TRYING OUT THE NEW CAMERA – PANASONIC LUMIX DMC FZ-300

Cee’s Odd Ball Photo Challenge: 2016 Week 47


Oddball pictures are pretty much always one of the unintended results of trying out a new camera. You want to see what it will do, so you take all kinds of pictures. Different lens lengths, different light levels. Indoors, outdoors. I wanted to see what this one would do, especially far away and in low light. I can report that I am most pleased. In fact, I am a lot happier than I expected.

Stones along the canal and the little plants that grow in the wall.

Stones that line the canal and the little plants that grow between the rocks.

This is the Panasonic DMC Lumix DMC FZ-300 which is the economy model of this group of Panasonic cameras. It’s got a 25 mm to 600 mm Leica super-zoom lens, and can shoot at f2.8 across its range. It has remarkable stability, even fully extended making ultra long shots of birds and other small objects easier than I’m used to. It can still be difficult to find a small object with a fully extended lens — that’s a given — but if you know where to point the camera, you can get your shot. This camera is a replacement for its predecessor, the FZ200 which died after consuming several batteries in a matter of minutes. Considering recent news about fireballs from exploding batteries, I decided not to push my luck and retire the camera lest it decide to retire me.

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I do not own a long zoom for my Olympus. The longest is a 300 mm equivalent and  at f4-f5.6, it’s kind of slow for low lighting. It has a built in flash, but I’m not fond of flash and almost never use it.

I knew if I want to take pictures of birds this winter, this was the camera I would need — and could more or less afford. I would have happily gotten either of its two higher end brothers, the FZ-1000 and the FZ-2500, both of which have a larger sensors — but they were out of my price range.

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Panasonic Lumix DMC FZ-300

The FZ-300 is best of breed in its sensor class and I love the way it handles. It’s balanced, solid, but not heavy. I’ve been using a version of this camera for more than 10 years. It’s my “default camera,” my “grab and go” favorite. Not light or compact but very good.

Sometimes, it makes much more sense to buy the super-zoom camera than try to find a lens that will do the same thing for a system camera. Not only does it make fiscal sense, but frequently, you simply cannot get an equivalent lens … at any price. They don’t exist. If they did, the lens alone would cost easily four times what the camera costs.

Little music box on a narrow window sill

Little music box on a narrow window sill

Since I became more serious about photography, I’ve always kept one camera with a good quality very long zoom lens. Starting with the Canon A series (which Canon discontinued), I found these and have been happy with them. Each one has been an improvement over the previous model and I am grateful that Panasonic has continued to produce them.

Surprisingly high quality pictures with minimum barrel distortion. This is not just any old point and shoot. This is a real camera and yes, it shoots in RAW as well as jpg.

The lid of a tiny, old cache jar. A salt shaker (missing the bottom rubber plug) showing a Norwich Terrier, little glass bottle and a toy car -- on on the narrow sill in the kitchen window

The lid of a tiny, old cache jar. A salt shaker (missing the bottom rubber plug) showing a Norwich Terrier, little glass bottle and a toy car — on the narrow sill in the kitchen window.

Utensils, close up. Smile for the camera, please!

Utensils, close up. Smile for the camera, please!

My kaleidoscope music box. I found it hiding on the back of a shelf and spend two nights cleaning it with q-tips and brushes. It cleaned up nicely and still plays. If you look through the kaleidoscope (which comes out of the clip and you can look at other things through it), it makes a beautiful design. I wish I could attach it to a camera!

My kaleidoscope music box. I found it hiding on the back of a shelf and spend two nights cleaning it with q-tips and brushes. It cleaned up nicely and still plays. If you look through the kaleidoscope (which comes out of the clip and you can look at other things through it), it makes a beautiful design. I wish I could attach it to a camera!

This is me and my new camera, taken, of course, by Garry.

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30 thoughts on “TRYING OUT THE NEW CAMERA – PANASONIC LUMIX DMC FZ-300

    • Yes, working very fine. If I had to have ONLY one camera, this would be the camera. Those utensils catch the morning light really nicely. Something about the angle the light comes in through the window …. I will now think of you whenever I mash potatoes or serve pasta 🙂

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    • Thank you. Form here on in, whenever I cook, I will think of this moment with a tear in my eye. What’s great is that all these pictures were taken with the same camera in natural light. It’s as close to an all-purpose camera as I’ve ever found.

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  1. Those Leica lenses make all the difference on this range. I need a new camera… arthritic fingers dropped mine (again) this year. They are such robust cameras that it still sort of works but it oversaturates the images and stains them unless I zoom. I could shoot in RAW, but not on a 500+picture day. I keep looking and drooling… but although high on my list of purchase priorities, the ‘real’ world doesn’t agree 🙂

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    • I bought my last one used. It lasted through three years of very hard use. You can sometimes find second hand or previous demo models at camera stores — and on Amazon. I’m pretty sure that this camera is going to drop in price very soon. I notice they are getting a bit scarce … usually means they are going to be replaced by a new version … which means the 300 will drop a couple of hundred dollars in price. I have a spare of this one, too, though it’s the old FZ 60 that Garry used to use, but you are inconveniently not nearby 🙂 I always wish I could send packages email.

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      • My old one is in Stuart’s hands and though the superzoom lens on the one I use is amazing, I do miss the quality of the Leica. I’ve been seriously considering one of the Sony models… they are half the price for similar spec and I know the lenses are decent.

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  2. Ihad a couple of Lumix cameras but only point and shoot and was always pleased with them. The leica lens is always a good thing. I am now very happy with my Nikon D3000 as it is more handy to take everywhere. My Nikon D7000 was a little too big and heavy. I now have my Macro lens on that permanently to use for closeups on interesting objects. You are never bored with a camera on your arm I find. Great shots. I have my kitchen instruments in a drawer, but I see a few similarities with yours. 🙂

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    • Canon used to make some great cameras of tis kind — bridge cameras, they call them because they are more advanced than point & shoot, but without interchangeable lenses. But when Canon quit making them, I found these cameras and they’ve been getting better with each version. I would have liked the one with the bigger sensor … but this camera is good, small sensor and all.

      I had my son build me that utensil rack. When I’m working fast in the kitchen, I like being able to see the tools and be able to quickly grab them. Though, like you, I do not do much baking anymore … and not much “fancy” cooking, either. I figure I’ve been making meals for husbands and kids for more than 50 years. I’m a little tired of kitchen duty 🙂

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