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Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ45 review




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Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ45 front angle
  • Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ45 front angle
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  • Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ45 test photo
  • Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ45 test photo
  • Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ45 test photo
  • Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ45 test photo
  • Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ45 test photo
  • Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ45 test photo
  • Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ45 test photo
  • Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ45 test photo
  • Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ45 test photo
  • Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ45 test photo
  • Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ45 test photo
  • Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ45
  • Lumix DMC-FZ45 Black Digital Camera (14.1MP, 24x Opt, SD/SDHC/SDXC Card Slot)


Our Score:


Out of all of the thousands of reviews posted on TrustedReviews over the years, the one that has been viewed the most times, and by a surprisingly large margin, is the review of the Panasonic FZ38 super-zoom which I wrote last July. Bearing that in mind I'm fairly sure there'll be quite a few people who will be interested in today's review, because I'm taking a look at the FZ38's successor, the new Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ45, which was launched this July.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ45 front angle

Just as the FZ38 was an incremental upgrade from the previous year's FZ28, the FZ45 has many similarities to the previous model, but also a number of significant improvements. The two most obvious changes are the lens, which is increased from an 18x zoom to a larger f/2.8–5.2 24x zoom equivalent to 25 – 600mm, and the sensor, which is still a small 1 /2.33-inch chip but has had a resolution increase from 12.1 to 14.1 megapixels. The SLR-like body design hasn't changed much since the FZ7 launched in 2006, although the new camera is slightly larger and somewhat heavier than the FZ38, and has seen a major revision to the control layout. The fixed wide-view LCD monitor is also slightly larger, expanding from 2.7 inches to 3.0 inches, but retaining the same 230k resolution. Most of the FZ38's main features have been retained, particularly its 1280 x 720 HD video mode with stereo audio and AVCHD Lite recording format.

In fact the FZ45 is one of two successors to the FZ38. Launched at the same time was the FZ100, which has the same 24x zoom lens and 14.1-megapixel resolution, but has a higher performance MOS sensor, a fully articulated 3.0-inch 460k monitor and 1920 x 1080 full HD (1080i) video recording in AVCHD format. The FZ100 is very much the premium model of the two, with a price tag of £479 compared to the FZ45's £359.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ45 front

Although super-zooms have seen their traditional role as “bridge cameras”, standing between compacts and DSLRs, usurped by the latest compact system cameras, there are still quite a few of them around and the FZ45 faces some formidable competition. Notable examples include the excellent value Pentax X90 (£230), the Nikon P100 (£280), the Samsung WB5000 (£280) and the immensely impressive Fujifilm S200EXR (£315). Against these market rivals the FZ45 looks pretty expensive, and the FZ100 even more so.


September 1, 2010, 7:39 pm

@Cliff Smith - Interesting review. I have a few questions about the scores though.

First of all, how could you give the FZ45 a full 10/10 in Features? You mentioned it's big brother, the FZ100, earlier in the review. What score are you going to give the FZ100's features (when you get a chance to review it), 11/10 maybe...?? I also compared the FZ45 with Fujifilm's HS10 that you reviewed not too long ago, and you also gave the HS10 a 10/10 in Features (which a completely agree with). It seems to me that the HS10 has more features than the FZ45 (24-720mm vs 25-600mm, tilting monitor vs fixed one, 1080p vs 720p, 6400 ISO vs 1600 ISO, just to name a few) and therefore the FZ45 should only get a 9/10 in this category.

I think it's good to compare the FZ45 with the HS10. Even though the HS10's features are more similar to the features on Panasonic's FZ100, the HS10 is actually closer to the FZ45 in price than to the FZ100. And they're all in the superzoom category anyway.

So the other thing I was wondering, was how you could give the FZ45 a 9/10 in Image Quality? Especially after saying the following:

"Quality at 80 ISO is unquestionably very good, but there are small but visible blotches of colour distortion even at 100 ISO. The image quality at 400 ISO is no better than its main rivals, and at 800 ISO the noise reduction has blurred out almost all fine detail. It is very disappointing that Panasonic has chosen to sacrifice the outstanding image quality of one of its most popular cameras for the sake of a pointless increase in image resolution".

I completely agree with that statement, that's why I'm having a hard time understanding the high score in image quality. Especially after you only gave the Fujifilm HS10 a 7/10. After having carefully looked through your sample shots, it seems to me that the HS10 is better at higher ISO, the FZ45 has more detail (Cathedral), the FZ45 has slightly more barrel distortion but also better sharpness (both center and corner). I could still agree that the FZ45 DOES have better image quality than the HS10, but certainly not 2 points better. I think that the FZ45's poor ISO performance alone should lower the score to 8/10.

