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Just Posted: Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ150 Review

By dpreview staff on Apr 11, 2012 at 21:58 GMT

We've just published our review of the Panasonic DMC-FZ150 24x superzoom. Successor to the slightly underwhelming FZ100, the Raw-shooting CMOS-powered FZ150 incorporates a lower-resolution 12MP sensor that the company says will outperform its predecessor's 14MP chip. The camera's 25-600mm equivalent lens incorporates 'Nano Surface Coating' to mitigate the effects of internal reflections. It can also shoot 1080p60 HD movies in the recently-created AVCHD Progressive standard. Is this the serious superzoom that enthusiasts have been waiting for? Read our review to find out.

133
I own it
30
I want it
35
I had it
Discuss in the forums

Comments

Total comments: 72
ZebraBus
By ZebraBus (Jun 24, 2012)

Amazing test of FZ150's super power:
4 of us in 4 different states tried the Chancey-Hecht Moon Shot Zoom Test to do a uniform test on about 18 different cameras at the same time. My test was on the FZ150. Went out about 2pm in the afternoon when the moon high in the sky and shot it zoomed all the way out then again zoomed all the way in. Everyone doing the test printed their results 8.5x11 for uniformity. Absolutely no enhancing allowed to keep all test results uniform. All cameras we tested were p&s, no DSLRs.
FZ150's zoom-in shot actually showed craters on the moon!
Our amateur camera club is testing the zoom on 8 more cameras next week - dying to see if we get craters with any other camera. And would love to hear your results too!

Comment edited 28 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
wkay
By wkay (Jul 7, 2012)

my FZ47 resolves craters too, same lens, why not?

0 upvotes
Digital Suicide
By Digital Suicide (Apr 30, 2012)

Talking about focusing. The part of the review, with the picture of a kids face.
I believe camera focused correctly. Because kids nose was in the center of the frame, so got into as a target. That's why hairs (and nose) are in the focus, but not the eyes. Camera did the job, it's just a shooters mistake.

0 upvotes
Beefy_SAFC
By Beefy_SAFC (Apr 18, 2012)

The Canon SX40 is the main competitor to the Panasonic DMC-FZ150 and it doesn't even get a mention. I of the opinion that it's very close run between the two cameras, however, the 35x zoom without an extra telephoto lens (less overall weight) won the day for me.

Also, the ZS20 / TZ30 (20x zoom) is too close to the FZ150 (24x zoom) and it's pocketability will make it a better option for many in shop. The FZ150 only offers only a little extra zoom without the pocketability. RAW is not on my list as I've simply not the time to mess around with the files.

Ian (Mackem_Beefy)

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
0 upvotes
cheenachatze
By cheenachatze (Apr 16, 2012)

Why not a single photograph taken using the flash? Why no studio photos taken in RAW mode? Why no comments about skin tones and white balance under artificial lighting, subjects that many Panasonic cameras struggle with? This review is an embarrassment for DPR.

1 upvote
canonluber
By canonluber (Apr 13, 2012)

A week ago I considered buying one of these new for $434 on Amazon but held off , because I want a smaller camera with raw, gps and a decent amount of zoom (200-400mm equiv). What I really wanted was a versatile pocket-able camera with short shutter lag and decent quality so that I always have a camera with me. But now the price has skyrocketed over night, so I'll stick with my I-phone and my Canon 7d a little awhile longer. The only real drawback to this camera is the size and it has no GPS.

0 upvotes
kkardster
By kkardster (Apr 13, 2012)

You're looking at the wrong Panasonic series - their pocketable superzooms belong to the ZS/TZ lines, not the FZ line. The ZS20/TZ30 would come closest to meeting your needs at 480mm/20X with GPS but doesn not support RAW.

0 upvotes
kkardster
By kkardster (Apr 12, 2012)

Wow - I'm impressed with the rapid responses by DPR to several of these posts - how come DPR refuses to update their incorrect specs in such a timely manner when errata are reported via the "Have you spotted an error? Report it ..." link?

