It’s been a couple of weeks now that I’ve had my Panasonic Lumix FZ200 camera. And I’ve got to admit, I’m having a lot of fun shooting with it. As I mentioned in a previous post, I purchased this camera as a lighter weight alternative to my DSLRs for some events and my own personal photos. I was looking for the so called bridge camera—something better than a camera phone or basic point and shoot, while not as bulky as my Canon DSLRs. And for the most part, I’ve been totally blown away with the results of the FZ200. No, it’s not a total replacement for DSLRs. For serious studio work or those times when you need more precision control to achieve certain effects, or when you need much larger prints, DSLR is still the way to go.
However, the quality of images I’m getting with the Lumix FZ200 certainly rivals that of the bigger cameras for online photo needs and non-supersized prints. And you can use a lot of automated settings that make shooting much easier. Most of the shooting I’ve done has been in Program mode. While you can shoot in manual mode, you’re more limited than with a DSLR and it just seems a bit awkward at times. Anyway, for most of times I’d be using this camera, I’m more interested in having things automated and just getting the shots for my enjoyment.
The FZ200 really has performed well in low light situations—no doubt due to the consistent 2.8 lens throughout the 25-600mm zoom. So far, I’ve shot up to ISO 800 and the noise levels have been fine—though not quite as good as my DSLR. The autofocus has performed very well. I played around with the manual focus and found it a bit cumbersome, but that’s probably because I’m more used to manual focusing on a 35mm SLR.
I’ve also been experimenting with the specialty settings such as HDR and Panoramic shooting, which has resulted in some really cool pictures. I am looking forward to testing some of the other settings. I have shot in both JPEG and RAW formats (you can shoot both at the same time). While I haven’t done much processing of the RAW images, the JPEGs look outstanding.
I would definitely recommend the Panasonic Lumix FZ200 to those looking to get that bridge camera. The image quality is awesome and, in certain areas, it does rival that of DSLR quality. I’ll be posting some example photos and more results in the very near future.