Lastly, in light of the aforementioned arguments I don't think that Panasonic's FZ45 is any better value than Fujifilm's HS10 (the HS10 only got 7/10 in Value). Particularly when the HS10 is packed with even more features than the FZ45, yet only costs £40 more.

That's all, hopefully I gave someone something to think about.

Have a good one!

C D Rey

September 1, 2010, 11:08 pm

Hi I have only had this camera for less than a week. My main passion is digital stills rather than video, so I choose this over the FZ100. I was also considering the Fuji HS10 as I liked the way it handled very well, but very concerned about reading reviews such as on DP Review about quality of this camera. Which despite mixed reviews has gone on to win a few awards.

Going back to my FZ45, I am very pleased with the quality and sharpness of the pictures. It is quick to shoot with and easy interface to use. The screen could be sharper as my other camera is a Ricoh GRD3, where it is more apparent on the live view the changes to the exposure/ aperture and so forth will have on your final result.

Took this with me to the Notting Hill Carnival and I was able to capture some lovely colourful shots, however I did have a bit of trouble getting the right exposure ( but this could be down to me rather than the camera as the day was very bright)

You can see some of my results on my Flickr photostream


Regarding the price I was able to buy this online from a reputable vendor for £279 and Amazon has already dropped this price to match this.

All in all, I see this as a very creative tool for photography with the versatility of a nice wide to telephoto lens. Pictures are very sharp and vivid, perhaps only gripes are wish the screen or the viewfinder was that bit sharper to help me compose better with live view and the jog wheel a little stiff but certainly usable and clever in manual mode.


September 2, 2010, 10:31 am


I agree with JK, Cliff I think it is a good time to think about a new rating system.

A few suggestions:

Based on point system.


features wise: allot each feature a point and significant feature may get 1.5 or even 2 points

value for money: use a system from a combination of points from price, features and image quality.

This just a start, publish your criteria then there will be no arguments.

I am sure there are more people out there who are more familiar about cameras than I am can give you even more suggestions.

Enjoy reading your write even though I am disagree with some areas. Also i think you should add an addendum to your review as a follow up if you change your mind in some areas or add in any more or your thoughts.



September 3, 2010, 10:32 am

Canon did otherwise with G11 and came out a very good camera, in this case very disappointing indeed , I was waiting for FZ100 but I'm afraid it's result is going to be crappy too , are there any plans on reviewing FZ100? I just can't understand why this camera has been given 9/10 in image quality, I would say a 6 would be generous.

Anyone disagrees, just compare to image quality of this thing with Fuji S200EXR , which I think still has the upper hand in all Super zooms as well as the good old FZ35. Fuji HS10 is much better than this thing, it is a huge disappointment.

Both Panasonic and Fuji have failed to produce good successors.Let's see what Canon brings out.

Stuart Davies

September 3, 2010, 5:28 pm

Having over the past few years followed Cliffs and other reviewers opinions on Super Zoom cameras I have purchased and tried out many of the Panasonic and Fuji range up to the FZ38 and Fuji HS10 models. There conclusions on most of these cameras leave me confused and more to the point out of pocket. The latest Fuji HS10 can produce fine pictures but try using the viewfinder to compose a shot! You might as well have both eyes shut. Cliff reviewed the Fuji S5600 some years back and then gave it top marks.I bought one. I am now back with this camera having tried many highly rated SuperZooms and DSLR's. It remains my favourite despite low pixel count. Now should I buy the Panasonic FZ45?

Tom Barry

September 3, 2010, 7:56 pm

I can't get from your analysis in the review of image quality to your conclusion of 9/10. Based on your analysis, I'd think it would be, at best, 7/10.

John Shewsbury

September 6, 2010, 12:27 pm

The remarks from CS that caused an uproar (at least IMO) is the sentences below;

"the image quality at 400 ISO is no better than its main rivals, and at 800 ISO the noise reduction has blurred out almost all fine detail"

To my understanding, most superzoom camera in this class never excel in the ISO 800 and anything higher than that, we will see lots of noise which is normal - some can do slightly better than the other but overall not great - this is where we would hope for DSLR...

Even the SX20 and FZ35/38 is not perfect in ISO 800 but at least they can produce slightly better than the others - certainly much better than my Fujifilm HS10....

But which such statement from CS, I think the Rating of 9 Points (out of 10) for Image Quality (on this FZ45) surely make the readers wondering why...

My personal guess is that if FZ35/38 get 10 points (for Image Quality) that means this FZ45 should only deserve 8 points the most... maybe 7 is fine... but then again maybe CS have better expertise to judge on this... IMO this maybe because of the increased resolution which is not needed at this stage for such small sensor... marketing people always love to see higher mega pixels in their products but the engineer will sure shake their head... the problem is, the marketing people is always the boss...

