Panasonic has announced two new low-cost cameras – the Lumix LZ40 bridge camera and the Lumix SZ8 compact.
Pansonic Lumix LZ40 Details
The Panasonic Lumix LZ40 is a camera that aggressively packs-in features without worrying about too many of the tech baubles that feature in some other cameras. The LZ40 has a huge 42x optical zoom with an equivalent 35mm focal length of 22-924mm.
Panasonic Lumix product manager Vic Solomon suggests it’ll be popular among “bird watchers, nation trust members”, and is a shoo-in with the “grey pound” shooter who doesn’t want to lug around heavy, expensive lenses.
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The Lumiz LZ40 is a large camera, 126mm wide and 94mm deep, but its plastic body feels pretty lightweight given it clocks in at 524g – a fair amount for a camera. One of the key hardware changes over the last model, the LZ30, is that it uses a rechargeable lithium battery rather than four standard AA cells.
Indispensable for a camera with such a huge zoom, the LZ30 offers inbuilt OIS, and its integrated HDR mode will come in handy for livening up birdwatchers’ shots on cloudy days. The rear display is a 3-inch model with 460k-dot resolution.
Features you miss out on with the LZ40 include Wi-Fi, NFC, an EVF and an articulating screen. The camera also gives you limited manual control. While there is a mode dial, it lacks aperture priority and shutter priority modes. The menu system is also far more basic than something like the Lumix TZ55. These are the concessions made in order to fit a large zoom into such a low-price camera.
Panasonic Lumix SZ8 Details
The Panasonic Lumix SZ8 compact camera is even cheaper, but aimed at a different, more youthful audience – it’s for the “younger members of the family”, says Vic Solomon.
It has a 16-megapixel 1/2.33 inch sensor and a flexible 12x optical zoom, which has 35mm standard focal length of 24-288mm. Its lens offers minimum aperture of f/3.1-6.3 and there’s a 460k dot 3-inch screen on the back.
The feature array is pretty similar to that of the LZ40 superzoom. However, the Lumia SZ8 is a lot smaller and lighter. It’s 26.5mm thick and 98mm wide, and it weighs just 159g.
The Lumia SZ8 also has the Wi-Fi connectivity the LZ40 lacks, although it too misses out on NFC. Battery life is limited, rated at just 200 shots - which is down from 250 in the previous SZ3 model.
Video capture is capped at 720p, marking the SZ8 out as an entry-level camera.
The Panasonic Lumix LZ40 and SZ8 are clearly not out to win over photo enthusiasts, but their keen pricing at £229 and £150 should win them over an audience in the dwindling fixed lens camera market.
Next, read our best digital cameras round-up