Comment edited 41 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
Seagull TLR
By Seagull TLR (Apr 12, 2012)

DP can please some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but DP can not please all of the people all of the time.

0 upvotes
kkardster
By kkardster (Apr 13, 2012)

"DP can please some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but DP can not please all of the people all of the time."

True, but it's not too much to ask that DPR corrects errors in their mistated specs that have been pointed out to them multiple times by multiple members. Side-by-side comparisons are an important feature of DPR and inaccurate specs don't help their reputation nor help us make proper decisions.

0 upvotes
jaykumarr
By jaykumarr (Apr 12, 2012)

I saw the comparison chart of FZ150 with FZ35 @iso 100.

very surprisingly In the left hand side and FZ35 was much sharper (in batteries and other places) and in the middle FZ35 was mildly sharper and in right hand side of the photo, FZ150 was sharper. I think panny did very good job in right side of the camera, despite increasing zoom.

0 upvotes
Rachotilko
By Rachotilko (Apr 12, 2012)

Thank you DPR, you made my day ! Was waiting for this review for some time.

Anyway, I hope Panasonic would produce an ultimate bridge camera, with FZ150's sensor (with all the current technological advancements) enlarged to 1/1.7" or 2/3" and a mechanical zoom.

Fuji tried with their X-S1, but its let down by the soft lens.

3 upvotes
Seagull TLR
By Seagull TLR (Apr 12, 2012)

An updated version of DMC-FZ50? That would be nice :-)

0 upvotes
aris14
By aris14 (Apr 14, 2012)

Fully agree. It will take some years I guess for the marketing people to understand what they can really ask for their clients and I guess they can't really understand the inelastic need for a charismatic tool, no matter the (non huge) cost...

0 upvotes
jaykumarr
By jaykumarr (Apr 12, 2012)

great review dpreview.com.

I don't see any reason, why you should not do "lens review dynamic graph" kind of thing where you can do graph of lens performance, that would help us finding sweet spots and right apertures.

0 upvotes
putomax
By putomax (Apr 12, 2012)

compared to NIKON D800 what a fantastic camera this is

g^

1 upvote
keeponkeepingon
By keeponkeepingon (Apr 12, 2012)

I may have missed it but I was very surprised you wrote this article ignoring the cheaper Canon SX40

Also you say it compares well with the Sony/Nikon competition but neglect to mention the severe lack of zoom compared to the rest of the field (600 versus 800mm+ equivalent).

You may think it does not matter but ask a birder which camera they rather have......

It would not be a big deal if the difference was not so huge but to say "compares well" and not mention how poorly Panasonic compares in actual zooming is negligent:

Zooms on leading compact telephoto cameras:

FZ150: 23X
Sony HX200v: 30X
Nikon P510: 42X
Canon SX40: 35X

Comment edited 48 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
deep7
By deep7 (Apr 12, 2012)

I looked at some of these cameras recently and came to the conclusion that the FZ150, in practice, does not have the disadvantage the small difference in zoom range suggests as the combination of lens quality/sensor/focus at the extreme end resolved just as much detail, in direct comparisons available on the internet. Plus the Panasonic focusses more reliably at full zoom, something a birder would appreciate.

It's not just about the numbers, not by a long way!

0 upvotes
minzaw
By minzaw (Apr 12, 2012)

Zooms on leading compact telephoto cameras:

FZ150: 23X
Sony HX200v: 30X
Nikon P510: 42X
Canon SX40: 35X

The Scoring is NOT about 100x numbers of Unusable zooms
The Balanced score at the number and the IQ counts
e.g same 24X zoom IQ
fz150 24x vs Sony hx200 at 24X and p150 at 24x and SX50 at 24x IQs
where FZ150 excels

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 4 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
keeponkeepingon
By keeponkeepingon (Apr 12, 2012)

"the combination of lens quality/sensor/focus at the extreme end resolved just as much detail, in direct comparisons available on the internet."

Source?????

