The Good The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ150's lens, shooting options, and fast performance offer great shooting flexibility.
The Bad The FZ150's JPEG photos can look overprocessed when viewed at large sizes.
The Bottom Line Hobbyists and enthusiasts who want a megazoom camera with a lot of control over final results should strongly consider the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ150.
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ150 (Black)
There was one thing that kept thefrom earning a CNET Editors' Choice Award: photo quality. So when Panasonic announced that its successor, the FZ150, had a new imaging sensor and processor, I had high hopes for it.
The main problem with the FZ100 was Panasonic's JPEG processing of photos taken above ISO 200, which produced soft smeary details and yellow blotching caused by noise. It's not great when any camera does this, but it's especially disappointing in a $500 one. The FZ150 gets a new 12-megapixel MOS sensor (dropping from 14 megapixels), which Panasonic claims improves its signal-to-noise ratio, and new noise reduction more evenly suppresses noise in dark and light areas of photos as well. The end result should be better photos at higher ISOs with less noise. And, in fact, it does produce better low-light photos.
However, it seems to have cost the FZ150 some quality at its lower ISOs. Though noise levels are better, it looks like Panasonic is overprocessing the JPEGs. It makes subjects look crunchy when viewed at larger sizes or when heavily cropped. On the other hand, if you don't regularly enlarge or crop photos for large prints, the photos straight from the camera might be perfectly fine. You can also choose to shoot in raw or raw plus JPEG, giving you the ability to process images yourself.