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Panasonic Lumix FZ48 superzoom camera unveiled

New bridge camera with 24x zoom and 1080i HD video

Panasonic Lumix FZ48

The new Panasonic Lumix FZ48 superzoom bridge camera

Panasonic has updated its popular line of superzoom bridge cameras with the new Lumix FZ48.

This new superzoom bridge camera is an update from the best-selling Panasonic Lumix FZ45, and offers 1080i HD video recording as well as the ability to snap 3D photos.

Panasonic Lumix FZ48 features round-up

  • 12.1Mp CCD sensor
  • 1080i HD video
  • 25-600mm 24x zoom lens
  • Nano surface coated lens
  • Power optical image stabilisation
  • 3D image shooting
  • No RAW capture possible
  • No external microphone possible

Lumix FZ48 wide-angle zoom lens

One of the features that Panasonic has retained from the FZ48’s predecessor is the 25-600mm optical zoom lens range. This offers a wide angle of view, allowing you to frame landscape shots or indoor photos without having to stand further back, as well as a generous 24x tele zoom.

The FZ48 utilises Panasonic’s Power Optical Image Stabilisation system in order to counter wobbling hand motions, which can be emphasised when you’re zooming close in. 

This is the same image stabilisation system found on the earlier FZ45 model. To see how it fared in our comprehensive tests, read our full Which? review of the Panasonic Lumix FZ45.

Panasonic claims that the lens offers Nano Surface Coating in order to minimise light reflections. According to Panasonic, this helps to prevent undesirable flaring when you’re capturing photos in strong sunlight.

We’ll put these claims to the test when we get the chance to put the FZ48 through our test labs – internal reflections within the lens are just one of the many specialised Which? tests we put bridge cameras through.

1080i HD video with the Lumix FZ48

The new FZ48 outguns its predecessor, the FZ45, by offering 1080i HD video rather than the earlier model’s 720p recording.

This still isn’t on a par with the Full HD 1080p video recording of the older Panasonic Lumix FZ100 model, the higher-spec cousin of the FZ45.

The FZ48 features stereo sound recording with its built-in microphone, though you cannot attach an external mic to boost sound recording.

Reduced megapixel count

One interesting thing to note from the FZ48’s spec sheet is that Panasonic has actually reduced the resolution from its predecessor, the FZ45.

While the FZ45 offered a 14Mp resolution, the newer FZ48 offers a 12.1Mp image sensor. There’s some logic to this – in our years of testing digital cameras, we’ve often spotted that higher megapixel counts can reduce image quality when you’re shooting in challenging low light situations.

Given that the FZ48 is being marketed to demanding photographers – the camera offers full manual controls and an electronic viewfinder – it’s unsurprising that Panasonic would want to maximise the image quality even in challenging conditions. 

However, one disappointment that may turn off demanding users is that the FZ48 does not offer RAW file capture.

3D image shooting

Despite the lack of RAW shooting, the FZ48 offers a wide array of shooting options. As well as a full manual mode, the camera has aperture and shutter speed priority mode and an intelligent auto shooting mode to automatically detect the type of scene you’re shooting.

The FZ48 also offers a 3D shooting mode. By panning the camera across a scene, the FZ48 can take a rapid series of images and merge them together to form a single 3Mp 3D image. You’ll need a 3D-capable TV screen or monitor to view this image, however, as you cannot view 3D shots on the camera’s own LCD screen.

The new Panasonic Lumix FZ48 will be available from August 2011, with a launch price of around £250.

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