Other shooting options are equally thorough. The menu offers four aspect ratios, including 1:1 square format, with six image sizes in each, providing a bewildering array of image formats. As well as this the camera offers Raw mode, Raw + JPEG and two JPEG compression settings.
The camera also offers Panasonic’s Intelligent Resolution technology, although this is yet another attempt to repackage the dreaded digital zoom as a useful feature. It enhances edge detail in digitally zoomed shots, but the results are still far from ideal. With such a massive optical zoom range, why would anyone need to use digital zoom too?
The new lens is impressive to say the least. It is physically larger than that of the FZ38, with a wider front element, allowing it to keep its fast f/2.8 – f/5.2 maximum aperture despite the increase in focal length. With a wide end equivalent to 25mm and a long end of 600mm it offers a good combination of extreme wide angle and super-powerful telephoto. However it’s not alone in this; the Pentax X90 and Nikon P100 both offer 26-676mm equivalent with f/2.8 – f/5.0.
Internally the FZ45 has seen fewer changes. The shutter system is the same, unchanged at 60-1/2000th of a second. It still has the very effective Power OIS optical image stabilisation system, and the video recording mode is also the same. It offers a maximum resolution of 1280 x 720 at 25fps (for the PAL version) recording in the high quality AVCHD Lite format. Sound is recorded in stereo via two microphones mounted on top of the flash housing, with Dolby Digital Stereo Creator and optional wind cut filter. Both sound and video quality are very good.