438 of 455 people found the following review helpful
on September 4, 2013
Update: 11/17/2014. I have used the camera for several months now and love it. I really like the zoom range of the camera from 20mm to 1200mm and it is my main daily carry camera. It takes great detailed photos and the noise levels are very good.
The is going to be a quick review on the camera and I will add more as time goes on. The FZ70 takes really good sharp photos, but hand held might be a problem in lower light levels. I went out yesterday evening and took some shots hand held and they all came out blurry. I should have paid more attention to the shutter speed.
The camera works fantastically in iA, which is the auto mode. I mainly use Aperture but was impressed with the auto settings.
It will go with a 60 second exposure in the Starry Sky Mode, which is under the SCN mode on the main dial.
The lens thread is 55mm so if you plan on using your filters from any other Pany camera, you will need a 55 to 52mm Step Down Adapter. Amazon has them for cheap. I don't think vignetting will be a problem using 52mm filters as the lens is way smaller than the filter threads on the camera. Here is the 55 to 52mm Step Down Adapter.
Goja 55-52mm Step-Down Adapter Ring (55mm Lens to 52mm Accessory) + Bonus Ultra Fine Microfiber Lens Cleaning Cloth
The camera has no shutter remote cord jack, so a shutter release cable will not work. My Yongnuo YN-560 flash will not work on the camera either. It physically hits the camera flash housing, which is raised a little. The answer to that is to use a wireless flash trigger with the Yongnuo Flash and that works fine.
Addition: I looked at the Yongnuo flash again and it will fit on the camera, but it is a tight fit between the camera flash and the Yongnuo flash housing. I modified the Yongnuo flash by taking some of the plastic off the flash housing where the camera flash is hitting, with a pencil grinder. It doesn't take much, and it is right in the middle of the housing. You could remove some of the plastic in the flash housing with sandpaper, but it would take longer, but will also give you more control of how much plastic you are taking off. Now my Yongnuo Flash works perfectly on the FZ70 camera!
The video does not have a progressive setting. Interpolated is the best you are going to get with this camera.
The FZ70 does not have a jack for a shutter release cable and does not have an infrared input either. The camera has to be set to a timer delay within the camera for 2 or 10 seconds. If it was a Sony or Canon, the timer is set and stays on till you shut it off. Unfortunately this camera requires you set the timer delay for each and every photo.
The longest the camera will go on exposure under the Shutter or Manual Mode is 8 seconds. In the Starry Sky Mode it will go 15, 30, and 60 seconds.
Like I said the lens thread is 55mm so your filters will have to be that size or use an adapter. The camera will use a teleconverter with the DMW-LA8 adapter, which is not available yet. Addition: Those LA8 adapters are available on Ebay now. They are being sold out of Japan though. I had that happen with the FZ200 camera as well and had no problem getting one from a Japanese Ebay member. There are several teleconverters that work well with this camera, but may not be needed as this lens rocks as far as zoom goes!
Update: An aftermarket adapter is now available for a good price.
Lens Adapter For Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ70 (55mm) (Alternative For DMW-LA8)
It will take Raw pictures, but no one is supporting the FZ70 Raw files yet. It will come. Added: I found that FastStone will support the Raw files from the FZ70 and it is much better than Silkypix, in my opinion. Just Google FastStone and download and install the software. It is free.
Upadate: Raw for the camera is now supported in Lightroom and Photoshop.
Start up time is very fast. I was able to take a picture in one second after turning the camera on.
The focus button is on the top of the camera now. The AF/MF/Macro button is on the right side of the LCD instead of on the camera lens.
One thing I have noticed with this camera is the noise, or should I say the lack of noise! The shots I took at ISO 800 and ISO 1600 still look pretty good, and at ISO 100 noise is hard to find.
The camera will zoom to 60X (1200mm 35mm Equivalent) in the 16mp picture size. Setting the picture size to 10mp will give you 75X zoom, setting the size to 7mp will give you 90X, at 5mp you get 108X and at 3mp is 135X. This is Extended Optical Zoom. If you need more zoom than that, under IResolution, use I-Zoom for an additional 2X at all picture sizes and digital will give another 2X, but image quality will suffer. I took some shots at the 10mp picture size with I-Zoom on, and the photos in my photo software are showing 3030mm zoom and they look amazingly good! I will post a link to some shots in the first comment on the review.