You are claiming that at 23x the 6 megapixels from the FZ150 sensor are equivalent to 12 megapixels from the SX40 sensor at 35X?

I can't find any source that claims the canon is that bad, to the contrary the sensor in the SX40 is normally ranked above the FZ150, especially at high ISOs.

Regarding "unsable zooms" most SX40 owners in the canon forum would argue that the 35X is very useable. There are some fairly stunning pictures on the forum at full zoom that I don't thiink could be captured with the FZ150.

0 upvotes
buster fykes
By buster fykes (Apr 15, 2012)

It seems you don't care about picture or lens quality, just magnification. hmm?
and the fz150 has 12.5 megapixels and 24x. I'm glad that you like your Canon. Why then, do you find a need to defend it with inaccurate specs?

Comment edited 3 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Rubenski
By Rubenski (Apr 12, 2012)

These kind of cameras are the perfect start into the journey of becoming a professional or very good photographer. You get to learn a lot of tricks and trades of the pro DSLR's and can practise with a wide range of focal lenghts without having to invest heavily. To go short: great practice material!

Comment edited 10 seconds after posting
1 upvote
keekimaru
By keekimaru (Apr 12, 2012)

Right out of the box, I was not disappointed. The FZ150 is smaller than my FZ30, yet still feels very comfortable and secure in the hand. All the buttons seem to be in the right place. (The G3 was not designed well and I kept hitting a button I didn't want to press when I held the camera.)The FZ150 also takes great, natural-looking pictures indoors (which was what I was looking for) without a flash. It also takes wonderful macro images, which the G3 had a very difficult time doing. The G3 wouldn't even TAKE the picture if it wasn't in focus. The FZ150 focuses quickly and accurately.

The video looks great, as well. The only drawback is the format of MP4. It does not import in Adobe Premiere Pro 2.0 without first being converted to an avi or mov file, but that seems to be the trend in all newer cameras, so I won't fault the FZ150 there.

More Detail : http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B005HQ50SO/tipfla-20

.

1 upvote
Lea5
By Lea5 (Apr 12, 2012)

"It does not import in Adobe Premiere Pro 2.0!"

2.0 ????

C'mon you still run a 20 years old software from 1992 (!!!) and complain?

8 upvotes
IcyVeins
By IcyVeins (Apr 12, 2012)

DPR Please stop reviewing 8-month old cameras, especially compacts, when there are newer cameras that need to be reviewed, if it's not an important enough camera to review when you first get it then just move onto the newer ones and skip it. This camera is probably going to be obsoleted by a newer version in the summer anyways.

1 upvote
Tee1up
By Tee1up (Apr 12, 2012)

I disagree.
A later review is done with the most recent crop of cameras to compare it to. For example, I would love to see the Pany GF2 reviewed today, with all the efforts other companies are putting into their video features.

4 upvotes
Barney Britton
By Barney Britton (Apr 12, 2012)

This camera became available just before Christmas and we're barely into April. I'd like to think that this review is still of some relevance...

12 upvotes
keeponkeepingon
By keeponkeepingon (Apr 13, 2012)

I think it's timely enough, but it's confusing why you picked this "also ran" not so super zoom with all of the other options on the market.

I know "you can't please everyone" but the last Canon Superzoom you reviewed was the SX1 and you've never reviewed a nikon superzoom.

With the much more affordable SX40 ($250 for my new one), the much more zoomy P510 and HX200 all out and generating a lot of buzz why this panasonic? What sets it apart and makes it dpreview worthy?

0 upvotes
kkardster
By kkardster (Apr 13, 2012)

/I think it's timely enough, but it's confusing why you picked this "also ran" not so super zoom with all of the other options on the market./
Just because the competition finally got around to releasing updated models doesn't necessarily make the FZ150 an "also ran". In fact, it is still arguably the best superzoom camera on the market [depending on your needs] and definitely provides more features than any other while delivering equal or better results.

