Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ200 Review

4.5
October 11, 2012 | Mark Goldstein |

Image Quality


All of the sample images in this Review were taken using the 12 megapixel Fine JPEG setting, which gives an average image size of around 5Mb.

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ200 produced images of very good quality during the review period. Noise is well-controlled until ISO 1600, which exhibits some artifacts, blurring of detail and slight colour desaturation. The noise and loss of detail get progressively worse as you go from ISO 1600 to the fastest 6400 setting, which isn't really very usable at all.

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ200 dealt very well with chromatic aberrations, with limited purple fringing effects appearing only in high contrast situations. The pop-up flash worked well indoors, with no red-eye and adequate exposure. The night photograph was excellent, with the maximum shutter speed of 60 seconds allowing you to capture plenty of light. Anti-shake is a feature that works very well when hand-holding the camera in low-light conditions or when using the telephoto end of the zoom range.

Macro performance is amazing, allowing you to focus as close as 1cm away from the subject (although it's difficult to get the lighting correct at such a close distance). The images were a little soft straight out of the camera at the default sharpening setting and ideally require further sharpening in an application like Adobe Photoshop, or you can change the in-camera setting if you don't like the default results. The Intelligent Resolution feature either makes a standard image look sharper, albeit with some unwanted artefacts appearing, or it digitally increases the 24x optical zoom to 48x, again with a slight loss in quality. Intelligent Dynamic Range successfully adjusts the exposure to record more detail in both the highlights and shadows.

Noise

There are 7 ISO settings available on the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ200. Here are some 100% crops which show the noise levels for each ISO setting for both JPEG and RAW formats.

JPEG RAW

ISO 100 (100% Crop)

ISO 100 (100% Crop)

   

ISO 200 (100% Crop)

ISO 200 (100% Crop)

   

ISO 400 (100% Crop)

ISO 400 (100% Crop)

   

ISO 800 (100% Crop)

ISO 800 (100% Crop)

   

ISO 1600 (100% Crop)

ISO 1600 (100% Crop)

   

ISO 3200 (100% Crop)

ISO 3200 (100% Crop)

   

ISO 6400 (100% Crop)

ISO 6400 (100% Crop)

Focal Range

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ200's 24x zoom lens provides a focal length of 25-600mm in 35mm terms, as demonstrated below.

25mm

600mm

Sharpening

Here are two 100% crops which have been Saved as Web - Quality 50 in Photoshop. The right-hand image has had some sharpening applied in Photoshop. The out-of-the camera images are a little soft at the default sharpening setting. You can change the in-camera sharpening level if you don't like the default look.

Original (100% Crop)

Sharpened (100% Crop)

   

File Quality

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ200 has 2 different JPEG image quality settings available, with Fine being the highest quality option. Here are some 100% crops which show the quality of the various options, with the file size shown in brackets.

12M Fine (5.07Mb) (100% Crop) 12M Normal (3.01Mb) (100% Crop)
   
12M RAW (14.3Mb) (100% Crop)  
 

Chromatic Aberrations

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ200 handled chromatic aberrations excellently during the review. There's some slight purple fringing between areas of high contrast, but it's only noticeable on close inspection, as shown in the examples below.

Example 1 (100% Crop)

Example 2 (100% Crop)

Macro

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ200 offers a Macro setting that allows you to focus on a subject that is 1cm away from the camera when the lens is set to wide-angle. The first image shows how close you can get to the subject (in this case a compact flash card). The second image is a 100% crop.

Macro Shot

100% Crop

Flash

The flash settings on the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ200 are Auto, Auto/Red-eye Reduction, Forced On, Slow Sync./Red-eye Reduction, Forced Off, and Flash Synchro. These shots of a white coloured wall were taken at a distance of 1.5m.

Flash Off - Wide Angle (25mm)

Flash On - Wide Angle (25mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64
   

Flash Off - Telephoto (600mm)

Flash On - Telephoto (600mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64

And here are a couple of portrait shots. As you can see, neither the Forced On setting or the Auto/Red-eye Reduction option caused any amount of red-eye.

Forced On

Forced On (100% Crop)
   

Auto/Red-eye Reduction

Auto/Red-eye Reduction (100% Crop)

Night

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ200's maximum shutter speed is 60 seconds in Manual shooting mode and the Starry Sky Mode scene mode, which is great news if you're seriously interested in night photography. The shot below was taken using a shutter speed of 15 seconds at ISO 100. I've included a 100% crop of the image to show what the quality is like.

Night Shot

Night Shot (100% Crop)

Anti Shake

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ200 has an anti-shake mechanism, which allows you to take sharp photos at slower shutter speeds than other digital cameras. To test this, I took 2 handheld shots of the same subject with the same settings. The first shot was taken with anti shake turned off, the second with it turned on. Here are some 100% crops of the images to show the results. As you can see, with anti shake turned on, the images are much sharper than with anti shake turned off. This feature really does seem to make a difference and could mean capturing a successful, sharp shot or missing the opportunity altogether.

Shutter Speed / Focal Length

Anti Shake Off (100% Crop)

Anti Shake On (100% Crop)

1/5th / 25mm
     
1/6th / 600mm

Intelligent Resolution

The Intelligent Resolution feature either makes a standard image look like a higher resolution one by processing the contour areas, texture areas and smooth areas individually, or it digitally boosts the zoom magnification from 24x to 48x.

Intelligent Resolution Off

Intelligent Resolution On

   

i.Zoom Off

i.Zoom On

Intelligent Dynamic Range

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ200's Intelligent Dynamic Range feature adjusts the exposure setting to record more detail in the highlights and shadows, with three strengths available - low, standard and high.

Off

Low

   

Standard

High

Photo Styles

Panasonic's Photo Styles, similar to Nikon's Picture Styles, Canon's Picture Controls and Olympus' Picture Modes, are preset combinations of different sharpness, contrast, saturation and noise reduction settings. The six available Photo Styles are shown below in the following series, which demonstrates the differences. There is also a Custom option so that you can create your own look.

Standard

Vivid

   

Natural

Monochrome

   

Scenery

Portrait

Creative Controls

The Panasonic FZ48 has an expanded range of Creative Controls, denoted by an artist's palette on the shooting mode dial, with 14 different options on offer. You can also apply all of these effects to a JPEG image during playback via the Creative Retouch option (press up on the navigation pad).

Expressive

Retro

   

High Key

Low Key

   

Sepia

Dynamic Monochrome

   

Impressive Art

High Dynamic

   

Cross Process

Toy Effect

   

Miniature Effect

Soft Focus

   

Star Filter

One Point Color

Entry Tags

hd video, 3 inch LCD, review, 1080p, 12 megapixel, video, movie, super-zoom, RAW, 1920x1080, super zoom, f2.8, wideangle, ultra-zoom, Panasonic, mega-zoom, 12fps, Lumix, 24x, dmc fz200, fz200, DMC-FZ200

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