Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ150 review

Record-breaking performance, dependable image quality, superb controls and a fantastic video mode make this versatile camera worth the high price.

26 Aug 2011
Our Rating 
5/5
Price when reviewed 
369
inc VAT

Specifications

1/2.33in 12.0-megapixel sensor, 24.0x zoom (25-600mm equivalent), 528g

The FZ100's weakest area was its photo quality, with its 14-megapixel sensor displaying significantly higher noise than its 12-megapixel predecessor. The FZ150 drops the resolution back down to 12 megapixels, and is all the better for it. There was still a suggestion of noise reduction suppressing subtle details such as grass and skin textures in bright light, but much less so than on the FZ100 and not to any significant degree.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ150 sample 6

When low-light environments demanded fast ISO speeds, noise reduction was applied liberally but it did an excellent job of hiding noise without degrading the image too obviously. We found high-ISO image quality to be slightly better than from the FZ48, and among the best we've seen from an ultra-zoom camera. Only the Nikon S9100 is significantly better, but large zoom aside, it's quite a different camera to the FZ150.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ150 sample 1

Other aspects of photo quality were consistently excellent, with sharp focus, flattering colours and superbly judged automatic exposures. The Intelligent Auto mode made life very simple (although as with the FZ48, we could do without its digital zoom function), while the program, priority and manual modes offered extensive control over exposures and picture quality in general.

The FZ150 won't be cheap, but compared to dedicated video cameras of similar quality and capabilities, it's far from overpriced. Throw in the fastest performance we've ever seen from a compact camera, superb quality photos and great controls, and the FZ150 has comfortably earned itself five stars and an Ultimate award.

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