155 of 158 people found the following review helpful
on October 5, 2012
I have had my DMC-FZ60 for about three weeks now. I am a Panasonic user, and have bought many of their pocket cameras for the family. I also own a Cannon T50 SLR with three lens, some Sony's and others. I previously owned the Panasonic FZ8, prior to getting the FZ60, which is a major upgrade in my kit. The FZ8 has taken thousands of great pictures, and is now in the hands of my college nephew, being put to good use in the field.
I have taken several sets of picture themes, Sports (football, motorcycle racing), indoor, video outdoors, scenery and sun sets. Of the 300 plus pictures taken only four were blow due to poor focus or exposure. I believe one was my fault, being to quick with a pan shot.
The football shots were shot in good light during the day. Exploiting the massive reach of 600 mm lens to the wide angle of the 25 mm lens created some stunning shots. I captured burst shots from 70 yards with great clarity, also capturing a panorama of the entire field from the bleachers at mid field that was stunning and perfectly stitched together. The 16 MP MOS sensor is a huge improvement over the 7mp I had before. Only issue noted was the limited number of shots in burst mode.
Motorcycles, at 120 MPH captured in video and stills both panning, and burst mode. From the timing stand, taking video the auto wind cut filter removed all the ambient wind noise, leaving the throaty rasp of the Suzuki's and Ducati's. Manual panning was good, and I think will improve as I get more comfortable with the camera. I find the dedicated video button a welcome addition. Only once did I hit the focus button as opposed to the video button, again muscle memory will take care of this.
Indoor, what can I say, no red eye when using the program mode, or any other. iA is also nice and in certain situations handy when people are moving about between different light sources. Flash is very effective, much more range than my old FZ8
Outdoor scenery looks like it will be fun. With the creative mode you can easily flip to different effects.
Long tele shots are superb, the only drawback here is the the slow auto focus at these insane distances. Manual will come in handy here.
I find using the menus OK, I have used them for years and they seem natural to me. AE/AF/Lock is the only button I have not come close to mastering yet.
I considered the FZ-200 but with the difference in price it was hard to justify for my amateur needs. I have not missed RAW for my portrait pictures, the JPEG images from the FZ60 are excellent. I usually only adjusted lighting/contrast and sharpness anyway, and the FZ60 is doing a fine job with white balance set to auto.
I am very please with this camera and have recommend it to several friends.
46 of 48 people found the following review helpful
on March 15, 2013
Chose this camera for it's great rating in Consumers Reports (#1 in the Super Zoom category) and the twohundred fifty pricepoint at fortysecond street photo.
I almost didn't get it - instead of the Canon SX50 HS because of the Canons 50x zoom vs. the Panasonic's 24x zoom - however after finding and reading the manual on the Panasonic site - I found that there is a way to go into the EZ setting (Extra Zoom) that gives me a 60.3x zoom !!! Then using it with a monopole - I found here on Amazon for < than twemty bucks - I am getting supurb/sharp zoomed 60.3x pictures with this camera.
Unlike my Nikon D5100 and the three lenses I have bought - this gives me 95% of the features in a MUCH smaller package.
Again - GREAT photos for a very reasonable price.
53 of 58 people found the following review helpful
on April 26, 2013
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ60K: Bridge Camera for the Outdoors
The FZ60 is bargain, a true bargain. It doesn't do everything, but it comes close. It isn't "the absolute best" in any one category, but it is at least "very good plus" in the categories that matter most to a lot of folks: stills, video, zoom range, shooting performance, image stabilization, battery life. It has a mid-level Electronic Viewfinder that can save your cookies in bright sunlight, and a very good wide viewing angle LCD for general shooting purposes.
