Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ200 at a glance:

  • 12.1-million-pixel, 1/2.3in CMOS sensor
  • 24x, 25-600mm-equivalent f/2.8 lens
  • 1.312-million-dot-resolution EVF
  • Raw + JPEG shooting
  • 3in, 460,000-dot articulated LCD screen
  • Street price around £540

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ200 review – Introduction

Bridge cameras occupy a strange place in the camera market. Travel-zoom compacts now have extraordinary zoom lenses, manual shooting modes and sometimes raw shooting, while compact system cameras (CSCs) also offer a smaller, lighter and often cheaper alternative to a DSLR. To compete in what is a very competitive market, bridge cameras have become much more advanced.

To start with, the huge zoom lenses on bridge cameras seem to be constantly getting longer, but there have also been improvements made to the sensors used in the cameras, as well as the range of features on offer. The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ200 is no exception.

While on the surface the FZ200 appears to be much the same as its predecessor, the Lumix DMC-FZ150, advances have been made, most notably in the lens, which has a constant f/2.8 aperture throughout its entire 24x zoom focal length. This should make for a significant improvement in how the camera handles when shooting at its 600mm equivalent focal length.

I was particularly keen to see just how the lens would work in tandem with the improved 12.1-million-pixel CMOS sensor. It is the small, compact-camera-sized sensors in bridge cameras that make them capable of such large equivalent focal lengths in what are fairly compact bodies – yet these same sensors are also their Achilles heel, as the small size means the images they produce are noisier with a smaller dynamic range compared to a CSC or DSLR. That said, the main selling point of bridge cameras is the flexibility they offer over compacts, so does a little extra noise really matter?

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