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Panasonic Lumix FZ45 / FZ40 digital superzoom

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Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ45 (FZ40) 14.1 MP Digital CameraContents

At the same time that the top of the range Panasonic DMC-FZ100 was announced, Panasonic has also launched the Lumix DMC-FZ45 superzoom camera (FZ40 in the USA).

The FZ45 sits just below the FZ100 in the series and is the successor to the very popular FZ38/35 which was previously my favourite safari camera.

Main Features

The FZ45 has many of the same features as the FZ100 including the same and very powerful 24x (25-600mm equivalent) lens, but with a 14.1MP CCD sensor and simpler 230K dot 3.0 inch fixed LCD (as opposed to the FZ100's CMOS sensor and high-res screen).

24x Zoom (35mm camera equivalent: 25-600mm)

Compared to the older DMC-FZ38, The LEICA DC VARIO-ELMARIT lens in the DMC-FZ45 further extends it's optical zoom range from 27mm to 25mm at wide end and the zoom power from 18x to 24x to be even more powerful and versatile. The 24x optical zoom is now equivalent to 600mm on a 35mm camera.

Panasonic DMC-FZ100 24x Optical Zoom Example

Panasonic FZ18 and the Raynox DCR-2025PRO Telephoto Conversion LensTele Conversion Lens

If the zoom lens is not enough for you, the good news and one of the main reasons why I love the Panazonic FZ series of cameras is that you can get MUCH closer to the action using a tele converter lens. The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ45 digital camera is compatible with their DMW-LT55 1.7x teleconverter lens which will give you zooming ability equivalent to an epic 1020mm (35mm camera equivalent). You will need a Lens Adaptor (DMW-LA5) to attach the telephoto conversion lens to the camera.

For more, read my article on Telephoto Conversion Lenses for the Panasonic DMC-FZ45 Digital Camera.

2.2x Teleconverter Lens

For an ever larger focal length, read my review of the Raynox DCR-2025PRO 2.2x Super Telephoto Conversion Lens, which can also be attached to the FZ45.

32x Intelligent Zoom
Another interesting feature is that thanks to the new Intelligent Resolution technology on the Panasonic DMC-FZ45 that extends the zoom ratio by about 1.3x but maintains the picture quality even though it is using the digital zoom. This means the 24x optical can now virtually and realistically extend to 32x!

... but wait there is more, the "Extra Optical Zoom" function further extends the camera's zoom power to a massive 50.6x by using the center part of the large MOS sensor to bring subjects even closer. This setting unfortunately reduces the resolution to 3 megapixels (3MP), which could be useful for identification purposes.

Panasonic DMC-FZ45 32x Intelligent Zoom Example

25mm Ultra Wide-Angle

The 25mm ultra wide-angle lens on the Panasonic DMC-FZ45 has about twice the shooting area as a standard 35mm lens. This wide angle enhances all kinds of shooting situations, like when you're photographing herds of animals, groups of people at the lodge or a large structure or stunning African landscape.

Sonic Speed Auto Focus

An important feature in any camera, but especially one where your subjects don't always stay still, like birds and other wildlife is just how quickly it can focus. The Sonic Speed AF system in the DMC-FZ45(FZ40) has many enhancements, including a higher-speed actuator, optimized algorithms and parallel software processing. The result is a faster and more accurate Auto Focusing performance.

Full HD Movie Recording

A big improvement on older models is that the Panasonic DMC-FZ40 (FZ45) has a separate button on the top of the camera that you can use to instantly start recording movies even whilst shooting photos without changing any other settings.

What is more is the 24x optical zoom is also available for shooting films too and you can cut out a clear still image from any movie created on the camera thanks to the Intelligent Resolution technology.

Photos or movies recorded in AVCHD Lite on SD Memory Cards are easy to view on a Panasonic VIERA TV. Simply insert the card into the VIERA Image Viewer (SD Memory Card slot) on VIERA TV or DIGA Blu-ray Disc Player to playback your contents. Alternatively, you can use an optional mini HDMI cable to output the still and motion images you took from the FZ45 directly to the TV for VIERA Link.

3.0-inch LCD

The DMC-FZ45(FZ40)'s large 3.0-inch LCD has been improved from the FZ38's and now features a high 230,000-dot resolution, and a wide-viewing angle that lets you frame your shot in a variety of ways for both shooting and viewing.

Annother innovation is the Intelligent LCD function that automatically adjusts the brightness in 11 steps according to shooting conditions, with everything from from nighttime to bright daylight scenes.

A big difference between the FZ100 and the FZ45 is that this camera sticks with the fixed LCD screen, whilst the FZ100 has a flip out LCD.