There are two FN buttons on the camera that can be set the way you want them to be. I set FN 1 button to Bracketing and FN 2 button to Flash Control. I may change them as time goes on, but I find it really great to be able to get Bracketing with the push of a button.
I don't care much for the lens cap, and ordered a better 55mm one on Amazon.
eForCity 55mm Camera Lens Cap, Black
I use filters as it seems more often than not, I end up with my fingerprints on the lens filter. It also keeps dirt and grime from getting to the lens. It might offer some protection in an accident too. I would stay away from Hoya UV filters on this camera. I was using one for a while and noticed the photos look fuzzy at full zoom. I discovered it was the Hoya HMC filter I was using. I now use a Sigma UV filter on the camera and it works great with no distortion at high zoom.
Sigma EX DG 55mm Multi-Coated UV Filter
The camera does not come with a lens hood and none is available in the Accessories on the Panasonic web site either. It seems there is no lens hood for this camera at this time.
This is it for now. I will add to this review as time goes by, so check back often.
I had a chance to check out the high speed picture mode with the camera and found this: At 2 fps (frames per second) all works as advertised and it takes 2 fps for an extended period of time. 5 fps - it takes 5 frames per second for 3 shots and goes back to the 2 fps rate. I tried it in Auto Focus mode and the regular mode with the same results. 9 fps - Once again, 3 shots and then the 2 fps rate. H Mode - the camera took a very fast rate of speed (at least 9 frames per second) for 9 shots, or 1 second. I have since found in the manual that at that speed the picture size is 2.5 or 3 mp. I forgot which. That is excellent. The last mode is the Flash and it will take 5 quick photos with flash before stopping. That could come in very handy at times.
I really like this camera. I like the menu system on the Panasonic Cameras too. I have the Canon SX50 as well, and still have problems with the menu settings and I have had that camera for 6 months. The menu system just doesn't make sense to me on that camera.
I did a shootout with the Canon SX50, the Pany FZ200, the FZ70, and a Sony Nex 6. The FZ70 images look about the same as the Canon SX50, and in my mind better than the Pany FZ200 camera. The last shot is a Raw shot from the FZ70 camera converted to JPG. The picture files can be seen in the Comments on page 12, the 7th post.
Added: After using this camera for a while now, I am even more impressed with it. It takes great pictures and I really like the Panasonic Menu, which is laid out well and easy to use. I am getting lots of keeper photos and the lack of noise in the shots is really appreciated!
Addition 10-29-13 I sent the first FZ70 back because the photos at high zoom were soft. To make a long story short, it turned out that the Hoya UV filter I was using on the camera was responsible for the soft photos. I have changed to a Sigma DG 55mm filter and the results are outstanding. Sharp clear photos at all zoom levels. This camera takes photos every bit as sharp and detailed as the Panasonic FZ150 or FZ200 camera and is as good as the Canon SX50 in sharpness as well.
171 of 181 people found the following review helpful
on September 6, 2013
Initial impression: It's hard to believe what this camera's capabilities are until you've used one. I have bags full of camera equipment including a Mamiya RB-67, Pentax 6x7, Canon 5D Mk2, Canon T2i and a lot of glass so trust me when I say, this camera lives up to the pre-release hype. I originally had my sights set on the Canon SX50 which is a good camera, but falls short of its Lumix peer. My focus was to get an easy to use point-and-shoot camera for my wife since the SLRs were just too much for her to handle - but now she's going to have to fight me for it. I will update this review as I gain more experience with the video and special functions (which there are many) in the future. Until then, I recommend you get one while the price remains well below $400 because I don't think it will stay their long when the word gets out how great this camera performs.
UPDATE: After using this camera for nearly 6-months, I am still VERY happy with it and the pictures it produces - and would be glad to share some of the shots. I find the extremes between other reviewers ratings interesting since I have not experienced many of the negatives mentioned and have experienced most of the positive remarks. This camera simply works for me. I've shot everything from sports car road races to retirements to scenery with great success and carrying this 1 lb 7.2 oz camera sure beats the heck out of hauling my 12 lbs of 5D Mk 2, with dual battery pack and 50-500mm Sigma lens around all day plus a couple extra lenses and batteries in a camera bag. I also have no trouble taking my shots to 13x19 inch prints from either RAW or JPEG format files. I've also read this camera is big and bulky. Well, if you wear XXL gloves like I do, it fits just right in my hands. It also works much better in my wife's hands than the DSLRs we have (T2i in addition to the 5D)so she is happy too! The weight is simply not a concern to us as we've both carried it around all day without any problems or side effects. In fact, now that the price has dropped to $249 I'm going to buy another one to keep peace in the family.
