Customer Reviews


149 Reviews
5 star:
 (105)
4 star:
 (33)
3 star:
 (6)
2 star:
 (1)
1 star:
 (4)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


421 of 424 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant camera priced at cost of a DSLR lens !!
FZ200 Owners:
○ There is no firmware update to date, yet check this site periodically just in case, as it will be the first site to show it: panasonic.jp/support/global/cs/dsc/download/
○ An ebook "user manual" by Mr Houghton (dated April 2014) available for free: grahamhoughton.com/download-section/...
Published on 13 April 2013 by Antoine Camilleri

versus
34 of 51 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good but still a "bridge" camera
The camera has plenty of features to explore. Its image quality is (as expected) very good under adequate light levels; yet, low-light performance still needs to be improved considerably. Camera relies on (unless you set a max limit) high ISO values for low light situations same as other cameras and this causes more than expected noise in the picture because high ISO...
Published on 31 Dec. 2012 by Rob


‹ Previous | 1 215 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

421 of 424 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant camera priced at cost of a DSLR lens !!, 13 April 2013
By 
Antoine Camilleri (Malta) - See all my reviews
(TOP 10 REVIEWER)    (HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Panasonic Lumix FZ200 Bridge Camera - Black (12MP, 24x Optical Zoom) 3.0 inch LCD (Camera)
FZ200 Owners:
○ There is no firmware update to date, yet check this site periodically just in case, as it will be the first site to show it: panasonic.jp/support/global/cs/dsc/download/
○ An ebook "user manual" by Mr Houghton (dated April 2014) available for free: grahamhoughton.com/download-section/
---------------------------------------------------------------

THE PANASONIC DMC-FZ200 review:

After doing loads of research on the web I decided to take the plunge in November 2012 and I am so happy I did. The major selling points were the 2.8 fixed aperture throughout the entire zoom range and the brilliant EVF, which is a joy to use.

The reviews are quite mixed.. some give it a 5 star rating whilst others are very critical. So I was expecting a decent camera which gets the job done without excelling.

After waiting impatiently for the battery to fully charge, I fired a few shots and I was honestly blown away by the outstanding photo quality!!

Now I do own a Canon 7D (with an f 2.8 70-200 L), the Leica V Lux 2 (aka Panasonic FZ 100), Canon G12, plus numerous other cameras, so I am not new to digital photography.

Considering such a small sensor, it is hard to see how Panasonic managed to come up with a camera that sets a new benchmark in image quality and performance. Most possibly they did strike the right balance between sensor size and pixel density (1/2.3inch 12.1MP High-sensitivity MOS sensor). Add a bright f2.8 Leica lens to that and you have the perfect combination. Photos are pin sharp with vibrant colours, thanks to the high quality Leica glass, which sports Nano Surface coating to minimise the effects of ghosting and flare. The f2.8 aperture produces great bokeh, placing this camera in uncharted territory for a bridge camera.

The FZ200 utilises the same proprietary `Light Speed AF' technology that is found on the more advanced `G-series' compact system camera range, such as the Panasonic G5. This is evident in autofocus performance which is truly impressive.

(It is not a first, as many claim, that Panasonic have produced an f2.8 fixed aperture bridge camera. I have the DMC FZ-20 for nearly a decade and it sports an f2.8 aperture throughout its 12X zoom).

Once you have a peep through the FZ200 EVF there's no turning back. I think that it is one of the best on the market, and you could shoot through a whole day using it to compose your pics... and yes, a whole day, thanks to the long battery life and weight of this camera.

There is no eye proximity sensor which automatically switches off the 3" display when composing photos through the EVF. However a dedicated button next to the EVF to switches between displays. I personally do not mind that, particularly because I use the lovely viewfinder most of the time, which in turn extends the battery life further.
The widely used 52mm lens thread, means that you will be spoilt for choice in finding the right filter which fits your budget. More on filters further down.

My intention is not really to delve much into the specifications of this camera (even though I have added a few), as the fact you are reading this review means you are probably familiar with them. And after all specs mean nothing unless they translate into a user friendly experience and great results...... What I can honestly say is that this gem of a camera produces stunning photos and videos.

----------

Panasonic have really nailed it with the FZ200.
Key Features:

- Outstanding Image quality. Pin sharp, crisp and vibrant results throughout the entire zoom range

- Bright Leica F2.8 constant aperture throughout entire 24X (25-600mm: 35mm equivalent) zoom range, producing DSLR style bokeh (Blurred background) ideal for portraits or macro work

- Ideal for video: When zooming in during a video shoot, there is no darkening of the image thanks to the constant aperture. I suggest using manual aperture and ISO if using zoom

- 48X iA (Intelligent Auto) Zoom with virtually no loss in image quality

- 12 fps shooting in full resolution, with zippy autofocus

- Brilliant eye view finder (EVF) with unprecedented 1,312,000 pixels

- Very capable 1080p Full HD video camera, offering good image stabilisation and various settings: 1080p 50fps AVCHD and MP4 format. Can shoot up to 100 fps at 720p and 240fps VGA mp4 for super slow motion

- Fully Articulated 3" Screen. Comes in very handy when shooting awkward angles, self-portrait and videos

- Intuitive button placement, with 3 assignable custom buttons

- Zoom rocker on lens barrel comes in very handy when shooting ground level

- Loads of program modes and special effects in the likes of HDR, Panorama assist, Toy effect, Miniature, Star effect... to mention a few

- RAW, RAW + Jpeg image capture

- 52mm filter thread, albeit plastic (discussed in Tips for filter usage section)

plus so many other neat features making this camera a clear "Best Buy".

----------

What I would have liked to see on the FZ200:
○ Metal filter thread
○ Front facing mics
○ SD card slot on the side (Tripod work)
○ Build quality of the Fujifilm X S1
○ Manual zoom as on many Fuji cameras

--------------------------------------------------------

Tips on filter usage:

Circular polariser and macro (close up) adapters:
Many tend to put filters on digital camera lenses, yet most are no longer relevant, albeit to protect the lens. A UV filter, contrary to popular belief, is not really needed on digital cameras. This is because there already is one in front of the camera sensor. However I still use it as an interface for other filters.

The FZ200 sports a 52mm (plastic) thread for filters, and a circular polarising filter is one of those filters which really make a huge difference in image quality. When used correctly it removes glare and reflections, which is a feature that cannot be corrected using Photoshop or any other software.
The difference is radical when shooting landscape photos. Colours really pop out, resulting in stunning crisp images. The deep blue skies and rich colours really look professional. And the great feature the FZ200 shares with most bridge cameras, is that the front element remains fixed during focusing. (unlike my Canon DSLR non STM lenses) This means that you do not have to alter the CPL every time the camera acquires focus.

