However, it is easy to construct a chart that will translate zoom magnification numbers into useful 35mm equivalent values. You can either print it out (small) and stick it on the bottom of the cam for reference, or like I do, memorize the numbers (it is no more difficult than memorizing a multiplication table like you did in primary school).

Here goes...

The base focal length (full wide angle) for most of the FZ series (FZ7, FZ20 etc) is 6mm. Because of the relationship of the lens image to the sensor size, the equivalent 35mm camera focal length is 36mm. The chart is worked out by simply multiplying 36 times each whole number zoom position.

1X = 36mm

2X = 72mm

3X = 108mm

4X = 144mm

5X = 180mm

6X = 216mm

7X = 252mm

8X = 288mm

9X = 324mm

10X = 360mm

11X = 396mm

12X = 432mm

You will notice some values close to those of traditionally favorite lenses along the way, like 70mm (2X), 100mm (3X), 180mm (5X), 280mm (8X), and 400mm (11X). It can be helpful to pre-select a zoom number in order to emulate the characteristics of a particular lens value.

Also notice that zoom lenses give a dramatic amount of change in the low ranges (the move from 1X to 2X

*doubles*the magnification of the lens), but there is little relative change between each "X" step the higher up you go (you must go from 6X all the way to 12X to double the magnification). So, each zoom number between 6 and 12 gives just a small increment of change.

Some of the FZ cameras (FZ5 etc) use a starting equivalent focal length of 35 instead of 36. Practically speaking, there isn't much difference, but if you like you can use a calculator to work out the exact focal lengths -- 35 x 1, 35 x 2, and so on.

-- PK