I believe the overall image quality is measured from each available ISO (say 100/200/400/800/1600 etc.) and from there onwards, the reviewer will take an average score.

If the ISO 100 (or ISO 80) produce perfect image quality but ISO 800 produce extremely lousy image quality - then surely the end overall average result can't really be 9 points out of 10 - isn't it? Again, I'm not an expert and I my self is not a pixel peeper...

As for the other things (Build Quality/Features/Value/Overall) it doesn't bother me at all... for the first time ever I wonder about the Image Quality points... is it a mistake or is it really a confirmed decision and rating preferred by CS.

Nonetheless, I don't expect CS to respond to all this... after all I respected the fact that each reviewer have the rights to express their own opinion on the products.... if we doubt it, read more reviews from others...

I will still look forward to read future review from CS and TR....


September 9, 2010, 1:46 am

I'm hoping someone can answer what may be a silly question. With the FZ38 and 45 is it possible to use the zoom whilst using the video mode? I ask as the camera I'm replacing doesn't allow zoom whilst videoing. Also I can find the FZ38 for £235 but the FZ45 for £267. What do people recommend as it sounds like the FZ38 has a better photo quality but the FZ45 is an upgrade to the FZ38 in other areas.


September 10, 2010, 2:54 am


I have the FZ38 and yes you can zoom in video mode, with auto-focus, though it does lose focus easily.

The only main advantage I can see that the FZ45 has over the 38 is the focal range but believe me the FZ38 is good enough!


September 12, 2010, 7:37 pm

I'm not expert by I see that the 2 pics that you compare in ISO test with FZ38 there are more difference of light. The detail of fender cut green car i see very little light. It'is very dark, but in the pic of FZ38 there is many light. Darknes do very noise. To compare you have to shoot pics in the same position and with the same light.


Paul Salas

October 5, 2010, 5:57 am

I think the overall performance of the fz45 is very good and with the price going down is a powerfull alternative in the bridge cameras field.

Even when the IQ is not as good as a FZ35/38, this would be related to light conditions of this test,(as Frandero said) it is noticeable the difference of light between both tests, but if the IQ of the FZ35/38 is better than FZ45, it is the result of trying to put so many pixels in a such small sensor, I think that 12MP for this kind of camera is enough, but Panasonic could not resist the marketing temptation of offering more mega-pixels.

I own a FZ50 and I am very happy with the camera, but now I'm seriously thinking in making an upgrade, but only because I like nature and I need more zoom and better video capabilities.


October 22, 2010, 2:00 am

Are the test photos taken using the auto setting or one of the modes?

My biggest concern after I bought a Fuji S8000 is that using the auto setting anything red came out pink which I was told was a problem with the processor, obviously I don't want the same problem with this camera.


October 22, 2010, 10:14 pm

I think it's a shame that the author of the review (Cliff Smith) hasn't had the courtesy to respond to any of the comments on here. I'm no expert, but like others, I've noticed blatantly discrepancies between statements made in reviews and the mark out of 10 which s then awarded! Why can't reviewers try to be more consistent? (Ie - make their scores match their words!)


October 22, 2010, 10:21 pm

@Jonny: I'm assuming Cliff hasn't yet seen your comments. I'll point them out to him when he returns from holiday.

Martin Love

January 12, 2011, 10:22 pm

I had a Canon G7 stolen at the end of last year. It took brilliant stills but the movie feature was hopeless. Having read so many good things about the FZ45 I happily splashed out before Christmas. It's true it does take excellent little films and has good sound. But I have been shocked at the quality of the stills. Anything but the most straightforward of lighting conditions throws the auto-focus out. Running through 200-odd pics from the festive period (admittedly way too many) I would say that a fifth were not pin sharp. The redraw is frustratingly slow as well so it is almost impossible to take two pictures in quick succession. I cannot tell you how disappointed I am. Any offers on a nearly new FZ45? I'm going back to Canon soon as I can.


January 29, 2011, 6:45 am

Got the FZ45 for £250 to take on my trips whilst walking up mountains around the world because my DSLR and lenses are proving to heavy for me now! The two things that stand out in my oppinion are the NOISE PROBLEMS issues and the claim for 14M pixels which is available in 4:3 format only, and there is no dedicated flash button (first camera I have without one)! So I would try before you buy, there must be better alternative to a DSLR than this available now (2011). This my first Panasonic camera and in Future I will buy my usual brands.


July 21, 2015, 12:58 pm

I just bought a used one, as an upgrade for my DMC-TZ7. You're right, the noise is a killer..:(

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