The notion of a bridge camera is broad and vague: it can mean just about whatever you want it to. It seeks to fill the gap between a shirt pocket point and shoot snapshot camera and a larger, heavier, more expensive DSLR system camera. At one time, the pocket camera was something like my old Canon Powershot A610, a 4X zoom 5 megapixel camera powered by four AA batteries, with a diminutive two inch articulated, low resolution LCD display and an inaccurate optical viewfinder. Back in its day, it was considered living large by many, including myself. The "5-megapixel CCD captures enough detail for photo-quality 13 x 17-inch prints" as was the ad-brag back then. In 2005, it carried a $299 retail price: a bargain at $100 less than the Canon A95 it replaced from a year prior, with its zoom increasing from 3-4x and its 2 inch LCD generous compared to the A95's 1.8 inch screen. While the A95 took 30-second video clips of 640 by 480 pixels in size and ten frames per second, the A610 grabs 640 by 480 at 30fps until you ran out of memory card or battery. The A610 was a bit over three quarters of a pound in operation.
We've moved on from the dark ages of 2005, to the point where the old Canon A610 now isn't considered pocketable or to some folks, even usable. Shutter lag was .6 seconds or so, with shot to shot cycle time of about 1.1 seconds, with flash recycle time of about 5 seconds or so. This camera today looks like a crude, expensive contraption compared to the lighter and more pocketable long zoom cameras such as the Canon SX230 / SX260 / SX280 group, and the Panasonic ZS-15 / ZS-20.
The basis for selecting the Lumix DMC-FZ60K is not to displace the comparatively inconspicuous pocketable travel zoom genre of camera, nor is it even to seek the best image quality regardless of price. The motivation here is an upcoming trip back to South Africa, and the desire to carry one affordable optical unit with good battery life replacing what I might otherwise carry: a Panasonic ZS-15, an LX7, and a dedicated video camera with one unit of practical size, weight, and zoom.
The approximately $290 street price 24x optical / 48x "Intelligent Zoom" FZ60K is very close in operation and envelope dimensions to the more celebrated Panasonic FZ200 (about $490 street). In fact, they both share the same owners manuals. The decision was made to go with the FZ60K on the basis of its lighter weight, smaller bulk, and smaller price than the FZ200, the Canon SX50, or the Sony HX200V. The Sony, as of this writing, is about $60 more, has a 30x zoom, but it was the Canon SX50 for about an extra $80 - $100 that offered the most appeal with its whopping 50x optical zoom capability. Actually, for some, the Canon may be the better choice. For me, it wasn't, despite the Canon's superior zoom range, RAW capability, and articulated screen. It was close, but the Canon lost out due to its approximately one third heavier weight, extra bulk, slightly slower lens, and weaker battery life (CIPA 310 shots). The primary stopper for me was the choppy 1080/24p video capability of the Canon compared to the 1080i60 capability of the FZ60. If HD video is of little interest to you, the Canon might well be your choice, at least until the FZ70 Panasonic LUMIX DMC-FZ70 16.1 MP Digital Camera with 60x Optical Image Stabilized Zoom and 3-Inch LCD (Black) becomes available: the apparent winner in zoom wars.
There is a theory of image quality that holds that the higher pixel density, the less light each photosite can get, and overall image quality suffers. While the cleanest, sharpest pictures are certainly related to the largest sensor with the lowest pixel density along with the brightest lens, the reality is that there is a lot more to it than that. The FZ60 has a dinky 17.5 megapixels photo receptor 1/2.33 CMOS with an effective 16.1 MP ability, so you might think that spells doom for critical image quality. In this case, thankfully it is not so, and of note is that some makers such as Sony don't subscribe to this at all, for their HX200V sports an 18.2 MP sensor (18.9 MP photo-sites) on the same postage stamp sized 1/2.33 sensor . . . a whopping 20.4 MP on their forthcoming HX50 travel zoom. There is no doubt a limit to pixel density than can be effectively used, but it isn't an exact science nor readily apparent. High pixel cameras are apparently effective primarily for marketing, but as long as the images meet your personal standards of quality you do have more room to crop your photos after the fact, while still retaining enough image size to give you enough pixels per inch to do a 16 x 24 inch poster. Based on viewing distance, even a 5 MP image may net you 108 ppi, more than the 80 ppi often designated as needed.