I have also bought a set of 52mm macro filters which I find very handy on the FZ200. This is because macro capability is restricted to a minimum distance of 1 meter at full zoom. (Thanks Mike B)

The polariser filter and the macro filters are not meant to be left on permanently. The polariser filter will impact the light entering the sensor by about 2 stops or more, and the macro ones are meant for macro work.

Due to the fact that the filter thread on the FZ200 is plastic, a good idea would be to protect that thread by using a UV filter as an interface, as this can be left on with minimal impact on image quality. (Yet I stand to be corrected as to which filter would be ideal as an interface)

---------------------------------------------------------

Considerations, Updates & Conclusion:

Is it a worthy upgrade to the FZ100 - Definitely. Image quality and EVF are far superior
Is it a worthy upgrade to the FZ150 - It depends whether you really want the bright f 2.8 lens and slow motion capture. IQ is arguably on par at higher F stops.

Noise levels and smearing - I have seen no smearing (as one review site suggests). Noise levels are much less than what certain reviews report. If you're pixel peeping than you can see can spot noise even on high end DSLRs, albeit understandably to a lesser degree.

Don't get me wrong. This is not a DSLR, yet it's not that far off either. I still carry the (body only) 7D for airshows, as nothing beats a good dSLR for super-fast focusing accuracy and cleanest (noise free) possible photos. Yet if I had to go on holiday I would carry this camera instead of lugging my Canon 7d with 4 different lenses to make up for the 25-600mm. Add a video camera to that...

I have uploaded some pictures taken at 48X zoom. (at the moment numbered 16 to 20 in customer photos). I will upload some more of the same location at wide angle to appreciate the zoom reach.

--------

Updates:
9th January 2014: After over a year of ownership, I still think that this is the best model bridge camera out there. I have since bought/tried other bridge cameras yet no matter the higher pixel count, the Lumix FZ200 is still the winner in all departments. The massive zoom found on later cameras is very tempting, yet have a good look at the reviews before dismissing this camera for a larger zoom.

29th January 2014: After reading some comments and requests, I borrowed a Panasonic FZ72EB-K sporting a massive 60X zoom for a head to head shootout, and the FZ200 beats it in nearly all departments!! Image quality of the Panasonic FZ200 at 48X iA zoom is far better than FZ72EB-K at 48X optical zoom! One point worth noting is that the FZ72EB does not sport a Leica lens, and this is reflected in the results.
---------

♦ The FZ200 merits a well earned 5 star rating, and I highly recommend it to anyone seeking the best possible image quality from a sub bridge camera. I would like to thank Mr Graham Houghton for his very informative and in depth youtube videos regarding this gem of a camera. And special thanks to all the readers who have found this review helpful !! You have given me the incentive to go on and review other products.

I do apologise that this review has gradually grown so long and hope that you find this review helpful.

Happy snapping ;)
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


218 of 224 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Possibly Best in Class., 12 Oct. 2012
By 
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Panasonic Lumix FZ200 Bridge Camera - Black (12MP, 24x Optical Zoom) 3.0 inch LCD (Camera)
Initially, I wasn't going to do a review of this camera, deciding instead to leave what I thought would be some useful, but specific, comments appended to another review.

However, the camera has been "growing" on me, so I've decided to expand on my initial observations and to avoid re-inventing the wheel I have imported those comments into a fuller review.

Since 2005 I've always had a super zoom bridge camera to supplement my APS-C sensor cameras, firstly the FZ7, then FZ8, FZ38 and now the FZ200, which is by far the best overall. I've had the 200 for nearly a week now and have put it through its paces and especially to see how the lens performs throughout its zoom range and towards maximum zoom where with earlier models I've experienced image degradation due to chromatic aberration. I set the zoom to 5x, 10x, 15x, 20x and 24x and examined the images at 100% on my monitor where I found virtually no visible difference in image quality at any of the zoom positions. The lens performed very well indeed with colour and contrast being maintained right out to maximum and with little discernible chromatic aberration. I'm sure it will be there in some image situations, but one will have to go specifically looking for it. Impressive stuff, especially for my non-scientific testing procedure.

The price of this camera puts it into entry-level dslr territory and if one's primary concern is image quality, then there's no competition, the dslr wins hands down. With acceptable image quality at base ISO, the tiny sensor in the FZ200 is fine, but image degradation as the ISO is increased above 400 ISO is very noticeable. Where it scores, though, is that lens. No dslr can cover the 25mm to 600mm range with one lens and being able to maintain f2.8 throughout its range is a magnificent feat on the part of the lens designers, especially offering the equivalent of f2.8 at 600mm. In dslr terms read f5.6 or f6.3 unless one has many thousands to spend on one lens and which doesn't even cover the wide angle settings.

There are a number of aspects relating to its handling that I find make this a very pleasant camera to use. Overall the body has increased slightly in size and weight, but not too much here, and I find it fits comfortably in my hands with the main controls falling easily to hand. The zoom lever sits around the shutter release and which is quite often a layout used on many digital cameras. However, in the FZ200 the zoom can also be operated via a second sliding button which is located on the left hand side of the lens and which falls naturally to hand for the left thumb which rests on it and a simple push/pull action is all that is needed. Then, zooming and taking pictures becomes a natural procedure. Zoom with the thumb and take a picture just when you want. In the more traditional arrangement, the forefinger first sets the zoom position and then has to be moved to the shutter release to take the picture, and inevitably leads to a delay. The difference in operation may not appear to be that great, but believe me, once one has tried the alternative arrangement on the FZ200 one wonders why no one has thought of it before with power zooms. (It may have been, but I can only review cameras I'v owned.)

Whilst on the subject of the shutter release, the video record button has been conveniently placed adjacent to the main shutter release and this ensures steady start/stop of video with zooming controlled by the lens sliding switch. Again, it all seems so natural in use. Video is at full HD, but I'm not a video photographer and so this feature is very unlikely to get much use by me. Unfortunately, it also means I'm not competent to comment on the quality of the video it produces, save to say on the built-in screen it looks very impressive.

The next improvement is the 1.3 million dot EVF with dioptre adjustment. This is still quite physically small compared to a dslr but it is a huge advance on the earlier models which sported only around 207,000. In daylight use it is bright and almost crystal clear. The large 3" LCD which can be swivelled to many viewing positions, has had a resolution increase from 230,000 to 460,000 and this is very welcome, albeit not to the higher resolutions of some other screens. It is more than adequate for its intended purpose, though.

Having such a large zoom range, although there are competing cameras with even longer zoom lenses, this would be negated if the image stabilisation wasn't up to scratch to prevent image blur. I can happily report that Panasonic's latest version of its Power Optical image stabilisation is the best to date. It really is possible to hand hold at 24x and 1/125 sec for most of the time. Others with steadier hands may even manage 1/60 sec.

