Conclusion: The Panasonic Lumix FZ200 falls into our “superzoom” category, boasting a 25-600mm (35mm equivalent) lens, which surpassed the rest of the super zoom category in terms of lens quality. Above the rest of the field, the FZ200 is packed with impressive video features, which makes the camera a quality choice for users with video as their priority.
Conclusion: Panasonic has a long-standing legacy for producing quality long-zoom bridge cameras, including the FZ150 superzoom which we reviewed and heartily recommended a little more than a year ago. However, the company pumped some new excitement into the line when it was announced the Panasonic FZ200 would house a Leica DC Vario-Elmarit-branded lens that boasted a f/2.8 max aperture across the entire 24x optical zoom range.
Pros: Leica-branded 24x optical zoom lens (25-600mm equivalent) with constant f/2.8 max aperture, Effective Power O.I.S. image stabilization, Full-res burst shooting at 12 frames per second, Fast autofocus and very low prefocused shutter lag, Excellent low-light AF, A ton of creative modes and filters, including panorama and HDR, High-res electronic viewfinder, Tilt-swivel 3-inch LCD monitor, Built-in popup flash and hot shoe, Very good flash range, Manual exposure and focu...
Cons: Leica-branded 24x optical zoom lens (25-600mm equivalent) with constant f/2.8 max aperture, Effective Power O.I.S. image stabilization, Full-res burst shooting at 12 frames per second, Fast autofocus and very low prefocused shutter lag, Excellent low-light AF, A ton of creative modes and filters, including panorama and HDR, High-res electronic viewfinder, Tilt-swivel 3-inch LCD monitor, Built-in popup flash and hot shoe, Very good flash range, Manual exposure and focu...
Summary: The Panasonic FZ200 is pleasant to use with plenty of controls and a nice LCD display plus a sharp EVF, albeit one that is way too small. Ergonomics are not perfect but generally good. The FZ200 is highly capable with lots of interesting features. The headline 12 FPS drive is particularly well implemented and keeps the display up-to-date.
Pros: Bright F/2.8 constant maximum aperture, Superb lens sharpness, Low optical distortion, Nice rendition of colors with correct WB, Quick autofocus, Very good shutter-lag, Extremely responsive, Impressive 12 FPS continuous drive, Awesome LCD visibility, Usable video framing overlay mask, Good ergonomics, Good battery-life
Cons: Softness from, Noise visible at all ISO, Useless ISO 3200+, Below average White-Balance system, Self-timer resets, Modal EC control, Minuscule EVF, Not always, Rear buttons too flat, Slow startup and shutdown
Summary: Useful extras include Intelligent Resolution (which auto-sharpens photos), Intelligent Zoom (digital zoom that doubles the zoom length), Face Recognition, panorama, 3D, High Dynamic Range and Handheld Night Shot -- but no GPS or Wi-Fi, so you won't be able to geotag your photos or send them wirelessly from your camera.
Pros: 24x zoom lens, Class-leading photo and video quality, Full manual controls, RAW mode and hot shoe, Outstanding auto mode for beginners
Summary: The lens in the extremely well designed Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ200 is tempting and its asking price is fair. If you're looking to trade up from a compact, don't discount this entirely in favour of a dSLR. Performance is on a par with a consumer dSLR, and you needn't invest in a bag full of expensive lenses to go with it.
Cons: Noise at high sensitivities; Some fudging of fine detail in very complex shots.
Excerpt: If you have the budget for an entry-level DSLR camera and are contemplating whether a prosumer-class camera with a good zoom lens would be a better idea, then the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ200 might sound more convincing. It sports much better optics than the standard 18-55 kit lens and offers a feature set that can put any entry-level DSLR to shame. Let’s find out what it packs under the hood that makes it exciting to use.
Summary: The headline feature of the FZ200 is its 'world's first' constant f/2.8 aperture throughout the focal range, so there's no doubt that the optical capability of the camera is going to be the main focus for many photographers. The good news is that the camera performs particularly well in this area, producing some excellent images with very few flaws.
Excerpt: If you are looking for a digital bridge camera that really fits the niche between SLR and point-and-shoot cameras, consider the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ200. The lens has a 24x optical zoom that is ultra wide angle, so you can capture more of the action and your subjects. The LCD screen sweeps out and rotates, giving you multiple viewing angles.
Pros: The Panasonic Lumix's body has options to add an additional flash unit and an external microphone.
Cons: The camera's design makes it impossible to access the battery and SD card slots when you're using a tripod.
Summary: The Lumix FZ200, Panasonic's Flagship super-zoom, marks a turn in the road for the FZ range and maybe even for the Super-zoom market generally. Rather than continue striving to produce ever longer zoom ranges with increasingly powerful telephoto focal lengths, Panasonic has taken a time out and thought of other ways of improving things. The result is one of those things that looks obvious in restrospect, but in truth takes a company with vision to bring about.
Pros: f2.8 aperture constant across zoom range., Superb 6 stop Power OIS stabilisation., 0.2in 1.3 million dot Electronic viewfinder., 3in 460k articulated LCD screen., HD slomo and miniature movie modes., 540 shots from a single charge.
Cons: Zoom range big but shorter than rivals., Short bust modes., Lacks viewfinder proximity sensor., Artifacts on miniature mode movies.