Panasonic has priced the FZ60 two hundred dollars less than their flagship FZ200 to make the FZ60 either the best on the market in the "price performance" ratio, or worthless depending on your needs and budget. If you need RAW, an articulated screen, a higher resolution electronic viewfinder, or are shooting regularly at full zoom under dim light . . . the FZ200 will empty another two hundred dollars from your wallet instantly, and you'll likely feel richer despite your thinner wallet. None of these are of great importance to me, for other cameras (LX-7) handily exceed the no flash, low light, low noise capabilities of any long-zoom bridge camera if that is requisite for the application. In the vast majority of outdoor still and video uses, you won't be able to tell the difference on any 8 x 10 framed print, much less a website image.
The FZ60 24x zoom lens has a 35mm equivalent range of 25-600mm , starts out at an F2.8 aperture, slows to F4.1 at 300m, and finishes up at F5.6. It invariably lets a bit more light through than the 16x Panasonic ZS-15 (F3.3 - F5.9) and the 20x Panasonic ZS-20 (F3.3 - F6.4). Its battery life of 450 shots dwarfs the 260 shots of the ZS-15 and the 230 shots of the pocket long zoom Canon SX260 as well.
It isn't all rosy with the FZ60, however. While Panasonic touts the 10 fps (frames per second) in 16.1-megapixel full resolution capability of this camera, it isn't happening. No way is anyone going to get ten frames per second at full resolution: two or three is it. It is one of the obvious problems when you start moving large files around; if you are hoping for machine gun 16.1 image burst shooting with this camera, you can forget it.
What this camera offers, despite its $280 - $290 acquisition cost, over a shirt-pocket long zoom is an included external charger that saves you a few pesos against the slow, in-camera charging of several compacts, a color electronic viewfinder (202K), longer battery life, and manual focusing ability needed for cutting through brush, grass, and foliage. The flash unit is more powerful than many compacts; the 24x zoom is a fifty percent jump from the ZS-15 and similarly specified cameras. Some will find the larger size of the FZ60 far easier to hold steady than some of the flyweight pocket cameras, and it does retain the industry-leading Panasonic Intelligent Auto mode, generally peppy autofocus, start-up time, very good optical image stabilization, and brisk shooting performance. It adds eight new filter option special effects to the Lumix platform: the star effect and one point color are the most interesting.
Although a bridge camera can just as well be called a compromise camera, at this price point ($283.52 delivered in my case) there isn't much to carp about, for its image quality is noticeably better than the competitively priced Nikon P510, Fuji HS30EXR, and the more expensive Sony HX200V. Although a jump in price, the Canon SX40 with its 50X lens is quite worthy of your consideration, especially if video frame rate at 1080p is not important to you, and you typically shoot with a tripod. You might call the FZ60 a stripper version of the FZ200, but the strip in price far exceeds overall camera performance in favor of the FZ60.
For a camera bag that offers plenty of room for quick retrieval and replacement of the camera, I like the Case Logic DCB-305 "Camcorder Kit Bag."Case Logic DCB-305 Camcorder Kit Bag - Black Another bag that fits, but fits the FZ-60 quite snuggly is the Lowepro "Edit 100 Bag." If you want a bag that allows no movement at all, you'll want the Lowepro but I'm happier with the Case Logic overall. Rather than getting soaked for extra Chinese batteries with the official Panasonic logo, I picked up a pair of the "Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ47 DMC-FZ150 Digital Camera Battery - Premium DMW-BMB9 Battery" generic batteries, allegedly 1200mAh meaning higher capacity than OEM. They charge right up in the Panasonic charger and work beautifully in the FZ-60, with at least as good of operating life as the supplied battery.
