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Panasonic LUMIX DMC-FZ100 review
|DATE REVIEWED: 1st Nov 2010||Add Camera To Comparison Chart|
|Camera Type||Bridge||Shutter Speeds||1 - 1/2000 sec|
|RRP||£449||ISO Range||100 - 1600|
|Megapixels||14||Focal Length||25 - 600mm|
|Weight||496g||Aperture||f2.8 - 8|
|Dimensions||124 x 81 x 95mm (WxHxD)||Focus Distance||30cm - inf|
|LCD Size||3 inches||Zoom (Opt)||24x|
|Zoom (Dig)||4x||Storage||SD, SDHC, SDXC|
|Max Resolution||4320 x 3240||Battery Type||Li-Ion|
The new superzoom for Panasonic is the Lumix FZ100. Announced in their August raft of launches, the bridge model boasts all the must-have features for the season and more besides.
Packing a 14megapixel punch, the FZ100 offers user full 1080p high def movies, as well as stereo sound – something very few competitors offer. The movie mode can be accessed via the mode dial on top of the camera, or the one touch button that sits just behind the shutter release.
As well as a movie mode, the superzoom offers a full range of manual and auto shooting modes, including P, A, S and M for the most advanced and creative photographers. These modes are all accessed via the mode dial on top, with settings being altered by the control dial that sits perfectly beneath the thumb.
Also on the mode dial are Panasonics iA mode, switch to this to let the camera do the hard work for you, My Colors mode that includes Pin Hole, Monochrome, Expressive and many more, Custom and scene modes. In total the mode dial short cuts to 14 different shooting modes for the ultimate quick and easy access.
The other real headline feature onboard is the FZ100’s 24x optical zoom. Reaching from 25mm at the wide angle to a whopping 600mm (35mm equiv.) at the telephoto, this camera offers a lens reach that few can rival. Helped along by the option to shoot on either auto or manual focus via a switch on the side of the lens, the Panasonic will be capable of handling most shooting scenarios. There’s even a lens hood included for your money.
Round the back of the camera you’ll find the 3” vari-angle LCD, which is hinged on the left hands side for a fully flexible shooting setup. Panasonic have also included a small electronic viewfinder with a dioptre to one side. It’s not as good as some we’ve seen, but EVFs have come a long way in recent years and in bright conditions when viewing the LCD is very hard, the EVF comes into its own.
Alongside the LCD are a wealth of shortcut buttons that allow access to features such as ISO, exposure compensation, self-timer, menu and flash. These come in very handy when shooting in any of the manual modes.
All of these features, functions and buttons add up to an extremely pleasant user experience. The FZ100 is quick to start up and even quicker shot to shot, access to features is intuitive and you don’t spend much time fiddling with menus, you just spend time taking photos.
Image quality wise, the Panasonic FZ100 produces some lovely colours. They’re bright, vivid and punchy straight out of camera. Colour rendition is probably a little saturated on auto settings, but we like this. At the telephoto end, there is a little bit of smudging when you zoom into detail on photos back at your computer, but we would expect a degree of this on any superzoom camera. Detail is generally very good at the wide to mid lengths of the lens and metering system did well in almost all situations. When shooting particularly high contrast scenes (in to the sun) the camera still retained some shadow detail, although some of the highlights were blown. We had a lot of fun playing with the My Color mode – with Silhouette and Pinhole being firm favourites with us.
Costing £449, the Panasonic FZ100 is asking a lot. When you consider you can buy Sony’s new A390 DSLR and lens for the same money, some consumers may well be put off. However, the street price has already dropped below £400 online, and when you consider the features set – including 1080p movies, 11fps continuous mode, Raw and Jpgs, 24x optical zoom, and much more – and the ease of use, the price soon seems to justify itself.
Much like the FZ35 before it, the Panasonic FZ100 is a great camera, capable of stunning images, which can be used by the whole family in any shooting situation. If you can afford the high price tag, this camera will be the only one you need.
This is an excellent camera, capable of great images although the high price may put some people off
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Debbi’s passionate about all things photographic: from the latest digital kit to the greatest techniques to capture a scene. She’s been at the helm of the photography portfolio of magazines, websites and more for three years.
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