Several reviewers mentioned soft pictures at the 1000 to 1200mm end of the zoom range. I'd bet your paycheck that most of the problem is camera movement since it is very difficult to hand hold any camera still enough at this extreme magnification to get a super sharp picture - regardless of image stabilization system employed. I've had much better luck using a monopod or even better, a solid tripod (as one reviewer suggested) to get those very sharp long range shots.
I also discovered the automatic backlit scene sensing and exposure system when I moved to the fully automatic setting - very effective!
But as I said, the proof is in the final product so if you would like to see a sample of images - reply to this review and include your email address and I'll share a few with you.
191 of 204 people found the following review helpful
on September 10, 2013
I've only had mine a few days so my testing is admittedly limited. Please do not give up on this camera unless you have made some very careful tripod shots. Yes, this camera is hard to hold steady as is any 300+ mm lens. The stabilizer is good but cannot overcome everything. Hand holding 1200mm is a tough job and requires excellent technique and a degree of luck!
I used a heavy Bogen tripod on solid cement and made very careful shots at about 50yds and 75yds (auto focus) throughout the available f range at max zoom. I was quite surprised at the resolving power of the lens using ISO 100.
My Nikon D5000 and Nikkor 70 - 300 EDIF zoom in RAW mode, on the same subject, is barely sharper.
Laugh if you will, but I used the SilkyPix software to examine the RAW and jpeg images. I did not find a difference even worth mentioning in raw and jpeg modes. I did not use the default picture settings in the camera. SilkyPix works just fine if you take a bit of time to learn to use it. I also own PhotoShop and have used it for over 20 years, so it's not like I didn't have a choice.
All images benefited from a bit of post processing just as all my D5000 and P7700 images do.
I can see how some users might easily rush to judgement on this camera. But it shouldn't be about lens sharpness. Hold it steady and it will deliver very good results. Many of the review sites have not done a real good job of testing the camera yet. Buy it and make your own carefully controlled tests, then decide.
Hand held tests at very high magnifications are totally INVALID for lens critiquing purposes. Few people can hold that long lens steady enough. High ISOs will certainly help keep shutter speeds high, but it's the high ISO NOISE then that will ruin the image sharpness .. not the lens.
Use a SOLID tripod to test the long zoom for yourself. Do it at ISO 100 first.
At my work, photographing motorcycles indoors, hand held, under less than optimal lighting, I have used the camera at ISO 1200. Plenty of noise but these images are used at 1024 x 768 (72 dpi) on the internet. The noise at that size and resolution is invisible and the available light shots are quite usable..
The weakness I see and have not found a solution for is highlight clipping. In my tests, light subjects were hard to hold detail in. Perhaps further experimentation with the picture controls may help. Noise seems to creep in early too.
We can't have it all. Twenty to 1200mm is an amazing accomplishment for Panasonic. Remember this is a consumer level camera. At this price point it seems to represent a very good value and a very versatile photographic tool. Perfect? No. None of them are.
My previous Panasonic was an FZ35 which, once I learned to use it properly, was an truly excellent camera. This one probably has a steep learning curve too.
Giving a star rating was hard. With so little testing I hated to rate it yet. Too low ... too high??
My advice is forget the "stars" and test the camera on YOUR own favorite subjects, then decide if it's any good. But, be fair to the camera and be sure any problems you encounter aren't YOUR personal technique problems.
In the end I just could not love this camera. I wanted to, but I couldn't. I bought it mostly for the long end of the zoom but what I think is a decent lens is hampered by some other factors. Maybe the sensor, maybe the camera software, I don't know. I shot a lot of long zoom photos in bright light and high shutter speeds and for me it just wasn't quite there. High ISOs significantly mar the images after 250. If you do a lot of tripod work maybe this will work out for you. If the lens were "faster" ( like the FZ200), it might be much better, but it is what it is. The combination of sensor noise and slow lens at zoom combine to make less than optimal images when hand holding.
Don't get me wrong, I did get some very nice images from the camera but I had to shoot a lot of frames and be very selective of the images. I'm not saying this is a BAD camera. It just didn't totally please me.
I did like the 20mm aspect of the lens and used in shorter focal lengths I thought it did very well. I'm sure many will find this camera very useful and perfectly satisfactory. I personally will wait a wee bit more for the next round of improvements and try again.