There are plenty of manual controls to satisfy most folks on the FZ-60. I shoot in 14M, 3:2 aspect ratio for the most part as it matches the three inch LCD's dimensions. In "IA" mode, indoors, low light, rarely would the camera shoot at more than ISO 400. Though the burst mode isn't much of a burst at all, the camera is speedy enough that you won't find yourself waiting between shots, the flash recycles quickly as well, and the video is just as bright as the stills with ambient lighting.
I did do some side by side comparisons of the FZ60 against the Panasonic ZS-15 pocket zoom that uses the same sensor as the well-received FZ150 Panasonic 24x bridge model. A few things were easily discerned: the FZ60 LCD is far better, with essentially unlimited viewing angles, though both are 460K resolution. The FZ60, despite its sensor's higher pixel density, delivers sharper, clearer images. Where 16x images taken indoors across the room in dim lighting were shot at ISO 400 with both cameras, the aperture dimmed to F5.9 in the ZS-15 vs. F4.2 with the FZ-60.
The FZ60, perhaps due to its carefully polished plastic body made by Old World Craftsmen is lighter than you might think in field use.
Consider that a well-regarded DSLR lens alone, the Nikon AF Zoom-Nikkor 80-200mm, runs a thousand dollars or so, gets close to three pounds, yet cannot compete with the utility of the FZ60's 25-600mm zoom range. The Intelligent Zoom feature, though not strictly as good as straight optical zoom, is a lot more than just a gimmick.
I've uploaded a rabbit taken at 48 times zoom at sunset, handheld, just as it came out of the camera, along with a 48x goose and red-winged blackbird as well, all taken hand-held, as well as a macro image of a toad. Additionally, I've uploaded a few images taken during a recent safari to South Africa, that shows off this camera's field capabilities a bit.
To sum up the FZ60, I'll call it "very good plus" in most every way. Very good plus images, very good plus video, very good plus shooting performance, very good plus LCD screen, very good plus battery life. It is fun to shoot with and is as close as you can get to an all-in-one outdoors still image and video acquisition system for $285 in a one pound package.
Copyright 2013 by Randy Wakeman and randywakeman.com .
80 of 90 people found the following review helpful
on November 14, 2012
I am happy with the quality of still pics I get. I spend a lot of time in the backcountry photographing wildlife and I wanted another all purpose, lightweight camera. I would have given this camera a 5 star rating, however there is a lot of unwanted noise coming from the camera itself while shooting in video mode. I have not experienced this in previous Panasonic models or other brands like Kodak and Nikon. And trying to get help from Panasonic was futile. Still have no idea if I bought a lemon or if the problem is in all fz60 cameras. Good Luck!
41 of 44 people found the following review helpful
on October 11, 2012
I am currently enrolled in a digital photography class and have fallen in love with this camera. Not only is it able to do all the manual functions I need but it also has great auto functions. I love this camera and have not had any problems with it and have owned in for more than a month now. Since buying it I have probably taken 3000-4000 pictures on it and they have turned out great! I highly recommend this for anyone who wants manual controls that easy to learn and use!
33 of 36 people found the following review helpful
on February 17, 2013
I have been talking pictures for 20 years. I have had point and shoot cameras for about the last 10 years. Recently my fuji 24x zoom camera broke for no reason after a little more than a year (of course!). Angry I went back to Nikkon and got a great deal on Nikon COOLPIX P510 16.1 MP CMOS Digital Camera with 42x Zoom. I really wanted to like that camera because I trusted the name and I wanted all that 42x zoom. It just lagged too much for me. I had to wait too long for the focus, the flash, and to take the next picture. What they don't tell you about long zoom lenses is that they require so much light at extended ranges, making anything past 15x inside useless. The killer for me was that its movie files are in Quicktime format (.mov) and I HATE dealing with crapple software. That prevented me from also trying Cannon's comprable point and shoot.
