Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ50 Review
Announced bang on schedule exactly a year after the camera it replaces, the FZ50 is the new flagship in Panasonic's big-zoom Lumix range, upping the image size to a class-leading 10.2 megapixels and adding a couple of welcome new features. Unlike the FZ30, which represented a leap forward in design and features over the FZ20 (and closed the gap between fixed lens and SLR cameras further than ever before), the new camera is a fairly minor upgrade. Then again, the FZ30 was hardly crying out for a massive overhaul; despite a wealth of 'super zoom' competitors it really does sit in a class of its own, offering true SLR-like handling and operation and an amazingly versatile 35-420mm equivalent 12x optical zoom (with fluid-damped mechanical zoom mechanism). So let's find out if the FZ50 is a worthy successor, and if it can overcome the few complaints we had, starting as usual with the headline features:
- 10.1-megapixel high resolution CCD
- LEICA DC VARIO-ELMARIT 12x optical zoom (35-420mm equiv.)
- MEGA O.I.S.(Optical Image Stabilizer) system
- Venus Engine III processor
- Full photographic control
- 2.0-inch flip-out 207k high resolution LCD
- High resolution electronic viewfinder
- Fast startup and operation
- TTL Flash hot-shoe
FZ50 vs FZ30: Main differences
Where the FZ30 was a major upgrade of the FZ20 both internally and externally, the FZ50 is more evolutionary than revolutionary, and aside from the new sensor the changes are - for the most part - minor.
- Higher pixel count sensor (10.1 vs 8.3 MP)
- TIFF file format dropped (RAW remains)
- Venus Engine III (vs Venus Engine II)
- Full resolution ISO settings up to 1600 (vs 400)
- TTL Flash hot-shoe
- Lower resolution (207,000 pixel) screen
- Screen now flips down to 180°
- SDHC support (for capacities over 2.0GB)
- New 16:9 (848 x 480 pixel) movie mode
- New 16:9 and 3:2 aspect ratio options for stills
- Slower continuous shooting (from 3 to 2 fps, max images from 7 to 5 in standard)
- 'SilkyPix Developer Studio' for RAW conversion included
- Intelligent ISO feature
|Street price|| US: $580
|Body Material||Metal and plastic|
• 1/1.8" Type CCD
• 4:3 (default, CCD native)
Image sizes *
• 3648 x 2736
|Image sizes *
• 3600 x 2400
|Image sizes *
• 3584 x 2016
• 848 x 480 (16:9), 30 / 10 fps *
|File formats *||• RAW
• JPEG (EXIF 2.2): Fine / Standard
• MOV (Movies, Motion JPEG codec)
|Image processor||Venus Engine III|
• 35 - 420 mm equiv. (12x zoom)
|Image stabilization||• Optical, "MEGA OIS"
• Modes: 1 (all the time), 2 (at shutter release only)
|Conversion lenses||Yes (screw on front of lens; 55 mm thread)|
|Digital zoom||• 2x or 4x
• "Extra optical zoom" for smaller sizes (13.4x 8m, 17.1x 5m, 21.4x 3m) *
|Focus||• AF / AF Macro / Manual (switch on dial)
• Continuous AF On/Off
• Manual Focus (Ring)
• One-shot AF
|AF area modes||• 1 point
• 1 point high-speed
• 3 point
• 3 point high-speed
• 9 point
|AF assist lamp||Yes|
|Focus distance||• Normal: 30 / 200 cm - Infinity
• Macro: 5 / 200 cm - Infinity
|Metering||• Intelligent Multiple
• Center weighted
|ISO sensitivity||• Auto
• Intelligent Auto
• ISO 80
• ISO 100
• ISO 200
• ISO 400
• ISO 800 *
• ISO 1600 *
• ISO 3200 (High sensitivity mode) *
|Exposure compensation||• +/- 2.0 EV
• 1/3 EV steps
|Exposure bracketing|| • 3 frames
• 0.3 to 1 EV steps
|Shutter speed||• Auto: 1/4 - 1/2000 sec *
• Program AE: 1 - 1/2000 sec *
• Aperture/Shutter priority: 8 - 1/2000 sec
• Manual mode: 60 - 1/2000 sec *
• Shutter speeds over 1/1000 sec not available with all apertures.
