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on September 18, 2010
I've owned the FZ-40 for 6 days.

As an active traveler, I have used several different cameras. You really can't go wrong with any of the mega-zoom point and shoots - they all have their pros and cons.

However, the Panasonic FZ-40 is probably as good as P&S's will get with the current technology. Some day someone will figure out how to get a bigger and better sensor to work with a mega-zoom lens, but until then, the FZ-40 is my choice.

This camera is easy to use, quick focusing, and has all the manual adjustments and flexibility you will ever need. It's well-designed and built for the active photographer. It also has a long battery life, but finding replacement batteries is a problem that Panasonic needs to clear up fast! Image quality is excellent compared to its competitors. Image stabilization is outstanding, even at full 24X zoom I don't need a monopod or tripod (I need one with my Olympus SP-800). The zoom is also quiet and smooth. ISO looks good up through 800. I'm still experimenting with macro shots - I'm not real happy yet, but it's probably me. I can't tell a lot of difference between normal and fine JPEG's, except for the file size. The EVF is very good - I can't live without a good view finder. I've tried zooming in the wilds with an LCD screen, and it just doesn't cut it!

All in all, I rate this camera as excellent. I considered the FZ-100, but decided I did not need, nor want, the extra features. Besides, I've always had good results with the small CCD sensors.

I've posted some sample pictures here in the customer images section.
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on October 8, 2010
I bought this camera to replace my older Panasonic DMC-FZ28, which I adored but is no longer useable due to recently succummbing to the dreaded "lens cap error" message of death. I told myself I'd never get another Panasonic because of it, but then I did some research and saw that several brands (including Canon) had this problem and that it seems to have been resolved in all the new models. I loved my old FZ28 so much that I just couldn't resist getting its newest relative (with a 3-year warranty this time...just in case). After having played around with my new FZ40, I feel I definitely made the right decision.

I generally shoot things like plants in my garden and my animals (cat, horses), though I do a fair amount of indoor shots as well. This camera performs very well where all are concerned. It is way better in low light than the FZ28 was, and the flash is not so bright that it looks like you've got a spotlight on your subject when you use it. The quality of the images in the LCD screen are incredibly crisp, and the big size makes it easy to review everything your shots. This camera comes with a rechargeable battery, which I vastly prefer over AAs (in my experience, rechargeable battery charges last way longer).

Most importantly, the pictures the FZ40 takes are flat-out awesome. Crisp, clear, detailed, just excellent. I was so excited to try this camera out that I wasn't being careful to hold the camera perfectly still when shooting. Even so, there was absolutely no noise or blurriness in any of the shots I took, even in low light without the flash. THAT makes me happy.

Only a couple teeny tiny things I don't love but that aren't a big deal: I don't love the lens cap. Basically, tension holds it in place at the end of your lens and it just doesn't seem really secure to me. I bought a holster-style camera bag for that reason, and hopefully it will offer a little extra protection for the lens when transporting. Also, the review feature on the FZ40 is a separate button instead of an option on the dial like on older models. I preferred it the old way, but it's no big deal.

All in all, I am EXTREMELY pleased with this camera. If that changes or if I notice anything noteworthy about it over the next few months, I'll come back to update.
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on November 17, 2010
I was in the market for a camera with more user control and wide-angle/zoom capability than a digital compact camera but without the size/bulk characteristic of digital slr cameras. I choose the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ40 14.1 MP based on the recommendations of a friend and my own research. I consider myself an average amateur photographer that understands the basic workings of a digital camera. I have used the camera for about 1 month and have taken 100's of pictures. The camera has met my expectations in terms of control of picture taking and quality of images.

If you are considering purchasing a super zoom, I suggest looking at the manufacturers specifications and even downloading a user manual from the manufacturer's site, if available, so you can evaluate the features of the camera and whether it will suit your needs.

