamic B&W options.
A five-mode flash strobe includes both red-eye reduction and slow-sync capabilities, and has a rated range of up to 9.5 meters at wide angle, or 5.1 meters at telephoto. The FZ40 also includes Panasonic’s Intelligent Auto, Intelligent Exposure, Intelligent ISO, Intelligent Scene Selector, and Intelligent Resolution functions as seen on past models. As well as JPEG still images, the Panasonic FZ40 can capture movies with sound at up to high definition 1,280 x 720 pixel resolution. Movies can be recorded using either the older, less efficient QuickTime Motion JPEG compression, or — in high-def mode only — a new AVCHD Lite compression option for lower file sizes.
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ40 stores its images and movies on Secure Digital or MultiMediaCards, including the newer SDHC and SDXC types. There’s also 40MB of built-in memory. Connectivity options include USB 2.0 High-Speed, standard definition NTSC/PAL (NTSC only for North American models) video output, and high-def HDMI video output (although the cable for this is an optional extra). Power comes from a 7.2V, 895mAh proprietary lithium-ion battery, rated as good for 580 shots on a charge to CIPA testing standards. The software bundle includes PHOTOfunSTUDIO 5.0 HD Edition, and SilkyPix Developer Studio 3.1SE.
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ40 ships in late-August 2010, priced at $400.