And so I bought the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ60K 16.1 MP Digital Camera with 24x Optical Zoom two weeks ago. Never tried a panasonic camera or knew they made cameras, but I had heard of Leica and was impressed that they made the lens. The camera was light weight, yet solid feeling in my hand. Everything is quicker, more responsive about this camera: The autofocus begins as soon as you touch the shutter button. No halfway to focus. When you take a picture, its ready to take the next one right away. The flash reloads fast. Although the zoom on this camera is not what others are, its usable magnification. I took a picture inside my house in my dark living room of something in my lit kitchen zoomed all the way and the picture was sharp, focused, and properly exposed. I can't back this up with technical specs, but it seems like this lens lets in more light then the other cameras.
I have taken some MPEGs but haven't viewed them on anything bigger than the camera screen. I haven't tried the other modes, but there is lots to choose from. But I do know that this camera performs faster at taking pictures in auto mode than any other camera I have tried. There is a big race on between the camera companies to crank out the next camera with the longest zoom, even panasonic has a newer model (without the Leica lens) that has a longer zoom. There is a reason the zoom lenses on expensive SLRs are so wide, it is to allow for more light. There may be 50x or 42x zoom cameras out there, but you can only use all of that magnification if your shooting in bright sunny lighting.
Try this camera. You won't send it back.
21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
on December 10, 2012
After 3 weeks with this camera I can absolutely recommend it as probably the best all-around camera of this type.
I was in search of a fast long zoom "bridge" camera after getting a Kodak Z990 8 months ago that took , what I thought at the time, was great pix. I researched and bought this Panasonic. I compared to all the other cameras in this genre that i could, including trying them at the stores. (this camera wasn't available locally so it was a case of hoping/researching) .
After having the long zoom experience with the Kodak I wanted a long zoom but was dis-appointed with the Kodak's very erratic focusing, very slow performance when shooting and the occasional lock-up. All this was causing too many missed shots and increasing frustration !
I just didn't want to have that be the "norm" for these "smaller sensor", long zoom type of camera.
This camera restored my appreciation of this style camera!.
The performance is great . The time to first shot, shudder lag/writing to memory is extremely quick and the auto focus is very quick and accurate. Out of 10 quick shots on different types of moving/not quite stationary (eg. pets/kids) maybe 2 aren't perfect ! This was, like i said, very quick/ fast as possible between shots so that is great when trying to catch those elusive shots that you will usually only get 1 chance to capture.
After experimenting with the auto settings and almost all the custom modes/settings I have found that the auto settings will deliver great pix as advertised but I prefer using the "P" mode, applying a +1 for sharpness and color, -1 for noise reduction and place an upper ISO limit of 400 to control noise and maintain a nice sharp picture. Even inside ( with flash at that max ISO ) these settings are good for my tastes.
There are adjustments for just about everything and experimentation will reveal a setting that is perfect for your taste and then you can save that as a custom mode that you can recall at will !!
The built in picture enhancements are fun and can also make some darker pix be enhanced and much improved.
There is a "Hand-Held Night Shot" mode that is great for dark shots without the flash.
I did not buy this for video recording but I did try it and the quality is as good as the reviews said! Will be handy if a situation comes up that I need video but I am caught with out the video camera.
The battery is good for at least 350+ shots (depending on flash/zoom use) and charges quickly.
The only slight limitations of this camera (and all of this type ) are slightly slowed focusing in dark scenes and at extreme zooms (again, limitations of the sensors ) and this camera has some focusing options to help get the occasionally hard to focus subject focused properly!
If you are looking for a camera with the zoom ability ( this camera, with the proper set-up, has an enhanced, not digital, zoom of 48x with out visible image problems ) I recommend this camera, especially at the current, less than $300.00 price.
To get better pictures or performance you would have to make the jump to a full-fledged DSL camera/extra zoom lens combo that is at least 3x the price of this handy camera.
