Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ150 review
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We recently reviewed the FZ48, a capable ultra-zoom camera that marked a return to form for Panasonic. This time we've got its big brother is under the spotlight. The FZ150 was officially unveiled today, and while it's too early to confirm UK pricing, we've reviewed it with the expectation that it'll cost around £400.
Update 05/09/2011 - The FZ150 still isn't on sale, though we've seen pre-orders for £369 online, which is a little cheaper than our initial estimate of £400
Initial inspection reveals more similarities than differences, with the FZ48 and FZ150 cameras both packing a 12-megapixel sensor, 24x zoom Leica-branded lens, 3in LCD screen, electronic viewfinder, a generous collection of buttons and a command dial. Both record 1080p video and both use a special lens coating to minimise lens flares.
There's plenty to justify the FZ150's higher price, though. Its 3in screen is articulated, there's a hotshoe for an external flash or microphone, and photos can be captured in RAW mode for extensive tinkering on a PC. Panasonic tells us that autofocus speed has been improved, and it certainly seemed to be extremely quick. We measured a shot-to-shot time of 0.65 seconds, shaving a quarter of a second off the FZ48's performance and making this the most responsive compact camera we've ever seen. It also managed just 0.9 seconds between shots in RAW mode, slowing to two seconds after 15 shots.
Continuous performance was at 12fps for 12 frames – up from 11fps on its predecessor, the FZ100 and much faster than the FZ48's 3.7fps. It can also shoot at 5.5fps while updating autofocus between each shot – a crucial feature for following moving subjects. It can't quite match a fast SLR, which is able to update its autofocus even more quickly and accurately, and also benefits from a largely uninterrupted view through its optical viewfinder. However, this is the best continuous mode we've seen from a compact camera.
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