|Aperture|| • Wide: F2.8 - F11
• Tele: F3.7 - F11
• Program (with shift)
• Aperture Priority
• Shutter Priority
• Moving Image
|Scene modes *||• Portrait
• Soft Skin
• Night Portrait
• Night Scenery
• Starry Sky
• Baby 1
• Baby 2
• High sensitivity
|White balance fine tune||Yes (except Auto)|
|Self timer||2 or 10 sec|
|Continuous shooting||• Full resolution: 2 or 1 fps *
• Full resolution: max 5 images (standard mode), 3 images (fine mode) *
• Infinite consecutive (unlimited but slower shooting rate)
|Image parameters||• Contrast (Low, Standard, High)
• Sharpness (Low, Standard, High)
• Saturation (Low, Standard, High)
• Noise reduction (Low, Standard, High)
|Color Effect||• Cool
• Black & White
|Flash||• Built-in (manual pop-up)
• Modes: Auto, Auto red-eye reduction, Slow sync, On/Off
• Range: 0.3 - 7.0 m (W), 0.3 - 5.3 m (T)
• External flash via hot-shoe
• Flash exposure compensation (+/-2 EV in 0.3 EV steps)
|Flash hot-shoe *||• New TTL hot-shoe
• Compatible with: DMW-FL500 (GN50), DMW-FL360 (GN36) external flash
|Viewfinder||• 0.44" EVF (electronic viewfinder)
• 230,000 pixels
|LCD monitor||• 2.0" TFT LCD
• 207,000 pixels *
• Flip down and twist
|Record review||1 sec / 3 sec / Zoom|
|Playback|| • 2x / 4x / 8x / 16x magnification
• 9 / 16 / 25 thumbnail index
• Image rotation
• DPOF setting
|Connectivity||• USB 1.1
• A/V out
|Storage||• Secure Digital card, SDHC card *, MMC card
• 32 MB SD card supplied
|Power||• 710 mAh, 7.2V Lithium-Ion rechargeable battery
• Charger included
|Weight (No batt)||668 g (1.5 lb) *|
|Weight (with batt)||734 g (1.6 lb) *|
|Dimensions||141 x 86 x 142 mm (5.5 x 3.4 x 5.6 in)|
|Supplied software *||LUMIX Simple Viewer, PhotofunStudio -viewer-, SILKPIX DEVELOPER STUDIO, ArcSoft Camera Suite (ArcSoft PhotoImpression, ArcSoft PanoramaMaker), Adobe Reader, Quick Time, USB Driver|
How confident are you that you can spot a manipulated photo? A recent study at the University of Warwick shows that many people are pretty bad at it.
If you purchased a Leica TL2, do NOT attach Leica's Visoflex electronic viewfinder. Leica is working on a fix, but for now, it's possible the viewfinder will break your camera.
Google just released Motion Stills for Android. Unlike the iOS version, the Android app uses a redesigned video processing pipeline that processes each frame of a video as it is being recorded, creating instant results.
A huge copyright lawsuit between photography firm VHT and Zillow Group is heating up again, as both sides appeal a court ruling that granted VHT $4 million in damages.
European Space Agency astronaut Thomas Pesquet spent 6 months on board the International Space Station where he worked with Google capturing spheric panorama images that are now available in Street View.
It's official. PDN has confirmed with parent company Aurelius that 94-year-old lighting company Bowens is indeed going out of business.
The newly launched firmware version 1.06 fixes AF-issues that can occur with some lenses that are not officially compatible with the MC-11 converter.
Voyager is a waterproof smart light stick you can control entirely from your phone. The light has already blown past its $300K funding goal on Indiegogo.
2018 is the last year Photokina will take place during the traditional end-of-September dates. In 2019, Photokina will take place from the 8th to the 11th of May.
The Canon IXUS 50 (known as the SD400 Digital ELPH in North America) was one of a string of high-performing, pocketable PowerShots of the mid-2000s. In this week's throwback Thursday, Barney casts his mind back to 2005.
A close look at the EOS 6D II's Raw files suggest its dynamic range has taken a significant step backwards compared with the company's recent DSLRs. We look at how much difference this might make for your photos.
With a full-production review unit in our hands, we've got over 100 production samples from the new Canon EOS 6D Mark II to share.
Need a break from your day? Kick back and watch the making of a somewhat unconventional mojito filmed on Canon's new EOS 6D Mark II.
The Bonfoton Camera Obscura Room Lens can turn any room into a camera obscura, projecting the view from your window onto the walls of your room.
Adobe just released version 2015.12 of Lightroom CC, adding support for several new cameras and lenses, and baking in several important bug fixes while they were at it.
In this interview, Chiara Marinai, photo editor for VanityFair.com, explains exactly what she looks for in new photographers and photo submissions. Take notes.
Massive corporation P&G is being sued by a Cincinnati photographer for serious copyright violations. If the courts rules against P&G, the company could pay as much as $75 million in damages.
Snapchat's camera-equipped 'Spectacles' aren't so difficult to get anymore. You can now pick up a pair through Amazon for $130.
A group of thieves has made away with tens of thousands in camera gear through a carefully orchestrated scam through Venmo and Facebook Marketplace.
A portrait lens from 1910 might be coming back to life if two photographers from Germany succeed in a new Kickstarter project—the latest development in the craze to remake vintage optics.
The updated version of Google Glass is called the Enterprise Edition and, as the name suggests, it's not meant for personal use.
Charles Ommanney was once a photographer for presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, now he's working for Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
Image compression software JPEGmini Pro was just updated to handle files up to 128MB. They're calling it "The 1 Feature Hasselblad Owners
Apple was just granted a patent for a camera system that prods, coaxes and manipulates users into taking better group and solo selfies.
The Canon EOS 6D Mark II is a better camera than its predecessor, but how much better? Should you buy one?
The winners of the 2017 Magnum and LensCulture Photography Awards have been announced. Here are the six photographers who took home the top prize in their respective categories.
A NASA study has confirmed what your ears have been telling you: people HATE drone noise. In fact, it was ranked more annoying than that of "any ground vehicle."
This floating bird video isn't edited in post-production. It's the result of the birds wing flap matching the camera's 20fps frame rate.
Adobe released a major update to Lightroom Mobile for both iOS and Android users today.
Could the future of photo and video storage be... alive? Scientists at Harvard have managed to encode a GIF of a galloping horse into a live sample of E. coli.