Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ150 review
1/2.33in 12.0-megapixel sensor, 24.0x zoom (25-600mm equivalent), 528g
Videos are captured in AVCHD format at up to 1080p and 50fps. Most cameras shoot either 25 progressive-scan or 50 interlaced frames per second, but these are both compromises: 50fps interlaced produces smoother motion but moving subjects aren't as detailed. With 50fps progressive scan you get the best of both worlds, although it also generates twice the amount of data.
Even on our Core i7 PC, Windows Media Player couldn't play these clips back smoothly. Our favourite video-editing software, Sony Vegas Platinum, had no problem handling them, although the number of clips it could play simultaneously was inevitably halved. The camera's default video capture mode is 50fps interlaced (1080-50i), which makes more sense in most situations.
The FZ150's videos also benefit from improved optical stabilisation to counteract camera shake, particularly while walking and shooting. That's a technique we'd never normally consider without specialist equipment, but at the wide end of the zoom we were able to walk and record videos that didn't induce motion sickness when played back – a terrific achievement. It's also possible to capture 3.7-megapixel photos without interrupting video recording.
These improvements build on some impressive features inherited from the FZ100. Videos benefit from smooth automatic exposures or full manual control, responsive autofocus, 30-minute clip lengths, an external microphone socket, high quality stereo sound from the built-in microphone and silent zoom and autofocus motors. There was little evidence of video noise – subtle details were lost to noise reduction in low-light clips but noise only became intrusive in subdued artificial light. In bright conditions, videos looked flawless.