Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ150 Review - Digital Photography School
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Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ150 Review

Having extensively used 10x and 35x compact digizoom cameras over the last year or so, I would say the former is a little short … and the latter a little too long for comfortable and successful leisure shooting.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ150 Hand3.jpg

So this model – the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ150 – with a 24x zoom comes in, as with Goldilock and her three bears’ beds, to be just right! Added to this is the factor of the wide end equating to 25mm in SDLR-speak. Usefully wide!

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ150 Hand2.jpg

The FZ150 also wins due to its use of a Leica Vario Elmarit lens which, even at full zoom, does not extend from the body by an uncomfortable length.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ150 Top TeleZoom.jpg

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ150 Features

The 12.1 million pixel MOS has a maximum image size of 4000×3000 pixels: from this expect to make a 34x25cm print.

Movies? Well taken care of, with AVHCD format at 1920x1080p and MPEG4 at 1280x720p. For the record the auto focus, exposure and stabiliser work well when shooting videos; unfortunately, you cannot shoot full size stills while the camera is recording video …. only 2048×1536 pixel pics. The FZ150 also has a stereo zoom microphone, with a wind cut function, set into the top of the body; like most of these setups it will pick up camera and lens handling noises.

One niggle: for a company which has long installed an excellent multi mode stabiliser into its still cameras this model has only two settings: on and off!

Jewellery.jpg

The mode dial has the usual options: iAuto, Program AE, shutter and aperture priority plus manual as well some presets to handle portraits, sport, landscapes, macro etc. Here also you can select an array of 17 scene modes (including 3D), preset custom options, movie shooting with manual settings as well as ‘Creative Control Mode’ … giving the ability to alter contrast, saturation, exposure and other parameters. Have to admit I haven’t seen this before … maybe useful for the creative video fan.

The hot shoe on the FZ150 allows attachment of an outboard stereo mic, external flash or even an optional remote shutter release.

Missing, I am sad to report, is a sensor to auto switch between the top viewfinder and rear LCD screen. You may think this is a negligible absence but I find cameras with it very easy to use.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ150 ISO Speeds

Panasonic DMC-FZ150 ISO 100.JPG

Panasonic DMC-FZ150 ISO 400.JPG

Panasonic DMC-FZ150 ISO 800.JPG

Panasonic DMC-FZ150 ISO 1600.JPG

Panasonic DMC-FZ150 ISO 3200.JPG

All clean until ISO 1600, with a small amount of noise appearing.

ISO 3200 noisy but useable in some situations.

Startup Time

From power on to first shot capture the camera took about 2.5 seconds; then each shot came in at a bit less than a second a shot.

Distortion

A good performer, the Leica lens shows no signs of any aberrations at the wide nor tele zoom ends.

Mannikin legs 2.JPG

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ150 Verdict

Quality: an average snapshot camera. No more. No less.

Why you would buy it: useful zoom range; pocketable.

Why you wouldn’t: you want more control, as found in DSLRs.

In overall terms this is a useful entry into maxi zoom territory and a delightfully easy camera to use. I found the camera easy to get around and handle its controls.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ150 Specifications

Image Sensor: 12.1 million effective pixels.
Metering: Intelligent multi, centre-weighted, spot.
Sensor Size: 11mm MOS.
Lens: Leica DC Vario-Elmarit f2.8-5.2/4.5-108mm (25-600mm as 35 SLR equivalent).
Shutter Speed: 30 to 1/2000 second.
Continuous Shooting: 11, 40, 60 images/second.
Memory: SD, SDHC, SDXC cards plus 70MB internal memory.
Image Sizes (pixels): 4000×3000 to 640×480. Movies: 1920×1080 to 1280×720 60p (AVCHD and MPEG4) at 30 fps.
Turret LCD finder: 5mm (201,600 pixels).
LCD Screen: 7.6cm LCD (460,000 pixels).
File Formats: RAW, JPEG, RAW+JPEG, AVCHD, MPEG4, 3D MPO.
ISO Sensitivity: Auto, 100 to 6400.
Interface: USB 2.0, HDMI mini, AV.
Power: Rechargeable lithium ion battery, DC input.
Dimensions: 124x82x95 WHDmm.
Weight: Approx. 528 g (inc battery).
Price: Get a price on the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ150 at Amazon.