Compared with the really excellent images from my P7700, I just couldn't justify keeping it. DARN! Bottom line is I'd rather have a somewhat shorter zoom with a faster lens and a less noisy sensor that makes better images. I'm gonna miss that 20mm though .....
471 of 542 people found the following review helpful
on September 28, 2013
By way of a mercifully brief introduction, I make a goodly portion of my living with the use of digital cameras, and have for a very long time. My applications are wildlife and the outdoors, product reviews, industry consulting work, and legal work. Part of the territory is optics, whether binoculars, laser rangefinders, scopes, or cameras. Image examples are readily found online and in print from numerous devices, you can check the latest issue of African Adventures magazine if you wish.
The FZ-70 is Panasonic's attempt at entering the 1000-1200mm equiv. "bridge camera" market, joining the 1200mm equivalent Canon SX-50, the 1000mm eq. Fuji HS50, the 1000mm equiv. Nikon P520, the 1200mm eq. Sony HX300, and others. If you have been working with cameras for a while, as far as "phenomenal" and "amazing" image quality, well . . . everyone makes that model. Just ask them.
The reality of the situation is far less than amazing. There is no small sensor camera that competes with, for example, a basic D-SLR. The Nikon D5100, to cite just one example, currently sells for about $475, including an 18-55mm lens, and no small sensor camera can touch it. Size and convenience matters to a lot of folks, the reason a $750 compact like the Sony RX100 M2 gets so much press, even though that camera's excellent image quality is handily exceeded by full-sized system cameras.
With sales of point and shoot cameras in a dramatic downward spiral, heavily pressured by smartphones, many of which have improved their imaging, the long zoom range is one of the areas remaining with commercial appeal. It wasn't that long ago that ten times zoom was a "super-zoom" camera. Times have changed, although cameras are not totally reinvented every few months as the press releases would like you to believe. Spend enough time reviewing product, and you'll quickly develop a healthy sense of skepticism.
The FZ-70 ostensibly replaces the FZ-60, though at a higher price point, a slightly slower lens, and significantly increased bulk and weight. The weight increase is understandable, as most of the camera weight is glass, yet the FZ-70 is bulkier than the Canon SX-50.
For years, Panasonic has loudly associated this basic form factor of camera as "with a Leica lens, Made in Japan," as in FZ20, FZ35, FZ60, FZ-47, FZ-100, FZ-150, and FZ-200. However, the FZ-70 breaks with the branding of the line: it is made in China, with a "no-name" lens. This has turned off a lot of people, quite understandably so, as Panasonic themselves has put the largest images of this camera on their own websites misrepresented as having a "Leica lens." As it turns out, the apprehension many have had turns out to be justified.
My example of the FZ-70 took noticeably soft, blurry pictures particularly at the end of its zoom range. It does not improve on the turtle-slow burst mode of the FZ-60, either, for 3 images is the limit. It is marketed as "9 fps," but 9 frames are not happening. While Panasonic has not gone as eccentric as Sony with small photosites on a dinky sensor, the SX-50 pixel size of 1.54 microns compared to the 1.34 micron pixel size of the FZ-70 seems to be significant enough for the SX-50 to outshoot the Panasonic consistently, along with the superior image stabilization of the SX-50.
Panasonic has put out some very, very good lenses in times past (FZ200) but in the case of FZ-70, the no-name lens array can only be considered wonderfully adequate here. Panasonic sensors are often poor in tonal range, dynamic range, and color sensitivity. A look at DxO Labs results tells the tale: [...] . While sensor performance is only part of the equation, the terrific lens of the FZ-200 manages to close the gap in most shooting conditions with the SX-50. Here, the unremarkable FZ-70 lens quality offers no such help . . . and it shows.
Moreover, there are a couple of key potential advantages that the FZ-70 ignored: the most significant being the articulated display of the SX-50. This class of camera that offers 1200mm reach is not a unique item, for the Fuji SL1000, Sony DSC-HX300/B, and the Canon SX-50 all have the exact same 1200mm (35mm reach). Of these five cameras, this Panasonic has by far the worst LCD of the group, something you use every time you use the camera. Canon has the only fully articulated display, while Fuji and Sony both have 920K dot displays that tilt. The FZ-70 finishes dead last in this department with its fixed LCD.
