Bitten by the photography bug early in life, I have gone through a range of cameras stating with the Yashica Box camera to becoming the proud owner of a Panasonic Digital camera last week. The hype and hullaballoo surrounding DSLR cameras becoming cheaper and mirror less interchangeable cameras, I still am a fan of the super zoom cameras.
The only reason I would opt for a DSLR over a super zoom would be the sensor. In spite of the development in technology, a small sensor cannot outperform the larger sensors of the DSLR. However, unless I am constantly shooting pictures in either low light or at high ISO levels, the sensors on the super zoom cameras do a great job at giving me pictures with little or no noise.
Features Of Panasonic DMC FZ200
At a first glance the new Panasonic DMC FZ200 does not look very different from its predecessor the DMC FZ150. However, a closer look shows the changes in the DMC FZ200. The diameter of the lens barrel is larger and there is more coverage on the body of the rubberized material. The grip is also different from the DMC FZ150. The DMC FZ200 has a deeper body than the DMC FZ150 which can be seen when looking at both the cameras from the top. The DMC FZ200 dimensions are 4.92 x 3.43 x 4.33 inches (125 x 87 x 110 mm) and it weighs in at 588 g (1.30lb).
The front of the camera is mostly taken up by the lens along with the AF assist. The DMC FZ200 features a zoom control and a switch for the focus, including manual focus on the left side of the zoom barrel. The newly developed 0.2 inch Electronic View Finder, three inch LCD screen and the control buttons make up the back. The mode dial along with the on/off switch, movie recording button, zoom lever and shutter are all located on the top.
A pop up flash above the lens with the activation button located just behind it, a hot shoe for an external flash and the stereo microphone make up the top of the DMC FZ200, while the bottom houses the battery and memory card compartment. The connecters for USB and HDMI are located on the side.
The DMC FZ200 comes equipped with an f /2.8, 24x optical zoom Leica DC Vario-Elmarit lens which is the equivalent of a whopping 25 – 600 mm on a 35 mm camera. This can be further increased to 48x using the Intelligent Zoom function. The special Nano Surface coating on the lens helps in reducing unwanted flares and ghosting on the pictures.
The best feature of this super zoom camera is the full range f/2.8 aperture. In fact the Panasonic Lumix DMC FZ200 is the first super zoom digital compact camera to offer full range f/2.8 aperture even at 600mm. This allows one to shoot moving subjects at a distance clearly, even with a fast shutter speed.
The DMC FZ200 has a brand new ½.3 inch 12.1 megapixel High Sensitivity MOS sensor. The actual megapixel on the MOS sensor is 12.8 but to ensure all four aspect ratios without having to change the angle of view, the DMC FZ200 only utilizes 12.1 megapixels. The output is handled by Panasonic’s Venus Engine VII FHD image processor and along with the new sensor allows full resolution burst shooting at 12 fps.
User Interface uniformity has been maintained by Panasonic on all their cameras allowing users to find controls easy to use. The DMC FZ200 exposure modes include PASM which offers advanced controls over exposure with programme (P), aperture-priority (A), shutter-priority (S) and full manual (M) plus two custom modes. Also available are an Intelligent Auto mode, a Creative Control mode and a Scene position mode.
Benefiting both the amateur and professional photographer, The DMC FZ200 offers a range of creative options with several options merged in-camera, including 3D photo and panorama modes. Featuring 14 filter options including the newly added Soft Focus, Impressive Art, Cross Process, Toy Effect, Star Filter and One Point Colour along with the standard filter effects found on the entire Lumix range.
Photo style choices include Standard, Vivid, Monochrome, Natural, Custom, Potrait and Scenery. The Intelligent Auto and Intelligent Auto Plus modes allow control over exposure compensation, white balance and background defocusing.Video recording in the DMC FZ200 is very impressive, with AVCHD, MPEG 4 modes available. There are also two additional modes to record video at high-speed.
The Panasonic DMC FZ200 has an ISO range from 100 to 6400.
The DMC FZ200 has a maximum constant aperture of 2.8
The flash on the DMC FZ200 lights up to a distance of 13.5 m.
Storage on the DMC FZ200 can be done on a SD / SDHC / SDXC card or in the internal memory. The card slot is at the base of the camera along with the battery compartment.
The DMC FZ200 runs on a Li-ion Battery pack. A full charge gives 540 shots. It takes 4 hours to recharge the battery to its full capacity.
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ 200 Price
With a price tag ranging between $499 and $570 in the US, the camera is a higher priced that its predecessor the DMC-FZ150.
The Panasonic DMC FZ200 has a range of competitors including the Fujifilm X-S1 (with a larger sensor), the Nikon Coolpix P510, the Sony Cybershot HX200v and the Olympus SP-810. Although all of the competitors have a larger zoom lens, the DMC FZ200 manages to stand its ground against them.
The choice of a 12 megapixel sensor, rather than a higher resolution model, allows for both lower noise at higher ISO settings and high speed shooting. For someone looking at a travel camera which can offer both macro and super zoom, the DMC FZ200, with its focus on image quality could be the right choice.
If however, one is willing to forgo some of the enhanced features of the DMC FZ200, then its predecessor the DMC FZ150 is also a very good choice, while being lighter on the pocket.