Features that I use and like about this camera (these comments are not meant to indicate presence or absence in comparison to other brands of super zooms):
* saves images in JPEG and RAW formats (and even both at the same time). The RAW format allows you to have a greater flexibility in using photo-editing software than JPEG since it contains all the picture information captured by the camera's image sensor.
* information about exposure controls can be shown both on the 3" lcd screen and in the view finder. Seeing information about exposure controls in the view finder is very handy and is especially so on bright sunny days. However the lcd screen is bright enough to be visible in normal daylight situations.
* you have great flexibility in controlling the camera: you can let the camera make all the decisions so you just have to press the button to take the picture or you can opt for a totally manual mode where you set the aperture, shutter speed, sensitivity (iso), white balance, control for camera shake etc...
* flexibility in storing images: uses SD, SDHC, and SDXC memory cards
* 24x optical zoom: from 4.5mm to 106mm. 35mm equivalent for a 4 x 6 picture is from 26mm to 624 mm. This allows nice wide angles to telephoto closeups with good picture quality. This is one of the main reasons for my supplementing my compact digital camera, which had limited wide angle and zoom features, with this camera.
* battery easily lasted all day of picture taking (outdoors in mild temperatures). The manufacturer quotes 580 per charge but I have not taken that many in a day (around 100 or so). However, always a good idea to have a spare battery.
* F stops range from F2.8 to F11 at wide angle and F5.2 to F8.0 at the tele end.

Other Comments:
* This camera has an intelligent auto mode which sets all the controls for you so that you just have to press a button to take a picture. IA works fine but you should note that saving to RAW is not an option when using IA. If you are the creative type and want to make decisions regarding controls it was important for me to read the operating instructions for advanced features (supplied on the included CD in pdf format) to setup the camera in order to get the highest quality pictures. I found it pays to spend time understanding and then experimenting with the controls to get pictures of the quality I want.
* While it is possible to set iso from 80 to 1600, picture noise (grainy appearance) becomes a problem for me with ISOs above 400 in this camera. If you plan to take a lot of your pictures in low light conditions without a flash (e.g. indoors)where there is movement (so you need a relatively high shutter speed and therefore a high ISO) you might want to consider digital slr cameras which have larger image sensors and lenses with lower f stops (i.e. F1.8 to gather more light) that would decrease noise substantially.
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on November 21, 2010
I've owned the FZ40/45 for just over 2 weeks and it has been a joy to work with.

I have owned point and shoot cameras before but this blows away anything I've previously owned. I decided to try my hand at photography and wanted to purchase a camera that had a relatively good price but with full manual controls. Having acquired the FZ40, I must say it is simple to use yet gives you a degree of control that you may want, if you envy the range of things you can accomplish with an SLR.

Let me be clear, this camera is adequate for a beginner who seriously wants to try photography or the individual who does not quite want to make the jump to slr just yet but wants slr type control over their photos.

1) The build quality of the Panasonic camera is top notch. I never like the flapping battery covers in any device but that is the norm.
2) The zoom is of course a major attraction and it is beneficial in many ways. The vibration reduction works well and Panasonic's intelligent zoom and EZ zoom features are interesting. DO some research to find out about it. EZ zoom seems to be a mix of croping and refining and optical zoom and intelligent zoom.. is a mystery. They perform remarkably however.
3) The picture quality is excellent, Color is perfect, all the features you could possible want are here, very similar to a dslr in fact. However if you plan to do a lot of low light shooting, and you don't want to use the flash, get a tripod. The Fz40 has a minimum shutter speed of 60 seconds which is excellent, superior even, for a camera in this class but the iso performance is average. ISO 80 - 200 has no noise. 400 has a bit but not very noticeable ( certainly would not notice it in a 4 x 6 print, depends on the picture as well) 800 Is a last resort and 1600 is unusable in my opinion.
4) the aperture range is 2.8 - 8.0 depending on the focal length. This is normal for a camera in this class but.. can be quite limiting when trying to take slow shutter pictures in daylight ( you will need a filter) because you can't f stop at over 8... meaning really bright pictures..(So purchase some Filters if you like this kind of photography)
5) You can manipulate depth of field, fairly well with the camera but the manipulation takes a bit of time and practice, again, normal for a camera in its class but quite a ways off from an SLR.