It is quite clear that some thought has been given to the handling, design and control layout of this latest FZ making it, for me, a more pleasant camera to use than its forebears. Obviously, it won't suit everyone whose priorities will vary and won't necessarily appreciate the user features/interface I find most useful.

Image quality has to be rated very good for such a small sensor with Panasonic getting a lot from it. Any deficiencies will, for the most part, be suffered by its peers using the same sized tiny 1/2.33 sensor, so I suspect the FZ200 will acquit itself very well indeed in such company. Good as the jpegs are, I would recommend shooting RAW, especially in Silkypix which is better at getting the best out of the FZ 200's RAW images.

To summarise, as an all-purpose extremely versatile piece of kit that doesn't break the bank, or your back on a day out shooting if you carry around additional lenses for an slr, then at the present time, it is difficult to see what can beat it. However, for higher image quality, but not with the FZ200's superb 24x zoom lens or versatility, you will need to look elsewhere. For those who understand the image limitations of such tiny sensors and are prepared to accept this compromise, then this camera should give a lot of pleasure and will enable you to get images impossible from most other cameras.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


179 of 185 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Here's why I chose the Panasonic FZ200 bridge camera rather than a DSLR, 27 Dec. 2012
By 
J. Brightwater (Wales, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Panasonic Lumix FZ200 Bridge Camera - Black (12MP, 24x Optical Zoom) 3.0 inch LCD (Camera)
There are plenty of very detailed, technical reviews already, so here is a different one, which I hope is useful..... Back in the late 1980's I was a semi-pro photographer and manager of a film processing lab, so I had a bag full of cameras, lenses and all the extras! Then as family life became busy my gear gathered dust and I found compact, "tough" cameras perfect for family life, and even my first Canon DSLR with lenses was just too heavy to carry about! Earlier this year I bought my first Panasonic DMC FT3 waterproof and shock proof, compact camera for a skiing trip. It is a cracking little camera, which fits in your pocket. I used to always have Olympus, Canon or Nikon, so this tiny camera has really impressed me. Starting a facebook group called Cloud Watching & Beautiful Sky-scapes has really rekindled my interest in photography again, so I decided to check out an upgrade...

A friend on the Cloud Watching group asked me why I chose the Panasonic FZ200 bridge camera, so I thought I'd share my reasons as a review for Amazon... after loads of research and really getting clear about my needs, I decided to get a bridge camera rather than a DSLR as I wanted it to be light in weight, very versatile and produce high quality pics! And oh my goodness, the 25-600 zoom at 2.8 aperture through the whole focal length really delivers!!! And, it only costs £389 from Jessops (including their £50 cashback offer) The Which Camera? reviews and customer reviews are giving it top marks. It's been out a couple of months, so there is plenty of feedback. It's HD video has exposure, colour and depth of field control, AND it has an jack point for an external microphone, as well as a built in STERO mic!!! For photos it has intelligent auto which gives perfect exposure 95% of the time, plus aperture priority, shutter priority, or full manual. It also has 18 pre set scene modes (SCN) including Sunset option! Plus it has 14 built in filter options called Creative Control modes including star-burst, and High Dynamic which will be excellent for some sky photos! Plus LOADS of additional features which I'm only just finding out about!! What's not to love!!!! To summarize; to have this lens for a DSLR would apparently cost thousands and you'd need the arms of a olympic shot putter!!!!

The FZ200 can be used as a point and shoot camera, or with the controls of a DSLR, without the hassle and expense of carrying lots of lenses! Obviously it doesn't have the full quality of a DSLR, but I never print my pics bigger than 11 x14, and it has a 16.9 picture option so the photos can be viewed full screen on a modern TV! As digital technology is changing so fast I figure I can upgrade in a few years if I need to! And finally.... there are brilliant online tutorials for this camera on youtube, so no worries about learning all the array of excellent features this camera has, as there is soooo much online support these days! With this camera you will get stunning photos straight out of the box and can explore the features at your own pace.

I tried out the camera in low light conditions, at an Argentine Tango social event, both with and without the flash and was very pleased with the initial results.

Though using the FZ200 I am really enjoying re-visiting all my old photographic knowledge and adding to it with the wonderful and ever expanding world of digital photography.

June 2014 update: I now have a wonderful macro clip on lens for close up photos; the Raynox 250!!! Expands the joy of photography!

August 2014 update: The new Panasonic FZ1000 bridge camera has just been released and has an incredible 20.1MP 1-inch MOS Sensor, along with a £749 price tag!!!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


62 of 64 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding, award winning camera, 18 Feb. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Panasonic Lumix FZ200 Bridge Camera - Black (12MP, 24x Optical Zoom) 3.0 inch LCD (Camera)
The FZ200 has a huge range of functions and features. There are too many to give detailed comments on all of them, and other people's reviews have already described them very well (A Camilleri's in particular). All I want to do here is give the reasons why (after using it for a couple of months) I think that the Lumix FZ200 is a very good camera (this is a very long review as the FZ200 has many features that are worthy of comment):

I used an analogue SLR for many years before the advent of digital cameras. Then, about ten years ago, at the start of the era of digital cameras, in part to avoid the use of interchangeable lenses, I bought an Olympus C-720 Ultra-Zoom (x8 optical zoom). My Olympus continues to work perfectly and is still a very competent camera, but I was tempted by the very good reviews for the Lumix FZ200 bridge camera and I bought one in December, 2013.

I have never used a digital SLR, but everyone knows that digital SLRs, with large sensors and good lenses, are capable of excellent image quality. However, the interchangeable lenses on SLRs are expensive and heavy. From past experience with my old analogue SLR, I know that interchangeable lenses are inconvenient to carry and it's inconvenient to regularly change lenses on the camera (professionals usually resort to extra camera bodies to mount different sized lenses). By contrast, the FZ200 is a digital mirror-less camera with a fixed lens (not removable from the camera). However, its lens is a very good quality, wide-range zoom which is optimised to the FZ200's sensor (optimisation of lenses to digital sensors is very important to get the best image quality).

The FZ200 lens's minimum focal length is equivalent to 25mm on a 35mm camera. This gives a field of view, which is wide enough for most requirements (if I want wider angle for "zero motion" pictures, then I take two pictures and do a panorama merge in Photoshop). The lens also has a telephoto capability that is equivalent to 600mm on a 35mm camera. That's long enough for most requirements (if I want greater effective zoom, then I crop the pictures in Photoshop as the12Mpx raw files give very good resolution). So, for me, the desire to change lenses is avoided. Also, having a fixed lens camera rather than an SLR removes the risk of dropping lenses, and getting dust on the sensor and inside lenses.

