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Panasonic Lumix FZ150 digital camera review

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lumixfz150If you want a camera that can zoom in on your subjects and still maintain high quality then the Lumix FZ150 should be at the top of your list.

The 12.1 megapixel device has a LEICA DC lens with 24x optical zoom and up to 32x zoom when the additional digital zoom kicks on.

Also on board is a 12 frames per second burst shot mode, 3D photo mode as well as the ability to capture full high definition video.

DESIGN

The Lumix FZ150 isn’t quite a pocket camera but it’s a long way off being a digital SLR.

The Panasonic FZ150 has 24x optical zoom

It’s a mid-sized device that’s still easy to carry around either around your neck with a strap or in a small case or bag.

The dominant feature is the LEICA DC 24x optical zoom lens which can achieve excellent results even when zoomed all the way to 24x and even beyond to 32x which takes in the extra digital zoom.

The FZ150 has a large grip on the right so it fits nicely in your hand with the zoom rocker and capture button within easy reach.

The rear panel of the Lumix FZ150 has a 3-inch adjustable screen

On the top is a mode dial for various scene modes while the rear features an AF/AE lock button along with a 3-inch LCD free-angle TFT screen.

This screen actually folds to allow photographers to capture images from difficult angles.

It even swings out so users can easily frame self portraits – a handy feature if you want to get an accurate picture of yourself in front of a landmark on your travels.

PERFORMANCE

The FZ150 is an all-rounder – it has a great lens and a great sensor – which all add up to excellent pictures with accurate colour reproduction and exposure.

The star of the show is the LEICA DC 24 x zoom lens which can produce excellent images even at maximum zoom. And with shake detection and motion deblur, the images are surprisingly clear.

It’s hard to take a bad photo when the FZ150 is in the Intelligent Auto mode but the good news for photography enthusiasts is that the device also offers full manual control.

A shot of Alcatraz in San Francisco with no zoom taken with the FZ150

The same shot, this time with the FZ150 at full 24x zoom, clearly shows the Alcatraz Cell Block while maintaining picture quality

These include a side level on the lens to change focus mode, a turn and push jog dial for quick setting changes, an electronic viewfinder and dual speed zooming.

But there’s no shame in allowing the Intelligent Auto to do all the heavy lifting. And it does an impressive job.

It includes face recognition, subject detection, scene detection to intelligently select the right scene mode as well as Intelligent D-range Control to optimise the exposure for all parts of the pictures.

You can also capture 3D and panorama shots by panning the camera in one direction.

For 3D, the camera captures up to 20 panning shots and selects the best images for the left and right eyes. In Panorama mode – the pictures are stitched together in a few short seconds.

There are also advanced scene modes including night portrait and handheld night mode.

With handheld night mode users can capture a sharp night shot without a tripod because the camera layers multiple shots and combines them into one clear image.

On the video side the FZ150 is no slouch either. In fact, with full high definition captured at 50 frames per second, there is no need to carry around a dedicated video camera.

One of the only things we didn’t like was the rather small electronic viewfinder which we struggled to get into focus at times so we just stuck to the larger screen to frame our images.

VERDICT

The Lumix FZ150 is a high quality digital camera that will deliver excellent results whether it’s in the hands of a beginner, an enthusiast or a professional.

Panasonic Lumix FZ150

Price: $579

Four stars (out of five)

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