Pros Leica Lens, 18x Optical Zoom, 28mm Wide Angle Lens
Cons Feel very plasticy, nothing else!
Summary I have really enjoyed using my new DMCFX18 -it is very easy to get started with the intuitive Panasonic menu; it is so nice to have a 28mm wide lens; the 18x Optical Zoom goes up to 23X on the 5MP setting that I use for most my pics; the Image Stabilizer works very well; it is extremely lightweight (almost too light - but not quite...); only drawback is it feels a bit plasticy - but as that is the only caveat - Highly Recommended!
Pros The auto features are fantastic and any level of camera user can adapt to its features easily. I took it out of the box and with no instructions took some great photos.
Cons Whoever designed the instruction manual should be shot! Its choppy and not very useful. Sometimes you have to use the "Force". The EVF and LCD can take a bit to autofocus.
Summary After reading, and reading lots of reviews and people's opinions about Superzooms vs. DSLRs I have to say, the choice is simple: If you are a professional photographer or going to do super zooming or cropping of your pictures and want to carry tons of varying lens, then go for the DSLR. If you are the point and shoot or the amateur (like me)who wants to learn some more about photography, then this camera is for you.
What I like about this camera is: If you dont want to think about 10,000 settings and you are wanting to take that opportunity picture, then switch 1 button, point and shoot and bingo. A great picture.
Additionally, the range of the zoom is fantastic, I have taken some pictures in varying conditions and its reach is fantastic. However, sometime the Intelligent function isn't the best (e.g. indoor low light photos or night time photos) but with some experimenting, you can tweak this camera's abilities. But in its defense, I took my new toy, to an indoor-outdoor museum and took a ton of great photos with no flash and only 3 or 4 weren't usable.
My biggest pet peeve about this camera is I would like to shoot the rocket scientist who designed the user's manual. Its not the best one I've seen. It explains how to do the different functions, but sometimes in a confusing way.
But with a little experience and practice, this lightweight superzoom, is a great is a great camera.
Cons low res screen
Summary except for the low res on the viewing screen and EVF this camera is great in every other way. I just came back from vacation and shot nothing but 16x9 pics, over 400 of them and they beat my EOS XTI with Tamron 18-250 in every way, I love it....
Pros The 18X zoom ! Easy to handle, almost no shutter lag, my lens sample seems to have a sweet spot at 5.6 and the images are excitingly vibrant at all focal lengths, OIS, rather compact size and weight.
Cons I don't have enough money to buy one for all of my friends !
Summary Just a delicious and fun all around camera ... very responsive and flexible ... almost no shutter lag !!!! ... there is a bit of a learning curve to extract all it has to give ... and I did have to experiment and still am .... with the various settings ... to find which ones mesh best with my kind of shooting...Sweet spot is F7.1 ... not F5.6 as I originally thought. I also no longer use spot metering and spot focus ... as for most of my shooting there are better settings ... but the F7.1 is so great !!!!!!!!
For now I am using aperture priority at 5.6 ... and spot metering and spot focus ... for most of my shots ... and having a jolly good time ! I am amazed at the quality of the images at all focal lengths using this 18X zoom ! This camera is a blast !
Updated on Jul 4, 2009
"One of the best"on by stevefotos
Pros Super sharp at 504mm! Great AWB and simple operation
Cons slight lag with picture blackout after exposure
Summary Got this camera as an alternative to schlepping my Nikons (5 lbs of gear) around all the time. Plus I was intriqued by its long focal length zoom. Twice as long as what I have with the Nikons.
I shoot professionally for magazines and stock agencies so I was looking for a lightweight, all round camera, that could produce images good enough for publication if necessary. I also write about photography and photo gear and closely read camera review websites reviews to get a sense of which cameras do what well. After a lot of research I setled on the FZ18K.
Got the FZ18 two weeks ago and I've been impressed by its capabilities. And as an old film photographer, rather than trying to determine image quality from a blown up screen image, I make big prints.
After a couple of dozen 11x17 prints it was clear that the FZ18 is an excellent photographic tool. I was most surprised by the quality of portraits taken at the long 504mm setting. They were richly colored and crisp. The Image Stabilization really works to keep these long focal length shots sharp.
I'd recommend this camera for anyone who wants something more substantial then a Point and Shoot. It will work well for travel and casual shots and a whole lot more. Its not a DSLR but unless you really, REALLY!, need three or four interchangeable lenses or plan to shoot fast moving sports in low light or need to connect to studio strobes, this camera will work for you.