FZ200 - Is this just a good weather camera?

Started Sep 24, 2012 | Discussions thread
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Sergey Borachev
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FZ200 - Is this just a good weather camera?
Sep 24, 2012

I have been wanting to like this camera and want to buy one for walking around. The f/2.8 lens is amazing, but it has clear if not frustrating limitations in its image quality. I think I have seen enough images and feedback, here and in Amazon, in reviews and previews, for me to have this conclusion.

Most of the nice images I have seen were shot in bright conditions, usually in sunlight or using flash and at ISO100. Even with all these favourable conditions, noise often appear in the picture when examined closely. And almost always, these really good images have been highly manipulated in PP, using RAW, with noise reduction, and sometime much more (like selective area noise reduction, and background blurring). The artefacts from the PP, esp. sharpening are often clearly visible, e.g. with grainy out of focus backgrounds. With higher ISO, and especially with less favourable lighting, IQ deteriorates quickly.

I know, there have been some truly fantastic photos from LTZ, but I have yet to see any pictures with such consistently high IQ from anybody else. While I admire his great skills, I don't think the rest of us can assume we can do the same PP, or could be bothered with so much work if we cannot achieve the same results as LTZ, or be able to get an exceptionally good sample of this FZ200, and whatever else he has to be able to have such great results.

Now, this does not mean it is not an excellent camera, but I am thinking that it is safer to think of it more like a snapshot camera with exceptional zoom, AF and IS, but fairly ordinary IQ in the hands of most of us. This is a pity if true, as a lot of the expectation of a constant f/2.8 long zoom camera is to be able to use it in dim conditions, and still get good quality images. There are numerous P&S cameras that can do better in terms of IQ however, and some much much better.

Also, this does not mean that I still won't buy one to use as a convenient, versatile all-in-one camera to get small prints or share images online with. At its price, it is still an exceptional camera for those who need a workable long zoom, but its IQ is disappointing based on what I have seen, again, with a notable exception. I would appreciate your comment and I would love to be shown that my comments are wrong, but please do not just show examples of really good images taken with this camera. Any camera nowadays, under the right conditions, after numerous attempts or in the hands of those who have truly good skills and knowledge, can produce very nice pictures, especially if processed and reduced.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ200
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