While the new Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ30 is currently generating the most excitement among enthusiasts, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ5 remains the ultra zoom digital camera with the best bang for the money. It has pretty much everything a beginner to serious amateur photographer could wish for: very good image quality, superb 12x optical zoom with an effective optical image stabilization, fexible exposure control, and very fast operations.
The Panasonic FZ5 has a quality Leica DC Vario-Elmarit 12x optical zoom lens with a maximum aperture of F2.8 at wide-angle and F3.3 at telephoto. Usually you need to use a tripod with such a long telephoto, but thanks to the optical image stabilization, camera shake is reduced enough for hand holding shots at the long focal lengths and slower shutter speeds.
The Panasonic FZ5 takes about 3 sec. to startup, which is not pretty fast, but not bad for a long zoom lens. But it has one of the quickest AF we’ve seen in a consumer digital camera and no practical shutter lag — which makes taking candid pictures possible. The AF positively snaps the image into focus, even in low-light situations.