In conclusion the FZ40 is a very good camera, I would say perhaps.. top two in terms of a comparison for camera's like this. A lot of dslr features are here, it of course looks like an slr and for the most part will make you feel as if it is one but keep in mind that it isn't and you have to work within those limitations. It is a superzoom/bridge and in that roll it Functions PERFECTLY.
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on October 9, 2010
It's too early for me to give a full review as I've only had this camera for 2 weeks and took it on a vacation trip. First BEWARE. You need 52 mm filters for this camera, not 46 mm as Amazon suggests. Maybe the FZ35 had 46mm??? I've just had a 46mm polarizer delivered and it's too small.

The zoom is amazing. When using movie mode, I zoomed right in from wide to telephoto and the focus was spot on the whole way. The camera is so light, which is why I chose it over the Canon equivalent. The batteries are expensive, but lasted a week and I filled a 4 Gb card before i needed to recharge. You can keep your AAA battery cameras, far too heavy to carry around for my liking.

The manual focus override is useful. I'm struggling a bit with the various auto focus options on non-movie modes, so have been overriding until I learn more. the instruction manual(on CD) is a 233 pages long! The intelligent auto will suffice more often than not.

There are too many features though. Like cars, cameras are just getting too damned complicated. It's the 80/20 theory I guess. I'll use 20% of the features 80% of the time. I'm sure any 8 year old kid will be able to show me how everything works though! How old am I? My first camera was an Agfa Sillette, I used flash bulbs! I'll say no more......
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on December 12, 2015
I have to say, really like this camera. This purchase was a big investment for me, and I'm glad I made it. I've been using the camera every week for 5 years now. It's been knocked around quite a lot and still going strong. I did purchase a UV filter for it to protect lens since I'm so rough with it, and I just cannot remember to use the lens cap. The battery charges quickly and still lasts a long time. This isn't your high-end DSLR with all the bells & whistles, but it has a decent amount of customization and manual settings. I have a habit of mostly using it as a point & shoot camera. I'm just lazy like that. It takes crisp, focused pictures without much effort. Photos taken with the DMC-FZ40 print well. I keep a 16gb SD card in it, and have never run out of storage space. One reason I picked this camera is because it will zoom as you're taking video. You don't see that on lower-end cameras. This is a good starter camera for someone who wants to take point & shoot to the next level.
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on September 22, 2010
Just received my Panasonic Fz40 from Amazon. I have several other cameras incling a
Lumix point and shoot, and a DSLR. I was looking for something that had DSLR quality in a small package, with strong zoom. Well, I found it ! This camera will bring out the photographer in you. Indoor, and outdoor shots look great. Because of the very long zoom, a tripod or VERY steady hand may be necessary for best results.

It is packed with many features. Most you will find yourself using. Be sure to spend some time with the instruction manual. Both the CD and quick guide. Get ready to read over 100 pages.

For experienced users, you can jump right in. Or use it as a point and shoot.
Image quality is excellent, however, I keep my ISO near 100, if possible. At 400, the noise creeps in like most digital cameras. This is another winner for Panasonic.
Run, don't walk, to get one !

PS the video is great also.
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on August 20, 2011
I have had the FZ40 for a little over a month and taken round 300 pictures, mostly scenic outdoor photos (water, beach, etc.). I started with mid-to-higher-end cameras back in the early 70's and most recently have owned Canon, Nikon, and Kodak digital point & shoot so I do have some experience (although definitely not an expert). Obviously 300 pictures is not a true test but I wanted to contribute in case some of you are sitting on the fence regarding this purchase.

