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Menus and Playback

Panasonic's menus are long, but attractive and easy-to-navigate, though there are no help screens to be found. The menu is divided into three tabs, covering still shooting, movie recording, and general setup, each of which are themselves split into multiple pages of options.

Quick Menu

By pressing the Q.Menu button on the back of the camera, you'll open up - get ready - the Quick Menu! This shortcut menu lets you quickly adjust the Photo Style, flash setting, movie and image quality, focus/metering mode, and the exposure compensation (-3EV to +3EV).

Main Menu

This is the multipage Rec (record) menu. You can adjust the amount of noise reduction applied to JPEGs using the parameters found in the Photo Style dialog.

Here are the most interesting options from the record and setup tabs:

  • Photo Style: a style contains parameters related to contrast, sharpness, saturation, and noise reduction; there are several presets to choose from (standard, vivid, natural, monochrome, scenery, portrait) as well as a custom slot; each of these can be tweaked to your heart's content
  • Quality: choose from normal or fine quality JPEGs, plus RAW or RAW+JPEG; a RAW file weighs in at approximately 15.2 MB, while a fine quality JPEG is roughly 5.4 MB
  • ISO options: choose the top limit for Auto ISO, the increment between each sensitivity, and whether ISO 6400 is available
  • AF mode: choose from face detection, subject tracking, 23-area auto, and 1-area modes; for the last item, you can select both the position and size of the focus point; if you're using face detection, then you can also take advantage of a face recognition feature, which learns who people are, and gives them priority in the scene
  • AF style: select from single or continuous AF, or a new "flexible" mode which switches between the two depending on subject motion
  • Quick AF: starts focusing when camera shake is reduced (which is supposed to be when you're about to compose a photo), which reduces focus times
  • Intelligent Dynamic: attempts to improve overall image contrast by reducing highlight clipping and brightening shadows; from my own tests I've found that it does nothing for highlights and only brightens shadows in certain situations; off by default, except in iA mode
  • Multiple exposure: combines up to three exposures into a single photo; auto gain adjustment is available
  • Intelligent Resolution: "intelligently" sharpens photos by outlining edges, improving texture detail, and leaving things like the sky alone; off by default, except in iA mode; also includes Intelligent Zoom, which boosts the focal range by 2X with a "minimal deterioration of image quality"; see examples on the Features page of this review.
  • Extended optical zoom: while not actually a menu option, you can get additional zoom power by lowering the resolution; for example, dropping down to 5 Megapixel gives you 37.5X of total zoom power; this can also be combined with Intelligent Zoom, so you'd top out at a whopping 75X if you used both
  • Redeye removal: in addition to using pre-flashes to shrink your subject's pupils, the FZ200 can digitally remove redeye after a photo is taken; we'll see if it works later in the review
  • Auto Bracket: the camera takes three shots in a row, each with a different exposure; the interval can range from ±1/3 to ±3 EV; there's also a white balance bracketing feature, which is accessible from the fine-tuning screen
  • Fn button set: assign functions to the three customizable Fn buttons on the FZ200; there are three pages of available settings to choose from
  • Side lever: choose from zoom (the default) or focus (only when MF is active)
  • LCD mode: using Auto Power LCD is recommended for best outdoor visibility
  • Lens Resume: if you enter playback mode the camera will retract the lens after around 30 seconds; when you return to shooting, the lens position and focus distance have been lost; thus, turning on Zoom Resume and/or Manual Focus Resume is a smart idea if you want to keep those things from changing.

Playback Mode

The DMC-FZ200 has a pretty good playback that should look familiar to anyone who has used a Panasonic cameras in recent years. The notable features here include:

  • Filtering play: view only stills, videos, 3D images, favorites, and photos taken with a specific scene mode
  • Calendar view: quickly jump to photos taken on a certain date
  • Title edit / text stamp: print the date and time, location, names of recognized subjects, and more on your photos
  • Resize/cropping: always handy
  • Leveling: for people like me who can't get their horizons level
  • Auto retouch: a "quick fix" for your photos, though it often cranks things up a little too high for my taste
  • Creative retouch: apply many of the camera's Creative Filters to photos that you've taken
  • Video divide: pick a spot in your video and split it two

Two things that you won't find in playback mode include redeye removal or RAW editing functions.

The FZ200 doesn't tell you much about your photos by default. However, if you press the Display button, you'll get a bit more including a histogram. The camera moves between photos without delay.
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Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ200

Comments

Total comments: 16
Quixpeed
By Quixpeed (1 month ago)

one Note, this camera has time lapse feature, embedded in the Creative Control mode.

0 upvotes
phototransformations
By phototransformations (1 month ago)

Not seeing this. It has the opposite - slow motion - under creative video, but where are you seeing an intervalometer or equivalent?

0 upvotes
Quixpeed
By Quixpeed (2 months ago)

a question, isn't there any mod and dongle that can be fitted on this cam so that we can make a wifi connection or any method of wireless connectivity possible for the Lumix-FZ200?

0 upvotes
phototransformations
By phototransformations (1 month ago)

Wouldn't a WiFi-enabled SD card do that?

0 upvotes
ashokvashisht
By ashokvashisht (3 months ago)

I had decided to purchase this camera (I live in India) till I was educated on the importance of the sensor size. The sensor this camera has is much smaller than a APS-C. I loose on quality of image. I really hope the next model has a bigger sensor so I needn't invest in an DSLR & two lenses. My interest is wildlife & landscapes & a little of bird photography.

