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
Panasonic's Lumix FZ200 is across-the-board excellent
5 January 2013
Summary: If you're searching for a long-zoom camera that falls in between a point-and-shoot and digital SLR experience, look no further than the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ200.
Pros: The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ200 has an excellent f2.8 25-600mm zoom lens; fast shooting performance, even when shooting in raw or raw plus JPEG; and excellent picture and video quality for its class. It has a ton of shooting options, including full manual for stills and movies. It also has a hot shoe and an audio input socket.
Cons: The FZ200 is expensive, especially if all you're after is a long zoom lens. It doesn't have built-in GPS or Wi-Fi, or a proximity sensor for switching from the LCD to EVF. The SD card slot and battery compartment can't be accessed when the camera is on a tripod.
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.
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.
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.
Excerpt: The Lumix DMC-FZ200 ($599) is Panasonic's flagship super zoom digital camera. While recent models have been relatively minor upgrades, the FZ200 returns to its roots by featuring a lens with an F2.8 maximum aperture across its entire zoom range. The early models in the FZ series (FZ1 - FZ20) had lenses like this, but that went bye-bye on the FZ30.