Further detailed comments:

1. In common with all big range zoom, bridge cameras, the FZ200 has a small sensor (1/2.3" on the FZ200 ), but in this age of extreme manufacturing accuracy and micro-electronics, this small 12MPx sensor works very well. Signal noise is the main potential problem with small sensors, but the noise is well controlled on the FZ200 (presumably due to good design, manufacture and software - also its 12MPx sensor is less noisy than if say 16MPx had been used because the size of individual pixels is bigger with 12MPx, and sensor noise is said to reduce when the size of individual pixels is increased).

2. The small sensor on the FZ200 actually gives several big advantages. The main advantage being that it enables the camera to have a small, light zoom lens which has an optical zoom range that is equivalent (as already mentioned), in enlargement terms, to a 25-600mm lens on a 35mm camera.
With the lens fully extended (x24 zoom) the FZ200 only measures 160mm from the rear of the viewfinder to the front of the lens (without the lens hood). With this physically small lens, the camera is lightweight and discreet (if the sensor were bigger, the lens would have to be bigger). The FZ200 looks like a small digital SLR, and no one would guess that the extended lens gives image enlargement equivalent to 600mm on a 35mm camera.
Also, the lens is designed by Leica and is very good quality with their legendary control of lens errors and flare (aspherical lens elements, complimentary grades of glass, nano surface coating, etc). It has a large maximum aperture of 1/2.8 which (remarkably) is constant over the entire zoom range, and is sharp across the full range.
This large aperture helps to counteract the potential noise problem of a small sensor because there is less need to use high ISO values. I have found I can use ISO 100 for most outdoor daytime ("zero motion") pictures, and I rarely go above ISO 400 indoors (noise is quite well controlled up to ISO 800 or even 1600, but sub-400 is always preferable).
The small weight of the lens means the camera is easier to handle than a camera with a large heavy lens, giving less camera shake. Camera shake is reduced further because the FZ200 has a very effective powered optical image stabilisation system. With extreme care, it is possible to take hand-held pictures at full zoom at ISO 100 in low light conditions. This is possible because a shutter speed as low as 0.5sec at an aperture of 1/2.8 and ISO 100 can give usable "hand-held" results at full zoom with the image stabilisation system switched on. This is miraculous and is one of the capabilities that make the FZ200 a very versatile camera.

3. There are two reasons why the small sensor enables the lens to be small. One is because the small sensor area means that the lens diameter can be relatively small because a small sensor does not need as much light as a big sensor (as with most cameras, the front lens element on the FZ200 is a lot bigger than the sensor so it can gather light for the maximum aperture setting).
The second reason why the small sensor on the FZ200 enables the lens to be small is because when the image from a small sensor is enlarged to fill a PC screen or a print, it is magnified more than the image from a large sensor. Hence, the camera lens does not need to magnify as much as for a camera with a larger sensor. The same size of final image can be achieved with a small (short) lens used with a small sensor or a big (long) lens used with a big sensor. A big sensor camera may produce higher quality images than a small sensor camera, but the big sensor camera is likely to be much more expensive, and much bigger and heavier.

4. A small sensor with a small lens also leads to a bigger depth of field at each aperture compared to a big sensor with a big lens. This is because depth of field is related to the ratio of "the distance from the camera to the subject" divided by "the focal length of the lens" (the "actual focal length" not the "35mm equivalent focal length"). This is because if, when taking a picture at a particular zoom, the distance from the optical centre of the lens to the subject is not much bigger than the value of the current (actual) focal length of the lens, then the focussing distance of the lens will change significantly for objects just in front and just behind the subject. The short "actual focal lengths" used on small sensor cameras like the FZ200 therefore have bigger depth of field for all subject distances than large sensor cameras. Of course, photographers often want a small depth of field for "artistic effect" and that is more easily achieved with a large sensor camera. However, the FZ200's large maximum aperture of 1/2.8 does allow very good "artistic control" of depth of field when required.

5. Short "actual focal length" also gives very close focussing capability at wide angle zoom. On the FZ200 the lens can almost touch the subject and still be focussed. Set the switch on the lens barrel to the auto focus "macro" position first - this gives closer, although slower, focussing than the standard auto focus mode. The display will then indicate focussing capability from "0.01m to infinity" when zooming to x1.
This close focussing gives very good enlargement of the subject on the image. The downside is that the lens blocks part of the light if the camera is too close. So, I have found that if I zoom in slightly until it indicates focussing capability from "0.05m to infinity" (it still indicates x1 zoom, but in reality it is at about x1.5 zoom), I then have to move the camera back slightly to focus, but it lets the light in, and I still get a picture with the same size image.
At x24 zoom it indicates focussing capability from "1m to infinity" with "macro" set, and "2m to infinity" without "macro" set.

6. Auto focusing on the FZ200 is very fast and accurate. It can focus in low light and even in "no light" conditions as it has a built in red LED which lights up the subject if needed during auto focus (particularly useful for flash photography). The FZ200 auto focus system uses "the contrast detection method".
The FZ200 also has a comprehensive manual focus option.

7. A very useful feature is the ease with which the FZ200 can be set to any desired depth of field. For example, a depth of field could be set which starts from a point as close as possible to the camera and then extends to infinity. The desired aperture and zoom are set first. Then the focus range display is used to set the depth of field. This focus range display appears in the viewfinder, or on the LCD, after the switch on the lens barrel is set to manual focus and after the zoom / focus slider on the lens barrel is operated to adjust the depth of field. Any object within the set depth of field will have acceptable image sharpness, so pictures can then be taken without any further focusing requirement.
A good example of its use is for taking "city street pictures" with maximum depth of field. In that case, for example, if wide angle zoom is chosen with an aperture of 1/4, then the maximum depth of field could be set from "1m to infinity". If the camera has been set to have "lens resume for zoom and focus" (options in the camera menu), then the zoom and depth of field will resume after the camera has been in "sleep mode". They will even be resumed after the camera has been switched off and back on. This enables as much "street shooting" as required without the need to focus.