Summary
Reviewer
Barrie Smith
Review Date
Reviewed Item
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ150
Author Rating
3

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Barrie Smith is an experienced writer/photographer currently published in Australian Macworld, Auscam and other magazines in Australia and overseas.

  • Gerard

    Pocketable? You must have huge pockets!

  • Mike

    While this was far from being an in-depth review, I find it odd that you only rated this camera “an average snapshot camera. No more. No less”. Yes, all review conclusions are subjective, but come on. The average competing cameras don’t have high quality Leica optics, do raw and avchd and full hd 1920×1080@60p and have a free-angle lcd display, and and and.

    I guess I’d say this “review” is superficial at best, and to reach a conclusion that this camera is just “an average snapshot camera. No more. No less” stretches subjectivity to the max.

  • Davis Arrowsmith

    A very poor review by someone who obviously only has time for “real” cameras, i.e. DSLRs. Comparing this camera with a DSLR is unfair. It should be compared to like cameras only, other “superzoom/bridge” cameras.
    I have DSLRs and a Panasonic FZ28 and the Panny is ideal for zoo/safari park photography when you can’t get close to the exhibits and don’t want to lug around a hefty camera/lens/tripod etc. Ok the image quality is not as good as a DSLR but to dismiss it as a snapshot only camera is churlish and grossly misleading.

  • http://digitalphotographyschool Bobbyfreez

    Call me an Iconoclast. I have shot 35mm film slrs and range-finders for decades including Nikons, Leicas and Canons. I see no season for 95% of all recreational and serious photographers to need anything more than this camera. Digital SLRs are too bulky with nowhere near the lens flexibility of the Lumix or the Canon powershot series camera. I know the sensor size here is smaller. So what. I defy the average eye to tell the difference in an 11×14 print between slrs and the power zooms. For the record I could see no discernible difference between the 100 ISO and the 3200. Todays digital photogs are spoiled. I am used to seeing old fashioned grain on something as low as 400 speed on film. Save the money gain the results. These cameras ( the super zooms) are the best photography tools ever produced.

  • Bob Dumon

    I moved up from the Panny FZ100 to the FZ150 to get better image quality after I “upgraded” from a Nikon D40 DSLR, two Nikon lenses, and Nikon SB600. I see very little difference between shots I took on the D40 and shots I now get from the FZ150. If anything, the FZ150 images appear superior to me. AND… I don’t have to carry multiple lenses… I don’t have to carry a separate HD camcorder… and I have all the control I need with the FZ150. I mean, come on… the owner’s manual for this camera is 202 pages. How much more “control” do you need??? It’s FAR beyond “an average snapshot camera.” Another silly review conclusion by a DSLR snob….

  • Robyn

    I totally agree with Bobby!
    Super zoom digital cameras ARE the way of the future.
    Within 3-5 years everyone will be using them.
    Within 3-4 years SLR will be dinosaurs.
    Within 3-5 years you’ll be ridiculed for having a camera with a mirror inside it.
    Within 3-5 super zooms will have full size sensors.
    Within 3-5 years serious photographers will sell off all their SLR equipment.
    Within 3-4 years you’ll be a laughing stock for carrying multiple lenses.
    Wake up people!
    But more importantly WAKE UP CAM MANUFACTURERS! :
    1-don’t you realize that amateur photographers are 100% more sophisticated than they were 5 years ago?
    2-don’t you realize that we are already CLAMOURING for FULL SIZE sensors in point and shoot cameras?
    2-don’t you realize that soon 80% of earthlings will have digital cameras?
    3-don’t you realize that no more than less than 1% of earthlings are using or will EVER use SLRs?
    4-don’t you realize where all the money is?
    5-don’t you realize who’s going to keep your company in business?
    6-don’t you realize that catering only to elite photographers is going to put you out business?
    7-don’t you realize that no one is buying point and shoot cameras with tiny sensors?
    8-don’t you realize that the masses will NEVER move to SLR cameras?
    9-don’t you realize that pro-photographers WILL move to point and shoot super zooms IF ONLY you have the BALLS to place FULL SIZE SENSORS in them?

    It’s up to you CANON, NIKON, PANASONIC, SONY, OLYMPUS, RICOH, etc.:
    Try to protect your tiny SLR market which will always stay tiny..
    OR
    cater to the infinite amateur market that will do nothing but grow and make you millions
    IF you start making SUPER ZOOM NON-SLR CAMERAS WITH FULL SIZE SENSORS!