If all you care about is zoom, then look at the longer competition and ignore the fact that they may not have filter threads or hot shoe or RAW or 12fps or 1080p60 or remote capability, or articulating screen, or responsive performance, etc. The FZ150 is simply a more complete and flexible camera. Plus, if you seriously need more reach in either direction, at least the FZ150 supports teleconverters and macro lenses.

2 upvotes
MosMusik
By MosMusik (Mar 10, 2013)

I'm personally glad this review is here. I just bought a used FZ150 and without this review i would have never known that this is the perfect camera for my desired application. The video it takes is impeccable and I actually got it to use as a video camera, not still shot because of it's sensor quality and lens. Also like kkardster said, there are quite a few lens and filter kits available to extend this camera's functionality. It really cant come much closer to a DSLR than this for much less money. I dont think ill even miss not having an interchangeable lens.

0 upvotes
Mannypr
By Mannypr (Apr 12, 2012)

I believe cameras are divided depending on the users who are interested in these cameras, when they are scored . DSLR are divided in three different types , beginners ., consumer entusiast , semi pro and pro and each type are scored accordingly .

76 is actually a very good score as you can see it deserved a silver award . Remember that technology is always getting better and better so you have to leave some room for these new cameras when they come out with better image quality . Apart from this the score takes into consideration all the aspects of the camera . Not only image quality .

If image quality were the only consideration the Sigma SD1 would have gotten an 80 plus putting above all the rest of cameras , even the pro , as the cameras image quality is above the norm but in other areas the camera leaves a lot to be desired.

0 upvotes
richardalanfox
By richardalanfox (Apr 12, 2012)

I have three FZ cameras. My FZ8 went to my son, the FZ35 went to my daughter and currently I am using an FZ100, I love these cameras, and will get the replacement for the FZ150 which should be out in a few months.
The noise does not bother me as I shoot RAW at 400 or below and do not have unreasonable expectations as to dynamic range.
In the right hands the FZ cameras are very potent tools, whatever you can see you can capture.

1 upvote
jcmarfilph
By jcmarfilph (Apr 12, 2012)

Good review but could you please drop the scoring/awarding thing?. It is not helping at all. Let the readers decide on which camera is better than the others.

0 upvotes
coastcontact
By coastcontact (Apr 12, 2012)

I just purchased this camera last week. So far I am delighted with its performance. I am somewhat surprised that Barney Britton gave the camera such a low rating. Other reviewers have all been giving this camera outstanding reviews. http://www.digitalcamerainfo.com/Extended-Zoom.htm gave the camera a 10 out of 10. DPR’s owner, Amazon, has raised their price to the Panasonic suggested retail price. Probably proof that the camera has been very well received.

1 upvote
Barney Britton
By Barney Britton (Apr 12, 2012)

76% is actually a very good rating, reflecting the high end of our expectations for the class.

5 upvotes
MisterPootieCat
By MisterPootieCat (Apr 12, 2012)

As a kid, getting a score of 76 on a test meant I was getting close to a failing grade. Back in the day, a score of 76 was considered a "D", with the next grade down ("F") a fail. And a score in the mid-eighties was only a "C" if memory serves me. How many cameras have actually received a grade of "A" at DPR? Just wondering.

0 upvotes
Realll
By Realll (Apr 12, 2012)

It would be very interesting which camera wins the GOLD AWARD...

0 upvotes
minzaw
By minzaw (Apr 12, 2012)

Pentax K 5 GOLD AWARD

http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/pentaxk5/21

Comment edited 27 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
Roman Korcek
By Roman Korcek (Apr 12, 2012)

Also the Sony SLT-A55 got the Gold award.

0 upvotes
Chaitanya S
By Chaitanya S (Apr 12, 2012)

rather than a single review, shootout between different super-zooms on market would have helped first time buyers.

2 upvotes
dlevitt
By dlevitt (Apr 11, 2012)

Too bad there is no comparison with the mechanical zoom Panasonic [FZ50 and FZ30] cameras

2 upvotes
raimundo gaby
By raimundo gaby (Apr 11, 2012)

Are you kidding? I don't understand....