8. The smallest aperture on the FZ200 is 1/8 (on large sensor cameras the minimum aperture might be 1/22 or even smaller). The aperture is the ratio of the "lens entrance pupil diameter" / "actual focal length" (the "lens entrance pupil diameter" is not the iris diameter, it's the diameter of the circle of light allowed through to the sensor by the iris but measured in the lens at the focal length distance from the sensor). The "actual focal lengths" for the FZ200 zoom lens are small, hence 1/8 gives small apertures with very small iris diameters (smallest at minimum zoom). On the FZ200, apertures smaller than 1/4 cause some (very small) blurring due to diffraction (spreading out) of the light at the very small iris diameters. From tripod tests I've done, diffraction effects can be seen at minimum zoom, but are hardly apparent at longer focal lengths. However, 1/4 is usually stated by reviewers to be the best aperture for sharpness for this lens (1/4 is mid-way across the range from 1/2.8 to 1/8). If the minimum aperture were made smaller than 1/8, then the diffraction would be too great.
Small aperture settings are required on cameras to give big depth of field (not an issue for the FZ200 as it has big depth of field for the reason I tried to describe in 4. above). Small aperture settings are also required to restrict the light to the camera in very bright light conditions, but this required restriction of the light is achieved on the FZ200 by the alternative method of using a fast shutter speed (short duration).
The maximum shutter speed on the FZ200 at x1 zoom is 1/2000sec for apertures of 1/2.8 to 1/4, and 1/4000sec for apertures of 1/4.5 to 1/8. At x24 zoom it is 1/2000sec for 1/2.8 to 1/7.1 and 1/4000sec for 1/8. I'm not certain of the reason why the maximum speed is not 1/4000sec for all conditions. My brother has suggested to me that the camera may have a leaf shutter, which is built into the lens and this could have mechanical limitations regarding focal length and aperture which determine the fastest shutter speed (the leaf shutter would be mounted next to the iris and would have to open just bigger then the iris diameter, so for iris diameters below a certain size the shutter can operate faster than for bigger apertures).
If the maximum shutter speed is ever insufficient to prevent overexposure, then a polarising filter or a Neutral Density (ND) filter could be used to reduce the light entering the lens without affecting contrast or colours.

9. Leica sell a version of the FZ200 with their own name badge. It has some changes to the operating software and some very minor styling changes (they call it the Leica V-Lux 4). Leica are renowned for their excellent lenses and for the reliability of their cameras. As Leica are willing to market a version of the FZ200 under their own name, this gives me confidence that my Lumix FZ200 will be reliable (of course, Panasonic themselves are well-known for producing good quality, reliable equipment).

10. In addition to its superb lens, the FZ200 also has a very comprehensive specification (12.1MPx CMOS sensor, raw files as well as jpeg, 1080p HD stereo video, external microphone input, high speed video, burst modes for still pictures, a high resolution 1.3Mdot digital viewfinder, swivelling LCD screen, built in flash, flash hot-shoe, auto-focus assist lamp, focus range display, lens barrel with 52mm threads for screw-in filters / conversion lenses, lens resume for zoom and focus, etc.). It has a very large number of operating modes (various automatic, semi-automatic and manual modes). I have tried all the modes, but, I mainly use aperture priority mode for stills, and occasionally use fully manual mode for stills and programmed mode for videos.

11. The FZ200 is very customisable as it has four adjustable "user modes". Also, there are three function buttons that can be set up differently in each of the four user modes. Each mode can store different "favourite" settings. Now that I have set the camera up for the modes I use most, the camera is a real pleasure to use and I hardly need to take my eye from the viewfinder when making adjustments. However, in addition, the swivelling LCD screen is excellent when holding the camera at arm's length or when using the camera on a tripod. The LCD screen is very clear, even in bright sunlight conditions. A fantastic amount of information can optionally be displayed on either the LCD or the high resolution viewfinder.

12. I get very good results for still pictures by using raw format and processing the pictures using the combination of Adobe Camera Raw (ACR) and Photoshop Elements 12 (a cut-down version of ACR is included with Elements 12). The raw files have very good dynamic range (handle contrast well). I find this pleasing because small sensors can be prone to having poor dynamic range. SilkyPix software is supplied with the camera for raw file editing and conversion, but I haven't tried it because I already had Photoshop Elements 12 which has fantastic editing capability (I purchased it from Amazon - I did a brief review if anyone is interested). I process all my images from raw files, so I can't comment about the quality of images from jpeg files from my own experience, but other reviews indicate that very good results are achievable.

13. I haven't used the video mode much so far, but my video results to date have been very good, and it's very versatile (lots of modes including high speed). Panasonic have been producing video cameras, for amateur and professional use, for many years, so I would expect the video mode on the FZ200 to be good.

14. The built-in flash is surprisingly powerful, and the power can be adjusted automatically or manually.

15. Regarding still pictures, I use the camera like an SLR. It has most of the functions of a good digital SLR and without some of the disadvantages (the FZ200 has permanent live-view, no mirror and hence no mirror shake, a viewfinder that can be used in very low light conditions and a full display of all camera settings in the view finder).

16. I have bought a few extras for the FZ200 from Amazon, which are all working very well and have definitely enhanced its use and operation (a 32GB SanDisk Ultra SDHC memory card; a spare Panasonic battery; a Lemix portable battery charger that can be used in the house, in the car and abroad; a SechsiTech iBoutique USB 2.0 Hi-Speed 64GB memory stick to back up camera files on my PC).

In summary, the FZ200 is capable of giving very good picture quality, particularly if you take the time to understand how it functions, and how to extract the best from it (specifically, how the characteristics of a small sensor camera differ from those of a larger sensor camera). It is a very versatile camera (it has a huge number of auto, semi-auto and manual modes for both still pictures and video). It is also a real pleasure to use. This is in part due to very good ergonomics, and in part due to the FZ200's comprehensive specification and the many user defined modes that can be set up.

The FZ200 has many great still picture and video features, but perhaps the main stand-out feature is the high quality, x24 zoom lens, with constant maximum aperture of 1/2.8 across the entire zoom range and built-in image stabilisation.

It's amazing that such a powerful camera can fit in the large pocket of an outdoor jacket, and can be used to take virtually any type of picture required. The Lumix FZ200 is a very good camera!

Finally, I think it's appropriate to say thank you to Graham Houghton for his great YouTube videos on the FZ200 and for his free downloadable FZ200 User's Manual (a printed version is also available to purchase). The videos and the manual have helped me a lot to get the best results I can from my camera.

Also, I want to mention I have found Mike Browne's free YouTube photography training videos to be a fantastic resource for people wanting to learn about photography or enhance existing knowledge. (In case any one has noticed, I have the same first name and initials as Mike Browne, but I am just a viewer of his videos).
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderfully versatile camera which is class leading., 1 Jan. 2014
This review is from: Panasonic Lumix FZ200 Bridge Camera - Black (12MP, 24x Optical Zoom) 3.0 inch LCD (Camera)
As an experienced amateur who uses the full frame Canon 5D2 I was looking for a small but capable camera which had a decent range, fast lens and wasn't an interchangeable lens camera. I've tried carrying a smaller DSLR but it just doesn't work for me, the pain of carrying multiple lenses all the time just meant I often wouldn't take it out with me. The 5D2 is for low light work and when I want more depth of field control but it's too big and heavy to cart about everywhere. There isn't any camera that doesn't involve some compromise somewhere, whether it be size and weight or reduced image quality etc. I had already tried the Fuji X-S1 and although it was very nice in some ways it was still too big for me to want to lug it about.

