Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ150 (Black) review: Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ150 (Black)

If you shoot a lot of moving subjects, namely children, pets, and sports, the FZ150's multiple burst shooting options give you a lot of flexibility and a fighting chance of getting a good photo. Its fastest burst modes--40 and 60 fps--are at reduced resolutions, but Panasonic packed in three at full resolution. There's one that captures up to 12 shots at 12fps, but that sets focus, exposure, and white balance with the first shot. What's better are the 2fps and 5.5fps options with autofocus, so you're able to get a moderately fast-moving subject in focus and properly exposed. Plus, these are available when shooting in raw plus JPEG. The camera's high-speed shooting also provides bracketing options for flash intensities and exposures.

Other aspects of the FZ150's shooting performance are excellent as well. Shutter lag is low at 0.3 second in bright lighting and 0.8 second in dim, low-contrast lighting. From shot to shot without the flash you're waiting only 1 second (1.3 seconds if you're shooting in raw); adding the flash extends that time to 3 seconds. The time from off to first shot is 1.9 seconds, which is a little long, but not uncommon for this camera class.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ150 design
The FZ150's controls are well-spaced and easy to use, but it has so many settings that the menus can be confusing.

On top of everything I've mentioned, the camera is well-designed and generally nice to use. There's an ample hand grip so you can comfortably handle its 1.2-pound weight. The grip houses a memory card and a large rechargeable battery that's CIPA-rated for up to 410 shots. On top along with the shutter release/zoom lever, power switch, and Mode dial are a one-touch record button for movies and one for quickly setting a burst mode.

On the back below the small but serviceable electronic viewfinder is a flip-out, rotating 3-inch LCD. To its left are the main controls for menu navigation and shooting. They're all well-spaced and easy to press, and there's a jog dial for quickly changing details like aperture, shutter speed, and exposure compensation. However, because of the abundant feature set it's all too easy to get lost trying to find a setting in Panasonic's menu system. As a challenge it's not insurmountable, but if you frequently make changes it can quickly become frustrating. However, there is a programmable function button and there's a button for direct access to ISO.

It seems you get a lot of extras with the FZ150, too. The rotating LCD is nice, but there's also the hot shoe on top for adding different flash units. There are conversion lenses and filters available for it, and a mic/remote socket on the left allows you to add those accessories as well. Panasonic even includes a lens hood.

If you're looking for a bridge camera, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ150 is one of the best you're going to find. The photo quality, while improved from its predecessor, still isn't quite good enough to earn this camera an Editors' Choice. But because of its great feature set, fast shooting performance, and many ways to improve its results, we'd definitely still recommend it.

Shooting speed (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)

Nikon Coolpix P500
Canon PowerShot SX30 IS

Typical continuous-shooting speed (in fps)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)

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