    Then again, dinosaurs were too stupid to survive!

  • Robyn

    …oops! damn typos and silly numbering :-)

  • http://www.geckosites.com Mark

    I got the FZ150 to supplement my Canon 7D. My typical lenses of choice on my Canon are my 28-70 f/2.8L, 70-300 f/4-5.6L and Sigma 10-20mm f/4.5-5.6 …when I’m using my 7D with either of my L lenses, I expect very high quality results… but it’s also a little inconvenient at times to carry that big rig around (I also have the battery grip on my 7D). I wanted something that I could carry a bit easier for “fun” photos (not for photo shoots or paying jobs), but would still take high-quality images and allow me the flexibility of shooting in Aperture Priority mode at a wide aperture (f/2.8 on the wide end is pretty good!) … it was also important for me to have a hotshoe that would allow me to mount my wireless flash trigger, in case I wanted to set up some off-camera flash (NEVER USE on-camera flash!!). So far, I’ve been pretty happy with the results… the camera has a VERY useable focal range, 25mm on the wide end is great, and 600mm on the long end is amazing! This will make a great travel camera.. will it work as well as my 7D? no.. .but it will be a heck of a lot more convenient!!! And, it shoots in RAW, so I still have full control in post-processing if I want to get creative.

  • Dave Anderson

    Where I stopped placing any credibility in this review was when the author wrote”The 12.1 million pixel MOS has a maximum image size of 4000×3000 pixels: from this expect to make a 34x25cm print.”

    Seriously?

    Has the author not heard that a few years ago a major advance in upsampling technology was made and now every photo printer capable of printing large images is using the new tech? Most lab printers print at 200 pixels per inch so 4000×3000=20×15 inches, not 34x25cm (13.4×10″). With the newish upsampling tech this can scale to 300% or 60×45 inch prints with little to no loss in visual quality.

  • Darshan Sukthanker

    Well I am not a pro, but I found this review pretty childish.
    Its more of a preview than a review.

    And I hope you are kidding with a statement such as this — “an average snapshot camera. No more. No less.”

  • barrie

    To dave anderson:

    the figure of 300 dpi was taken as a yardstick, mainly for its continuing use in magazine publishing.

    Everyone is welcome to asses his/her own print sizes using hi/her own dpi.

  • RKTrana

    It looks like the reviewer does not know how to use a point and shoot camera to its best capability. The comments were much more useful than the review. This camera is certainly not just an average. I completely agree with “Robyn – very well said”

  • http://www.mytb.org/suzannesjourney Suzanne

    What I love about these reviews are the comments that follow. I’m in need of something to replace my bulky dSLR when I travel and this reviewer is great at writing something that is just off enough to spur up great reactions. So thank-you to him and to all of you that have been posting comment(s) because they have been the most honest/helpful tool in my search for a new camera (maybe this one based on your reactions!).

  • Michael G

    I’m really tired of DSLR users talking and acting as if DSLR’s are the only camera worth having. This is real arogance on their part I feel. The new breed of “point-and-shoot” cameras have so many features and such quality output that is hard a times to tell the difference between those and DSLR’s. Why would anyone want to have to carry around a big bag with a heavy camera, plus several lenses and other things, when it can all be purchased in one compact camera. The quality of images coming from these new superzooms is fantastic, and we amateur photographers are not second class. The number of people using a DSLR is becoming a smaller and smaller percentage, as the amateur market grows at exponential speed. I have a camera with a “small” sensor – 1/1.6, but the end results are so good I defy you to tell the difference between mine and those of many DSLR cameras. Then there is the cost. Who wants to pay $1200 or more for a second hand DSLR body only, and then have to spend more on lenses, when for substantially less than the $1200, one can buy a brand new superzoom which probably does more and in more ways that the second hand DSLR?

    It’s time the DSLR manufacturers woke up. The amateur market is where all the customers are – multi-millions of them, and they are all keen to buy good quality digital cameras, but they won’t go for the DSLR’s – they are just too expensive.

    So all your DSLR owners, stop looking down your noses at the rest of us, because you are outnumbered literally millions to one.

