Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ100 review
The zoom might not be the longest, but top image quality and performance more than compensate
At first look, there isn’t an awful lot to differentiate the FZ100 from the FZ45, despite costing a good deal more. Look closer, though, and the differences become clear.
Although the 24x zoom lens (25-600mm 35mm equivalent) and 14.1-megapixel sensor are identical, the FZ100 is aimed at the enthusiast who wants a little more. There’s a hotshoe to attach an external flash for better shots in low light. You also get a 3in articulated screen that opens and can face any direction.
This screen has twice the resolution of that on the FZ45 (460kpixels), which makes it easier to see if shots are in focus. The electronic viewfinder is less impressive, with only 202kpixels, so we’d be surprised if anyone used it instead of the main LCD.
Another difference is the 1080i video mode. It’s better than the FZ45’s 720p resolution, and records footage in AVCHD format at 17Mbits/sec. The level of detail in the FZ100’s footage is superior, and video can be split in-camera so you can trim the beginning and end from clips, saving space.
The FZ100’s controls are excellent – again, similar to that on the FZ45. There’s a command dial, plus shutter, video record buttons and a burst control, with five different modes ranging from 2fps to 60fps. Up to 15 frames can be captured at full resolution at 4.2fps.
And, last but not least, image quality is great. The optical stabilisation is excellent, and we were able to shoot sharp photos throughout the lens’ zoom range. Stills quality is as good as with the FZ45, which is to say, excellent.
The FZ100’s zoom lens may not have the reach of some rivals, but it delivers where it matters: image quality. That, combined with a decent roster of features, top quality movies and a better screen than its brother, the FZ45, means its our favourite superzoom camera right now, and well worth the £330 asking price.
|Price ex VAT||£275|
|Price inc VAT||£330|
|Features & Design||6|
|Value for Money||6|
|Camera megapixel rating||14.1mp|
|Camera screen size||3.0in|
|Camera optical zoom range||24x|
|Camera maximum resolution||4,320 x 3,240|
Weight and dimensions
|Dimensions||120 x 92 x 80mm (WDH)|
|Battery type included||Lithium-ion|
|Aperture range||f2.8 - f5.2|
|Camera minimum focus distance||0.01m|
|Shortest focal length (35mm equivalent)||25|
|Longest focal length (35mm equivalent)||600|
|Minimum (fastest) shutter speed||1/2,000|
|Maximum (slowest) shutter speed||1 mins|
|Bulb exposure mode?||no|
|RAW recording mode?||yes|
|Exposure compensation range||+/- 3EV|
|ISO range||80 - 1600|
|Selectable white balance settings?||yes|
|Manual/user preset white balane?||yes|
|Progam auto mode?||yes|
|Shutter priority mode?||yes|
|Aperture priority mode?||yes|
|Fully auto mode?||yes|
|Burst frame rate||11.0fps|
|Memory-card type||SDHC, SDXC|
|Secondary LCD display?||no|
|Data connector type||Proprietary USB|
Manual, software and accessories
|Full printed manual?||no|
|Software supplied||Photofun Studio 5.2 HD Edition, Silkypix Developer Studio 3.1 SE|
|Accessories supplied||Lens hood, USB and AV cables|