The Panasonic FZ200 has solved my problem, yes it has a small sensor but the excellent lens compensates significantly for that. The image quality at ISO 100 is very good, not quite DSLR quality but close enough if you set the camera up right. Up to ISO 400 in reasonable light the camera is excellent, at ISO 800 image quality drops away and ISO 1600 is only really good for mono shots or colour in certain circumstances in reasonable light. It helps if you know how to process in raw at these ISO's so you can get the best possible results. The FZ200 does most things very well indeed, from compressed landscape shots at long focal lengths to macro and reasonable wide angle. It's small and light but is made from high quality composite plastic and has Panasonic's usual build quality, which I have always found to be very good. I have used and owned many Panasonic products and always found them to be well designed and built as well as reliable. The FZ200 is no exception, the ergonomics are first rate and it has a lovely deep grip which I really like. The electronic viewfinder is small compared to the viewfinders I am used to but it is very clear and better than most other cameras of this type. The LCD has enough resolution that I can confirm critical sharpness at 2x magnification, which is fine for my purposes. The image stabilisation is very effective though you still have to be careful at the long end for best results. The camera has many bells and whistles that make it an excellent choice as a "one size fits all" solution. I haven't tried the video mode as I don't shoot much video but all the camera reviews I have read suggest that it is very capable in this respect.

Another bonus is the battery life which means that unless you are a very heavy user then a spare battery really isn't essential.
If ultimate image quality is your goal then this isn't the camera for you, that being said then you probably wouldn't be looking at a camera like this if that was the case. However, for the casual user and serious amateur who knows what they are doing then you can indeed obtain excellent results from this camera. I wouldn't normally touch any auto modes on any camera (except if I am in rush to get the shot) but the IA mode on this camera actually does do a pretty decent job when I experimented on it out of curiosity. It's certainly a camera that a newbie to photography can grow into, and for more experienced photographers who are more concerned with "quality images" than "image quality" then it's perfect in many respects. Printing up to A3 is not a problem with this little gem. I like the fact that I can just concentrate on the important stuff, like lighting and composition and know that this camera will deliver most of what a DSLR will, but in many more situations without having to mess about swapping lenses. Despite being in the bridge camera category it is most definitely a serious tool in the right hands. If you buy one make sure you look up Graham Houghtons' excellent tutorials on youtube, though aimed at the beginner there are some useful tips on getting the best out of the camera, such as jpeg settings and menu options. He has also produced an excellent free downloadable user guide which is much better than the chaotic manual.

In terms of criticisms, about the only thing I can complain about it is the fact that there is no paper manual and the PDF is very badly organised and confusing, that's it really, it's a hard camera to fault in my opinion. It excels in it's class so for that reason I'm giving it 5 stars.
If you're looking for the best bridge camera around then you've found it, some have more zoom but none have a lens this fast and long, and yes, it is an excellent lens to boot, very highly recommended.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing Camera, 30 Aug. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Panasonic Lumix FZ200 Bridge Camera - Black (12MP, 24x Optical Zoom) 3.0 inch LCD (Camera)
I should make it clear that I'm not a professional photographer. However , as a keen amateur I've been taking photos for more years than I care to remember. During that time I've owned many, many cameras and my current line up includes a Nikon D7000 and 3 lenses. The problem for me is the big camera and lenses weigh a ridiculous amount and I've got really fed up lugging all that stuff around. For a holiday I decided to leave all the big boy stuff at home and I bought the FZ200 to take with me just to record holiday snaps - nothing too serious as, well, a bridge camera can't be as good as a DSLR, right? No, wrong! This camera is amazing. The quality of photos as displayed on my iMac is every bit as good as the Nikon. The photos are sharp, the tonal balance is good and the fantastic tele lens gets the pictures that you might otherwise miss with a standard camera. The versatility and portability of this camera is exceptional and I can't recommend it more highly. I now take this camera with me as my first choice and I'm seriously thinking about selling the Nikon. To get the best out of this little gem tune in to Graham Houghtons YouTube videos and his website to obtain his free downloadable ebook FZ200 manual which is comprehensive and 1st class.
Well done Panasonic and a million thanks to Graham who is not sponsored by Panasonic (but should be!)
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This model has lived up to all of the hype., 14 Jan. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Panasonic Lumix FZ200 Bridge Camera - Black (12MP, 24x Optical Zoom) 3.0 inch LCD (Camera)
I have no regrets about buying this camera and so far it has lived up to all of the reviews I have read.
I am not particularly nerdy and have so far tended to rely heavily on the intelligent auto exposure setting. It seems to be almost foolproof. The anti shake system is very good indeed. In good light I have taken a number of shots on the longest zoom settings, including digital zoom - and the results have been excellent. The body is surprisingly light and whilst I would like it to be even less bulky I do realise that is a big ask.

The price at the time was very reasonable, without allowing for the Panasonic £50 cash-back temporary offer - and after taking that in to account, it is even better of course. Incidentally the hoops that Panasonic asked me to jump through to claim the £50 cash-back were tedious to put in mildly. If Amazon were administering that offer I bet it would be slicker !
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


106 of 112 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent update to the FZ150, 1 Dec. 2012
By 
Peter Piper - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Panasonic Lumix FZ200 Bridge Camera - Black (12MP, 24x Optical Zoom) 3.0 inch LCD (Camera)
UPDATE: I sent my FZ200 off to Panasonic's UK repair centre, D K AUDIO VISUAL SERVICES, by Special Delivery (as it's then insured for up to £500) and they say they've stripped and cleaned it and have returned it clean and sparkly. I've been impressed with the service from DK AVS entirely consistent with what I'd expect from Panasonic. (That is to say, good.) I don't think this dust ingestion is a common occurrence, but it's worth being aware of the potential for it to be an issue and taking extra care in dusty environments.

UPDATE: Following some action photography in a dusty environment, I now have several motes of dust inside my lens. I'll contact Panasonic and update my review accordingly. It still seems to shoot okay, but obviously this is not a good situation.

Original review: The FZ series of bridge cameras is 10 years old this year. In 2002, the original FZ1 was a revolutionary 2MP camera with a Leica-developed zoom lens that was f2.8 across the zoom range. The 2012 FZ200 is a 12MP camera with a Leica-developed zoom lens that is f2.8 across the zoom range. Plus ca change...

