Panasonic Lumix FZ200 – a big zoom camera that promises fast photos [IFA 2012]
Panasonic Lumix FZ200 – what is it?
If you want want just one camera for any occasion this is it. The FZ200 is a super-zoom bridge camera, a type of camera that has a huge built-in lens so you can go from a wide shot to focussing on some distant object without fiddling around changing lenses. It is an all-in-one camera.
As this type of camera goes, the 24x optical zoom is modest – we’ve seen some with 35x or even 40x, i.e. a lot! But what it lacks in relative range it makes up for with speed, as Panasonic promises it can shoot with an f-stop of f2.8 no matter far you zoom in. Why does this matter? The lower the f-stop number, the larger the aperture – a larger aperture means better depth-of-field effects (i.e. blurred background) and more detail in low-light situations, both traditional weakenesses of super-zoom and compact cameras.
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Below are first impressions based on a short time with the product, not a full review. Read our bridge camera reviews for full reviews of the latest cameras and to see which take the best photos in all conditions. Read about how we test bridge cameras for an in-depth breakdown of all our camera tests.
Panasonic Lumix FZ200 – Andy’s first impressions
Only our lab can rule on whether Panasonic’s speed claims are justified, but if they are this could be a smashing camera. Panasonic has a great tradition of excellent super-zoom cameras and it shows. It’s a great camera to hold – every button feels in just the right place. I particularly like the secondary zoom control on the lens, which adds that extra bit of flexibility.
On the technical side of things, Panasonic has dotted and crossed everything – the FZ200 shoots full HD 1080p video (HD TV quality), there’s a built-in stereo mic, an electronic viewfinder and a handy articulated screen that rotates in every direction imaginable. From my brief try I also noticed the electronic viewfinder was particularly good in low-light – even in the gloomy conditions everything was bright and clear.
When can I buy it?
The good news: it’s already on sale. The bad news? It’ll leave a circa £500 hole in your pocket. That’s DSLR money, so it’s worth considering if it’s exactly what you need. Alternatively, the camera it replaces, the Panasonic Lumix FZ150, is now available for around £350. Not quite a bargain, but none too shabby.
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