Some older comments

  • Michael G

    May 7, 2012 02:39 pm

    I'm really tired of DSLR users talking and acting as if DSLR's are the only camera worth having. This is real arogance on their part I feel. The new breed of "point-and-shoot" cameras have so many features and such quality output that is hard a times to tell the difference between those and DSLR's. Why would anyone want to have to carry around a big bag with a heavy camera, plus several lenses and other things, when it can all be purchased in one compact camera. The quality of images coming from these new superzooms is fantastic, and we amateur photographers are not second class. The number of people using a DSLR is becoming a smaller and smaller percentage, as the amateur market grows at exponential speed. I have a camera with a "small" sensor - 1/1.6, but the end results are so good I defy you to tell the difference between mine and those of many DSLR cameras. Then there is the cost. Who wants to pay $1200 or more for a second hand DSLR body only, and then have to spend more on lenses, when for substantially less than the $1200, one can buy a brand new superzoom which probably does more and in more ways that the second hand DSLR?

    It's time the DSLR manufacturers woke up. The amateur market is where all the customers are - multi-millions of them, and they are all keen to buy good quality digital cameras, but they won't go for the DSLR's - they are just too expensive.

    So all your DSLR owners, stop looking down your noses at the rest of us, because you are outnumbered literally millions to one.

  • Suzanne

    January 3, 2012 04:19 pm

    What I love about these reviews are the comments that follow. I'm in need of something to replace my bulky dSLR when I travel and this reviewer is great at writing something that is just off enough to spur up great reactions. So thank-you to him and to all of you that have been posting comment(s) because they have been the most honest/helpful tool in my search for a new camera (maybe this one based on your reactions!).

  • RKTrana

    December 11, 2011 04:13 pm

    It looks like the reviewer does not know how to use a point and shoot camera to its best capability. The comments were much more useful than the review. This camera is certainly not just an average. I completely agree with "Robyn - very well said"

  • barrie

    December 9, 2011 08:41 am

    To dave anderson:

    the figure of 300 dpi was taken as a yardstick, mainly for its continuing use in magazine publishing.

    Everyone is welcome to asses his/her own print sizes using hi/her own dpi.

  • Darshan Sukthanker

    December 8, 2011 08:49 pm

    Well I am not a pro, but I found this review pretty childish.
    Its more of a preview than a review.

    And I hope you are kidding with a statement such as this --- "an average snapshot camera. No more. No less."

  • Dave Anderson

    December 7, 2011 02:20 pm

    Where I stopped placing any credibility in this review was when the author wrote"The 12.1 million pixel MOS has a maximum image size of 4000×3000 pixels: from this expect to make a 34x25cm print."

    Seriously?

    Has the author not heard that a few years ago a major advance in upsampling technology was made and now every photo printer capable of printing large images is using the new tech? Most lab printers print at 200 pixels per inch so 4000x3000=20x15 inches, not 34x25cm (13.4x10"). With the newish upsampling tech this can scale to 300% or 60x45 inch prints with little to no loss in visual quality.

  • Mark

    December 6, 2011 09:37 am

    I got the FZ150 to supplement my Canon 7D. My typical lenses of choice on my Canon are my 28-70 f/2.8L, 70-300 f/4-5.6L and Sigma 10-20mm f/4.5-5.6 ...when I'm using my 7D with either of my L lenses, I expect very high quality results... but it's also a little inconvenient at times to carry that big rig around (I also have the battery grip on my 7D). I wanted something that I could carry a bit easier for "fun" photos (not for photo shoots or paying jobs), but would still take high-quality images and allow me the flexibility of shooting in Aperture Priority mode at a wide aperture (f/2.8 on the wide end is pretty good!) ... it was also important for me to have a hotshoe that would allow me to mount my wireless flash trigger, in case I wanted to set up some off-camera flash (NEVER USE on-camera flash!!). So far, I've been pretty happy with the results... the camera has a VERY useable focal range, 25mm on the wide end is great, and 600mm on the long end is amazing! This will make a great travel camera.. will it work as well as my 7D? no.. .but it will be a heck of a lot more convenient!!! And, it shoots in RAW, so I still have full control in post-processing if I want to get creative.

