Single Lens Reflex (SLR) cameras have their own charm – analogue or digital. They offer higher controls, advanced conditions for executing the same shot as compared to a compact point and shoot camera and are generally devoid of the hanky-panky that most compact cameras are equipped with. They mean only one thing – Business. There is, however, one catch there – SLRs are costly and bulky. Thus, for those who want more controls in their hands and cannot afford a DSLR, the next best thing to go for is a Prosumer or superzoom camera. The Panasonic DMC-FZ50, coming from a company that relies more on quality rather than aggressive marketing, could prove to be ideal for all such people. This 10.1mp and 12x optical zoom camera comes with fully manual controls and even an optical viewfinder for better composition.

Design and Functioning

As most superzoom or Prosumer cameras that sell well and are appreciated, the Panasonic DMC-FZ50 also bears a design and shape similar to a DSLR, though its dimensions are smaller. A 2-inch LCD screen, which can be flipped out from above, occupies most of its back. This camera is, in fact, available in two colours of Gun Metal Grey and Metallic Silver, which also proves that it is made for mass acceptance and not just class acceptance. Its powerful Leica DC lens, which offers a zoom range of 12x, with a focal range of 35-420mm. Everyone, however, knows that zooming in too much causes the smallest shake the hand to be blown up, causing ugly and disturbed pictures. To fight against this major cause of blurred images, Panasonic invented the MEGA O.I.S. (Optical Image Stabilization) system, taking advantage of its outstanding lens technology to compensate for handshake. Two separate rings on its lens allow for using the zoom as well as focusing, which can be used while the camera is in full manual mode. The DMC-FZ50 has a reassuring weight, helped by the very prominent, sculpted rubber hand-grip and durable matt-black plastic body. There is no true optical viewfinder, but Panasonic has equipped this camera with an electronic version, which protrudes from the back of the camera like the EVFs found on many camcorders. The EVF on the DMC-FZ50 is very useful when the LCD screen is difficult to see, for example in very bright sunlight, or when using longer focal lengths or zooming in. A 32MB SD card is provided with this camera, which is compatible with SD/SDHC as well as MMC cards.