I'll summarize first. This is a great camera overall. Ease of use is excellent and in the Auto-Intelligence mode and Program mode it is truly a point & shoot camera. All the flexibility is there for the more advanced picture taker but I'm thinking most will use those two modes (and perhaps Macro which is also automatic in the Ai mode). Straight out of the box this camera will take excellent pictures; better in my opinion than comparably priced competitors. Here's a quick list of pros and cons although please keep in mind that one person's "cons" may in fact not matter at all to someone else:

Pros:
Ease of Use plus flexibility for more advanced use
Great Battery Life & Fast Start-up
Excellent image quality at the most common ISO (80-400)
Fast & Quiet zoom
Powerful Flash (compared to competitors)
Faster Lens (compared to competitors)

Cons:
The battery must be removed for charging. Although it lasts a long time between charges, I would prefer the battery be chargeable in the camera. As noted by others, the battery is very expensive. It's good but not $40 good.
As with most point & shoots, this is not a "low light" camera. ISO settings above 400 will begin to introduce noise - especially so with extended zoom settings.
The AI mode is not particularly flexible. Raw Image is not allowed and setting a particular megapixel size is restricted (just alternate between Program & AI seems to be the best approach)
The manual is far to complicated and jumps around a lot. The included software is better left uninstalled (there are better free alternatives).

I looked at every camera out there that falls with the FZ40's price range and the quality & flexibility per dollars with this camera is outstanding. There's a reason 86% of the customer reviews are 4/5 stars. One bit of advice - buy a 52mm UV filter when you buy the camera. It's great protection for less than $15.

I'm rating this camera at 5 stars even though it does have some flaws. All cameras have some flaws so it boils down to "what you get for the money". At least for the time being, and in my opinion, this camera is as good as or better than anything in its price range.
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on October 11, 2010
I bought this camera about a month ago and have used it an awful lot since. It really is a great camera. For those who are not able or willing to go for a DSLR, but want something a bit more substantial than the standard pocket size digital camera, this is a great choice. So far I have been more than impressed with the results. The pictures come out very clear and beautiful in color. The effects you can apply with the camera are also very neat, they have resulted in some of my favorite photos so far. The camera is also very easy to use. If you use the Intelligent Auto setting the pictures come out great, and I can't get over how little camera shake there is even out at full zoom.

The videos I've taken have also come out very nicely. The sound is impressive and the picture is very clear. I connect the camera right to my TV and play the movies, they look great on the big screen. I haven't noticed too much wind noise or any noise from the zoom when filming video. I love the one touch start and stop on the video as well, super easy.

The camera is bulkier than a standard point and shoot, but nothing near as bulky as a DSLR. It is a very attractive camera and the 3" LCD screen is very nice, bright, crisp, and large. The menus are fairly intuitive and the zoom works very well. The battery so far lasts very long and the charge time is certainly reasonable. Connecting the camera to the computer couldn't be easier. A friend of mine commented that she wished she'd gotten something similar rather than her DSLR because that is just too complicated and bulky with all of the additional lenses.

The only downside so far is that I need to figure out how to convert the AVCHD lite videos so they play at a normal speed on my Mac (iMovie), but I know there is a way to do it, I just need to research it. If you want you can record in mpeg as well so it won't be an issue.

In short I love this camera and I am extremely happy with my purchase. This past weekend I spoke with a professional photographer who uses a DSLR exclusively but knows about this camera and commented on how good of a camera it is for the money. You won't be disappointed.
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on September 3, 2011
This is my 3rd camera from the Lumix FZ range. I bought my first, the FZ12 in 2005 & upgraded to the FZ18 in 2008 for more pixels & a larger zoom. The FZ18 has served me well but has it's limitations, mainly a poor macro feature which has been an issue to me since I enjoy photographing insects, so I decided to upgrade to the FZ40 when I found it on Amazon for $280.
I've only had the camera for a couple of days & I am very pleased with performance so far - more focus points help with macro shots & although the auto focus is still a little hit & miss at short range, it's whopping 14.1 mega pixels allows me to pan out & then crop the image without compromising quality. It is also much faster than the FZ18 so I am finding I am missing far fewer shots. The 24x zoom is a real plus & the larger LCD screen is great for reviewing images.
My only gripe is the lack of a hot-shoe limits the flash capability. I got round this with my FZ18 with a Neewer slave flash that I bought cheaply from Amazon which I hand hold & I will continue to use it with the FZ40 when I need more oomph than the internal flash can provide.
All in all I think this is a great camera for the price, with most of the functionality & the image quality you would expect from a mid-range DSLR without the price-tag or the hassle of lugging around all the kit.
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