Straight up this camera ticks most of my boxes!
A swinging LCD screen IMHO is a must and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ100 has a beauty: 7.6cm, with a high res count of 460,000 pixels; it rotates 180 degrees horizontally and 270 vertically.
The MOS sensor has 14.1 megapixels and maximum image size of 4320×3240 pixels, leading to a 37x27cm print.
A razz of a continuous shooting speed: how about eleven pics per second at full resolution? If you want continuous auto focus, you can still run a burst at five fps.
These shots show how a 24x optical zoom, equivalent to 25-600mm on a 35 SLR, can perform. Super sharp at both ends of the zoom; shots were taken tripod-mounted.
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ100 Features
It just gets better! Thanks to a prominent speed grip, holding the camera is no challenge and one-handed operation is definitely on the menu.
Although I’ve spent half a lifetime working with film and video cameras, these days I like to shoot home movies on my still cameras. This one is a winner in that department: Full HD res of 1920×1080, captured in AVCHD, then in AVHCD Lite or Motion JPEG for lower res movies.
You can shoot movies and still use the zoom control. Auto focus is still in play while shooting but, with the lens out to full tele, it is a little tardy. The camera records stereo audio from the tiny onboard mic; there is also an optional, outboard stereo mic available.
You can save still images as JPEGs or RAW files or RAW+JPEG.
Exposure options include auto, Program AE, aperture and shutter priority as well as manual. Added to this are some scene modes directly accessible from the mode dial plus 17 scene modes accessed through the screen menu.
Top to bottom, shots taken at ISO 100, 400, 1600. The ISO 100 and 400 settings were fine but the ISO 1600 point showed noise and lowered definition.
With power turned on, I could shoot my first shot in about two seconds; follow-ons came in at about a second a pic.
The amount of distortion at either end of the zoom was negligible; for such a wide ranging optic, this is an excellent performance.
Quality: the test shots showed that this camera is well above average in image resolution and colour rendition.
The FZ100 committed very few sins in my book: however, I do think the power switch and the button that swings you from single frame to burst shooting should be highlighted in white. Black buttons on a black background? Nah!
Why you would buy it: you want a long zoom and a camera that shoots Full High Def video; you like Leica lenses.
Why you wouldn’t: can’t think of any reason.
At this price level you’re head on with many budget DSLRs. For my money, the long zoom is a swinger … provided you understand its limitations and special requirements when capturing extreme tele shots.
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ100 Specifications
Image Sensor: 14.1 million effective pixels.
Metering: Multi zone, centre-weighted average, 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: 60 to 1/2000 second.
Continuous Shooting: 11 images/second.
Memory: SD, SDHC, SDXC cards plus 40MB internal memory.
Image Sizes (pixels): 4320×3240 to 640×480. Movies: 1920×1080, 1280×720, 848×480, 640×480, 320×240 at 30 fps.
Turret LCD finder: 5mm (201,600 pixels).
LCD Screen: 7.6cm LCD (461,000 pixels).
File Formats: RAW, JPEG, RAW+JPEG, AVCHD, Motion JPEG.
ISO Sensitivity: Auto, 100 to 6400.
Interface: USB 2.0, HDMI mini, AV.
Power: Rechargeable lithium ion battery, DC input.
Dimensions: 124.3×81.2×95.2 WHDmm.
Weight: Approx. 540 g (inc battery and card).
Price: Get a price on the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ100 at Amazon.