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The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ40 is a camera that offers 24x optical zoom. This super zoom digital camera will help you get closer to the action and even offers HD video recording with a touch of a button.

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The FZ40 looks and feels a bit like its predecessor, the FZ35 (read our review here), although Panasonic changed the layout to make it even better and easier to use.

Users can find the 3.0-inch LCD screen, electronic viewfinder, flash button, EVF/LCD switch, AF/AE Lock, control dial, AF/AF Macro/MF button, Display button, Playback button, a four way control pad (also acts as Exposure Control, ISO speed, Function, and Timer), a Menu/Set button, and a quick menu button at the back of the unit.

The mode dial which provides manual or automatic control, power switch, focus button, zoom, one touch video record button, and pop-up flash are all found on top of the camera.

The mode dial includes Panasonic’s Intelligent Auto mode, Program, Aperture, Shutter, Manual exposure, Creative Movie, Custom, Scene Mode, Night Portrait, Macro, Sports, Scenery, Portrait, and My Colour.

 
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Panasonic made sure that those who want to go beyond Intelligent Auto will find the camera easy to use. After changing the mode, the camera will display a couple of options that can help you choose the right setting. For example, as soon as you go to Sports mode, you will be asked to choose from normal, outdoor, indoor, or creative (adjusts the shutter speed).

Images taken by the FZ40 were of good quality, although we found noise and colour desaturation on some photos taken at ISO400. Outdoor shots were good, with the camera being able to minimise chromatic aberrations. Purple fringing was kept to a minimum as well.

The 24x optical zoom is one of the things that we liked about this camera, with us being able to get those very tight shots without much hassle. Its power O.I.S helped reduce camera shake, although we recommend users to put the camera on a tripod for better stability. The macro mode allowed us to take a photo as close as 10mm.

The FZ40 can also record movies in AVCHD Lite or Motion JPEG (1280 x 720) with a touch of a button. For advanced users, the FZ40 also offers a Creative Movie mode that allows a user to adjust the shutter speed and aperture. Videos recorded were good, although zooming in and out is slower compared to camera mode.

The FZ40 is available now for $649. 

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