How does a camera like this gets a 76 score and the SD1 a 71? The parameters here are really messed up...

And believe me, I love Panny's cameras. I have a GH2. But please, look the quality of the images on the SD1...

Total BS, and unfairness.

1 upvote
Barney Britton
By Barney Britton (Apr 11, 2012)

The FZ150 is scored as a superzoom compact, the SD1 as a semi-pro DSLR, and scores are only meant to be comparable within the cameras' class.

Might have something to do with it...

17 upvotes
Button Pusher
By Button Pusher (Apr 11, 2012)

Different classes of cameras. They rate within the class not throughout all cameras ever produced.

2 upvotes
Richard Murdey
By Richard Murdey (Apr 12, 2012)

Aaak!

1. The score is relative only to other cameras of its class.
2. Why do people like you care what numbers dpreview gives a camera anyway? Seriously, why does it bother you?

1 upvote
nemesix
By nemesix (Apr 11, 2012)

I love my FZ150, even though I only paid $330 for mine on Black Friday, I think it's worth a hundred dollars more. I've made 11x14 prints without issues (even with cropping!) and the video quality and image stabilization are incredible. Plus it's the only camera in it's class with RAW, which I find very useful.

0 upvotes
Seagull TLR
By Seagull TLR (Apr 12, 2012)

Sssh! Amazon might hear it...

0 upvotes
bobbarber
By bobbarber (Apr 11, 2012)

I might buy this one. The video capability is very convincing, although the file sizes have me scared. Were those huge file sizes using the AVCHD codec?

As far as stills, I think you have to treat a camera like this as a 6-7 megapixel camera in a lot of conditions. If you get a shot where everything looks good at full resolution, great! If not, scale down the long dimension to 3,000 pixels after doing your best post-processing, and more than likely you will end up with something that looks decent. Most of us don't print larger than 8x10 anyway, except very rarely.

Thank you for the review.

Comment edited 20 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
thx1138
By thx1138 (Apr 11, 2012)

Checking RAW at ISO 400 and the amount of noise is scary. How bad was the old 14MP sensor if this is much better? I wonder if the Fuji XS-1 will have decent IQ with it's much larger sensor from the X10; it should but let's hope it doesn't have the WOOD.

0 upvotes
TrojMacReady
By TrojMacReady (Apr 11, 2012)

Actually, at an image level the noise is suprisingly low considering the small size of the sensor. And you can compare it yourself with the 2 previous sensors. It's much better than the last one.

0 upvotes
ARTASHES
By ARTASHES (Apr 11, 2012)

It is good for what it is : a tinny sensor.
Actually this is one of the best 1/2.3 sensors ever made to this date and yes FZ100 has awful sensor
Still guessing about FZ150 CMOS origins...

0 upvotes
marike6
By marike6 (Apr 11, 2012)

The IQ from the XS-1 does look better, but it's double the price of the FZ150.

0 upvotes
Tim in upstate NY
By Tim in upstate NY (Apr 11, 2012)

What happened to the list of pros and cons in the conclusion?

2 upvotes
Barney Britton
By Barney Britton (Apr 11, 2012)

This review is written in a condensed format, designed to help us get more reviews out faster, and it's still being tweaked. We've omitted pros and cons from these reviews so far, but we're still experimenting, getting feedback, tweaking, fiddling around - all that fun stuff :)

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
2 upvotes
justmeMN
By justmeMN (Apr 11, 2012)

I'm a fan of the Pro/Con lists too.

13 upvotes
Button Pusher
By Button Pusher (Apr 11, 2012)

Please add the pros and cons to the end of the condensed format, single line bullets would be preferable to none at all. Pretty please with sugar on top. :)

1 upvote
Barney Britton
By Barney Britton (Apr 12, 2012)

Done: refresh the conclusion page :)

5 upvotes
ARTASHES
By ARTASHES (Apr 12, 2012)

it's nice to see that ordinary readers can have an impact over reviews on site as big as Dpreview !!!

