The Panasonic Lumix FZ Series has the look and feel of a sub-SLR 35 mm camera. As a 3D camera it falls short, but it gives you passable 3D functionality alongside sophisticated conventional camera features, which suits some photographers' needs nicely. With a wide aperture range that starts at 24 mm, it can take wider-angle shots than a standard 35 mm camera. With a 24x optical zoom and 12.1MP resolution, it can also get close up to subjects without compromising quality. The camera's built-in vibration reduction and swift shutter speed of 1/4000 of a second ensure clean, crisp shots.
In 3D mode, the camera instructs you to sweep it sideways. As it pans, it takes 20 shots and picks the best two images to compress into a single 3D photo. You can only view these 3D images on a compatible device, such as a 3D television or photo frame; the LCD screen on the FZ Series is not compatible, nor is it a touchscreen for quick and convenient selection. The screen does allow previews of your 2D stills and HD movies, however, and this screen can pivot fully out and away from the camera for better viewing while you record. 3D video recording is not available, as this is impossible with single-lens cameras.
A standout feature is the in-camera HDR, which can combine multiple exposures to maximize contrast and detail. You can also record video at a rapid 240 fps, and the exposure times go up to 60 seconds. It can take about 540 shots on one battery charge, which is more than most cameras in its league.
Weighing in at more than a pound, this camera is bulkier than many of its competitors. But it does have camera-correction features you should look for in any 3D digital camera: automatic red-eye reduction, a self-timer and exposure correction, for instance. In addition, this camera features in-camera editing tools, including the option to add artistic effects such as retro and sepia after you take the shot.
Panasonic includes a one-year warranty with the FZ Series, protecting you from manufacturing defects. For customer support, you can visit Panasonic's website to find FAQs, a toll-free number, email support and live chat assistance.
The Panasonic Lumix FZ Series 3D camera has the professional feel of a 35 mm camera with most of the features and functionality of the best 3D cameras. However, there is no touchscreen, and the camera does not have the ability to record video in 3D.