1 upvote
minimole
By minimole (2 months ago)

Bridge cameras offer a compromise to larger SLR cameras. The smaller sensor lacks the low light/ISO performance of the larger SLR but enables a much smaller lens of equivalent focal length to be used. There is a direct mathematical relationship between the format/sensor size and the actual focal length of the lens. There is a similar relationship between the focal length and the maximum aperture. Therefore if you fit a bigger sensor you will need a correspondingly larger camera and lens to support it. Sports and wildlife photographers don,t carry those heavy pieces of kit around to impress, they have to be that size to go with the larger sensor.

6 upvotes
Quixpeed
By Quixpeed (1 month ago)

i have it, and believe me you don't need to carry any additional gear with you, the 2.1 F gives great details even in the distant objects. shutter speed is great too, i attended this Abu Dhabi F1 GP 2012, and took excellent snaps during the cars top speeds. it is just a fine camera and good enough for people who work and have little spare time to practice their hobbies.

0 upvotes
Lost Aussie
By Lost Aussie (3 months ago)

Further to my recent post, I have to say that the more I use this camera, the less I like it. Having taken some stills and video over the weekend, I find that the autofocus is pathetic, especially when you start to zoom out, even at 3x it starts to hunt all over the place for a focal point. This camera is so bad that I am beginning to think I have bought a faulty model. I just photoshopped some of my grand-daughter's images from her $100 Nikon Coolpix and the resolution is far better that this Panasonic thing i.e. the Coolpix images come up at 300 DPI while the Lumix images are only 180 DPI and I find this sub-standard. I am using a Sandisk SDHC class 10 card, so it is nothing to do with card quality. Any other digital camera can be taken from the box and immediately start producing beautiful images, not so with this one as I have yet to make an image or video that I call sharp ...... NOT HAPPY

2 upvotes
Lost Aussie
By Lost Aussie (3 months ago)

I bought this model camera recently on the strength of the rave reviews I have read on this and other sites & the f2.8 lens, but I am not impressed with it. I bought it as a replacement for my old worn out Canon Powershot S51S, but the Lumix does not come close to the image quality of the Canon. I find the Lumix has much less colour depth and much less highlight detail. Further, the video function shows no recording time on the display like the Canon does, and also I find the controls cumbersome and fiddly to handle, AND it is not good on battery life as the reviews suggest.I do know a bit about cameras as I am a retired press photographer, not a megapixel and zoom spruiker as most self appointed specialists emphasise. I will use this camera mainly for video, but for serious stills I'll stick to my old Nikon D80 thanks !

0 upvotes
Spookpadda
By Spookpadda (4 months ago)

Looks like a beautiful camera - how robust is it (mist or rain) - would you take it on a boat? Pity it doesn't have built-in GPS - it is such a pleasure to have photos automatically geolocated…but it already has loads of features. I'm sold.

Comment edited 25 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
kyleraabit
By kyleraabit (4 months ago)

is this camera good for taking quick pictures one after another?
i just got mine at http://www.ritzcamera.com/product/PNDMCFZ200K.htm, cause they had a special sale price in cart for $449.

0 upvotes
carterh2425
By carterh2425 (7 months ago)

I have had my camera for 6 months and have mixed feelings, mostly good. I have probaby taken over 5,000 shots.
The design and workmanship are excellent. On occasions I have accidently hit a button I did not want to hit. In my opinion the camera has too many features.

My biggest complaints are the owners manual and the software. The manual and software are on an enclosed CD disk. The manual is poorly done with some features missing entirely or so vague as to be useless. Hard copies are available for as little as $10 on the internet.

The software is SilkyPix. If you plan on shooting RAW, you should give this program a trial run first. Some may like it, I can't stand it. My solution is a program called Helicon Filter. While the current version will convert RAW for this camera, an older version, Helicon Filter 4.93 is much faster and much easier to use. To get this older version you will need to make a special request
for an unlisted download.

3 upvotes
ArJunaBug
By ArJunaBug (7 months ago)

How do I make this special request for Helicon Filter 4.93? I have been looking for this and cannot find it. I would love to download it. Thanks.

0 upvotes
Obadiah Stone
By Obadiah Stone (7 months ago)

I have this camera as well, and while it certainly is a phenomenal point-and-shoot and very high quality, I tend to agree with you that it probably has too many features in a point-and-shoot. Is that possible? Well, kinda, yes. The camera is so sophisticated that it almost becomes tricky to use real well. I suppose any complex thing is like this, and I am definitely not a super-expert when it comes to photography. I have had a couple of other digital cameras over the years, and this one is by FAR the best, but I'm not sure if I will ever be perfectly comfortable with all of its features and intricacies.

I also agree that the manual can be quite a puzzle to figure out. It isn't the best on documentation, unfortunately.

Is this an awesome camera? Absolutely! The power zoom is incredible, the optics are super quality, the articulated LCD is SO nice to have, and the price is quite reasonable too. Do be prepared for a cornucopia of features!

2 upvotes
Aberaeron
By Aberaeron (6 months ago)

Do a search in Youtube for Graham Houghton. He has a superb series of videos explaining how to get the best out of this camera. Just what you need by the sound of it. This is a real enthusiast's bridge camera and many owners, through no fault of their own and despite some effort on their part, are overwhelmed by its potential.

6 upvotes
Mr Haber
By Mr Haber (5 months ago)

Agree!

0 upvotes
Total comments: 16