Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ100 review

15 Jul 2011

The zoom might not be the longest, but top image quality and performance more than compensate

Price when reviewed: 
330(£325 inc VAT)
5

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.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ100

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.

Details

Price ex VAT £275
Price inc VAT £330
Overall rating 6
Performance 6
Features & Design 6
Image quality 5
Value for Money 6

Basic specifications

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

Weight 540g
Dimensions 120 x 92 x 80mm (WDH)

Battery

Battery type included Lithium-ion
Charger included? yes

Other specifications

Built-in flash? yes
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
Exposure bracketing? yes
White-balance bracketing? yes
Memory-card type SDHC, SDXC
LCD resolution 460k
Secondary LCD display? no
Video/TV output? yes
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