It would seem that whilst other camera manufacturers are still engaged in mega-pixel and focal length machismo, Panasonic have simply continued to polish and perfect the FZ series. So although the FZ200 features a new lens to replace the highly respected 25-600mm f2.8 - f5.2 zoom used on the FZ100 and FZ150, Panasonic have not given it a longer reach, they've made it optically faster.

It's difficult to overstate the impact this lens will have. Certainly it's difficult to find a lens to compare it with. To put the FZ200's lens into context, Sigma make a 200 - 500mm f2.8 SLR lens for a little over £12,000, and whilst there are affordable f2.8 SLR lenses in the 70 - 200mm range (the Sigma one is £775 on Amazon), if you want a wide-angle to long telephoto f2.8, this is it. Fortunately it's a great lens, and has the bonus of excellent optical image stabilisation which means your pictures at full stretch will have the very best chance of being pin-sharp. (Stop it down to F/4 for sharpest results, though). Focussing is fast and reliable and there are plenty of focussing options to ensure that the camera meets your needs.

Additionally, the new viewfinder is now equally pin-sharp, having been upgraded from the old 0.2MP peephole to a 1.3+MP peephole. In my opinion it's like Kylie Minogue: gorgeous but a little too small to be perfect. It needs to be more like the fabulous ones from the G-series cameras. UPDATE: Having used the FZ on a bright sunny day, I found I spent most of the time with my eye glued to the EVF rather than looking at the rear screen. I still want a bigger EVF, but the new FZ200 one is pretty sweet.

Anyway, beyond the headlines, what else is new? Well the old 1/2000th second top shutter speed is now 1/4000th second, and the long 60 second exposure returns too. The rather pointless 320x240 high speed film mode has been upped to 640x480 which now makes high speed filming useful. Not to mention the ability to film HD movies (720) at 100FPS. Woo hoo!

As for other changes, well as an FZ150 owner (and FZ100 before that), exploring my FZ200 feels a little like when I go to my local supermarket find that many things are not where I expect to find them. Until I have a good look around, I'm not sure if anything's missing or has just been moved elsewhere.

So where the FZ150 top dial has 14 positions, the FZ200 dial has 9. Panasonic have ditched the advanced scene modes of the FZ150, so gone are the dial settings for portrait, scenery, sports, close-up and night-portrait mode. These (and others) are now menu options from within the Scene (SCN) setting.

I don't mean to get upset because someone's moved my cheese, but I quite liked having all the advanced modes on the top dial. Being able to set "Sports" or "Landscape" with a single dial twist and then grab the picture was very quick and convenient. That said, it did mean I got a little lazy and seldom delved into the menus to tweak my FZ150's settings as I had on my previous FZ100, so maybe this change is a good thing. After more use with the camera, I can confirm that for me at least, it is. FZ's really do benefit from being set up just as you like them, excellent iA mode notwithstanding. Personally I like to dial down the noise reduction and up the sharpness a little. Similarly, the option for on-screen grid has been removed as a toggle mode of the DISP button, and I had a moment of disappointment before I found it buried away in the menus. It's there, but it's not a change I would have chosen to make. That said, as there are now three user-definable function buttons, I've set the top one as my screen grid toggle.

The three "Fn" buttons deserve more of a mention as they are actually VERY useful, and once you get comfortable with chopping and changing them, they add greatly to the user-friendliness of the camera. For example, the top Fn1 button I have set to toggle the lens barrel slider between "zoom" and "focus", which has made manual focus much more convenient. I've replaced the AF/AE lock function with a selection of the autofocus style (Single, Flexible and Continuous). The focus "styles" are worth explaining: "Single" means the focus is set when you press the shutter halfway and it is thereafter fixed for the shutter cycle. "Flexible" is a very neat feature that means focus is set when the shutter is pressed halfway, but if the subject moves whilst the shutter button is held, the focus corrects for the movement automatically. "Continuous" focusses on a moving subject, and applies predictive focussing to the focussed subject based on it's existing movement. This is a VERY useful feature, but it's one of those things that you'll have to winkle out of the manual. (Or ask me on here, if you're lazy.).

The manual focus works well, with my preference being the zoom control on the lens to control focus, but the rear wheel or D-pad buttons also do the job and give finer control in discrete steps. Fortunately, the phase of finding myself pressing buttons almost at random, trying to get the feature I want, is now over and the camera has become more intuitive to use. My early experience has shown me it's not intuitive, I've just put the requisite time and effort into getting the basics clear in my head. To get the most out of the FZ200, you will need to put some practice in.

HDR makes a formal appearance on the FZ200 and works well, pulling out detail from shadows in high contrast pictures. There's also a nifty panorama mode that produces a large image as you sweep the camera along, rather like taking an old school photo, as well as a 3D mode that requires you to move the camera so it captures the right and left eye images. As I haven't got a 3D TV, I'll have to take their word for it.

As with the FZ100 and FZ150, there are loads of little tweaks that the FZ200 allows. Doubtless the ability to precisely set the white balance can be very useful in the right hands. Me? I just set it to match the sunny, cloudy, incandescent etc. conditions and just fire away, knowing the camera will give me great results. In truth, most people seem to leave their FZs on intelligent auto and get great results.

The FZ200 has gained a little size and weight, but that's a good thing in my opinion. The increased size and deeper grip are a definite plus for me and my large hands. As for weight, the FZ's have always been a bit like Oprah, swinging between light and heavy. At 588 grams including battery and card, the FZ200 is pretty much at its median weight. Yes it's bigger and heavier than the FZ150's 528g, but certainly a lot lighter than the earlier FZ30's 740g. However if it gets any heavier it will start to be a less welcome travelling companion.

Most FZ accessories will work on the FZ200, but you'll need to swap your DMW-LA5E for a DMW-LA7 to fit the tele-converter. The front of the lens is still 52mm, so filters, close-up lenses and wide-angle adaptors all fit just fine, as do remote shutters and flashguns. The FZ200 has dropped the 895mah DMW-BMB9E of the FZ100 and FZ150, and shares the 1200mah battery of the GH2, so battery life is greatly improved. Certainly a spare battery is no longer a necessary precaution on a day out.