Cost & Where to Buy

Another one of the main advantages of a SuperZoom camera like the FZ45 (FZ40) versus a digital SLR is the much lower cost:

UK Shoppers UK Shoppers
Buy this camera in the UK:

US Shoppers US Shoppers
Buy this camera in the USA:


Panasonic FZ45 vs FZ38

At first glance the Panasonic FZ45 (FZ40) camera looks very similar to the older FZ38 (FZ35). But the main differences are important ones: more powerful optical zoom, much higher resolution image capture, faster auto focus, movie recording in full HD, wider aperture range and a 25mm ultra wide angle lens.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ45 (FZ40) 14.1 MP Digital Camera Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ38
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ45/40
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ38

Zoom tele (T): 600mm (24x)
Wide-angle: 25mm
Aperture range: F2.8 - F5.2
Continuous Drive: 1.8 fps & 5fps in burst mode
ISO rating:
Auto, Hi Auto (1600-6400), 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, Intelligent ISO

Zoom tele (T): 486mm (18x)
Wide-angle: 27mm
Aperture range: F2.8 - F4.4
Continuous Drive: 2.3 fps for five images
ISO rating:
Auto, Hi Auto (1600-6400), 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600

Max Res: 4320 x 3240
Effective pixels: 14.1 million

Max Res: 4000 x 3000
Effective pixels: 12.1 million

Max Movie: 1280 x 720 @ 30 fps

Max Movie: 1280 x 720 @ 30 fps

Dimensions: 124x82x95mm
Weight (+ batteries): 494g (17 oz)

Dimensions: 118x76x89mm
Weight (+ batteries): 397g (14 oz)

In Conclusion

The FZ45 is definitly an improvement on the already very good FZ38 and because you can further increase the zoom with a teleconverter lens I feel this camera makes an ideal digital camera to take on safari.

The lack of a flip-out and rotating LCD screen and slight lower quality movie mode make this camera not quite as good as the top of the range FZ100, but then again it is also about £100 / $100 cheaper.


For the ultimate safari camera, you may wish to consider the Panasonic Lumix FZ100, that has a few improvements on the FZ45 including a flip-out and rotaing LCD screen and CMOS sensor:

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ100Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ100

With a super powerful 24x optical zoom (35mm camera equivalent 600mm), much higher 14.1 MP image resolution, rotating LCD screen, movie recording in full HD and a 25mm ultra wide angle lens, this is the best superzoom compact digital camera on the market and an ideal safari holiday companion.

>> Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ100 Digital Camera

Other options also include the more powerful Fujifilm FinePix HS20EXR full on bridge camera and the Canon PowerShot SX30 IS.

Fujifilm FinePix HS20EXRFujifilm FinePix HS20EXR

The successor to the very popular FinePix HS10 from Fujifilm, comes very powerful Fujifilm FinePix HS20EXR with it's 30x optical zoom (35mm camera equivalent 720mm), much higher 16 MP image resolution, faster auto focus and movie recording in full 1080p HD. This camera has to be one of the very best for taking with you on any safari holiday.

>> Fujifilm FinePix HS20EXR Camera Review

Canon PowerShot SX30 ISCanon PowerShot SX30 IS

This superzoom bridge camera from Canon, the PowerShot SX30 IS features a massive 35x zoom (35mm equivalent of a 24-840mm lens) and loads of other features including full 720p HD video recording, excellent image stabilization and a vari-angle 2.7 inch LCD display.

>> Canon PowerShot SX30 IS Digital Camera

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ38 (FZ35)Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ38 (FZ35)

I take a look at the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ38, the successor to the very popular FZ28. Still will the excellent 18x optically stabilised lens (27-486mm, 35mm equivalent) and an increased resolution of 12.1 Megapixels, could this be the perfect compact superzoom camera to take on safari?

>> Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ38 (FZ35) Digital Camera

Related Articles

Below are some more articles that you may also find useful:

The Best Digital Superzoom cameras for SafarisThe Best Compact Superzoom Cameras for Safari

If you do decide that a superzoom compact camera, rather than a digital SLR, here is our guide to the best compact super zoom safari cameras. Includes features to look out for and review of the top two cameras with a side by side comparison.

>> Best Safari Camera (compact superzooms)

Telephoto Conversion LensesTelephoto Conversion Lenses

Turn your Turn your SuperZoom Camera into a MegaZoom Camera, a guide to Telephoto Conversion Lenses for the Panasonic DMC-FZ100, DMC-FZ38 (FZ35), DMC-FZ28 & DMC-FZ18 Digital Cameras. Including what telephoto lenses fit the Panasonic cameras, which ones to get and example photographs

>> Telephoto Conversion Lenses for the Panasonic DMC-FZ

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