Panasonic Lumix FZ60 Review - Digital Photography School

Panasonic Lumix FZ60 Review

Panasonic Lumix FZ60.jpg

I remember some years ago lusting after a (then) new Kodak (remember them?) digicam that had a 10x zoom. Wow! I thought what photographic horizons it would conquer.

Now, you can put your mitts on a 50x zoom digicam (thanks to Canon) but, as you will quickly find out, it’s not a dream holiday with such a powerful lens, with handholding at extreme tele settings a no-no.

Panasonic Lumix FZ60-front.jpg

IMHO the 24x zoom on the FZ60 is arguably a better length for average shooting in the hands of the average and lesser-skilled photographer.

Panasonic Lumix FZ60-top.jpg

Panasonic quaintly describes the camera as one that ‘caters to the camera buyer who wants that zoom reach, but doesn’t need the bright constant aperture, and the drawbacks it brings. If you’re willing to forgo the extra light capture, it could provide a compelling option.’

Eh?

It seems the company is comparing the FZ60 with another model which had an aperture of f4.5 as opposed to the FZ60’s smaller f5.2 at the tele end. For me, there’s little sense in the comparison.

The big plus is that the 24x zoom ranges from a 35 SLR wide equivalent of 25mm to a tele equivalent of 600mm. As I’ve mentioned many times before, try and get, use and lug a 35 DSLR lens of that focal length!

And it’s a Leica-designed optic.

Panasonic Lumix FZ60 Back.jpg

Panasonic Lumix FZ60 Features

The camera is set in the by now established bridge camera format: looks like an interchangeable DSLR, works like one but doesn’t allow lens switching and cannot take pictures equal in quality to a DSLR. So there!

But for many people, especially those on a foreign (or even domestic!) holiday this is the ideal single camera for the purpose: it’s relatively compact, won’t stow in your pocket but will hang quite happily on from your neck regions on a shoulder strap and few subjects, however distant, will be beyond your reach.

Panasonic Lumix FZ60 Menu_1.jpg

Panasonic Lumix FZ60 Scenes.jpg

The mode dial carries well-identified settings for intelligent Auto, PASM, creative movie, two custom settings, scene modes (soft focus, dynamic monochrome, cross processing etc) and creative control setting.

Creative movie allows you use Program AE, aperture and shutter priority settings plus manual when shooting video.

Creative control lets you select a variety of image effects in stills shooting, along with examples of how they look.

Topside carries a selection of buttons to shoot a burst of shots, a Function button, movie record and the zoom lever.

Move to the rear side and we see the four way jog dial, with the menu button set into its centre, along with another Function button, trash plus AF options.

The 16.1 million pixel CMOS captures a relatively largish maximum image size of 4608×2592 pixels or, in print terms, an output of 39x22cm output.

Movies in Full HD 1920×1080 can be recorded to a Class 4 SD card in the AVCHD format or MPEG4 at a lower resolution. This clip was shot with a stills pan head, which accounts for the jerky panning!

Overall, the camera offers a surprising level of manual and over-riding control as well as the useful ability to capture on RAW and JPEG.

A special note: I had a great time shooting some beach action in movie mode. The zoom’s full tele setting is perfect for such a subject.

Startup Times

I could shoot the first shots about two seconds after powering up, while follow on shots came in at about a second apart, until the buffer memory filled.

Distortion

No sign of any distortion at the wide or tele ends of the zoom.

Panasonic Lumix FZ60 ISO Tests

Panasonic Lumix FZ60 ISO 100.JPG

Panasonic Lumix FZ60 ISO 400.JPG

Panasonic Lumix FZ60 ISO 800.JPG

Panasonic Lumix FZ60 ISO 1600.JPG

Panasonic Lumix FZ60 ISO 3200.JPG

At ISO 1600 some artefacts were beginning to appear and by ISO 3200 these made picture taking a tricky chore.

(insert Full wide 2 and Full tele 2

Panasonic Lumix FZ60 Review Verdict

Panasonic Lumix FZ60  wide.JPG

Panasonic Lumix FZ60  tele.JPG
Quality: excellent.

Why you’d buy the Panasonic Lumix FZ60: above average as a stills camera; perfect for video.

Why you wouldn’t: a vari-angle screen could have made a difference.

Great camera, excellent zoom reach.

Panasonic Lumix FZ60 Specifications

Image Sensor: 16.1 million effective pixels.
Sensor: 11mm CMOS.
Metering: Multi, centre-weighted, spot.
Lens: Leica DC Vario-Elmarit f2.8-5.2/4.5-108mm (25-600mm as 35 SLR equivalent)
Exposure Modes: Auto, Program AE, shutter and aperture priority, manual.
Shutter Speed: 4-1/2000 second.
Memory: SD/SDHC/SDXC plus 70 MB internal.
Image Sizes (pixels): Stills: 4608×2592 to 480×480.
Movies: 1920×1080, 1280×720, 640×480.
Viewfinder: Turret (202,000) and 7.6cm LCD screen (460,000).
File Formats: JPEG, MPO 3D, MPEG4, AVCHD.
Colour Space: sRGB.
ISO Sensitivity: Auto, 100 to 6400.
Interface: USB 2.0, HDMI mini, remote control, DC input.
Power: Rechargeable lithium ion battery.
Dimensions: 120.3×80.8×91.9 WHDmm.
Weight: 493 g (with battery and card).
Price: Get a price on the Panasonic Lumix FZ60 at Amazon.

