This might be better in the help section - perhaps a mod might move it.
Short answer - the best settings really depend on what you're taking a picture of and how you want it to look - e.g. do you want freeze a moving subject with a fast shutter speed, or have it blurred to give an impression of motion? Do you want everything in the frame sharp from front to back, or just the main subject sharp with the background blurred out of focus?
A general rule with a small sensor camera like the FZ45 - try to keep the ISO sensitivity as low as possible, to reduce noise and/or noise reduction smearing.
Anyway, here are some links to some tutorials. Have a read, and then try experimenting, and come back and ask more detailed questions in the help section.
Hi Jonny, I have also just bought an FZ45 and I think you just need to go out and experiment with all the settings in all light levels etc, you will take lots of bad shots but it will show you what you're doing wrong....just enjoy!
Had a succession of Minolta SLR's pre digital, then got tired of lugging round a lot of bulky kit. Started in digital, with compact cameras and then fell over the Canon Ixy 810IS which had good reviews. It has done me very well: it is compact, and yet produces almost uniformly good/sharp images and quite acceptable video.
Wanted to move on with more zoom, and, hopefully more photographic scope without the size/complexity of an SLR. Acquired the Lumix after reading good reviews of the FZ45.
Sorry to say I have been disappointed with the FZ45, which, in whatever setting, rarely produces sharp images (what was that about a worker blaming his tools?). Frequently I still reach for my Canon before the Lumix.
I hope someone out there can reassure me enough to keep going with the FZ45 - are there any obvious user tips I am missing to get sharp images?