1 upvote
kkardster
By kkardster (Apr 12, 2012)

"This review is written in a condensed format, designed to help us get more reviews out faster"

Based on the fact that this camera has been available for 6 months, I think it's more designed to satisfy the demands for a belated review than to actually provide one.

0 upvotes
ARTASHES
By ARTASHES (Apr 11, 2012)

to dpreview: in your conclusions you claim that FZ100 has 14 mp "CCD" instead of CMOS (or live mos as pana loves to say)
Just saying ;)

0 upvotes
Barney Britton
By Barney Britton (Apr 11, 2012)

Fixed.

0 upvotes
l_d_allan
By l_d_allan (Apr 11, 2012)

The FZ150 is very, very similar to the FZ47, which lacks RAW mode, articulated LCD, and some other advanced capabilities. Same lens and sensor. The FZ47 was on sale during Thanksgiving week for about $180. I've been very happy with it.

0 upvotes
ARTASHES
By ARTASHES (Apr 11, 2012)

FZ150 has CMOS sensor (while FZ47 got CCD) and better IQ above 400 ISO than FZ47 IMHO

0 upvotes
ianimal
By ianimal (Apr 11, 2012)

I have this camera:
Positive:
All manual control in still and video
Custom buttons (e.g seperate focus trigger from shutter trigger)
RAW (but I dont use it)
Ok ISO performance in this class of cameras
25mm wide angel (but is it really 25mm?, se below)
Very good anti-shake system
Articulated LCD
Auto focus is ok fast for contrast focus, also in not so good light. It helps
with the in camera focus lamp when light is dim.
Lens is good for this class of cameras.

Negative:
25mm really? I compared it with my DSLR and some lenses, and found
FZ150 25mm more equal to 28mm with my DSLR.
EVF is not very good, but this is usuall in this class of cameras.
I have never been able to shoot as fast and as many images as Panasonic writes this camera should be able to. And I am using a fast memory card.
I am REALLY missing in-camera HDR, that should be standard.
Manual focus is NOT easy, there should be "peaking" or something to help. The auto zoom when using manual focus is hard to use.

Comment edited 3 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Steen Bay
By Steen Bay (Apr 11, 2012)

Would have been nice/useful if it was possible to compare the FZ150 to Canon SX40 (and SX30..) in the studio comparison tool. Hope that at least the SX40 will be added soon.

0 upvotes
Barney Britton
By Barney Britton (Apr 11, 2012)

Working on it - we're aiming to greatly increase our database of studio shots in the coming weeks and months.

11 upvotes
Steen Bay
By Steen Bay (Apr 11, 2012)

Sounds good, thanks. ;-)

0 upvotes
Button Pusher
By Button Pusher (Apr 11, 2012)

Thanks BB!

0 upvotes
tkbslc
By tkbslc (Apr 11, 2012)

The fact that this review hit just when Amazon raised the price by $60 and everyone else is backordered has me reaching for my tinfoil hat.

0 upvotes
Baxter Bad
By Baxter Bad (Apr 12, 2012)

No coincidence. Still $439 at B&H.

0 upvotes
tkbslc
By tkbslc (Apr 12, 2012)

$439 and backordered. Same with Adorama. The only major store with them in stock is Amazon and they just raised back to MSRP!

I don't really think there is anything that devious going on, I just though the timing was interesting.

0 upvotes
raywes
By raywes (Jan 1, 2013)

I would have kept my FZ150 if it wasn't for the usual Panasonic "speckle" type noise I observed and also on the FZ100 although the chroma noise on the FZ100 was way worse. I don't see a big improvement in the FZ200 so I opted for the SX40 and now the sx50. Those cameras imo exhibit noise also but not as pronounced as the those large speckled blotches introduced by the panny superzooms. If Panasonic could improve that aspect without killing the detail with n/r I would jump ship in a second as I really liked the handling of the Panny superzooms.

Comment edited 58 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
Total comments: 72