your FZ "sweet spot": from FZ28 to FZ1000

Started 4 months ago | Discussions thread
GeraldW Veteran Member • Posts: 8,804
Re: your FZ "sweet spot": from FZ28 to FZ1000

No question, I absolutely HAD to respond to this thread.

The 10 MP FZ28 was my first Panasonic superzoom.  It went on several cruises and land trips with me, and I felt it was better than the 12 MP FZ35, which I also had.  The FZ28 followed on to my Canon S5IS and was better in several ways and with a little work, had equally good color. I liked it a lot; but it wasn't my favorite.

The FZ150 was a big improvement over the FZ28 and FZ35, although the lens was a little slower at the very long end; but image quality was noticeably better, particularly at higher ISO up to 1600.  The downside was the low resolution EVF and LCD screen.

The FZ200 (I've had 5 of these) The earliest two handled better than the FZ150, and had a higher resolution EVF; but image quality lacked a little bit.  Camera settings were different than all my previous FZ's.  The third one, from May, 2013 was different and better and wanted to use the same settings as the FZ150.  It also equaled the FZ150's image quality all the way to ISO 1600.  #4 was made in China and seemed to have a little less contrast in JPEG's.  It was bought new, as were the first three.  Camera #5 I still have.  It was made in Japan and seems to be every bit as good as #3.  It was my favorite FZ for quite a while; but...

The first FZ300 was almost as good overall as the last FZ200 I had.  Both models use the same 25-600 mm f/2.8 lens.  Images were sharp; but lacked "pop" and color was off just a little.  I gave it to a friend to take on his Alaska trip.  Later, in a different home, I missed the weather proofing of the FZ300, and bought a new one.  The second FZ300 was better.  Sharper, much better color, and it had the missing "pop".  That second one was a keeper, and the best of my small sensor FZ's.  It's also the heaviest and bulkiest of all my small sensor FZ's; but handling and balance are very good, and similarly equipped, it's only a little less than 4 oz heavier than the FZ200.  The FZ300 has better displays, can control off-camera flashes, and is ruggedized and weather sealed.

Along the way, a friend gave me an FZ18.  Smaller and lighter than the FZ150, and with not quite as long a lens (504 mm vs 600); it has nice color and sharp images; but is only 8 MP.  It also lacks a hot shoe.  The sensor is a CD.  I'd rank it just slightly below the FZ28.

I recently bought a used FZ80 to take advantage of the longer lens for shots of ducks and geese on a large pond near us.  I only shoot JPEGs, so it took a while to figure out the best settings.  They turned out to be pretty close to my first FZ200.  I'd rank it below the FZ150 for image quality in JPEG.  Its main strength is the 1200 mm (equivalent) lens, although I mostly use it at EX-M (9 MP) which gives an equivalent 1692 mm.

And then there's the FZ1000.  It's the biggest and heaviest, although not so big as to prevent taking it on cruises and land trips in my carry-on bag.  I bought one in 2015 as a replacement for my DSLR kit on travel.  It was good enough, that after a group trip to central California, I sold the whole DSLR kit when I got home.  It's not ruggedized and weather sealed like the FZ300; but does take better pictures at ISO's above 400.  I am now on my second one, and it's slightly better.   All up and ready to go, it's about 5.5 oz. heavier than the FZ300, and somewhat larger.  It has a significantly larger and higher resolution sensor that gives it a significant edge at higher ISO, and a higher resolution EVF.  It mostly stays home now and is used for portraits, scenics, and flash work.

OK, so what's the final ranking?  The FZ1000 wins on image quality, particularly over ISO 400; but it's the biggest and heaviest and isn't ruggedized or weather sealed.  The FZ300 is the best of the small sensor FZ's, it's weather sealed and ruggedized, and because of the longer, faster lens is my choice for use around the pond and on travel.  For me, in my current situation, it's a tie.

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