Panasonic DMC-FZ200 - Poor Quality Images

Started Mar 25, 2014 | Discussions thread
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MinAZ Senior Member • Posts: 3,681
Panasonic DMC-FZ200 - Poor Quality Images

Okay I am half writing this post to express my disappointment in this camera and half seeking advice in case the reason I am disappointed is that I am doing it wrong.

As a quick background, I shoot mainly in DSLR and sometimes mirrorless. But I have always had point and shoot cameras as backups and for light travel. I have owned several Panasonic cameras before and have been quite happy with them.

The Panasonic FZ200 promised to be the killer superzoom from a company I highly respect, with a 24x zoom range, 600mm equivalent max reach, and f/2.8 constant aperture. So I ponied up the rather high (for a P&S) price and have spent the last couple of weeks eagerly testing the unit. However, to my disappointment, the camera fails to produce acceptable quality images.

I have to say that the range of the camera is every bit as good as I expected, the autofocus is reasonably quick and accurate, the IS works very well, the controls are logical and convenient, and the bright lens is as fast and clean as I could hope for. But all this seems to be let down by an inexplicable noise problem AT ALL ISO SETTINGS. At first I thought that this maybe a problem due to my settings but if it is I have not yet discovered how to get rid of it.

ll pictures taken at all ISOs look fine when viewed at normal (100%) size on a monitor - perhaps a little "fuzzy." But when zoomed in to 100% crop (i.e. 2x magnification), pictures at ALL ISOs look like they are composed of tiny dots. This is at various focal lengths and shooting conditions. This is baffling because the camera is so well made otherwise that it seems impossible that Panasonic could have overlooked this. The noise is even worse than my old (and very much missed) Canon S3 IS (stolen). I was thinking perhaps this is a Panasonic problem - they just can't get sensors like those Canon boys, but checking against the Panasonic LX-7, the difference in noise is night and day.

Also, I might want to clarify that it's not exactly noise per se that I am noticing, because noise would be unwanted artifacts that interfere with the picture. Perhaps a better world for it is pixelation. You zoom in to an FZ200 picture even at just 2x magnification and you see a sea of dots...

I am checking here to see if anyone has had better luck with the camera. I have been to several review sites that post 100% crops of the FZ200 images at various settings and it seems the reviewers have had the same problem as I do, though curiously they did not mention this problem much in the reviews. I do not believe that I am being overly sensitive here because this problem seems to be rather unique to the FZ200. The only other camera I get this degree of pixelation from is my Nikon S6500 which is a pocket camera under $100. If I am missing some setting that I should have adjusted, please do let me know. If this is a problem with a "bad copy" I will try to get it exchanged. Otherwise, if this is a problem with all FZ200s I will probably just let it be. Lesson learned and I will just use it for times when I don't give a damn about IQ.

P. S. I would be happy to post/send via e-mail pic samples for those who might be curious. However, as mentioned, this problem seems to occur even in the review sites: e.g. here:

Nikon Coolpix S6500 Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ200
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