For your convenience, here are a few of the better value accessories for the FZ200.
Polaroid PL144AZ Power-Zoom Shoe Mount Flashgun for Olympus and Panasonic
Pixel Pro Digital Camera 100M Wireless Shutter Remote Control Release for Panasonic DMC-FZ50 DMC-FZ100 50K 50S 30 30K 30S 20 20K 20S LC-1 L1 Leica Digilux 2 3, Lumix G1, GH1, GF1, G2, G3
Digital King DSW Pro 0.7x Wide Angle Lens Nikon/Pentax 52mm
52mm 4pc Close-Up Kit Macro Lenses For Nikon D60 & All Other 52mm Lenses

The downside? Well, despite being an unashamed FZ fanboy, I have to point out that the FZ200 is expensive for a small sensor camera. £400+ buys a lot of camera these days. Remember the FZ200 crams an AWFUL lot of pixels into every square millimetre of its sensor. In a pixel-peeping showdown with a budget SLR, like all bridge cameras, the FZ200 will be comprehensively trounced. A micro four-thirds camera will also comfortably out perform the FZ200, as will some other large sensor compacts. Even more so in low light when noise is more of an issue. My Nikon D5100 DSLR was cheaper and produces better results, but I rarely use it as it's such a pain to carry around and it doesn't give me anything like the flexibility of my FZ. And make no mistake about it, the FZ200 can have a steep learning curve if you intend to get the most out of it. In some ways, the FZ200 demands more input from the user than many SLR, it really IS very richly specified. Yes, you can leave it on iA and snap away, but in that case, you might be better off looking at one of Panasonic's excellent travel zooms (the TZ25 being my favourite) if you're not going to take advantage of the control the FZ200 gives you. If you're buying a bridge camera as a codpiece, and I'm not knocking that, then the Canon SX50 has the biggest bulge at the time of writing.

For me, the upgrade from my FZ100 to the FZ150 involved some soul-searching, trying to justify buying pretty much the same camera. But the improved sensor made it worth the purchase. However buying the FZ200 was an instinctive, almost visceral urge to get at that new lens. But in addition to the lens, Panasonic have made sure the FZ200 continues to build on the traditional strengths of the FZ-series: so the great performance, handling and functionality of the FZ150 are carried over to the FZ200. It's just that most of the little niggles I had with the FZ150 seem to have been eliminated. The only significant issue I have with the FZ200 is the screen, which really needs to be a 920K pixel one.

Other than that, the FZ200 is sublime. With use, the camera gets better and better. I suspect that many FZ enthusiasts, who've been holding onto the beloved FZ38 because the latest FZ wasn't quite good enough to replace it, will be reaching for their chequebooks.

P.S. I dropped my FZ200 this morning and it fell 3 feet onto a concrete slab. Other than scratching the lens hood, and a litle scuff to the grip shoulder, the camera was undamaged. It's just a pity there wasn't a camera trained on me to capture the expression on my face as my new FZ200 headed for the concrete lens-first! ;-)
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


71 of 75 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Expensive but worth every penny, 26 Feb. 2013
This review is from: Panasonic Lumix FZ200 Bridge Camera - Black (12MP, 24x Optical Zoom) 3.0 inch LCD (Camera)
There is no point in pretending that the FZ200 is capable of high quality images straight out of the box, especially in low light conditions. It cannot compete with DSLRs or even Micro 4/3 sensors. You have to face up to that fact, and if you do you will then wonder why the FZ200 is as expensive as it is. For me the answer is weight and functionality plus excellent quality for those with a patient and intelligent approach. Do not buy this camera if you are excpecting instant results in Automatic mode in less than optimum lighting conditions.

BUT....if you take the trouble to master this camera's potential, learn its foibles, and rehearse its exemplary controls and flexibility like the back of your hand, you will be rewarded with great pictures, pretty good to very good video and a light, transportable, convenient machine with some quite excellent features, the best of which include:

* Very reliable and high standard auto-focus in nearly all lighting conditions
* Manual focus and focus assist, assignable to a flexible range of buttons and controls
* Superb optics. The 2.8 lens is the star of the show without doubt, as is the superb stabilized zoom.
* Excellent white balance and exposure controls, coupled with very reliable auto-exposure/balance.
* A full range of camera effects, TASTEFUL Hdr, and all the usual modes including full manual.

If there is one secret to getting the best out of this camera, then this is it: All other things equal, go for the lowest possible ISO setting, even if you have to take lots of shots or use burst mode to get the one shot you need at lower shutter speeds. Of course this sounds obvious but with the FZ200 it has never been more true. ISO noise at 100 or 200 is minimal. 400 ISO is useable and 800 ISO shows some noise. From 1600 ISO up, things get very noisy. Avoid if at all possible. Use shutter and aperture instead, unless you just have to have higher ISO in emergencies. If you observe that rule, the FZ200 can deliver really lovely images.

You can also eliminate noise by adjusting contrast, NR, sharpness and other basic settings. As I said, spending a little time with this camera's quirks can reap vast rewards. For this reason it is not a recommended camera for absolute novices who want a plain point and shoot.

Low light quality video is also perfectly possible with this camera, again with careful settings. The very good image stabilization and deliberately subtle auto-focus in video mode is just right. Very rarely does auto-focus go too far then come back. It just gently and reliably, elegantly even, gives you perfect focus in all but the most challenging conditions, and in any case you can half press the shutter button or press the "force" focus button at anytime to over-ride the auto setting.

With patience and work, this camera can be a joy to use.

Edit. I forgot to add something about the better manual controls which set the FZ200 apart from comparable bridge/super zoom cameras. You can very finely control all aspects of the FZ200's lens, zoom and exposure, not only in stills but also in Video mode. Most cameras of this specification and price have fully automatic video with no possibility of changing anything other than zoom. Not so with the FZ200, where in dedicated video mode (on the programme dial) you can choose ISO, exposure compensation, shutter speed and of course quality. This makes for a very much more powerful flexibility for the experienced photographer. Add to this the excellent electronic viewfinder and the user has very good, almost DLSR-standard control over almost every aspect of both photographs and video. The only downside is the small sensor size which make low light photography a challenge. If the FZ200 was upgraded with a larger 4/3 or A-C type sensor the image quality would be up there with mid range dlsr cameras, or for example the Olympus OM-E. At the expensive price of the FZ200 it is a pity that Panasonic did not see fit to use a larger sensor to match the stella performance of its excellent constant f2.8 lens.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lumix FZ200, 27 Jan. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Panasonic Lumix FZ200 Bridge Camera - Black (12MP, 24x Optical Zoom) 3.0 inch LCD (Camera)
Love the camera. Upgraded from my FZ38 and am pleased I did. The constant f/2.8 aperture is obviously the main selling point and it really does make a difference at the tele end of the zoom. Photo quality is good enough for me since I'm not going to be making large prints although, based on 'professional' reviews I've read, the quality appears to be good enough for A3 sized prints for photos taken using the camera's lower ISOs.

Most of the plus points have been mentioned in other reviews. The camera doesn't have the mega zoom range of many of its competitors but it has plenty of customizable features as well as a rotating LCD, a viewfinder and a hotshoe for external flash if required. I think it's a very good camera for beginners and enthusiasts alike.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 215 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

Only search this product's reviews