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Panasonic Lumix DMC-LZ10 - Panasonic Lumix DMC-LZ10
The camera's controls are comprehensive but quite easy to use. The nine-position main mode dial holds program and manual exposure, the "intelligent auto" option, four basic scene programs (portrait, landscape, action and night portrait), movie mode and scene mode, which offers a further 15 scene programs, illustrated by some of the lamest animated icons I've seen since the days of the Commodore 64. Main shooting options such as ISO setting, white balance, picture size, AF mode, continuous shooting and image stabiliser mode are accessed via a quick one-button on-screen menu. Other often-used options are assigned to buttons on the D-pad, including flash mode, macro focusing, self-timer and exposure compensation.
The LZ10's features are surprisingly complete for a relatively low-cost camera. The AF modes include nine-area, three-area high speed, one-area high speed, single area, spot focusing and face detection. Metering options include multi-zone, centre-weighted and spot. Picture adjustment available in the main menu gives five-step control over contrast, sharpness, saturation and noise reduction, and even the manual exposure control is more sophisticated than on many compact cameras. Aperture settings from f/3.3 to f/8.0 and shutter speeds from 60 seconds to 1/2000 of a second can be selected in 1/3EV increments.
There are a couple of unusual features. One is the "E.Zoom" button on the top panel. When pressed this immediately jumps to maximum optical zoom, and when pressed again it adds maximum digital zoom as well, even if you've wisely turned digital zoom off in the menu. This is a bit superfluous, because the LZ10 has a very good zoom control. The zoom doesn't appear to be stepped at all, and the control is sensitive enough to set the zoom to exactly where you want it, but hold it down and it zips to the far end of its range very quickly.
Another unusual feature is the LCD control, available in the quick menu. It includes an option that alters the angle of view, changing the polarization of the display to make it clearer when holding the camera above your head.