  • Robyn

    December 5, 2011 07:45 am

    ...oops! damn typos and silly numbering :-)

  • Robyn

    December 5, 2011 07:42 am

    I totally agree with Bobby!
    Super zoom digital cameras ARE the way of the future.
    Within 3-5 years everyone will be using them.
    Within 3-4 years SLR will be dinosaurs.
    Within 3-5 years you'll be ridiculed for having a camera with a mirror inside it.
    Within 3-5 super zooms will have full size sensors.
    Within 3-5 years serious photographers will sell off all their SLR equipment.
    Within 3-4 years you'll be a laughing stock for carrying multiple lenses.
    Wake up people!
    But more importantly WAKE UP CAM MANUFACTURERS! :
    1-don't you realize that amateur photographers are 100% more sophisticated than they were 5 years ago?
    2-don't you realize that we are already CLAMOURING for FULL SIZE sensors in point and shoot cameras?
    2-don't you realize that soon 80% of earthlings will have digital cameras?
    3-don't you realize that no more than less than 1% of earthlings are using or will EVER use SLRs?
    4-don't you realize where all the money is?
    5-don't you realize who's going to keep your company in business?
    6-don't you realize that catering only to elite photographers is going to put you out business?
    7-don't you realize that no one is buying point and shoot cameras with tiny sensors?
    8-don't you realize that the masses will NEVER move to SLR cameras?
    9-don't you realize that pro-photographers WILL move to point and shoot super zooms IF ONLY you have the BALLS to place FULL SIZE SENSORS in them?

    It's up to you CANON, NIKON, PANASONIC, SONY, OLYMPUS, RICOH, etc.:
    Try to protect your tiny SLR market which will always stay tiny..
    OR
    cater to the infinite amateur market that will do nothing but grow and make you millions
    IF you start making SUPER ZOOM NON-SLR CAMERAS WITH FULL SIZE SENSORS!

    Then again, dinosaurs were too stupid to survive!

  • Bob Dumon

    December 5, 2011 06:18 am

    I moved up from the Panny FZ100 to the FZ150 to get better image quality after I "upgraded" from a Nikon D40 DSLR, two Nikon lenses, and Nikon SB600. I see very little difference between shots I took on the D40 and shots I now get from the FZ150. If anything, the FZ150 images appear superior to me. AND... I don't have to carry multiple lenses... I don't have to carry a separate HD camcorder... and I have all the control I need with the FZ150. I mean, come on... the owner's manual for this camera is 202 pages. How much more "control" do you need??? It's FAR beyond "an average snapshot camera." Another silly review conclusion by a DSLR snob....

  • Bobbyfreez

    December 2, 2011 09:24 am

    Call me an Iconoclast. I have shot 35mm film slrs and range-finders for decades including Nikons, Leicas and Canons. I see no season for 95% of all recreational and serious photographers to need anything more than this camera. Digital SLRs are too bulky with nowhere near the lens flexibility of the Lumix or the Canon powershot series camera. I know the sensor size here is smaller. So what. I defy the average eye to tell the difference in an 11x14 print between slrs and the power zooms. For the record I could see no discernible difference between the 100 ISO and the 3200. Todays digital photogs are spoiled. I am used to seeing old fashioned grain on something as low as 400 speed on film. Save the money gain the results. These cameras ( the super zooms) are the best photography tools ever produced.

  • Davis Arrowsmith

    December 2, 2011 09:24 am

    A very poor review by someone who obviously only has time for "real" cameras, i.e. DSLRs. Comparing this camera with a DSLR is unfair. It should be compared to like cameras only, other "superzoom/bridge" cameras.
    I have DSLRs and a Panasonic FZ28 and the Panny is ideal for zoo/safari park photography when you can't get close to the exhibits and don't want to lug around a hefty camera/lens/tripod etc. Ok the image quality is not as good as a DSLR but to dismiss it as a snapshot only camera is churlish and grossly misleading.

  • Mike

    November 30, 2011 07:17 am

    While this was far from being an in-depth review, I find it odd that you only rated this camera "an average snapshot camera. No more. No less". Yes, all review conclusions are subjective, but come on. The average competing cameras don't have high quality Leica optics, do raw and avchd and full hd 1920x1080@60p and have a free-angle lcd display, and and and.

    I guess I'd say this "review" is superficial at best, and to reach a conclusion that this camera is just "an average snapshot camera. No more. No less" stretches subjectivity to the max.

  • Gerard

    November 28, 2011 01:40 pm

    Pocketable? You must have huge pockets!

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