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Best Ultrazoom Cameras: Panasonic Lumix DMC-LZ30

Sections: Cameras for Beginners, Point and Shoot

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Panasonic-DMC-LZ30-reviewThis long-zoom bridge camera is an affordable, all-in-on alternative to a digital SLR. Its long-reaching 35x optical zoom provides a 25–875mm equivalent zoom range, so you capture subjects both near and far without changing a lens.

At the superzoom end, you’ll be able to draw your subjects up close with 16.1-megapixel resolution, to capture sports scenes, expressions on distant animals, and details you can’t even see with your bare eyes. And the camera’s optical image stabilizer minimizes blur that often occurs due to handshake when shooting with a high-powered zoom. At the 25mm ultra-wide-angle end, the camera expands your shooting opportunities to capture wide group shots, large structures, and sweeping vistas. There’s also an extra optical zoom function that extends the zoom to an incredible 1,970mm equivalent at reduced resolution.

The DMC-LZ30 records HD video in the Motion JPEG format (1,280×720 pixels at 30 fps), and recording can be quickly
 started with the press of the motion picture button. Plus, you can take both your photos and videos from the ordinary to the extraordinary using the camera’s creative control feature (in recording mode) and creative retouch feature (in playback mode). Just set the camera to match your scene and it uses a variety of presets to optimize the camera settings for imagery you’ll be proud of. Creative effects include dramatic expressive, retro, high key, low key, sepia, monochrome, impressive art, high dynamic, cross process, toy effect, miniature effect, star filter, and one-point color.

If you want more creative control, this point & shoot has easy-to-use DSLR-like manual controls. You can set the aperture to control the depth of field (the amount of the frame that stays in sharp focus), and adjust the shutter speed to freeze moving subjects or create a motion blur that gives your photo the feeling of movement.

Other features include: a 3.0-inch LCD with 100% field of view for composition and playback; scene modes that include HDR (high dynamic range), where the camera shoots several photos consecutively at different exposure levels to produce a single perfectly exposed composite picture; panorama shot; night portrait and night scene modes; and iA (intelligent auto) mode that has the camera do all the work, leaving you free to compose your shot while its detection and correction functions work to give you beautiful photos and videos. $229.99. panasonic.com

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