Summary
Reviewer
Barrie Smith
Review Date
Reviewed Item
Panasonic Lumix FZ60
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.

  • dana

    “Panasonic quaintly describes the camera as one that ‘caters to the camera buyer who wants that zoom reach, but doesn’t need the bright constant aperture, and the drawbacks it brings. If you’re willing to forgo the extra light capture, it could provide a compelling option.’
    Eh? It seems the company is comparing the FZ60 with another model which had an aperture of f4.5 as opposed to the FZ60?s smaller f5.2 at the tele end. For me, there’s little sense in the comparison.”

    No, they’re comparing it to the FZ200.

  • Jim Donahue

    I cannot understand why this camera and its Leica partner comes without a Lens Hood.

  • http://shutterfly Rick

    because the lens draws back into its shell when the camera is turned off, leaving no room for the hood….

  • http://brianmahoney.ca Brian

    You say: “The camera is set in the by now established bridge camera format: looks like an interchangeable DSLR, works like one but doesn’t allow lens switching and cannot take pictures equal in quality to a DSLR. So there!”
    yet later on you say: that it’s above average as a stills camera. What exactly is the difference between saying that and saying ‘cannot take pictures equal in quality’? It has the Leica lens so the images should be sharp, given enough light on the subject. What effect do the internals have on picture quality? How would a DSLR photo be better? A blanket statement like that in a review doesn’t help the reader too much because it is so broad, so all encompassing. Why exactly would a DSLR’s ‘quality’ be better than this camera’s quality?
    Also, no mention at all of the viewfinder. How was it? Bright? Dim? Pixelated? Anyone who is looking at a camera like this would be keen on knowing the difference between a DSLR’s bright optical viewfinder as opposed to this one’s digital one. These bridge cameras vary significantly in the quality (usually brightness and coverage) of their viewfinders. If the author actually used the camera, wouldn’t some news on the viewfinder just pop out immediately?
    Maybe you were limited in the depth of your review but this seems to me to be very superficial. People come to DPS for help but this review, at least, doesn’t offer much. I’ve been following DPS for years now, by the way.

  • David J

    I still have an FZ 50 and love it. Not quite the zoom reach of this model and only 10.1 pix but what a great lens.
    It would appear that the folks a Panasonic have fixed the fringing issue at higher ISO’s as the FZ 50 was rubbish above the 400 mark.
    I was recently gifted a Nikon D 7000 by my daughter for a fast approaching 70th birthday. Can’t wait to Field test it but my old friend the Panny will be my go to camera for bird shots and probably macro.

Some older comments

  • David J

    December 9, 2012 01:42 pm

    I still have an FZ 50 and love it. Not quite the zoom reach of this model and only 10.1 pix but what a great lens.
    It would appear that the folks a Panasonic have fixed the fringing issue at higher ISO's as the FZ 50 was rubbish above the 400 mark.
    I was recently gifted a Nikon D 7000 by my daughter for a fast approaching 70th birthday. Can't wait to Field test it but my old friend the Panny will be my go to camera for bird shots and probably macro.

  • Brian

    December 7, 2012 10:30 pm

    You say: "The camera is set in the by now established bridge camera format: looks like an interchangeable DSLR, works like one but doesn’t allow lens switching and cannot take pictures equal in quality to a DSLR. So there!"
    yet later on you say: that it's above average as a stills camera. What exactly is the difference between saying that and saying 'cannot take pictures equal in quality'? It has the Leica lens so the images should be sharp, given enough light on the subject. What effect do the internals have on picture quality? How would a DSLR photo be better? A blanket statement like that in a review doesn't help the reader too much because it is so broad, so all encompassing. Why exactly would a DSLR's 'quality' be better than this camera's quality?
    Also, no mention at all of the viewfinder. How was it? Bright? Dim? Pixelated? Anyone who is looking at a camera like this would be keen on knowing the difference between a DSLR's bright optical viewfinder as opposed to this one's digital one. These bridge cameras vary significantly in the quality (usually brightness and coverage) of their viewfinders. If the author actually used the camera, wouldn't some news on the viewfinder just pop out immediately?
    Maybe you were limited in the depth of your review but this seems to me to be very superficial. People come to DPS for help but this review, at least, doesn't offer much. I've been following DPS for years now, by the way.

  • Rick

    December 7, 2012 03:10 am

    because the lens draws back into its shell when the camera is turned off, leaving no room for the hood....

  • Jim Donahue

    December 4, 2012 11:50 am

    I cannot understand why this camera and its Leica partner comes without a Lens Hood.

  • dana

    December 3, 2012 11:41 am

    "Panasonic quaintly describes the camera as one that ‘caters to the camera buyer who wants that zoom reach, but doesn’t need the bright constant aperture, and the drawbacks it brings. If you’re willing to forgo the extra light capture, it could provide a compelling option.’
    Eh? It seems the company is comparing the FZ60 with another model which had an aperture of f4.5 as opposed to the FZ60?s smaller f5.2 at the tele end. For me, there’s little sense in the comparison."

    No, they're comparing it to the FZ200.

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