CNET First Look
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ100As long as you're willing to work with raw image files, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ100 is one of the best full-size megazooms you can get.
-Hi! I'm Josh Goldman, senior editor for CNET Reviews. And this is a look at the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ100. It's a 14-megapixel megazoom camera featuring a 25-mm wide angle lens in front with a 24x optical zoom. While that's not the longest zoom on the market, Panasonic makes up for it with some digital zoom that we don't normally recommend but they managed to pull off and that extends the zoom out to a usable 32x. So aside from the great lens up front, there's also a flip-out 3-inch LCD which is very popular with this category camera and a small electronic viewfinder that's very nice to have especially when it's sunny out. But when you're also using that long lens, you can keep the camera close to your body. Other nice details include a hot shoe on top for adding an accessory flash or an accessory mic. There's actually a mic input on the sides, so that you can just plug the mic right in. And there's also record button on top for going straight to recording HD movies. This camera records in AVCHD and motion JPEG up to a full HD 1080 resolution. One of the other nice things about this camera that put it ahead of others in its class are the number of shooting options on it. You get everything from Panasonic's reliable Intelligent Auto mode right to full manual for both photos and movies. And Panasonic also includes a full selection of preset colors to go with different modes or different types of shooting. It's something that came to what you should find on an iPhone app. Controlling the camera is fairly easy, but the menus do get a bit tricky just because of all the shooting options that are available. And as I mentioned earlier, Panasonic's made a lot of accessories available for this camera. Along with the flash and mic options, there's also filters and the camera actually comes a lens hood which does not happen a lot with these models. One of the other things that makes this camera a standout is its fast shooting performance especially burst mode. The camera has an 11 frame per second burst mode with photo shooting at a full 14-megapixel resolution. It also has a 5 frame per second with auto focus which is pretty important if you're trying to keep something in focus and it's moving. It's other shooting performance such as shutter lag and shot to shot times are also pretty great for its class. And as far as photo quality is concern, Panasonic promises outstanding clearness and images from its 14-megapixel MOS sensor. Unfortunately, that was not what we experienced. So while it's good at its lower ISO, it kinda falls apart in ISO 400 making it to JPEGs poor for indoor and low light shooting. However, it does capture in raw+JPEG. So if you don't mind doing a little processing of the raw images, you can actually get better results from those shots than you can directly from the camera's JPEGs. Last but not least, it's video quality is excellent but if suffers from some of the same low light issues that its photos do. Overall, though, as long as you don't mind doing a little processing of raw images, it's a topnotch megazoom camera. I'm Josh Goldman and that's a look at the Panasonic Lumix FZ100.