Panasonic Lumix FZ100 review

Full review: Bridge camera with a 24x optical Leica zoom lens

Image 1 of 4 Panasonic Lumix FZ100 top
Panasonic Lumix FZ100 top
Image 2 of 4 Panasonic Lumix FZ100 front
Panasonic Lumix FZ100 front
Image 3 of 4 Panasonic Lumix FZ100 back
Panasonic Lumix FZ100 back
Image 4 of 4 Panasonic Lumix FZ100 slant
Panasonic Lumix FZ100 slant

Impressive pictures and features, but this Lumix is overpriced

We’ve been consistently impressed with the reliability and performance of the Lumix range, from snapshots to DSLRs and hybrid models; the FZ100, upgrading the FZ38, falls in the middle. Like its fixed lens big zoom rivals it resembles a DSLR that’s been put on a very hot wash.

With large buttons and controls plus chunky dimensions, everything quickly falls to hand on the 25mm-600mm equivalent wide angle, 24x zoom bridge model.

Check our our Panasonic Lumix FZ100 gallery here

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It powers up in two seconds and incorporates just about everything required at this level: a stereo microphone, top plate hotshoe for external flash, integral pop-up bulb, plus dedicated one-touch record button for Full HD, AVCHD format video capture.

Although it doesn’t feel quite as classily constructed, fully featured and moreover as ‘grown up’ as the mighty Fujifilm HS10, the FZ100 mounts a strong challenge to Nikon’s P100; a closer match for build and sophistication.

Panasonic Lumix FZ100: Shooting modes and LCD

The FZ100 boasts a plethora of auto and manual shooting modes, holding appeal for everyone from happy snapper to photography enthusiast, with action fans benefiting from (not only the broad focal range but also) up to 11 frames per second shooting at full 14 megapixel resolution. A max resolution still is committed to memory in two to three seconds, which is average. The optically stabilised zoom travels near silently through its entire range in three seconds. Fortunately it is utilized for silkily smooth video as well as stills.

Like Nikon and Fujifilm rivals it has a free-angle LCD that, at 3-inches in size and with a bright 460k dot resolution, can be tilted up or down, or flipped out at right angles to the body for shooting around corners. It can also be turned face inward to the body for added protection. The alternative is an electronic viewfinder directly above.

Panasonic Lumix FZ100: Image quality

We were impressed by the Panasonic’s image quality in general terms, pictures have plenty of detail and colours attractively vivid in tone. There’s the opportunity to leave the camera on intelligent auto mode, which recognizes common scenes and subjects and lets you get on with the business of taking photos. Alternatively select program, aperture priority, shutter priority or manual shooting modes, with customisable setting thrown in for good measure. Noise (grain) does begin to creep into images if selecting above ISO400 however

Though the camera was fast and responsive and buttons clearly marked, we did feel the video record button could have been better located; ideally moved to the backplate and placed under the thumb. As it is, it’s slightly recessed in its top plate location, which makes it fiddly to use. Yet the ability to flick between auto and manual focus via a switch at the side of the lens barrel – as on a DSLR – is a nice touch. There’s minimal barrel distortion shooting at maximum wide-angle, and it’s equally possible to get sharp results at maximum telephoto, hand held.

Available now, this is a sound option, but unfortunately for Panasonic it’s not a winning one at this over-expensive price.

Find out more from Panasonic

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SPECIFICATIONS
Sensor: 14.1MP effective megapixels
Lens: 25-600mm (24x optical)
Screen (size and res): 3-inch LCD, 460,800 dots
Max ISO: 6400 (via High Sensitivity mode)
Flash: Pop up integral flash plus vacant hotshoe
Viewfinder: Electronic viewfinder (EVF)
Stabilisation (type): Optical image stabilisation
Video: 1920x1080 pixels
Storage (card and internal): SD/SDHC/SDXC card, 40MB internal
Connections: USB/AV port, HDMI output
Battery life: 410 shots from a full charge
Weight/size: 496g without battery/card 124x81.2x95.2mm

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