WHEN NEWER ISN’T BETTER: PANASONIC LUMIX DMC-FZ200

I bought a Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ200 12.1 MP Digital Camera with CMOS Sensor and 24x Optical Zoom from Adorama in September 2014. It cost me $457 two years ago and you can buy the same camera on Amazon today for $100 less. Since I bought this camera, it has been a constant companion. It isn’t my only camera, not by far, but it is my most versatile camera. If I’m unsure which camera or lens I may need — or I don’t want to haul a lot of equipment — this is the camera I choose.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ200

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ200

I have a lot of equipment, both cameras and lenses — and I use them. But this particular camera remains a favorite. Simply put, it’s a keeper.

The Leica lens on this camera is spectacular. Not only does it go from moderately wide to amazingly long (in 35mm terms, 24mm to 600mm), but it delivers surprisingly good quality throughout its range.

It’s fast, too … f2.8 all the way, beginning to end. Amazing for a super-zoom. The camera focuses quickly, recycles fast. It has a good  built-in viewfinder and  flexible LCD screen. It has more controls and refinements than I will ever use. Some, I don’t even know what they do and probably will never bother to find out.

In the gallery of birds, most of these were taken from a considerable distance. The herons were on the other side of the river. The birds were a long way away and I was hanging out my bathroom window to take the pictures. Guess which camera I used? You betcha!

Does it give me the same quality as my best Olympus lenses? Not quite, but surprisingly close. In any case, I could never afford a telephoto lens of this quality for my Olympus rig. Not that Olympus makes a comparable lens.

If you need a super-zoom camera and you don’t have megabucks to spend, this is the camera to buy. There are newer models available — but none of the newer ones are better. Some have a longer zoom, but all the longer lenses are slower and not as sharp. This remains best-of-breed. I paid about $100 more for this camera in 2014 than it’s selling for now on Amazon. I have never felt I overpaid. I haven’t checked prices elsewhere, but it isn’t a the latest model, so you won’t find it everywhere.

If I have any criticism to make, it’s that the batteries don’t last as long as I would wish. If you use the zoom a lot, you need to have spare batteries. I have four and more wouldn’t be out of line.

It’s a great camera. If you are trying to decide between this and one of the newer Panasonic super-zoom models? Buy this one. It’s a better camera. It’s a bit big, a bit clunky, and wonderful.

I hope it lasts forever. So far, so good.

NOTE TO FRIENDS: We’re gone for the day. My cousins are in town, so we’ll be away until evening. Catch up with all of you tomorrow or late tonight! Have fun. We’re going to try, too.



Categories: birds, Cameras, Gallery, Nature, Optics, Photography, Reviews

Tags: , , , ,

4 replies

  1. Interesting read. I had two panasonics, one a hand me down from Mr. Swiss and one I bought, although not DSLR, more point and shoot. At the moment I am happy with my Canon Power shot, but would like to get a new lens for my Nikon 7000 DSLR for closer photos, although just thinking, I do not know whether I will.

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  2. my first digital (1999) was a Sony Mavica, with a 13.5 zoom (true zoom not digital) and i fell in love with it. Trouble is, it took the 3″ discs, and when those stopped being supported by any kind of computer, the camera became a fancy paperweight. I could also take videos with it, without having to sell my soul to Apple to see them. sigh.

    I have a nice Lumix now, with a 12X zoom, but I do miss the flexibility of the older camera. All the buttons, all the instructions in three different languages doesn’t help a bit.

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    • I had the same Mavica. At the time, I loved the discs because I could just pop them into the computer and voila! You might be surprised at how many of these still exist. Popular in doctors and dentist offices.

      The lumix line is really excellent and i think have surpassed the Canon Powershot line in a lot of areas. I have had to buy aftermarket manuals for most of my cameras. They really should include a decent manual, but they don’t. I love the 24X zoom on this panasonic … and the f2.8 across the range. I can take pictures of very small things very far away that I can’t see clearly with my eyes, but the camera sees the.

      Like

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