20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on March 26, 2013
I love these Panasonic FZ style cameras. They have great zoom, great features, and are not too big/heavy. I have previously owned the FZ5 and FZ8. This FZ60 is a huge step above these. I took it on safari in South Africa and took 3200 pictures. I would point on the animal, hold the button, and let'r rip. I went the entire 8+ hour day of shooting without having to change the battery even once. Even took some videos that came out great.
The best performance for this camera came when we saw lions amazingly far away. They looked like rocks from a distance of several hundred feet. But with the 24x, I was able to get fairly close fotos. Zooming in further, or copping if you will, let me see expressions on the tiny lion cub. At this level there are compression artifacts, but it is difficult to explain just how far away these images were. The FZ60 turned what would have been a "no picture possible" moment into some really decent fotos. The exposure was a little confusing for me, how the camera determined the proper exposure. It wasn't difficult with that thumb wheel to adjust the exposure, but when shooting an animal with trees around and sky behind, the exposure results varied greatly depending on where I ended up pointing. There are several exposure settings including bracketing, but I didn't try them all to find out which one was best.
The Program AE mode worked the best for me. I did use the Shutter mode sometimes too, and it works great to tell you how much time you will need to keep the shutter open for a photograph in the darkness at your desired ISO setting. The Aperture mode is not as useful since you can't use the full aperture while zooming and changes in aperture at this level seem to do almost nothing. Maybe if I took more "non-zoomed" fotos this mode would make a difference. I tried Auto mode, which tries to determine the best setting for my scene, but generally the results were not as good as Program AE. I also love that you can turn down the flash intensity because the lowest flash setting is better in almost all circumstances than something brighter, which can kill so many indoor shots.
For scene modes, I used the Panorama mode, but while a little interesting the definition was not great. The Sunset mode was very nice. I also tried the Handheld Night shot mode, which takes several photos and only keeps the one with the most clarity. I found this not to be *that* great, and preferred to take my own series of shots and choose the best one myself. There are 3 burst modes, 2FPS, 5FPS, and 10FPS, each with or without continual refocus on each shot. I used the 2FPS mode because although slower, the manual isn't clear that the other modes will sacrifice resolution for faster shots.
The size and weight are great, even for hanging on a belt. I bought the Lowepro Edit 100 case after trying many that were too big or too small. This one worked perfectly for this camera. Generally, cases for this type of camera are difficult to find with a good fit. So while there are some imperfections in this camera, most of them are necessary due to the size and price. The FZ200 does a better job at a higher cost/size/weight. For my purposes, I love this FZ60 hybrid.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on January 7, 2013
I bought this camera because I'm really into amateur photography (I love taking photos of scenery while on vacation or just in the backyard, and of course, family and friends) but I'm not a photographer. I wasn't quite ready for a DSLR and that many settings and options, but I wanted more than a point-and-shoot. My previous camera was a high end, but basic point-and-shoot Panasonic and I always received compliments on how great my pictures turned out, and I loved the Leica lens all the different scene settings available, so I decided to go with another Panasonic. Not at all dissapointed! I have yet to really play around with it, but through the Holidays I used it for family and some outdoor pictures and it's great! The zoom is awesome, scene settings really help (there's even a setting for taking a photo through a glass window - awesome when I was trying to get shots of swans in the lake without going out in the snow at our cottage!) I can't wait to use it more!
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on June 16, 2013
Ease of use is excellent, quite intuitive if you have any prior experience with digital camera menus. It fits my hands very well and the size makes the camera very convenient to carry. Optical quality is what one would expect from Leitz optics. The automatic functions seem to work very well, but I've been a photographer for going on 50 years, so I have my own way of shooting and set the camera accordingly. So far, the only thing I'd add is a variable output control for the flash. The camera may have that function and I just haven't found it yet. If anything changes, I'll let you know, but overall, I am more than pleased with this camera.