We try out Panasonic's latest range-topping superzoom bridge camera
The FZ200 is a handsome beast and packs a remarkable 25-600mm f/2.8 equivalent zoom lens.
Panasonic has deservedly earned a strong reputation for its bridge cameras and the new Lumix DMC-FZ200 looks set to reinforce that reputation. The FZ200 actually looks more like a DSLR than a bridge camera and even sports an articulating screen. Although on the large side for a bridge camera, it's still a fair bit smaller and lighter than a small DSLR. The FZ200 is also feature-rich. You get a 1.3 mega-dot electronic viewfinder which is clear and reasonably responsive - only the viewfinder size as seen by the user is disappointingly small. The lens is a monster Leica-branded 24x 25-600mm equivalent and the open aperture is f/2.8 across the zoom range. A new 12 megapixel sensor MOS-type sensor can now be driven at sensitivies as high as ISO 6400. A high speed shooting mode lets you record up to 12 frames per second while video support is an impressive full HD 1080 50p, in both AVCHD and MP4 formats and with stereo recording. The camera is packed with creative control features to inspire the artistic side in you - both in manual and auto exposure modes. You might think that all these features might test the FZ200's battery, but Panasonic has been working hard at this and a normal charge is now expected to last over 500 expsures.
I felt very much at home with the FZ200. The camera handles well and is quiet and unobtrusive in use. As previously mentioned the electronic viewfinder is on the small side but certainly usable for precise framing and focusing. The fully articulating screen is a definite bonus although it's not touch-capable like its G-Micro compact system camera siblings. Considering the gargantuan range of the lens the FZ200's optical performance based on my experience using a pre-production camera looks promising as the sample images provided later in the article will show. However, there is no getting away from the fact that the FZ200 has a small sensor and this means that the JPEG files at least are heavily processed if you examine detail at the pixel level. But this is the same for all cameras in this category.
Donb't miss out on the next two pages of this article that cover a photo tour of the FZ200 and an image sample gallery.
Discuss this story:
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ200 super zoom bridge camera hands on preview
DPNow Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ200 super zoom bridge camera hands on preview
Here is a summary or excerpt from an article that has just been published on DPNow:
Panasonic has p... (more)