Responsible grading of a product dictates that it reflects if the product works as promised and functions as described. The FZ-70 is one of the most ridiculously over-hyped products in recent memory, promising blazing fast speeds, phenomenal images, noise-free images, and phenomenal images in high-sensitivity shooting scenes. It does not deliver the low-light prowess claimed, nor does it deliver on its promise of being well-suited for capturing action.
The FZ-70's "bright" F2.8-5.9 lens actually isn't quite as bright as the lens on its cheaper but more satisfying predecessor, the FZ-60 having an F2.8-5.2 lens array, and isn't close to the current FZ-200. The FZ-70's burst speed is no better than the FZ-60, either, and far behind the FZ-200, the Canon SX-50, and others. The images are not at all noise-free: it is ridiculous to market them as such. It has average shooting performance, slower than other cameras in the Panasonic line, not at all blazing fast. If truth in advertising was the sole criteria, this camera would rate zero stars, for it frenetically is promised and re-promised to be what it is not.
If your expectations are more realistic, in bright light, you may well find its output acceptable, though it is outclassed by other bridge camera offerings in several categories, including those branded as Panasonic although with less optical zoom (FZ-200). The more credible reviewers, such as Ben Pitt, have had similar reactions: "A good all-rounder with a massive 60x zoom range, but overshadowed by the competition." That's a far more realistic assessment than the usual hollow gushes of disingenuous fawning.
For the numerous reasons stated, the Canon SX-50 rates a spot in my working array, while this FZ-70 simply did not. The previous Panasonic FZ-60 takes better, sharper pictures than the FZ-70 particularly at the end of its focal range: it is lighter, less bulky, and at the time of its release, substantially less costly. While the FZ-60 was the best camera at its price point and class, the FZ-70 at its higher price point offers less image quality, and does nothing to improve upon the FZ-60's EVF, LCD, and poor three-image burst capacity. It is hard to call a heavier, more expensive FZ-70 that takes lesser quality images anything other than a disappointment.
The FZ-70 fails in value to the bargain-priced Fuji SL1000 Fujifilm FinePix SL1000 16.2MP Digital Camera with 3-Inch LCD (Black), which has better quality LCD and EVF, and has (at least) as good IQ . . . for a lot less money, as the Fuji is currently @ $250 - $270 or so. For more advanced enthusiasts, the FZ-70 does not compare favorably with the Fuji HS50XR with its ground-breaking phase-detection AF. It fails in low-light capability and shooting speed to the FZ-200, which also has a far superior LCD and EVF. As as all-around mega-zoom, the similarly priced Canon SX-50 puts it to shame in IQ, image stabilization, better scene modes, a better (articulated) LCD, Zoom Assist / Zoom Framing Assist Lock, much better factory software, and so forth.
Several cameras are as good or better performers, for less money. Several cameras are far superior in performance and features at similar price points. By lacking value, build quality, lens quality, a tilting or swiveling LCD, shooting performance, and image quality . . . the FZ-70 is just a "me-too" type of initial mega-zoom effort that can only be described as lackluster compared to its many competitors.
©2013 by Randy Wakeman & Randy Wakeman Outdoors. All Rights Reserved.
39 of 43 people found the following review helpful
on November 14, 2013
I've had the FZ70 for 2 months now and this camera is a keeper. I'm a long time FZ user with the most recent ones being the
FZ100, FZ150, and the legendary FZ200. So how does the FZ70 compare? I've taken this on multiple family trips, day-to-day shooting, and even in a studio setting. Here are the strengths and weaknesses from my heavy use with the camera:
- Sharp at 20mm at the wide end. The cost of this camera is lower than most dedicated wide angle lenses. If nothing else, you can keep a FZ70 in your bag as an always ready wide angle option.
- 5fps with autofocus. Perfect for capturing fast moving action since the camera focuses after every shot.
- Super range. 20-1200mm is just insane. 1200mm shots have come out well which wasn't the case with the Sony HX300V. I could not get sharp shots past 800mm on the Sony.
- Great video quality at 720p 60p.
- Nice and light
- EVF and LCD resolution is average to poor.
- No 1080p 60p video
- 20mm is too wide for the casual super zoom user
- It takes technique and practice to get consistent results at 1200mm
I saved the biggest strength for this wrap up and that is the sensor and the processing engine. Right away the shots I was getting out of the FZ70 showed better dynamic range and stood up to post processing extremely well. The JPEG engine is really great, but the raw files are something special. The amount of detail retained is impressive.
That said, this is still a budget bridge camera so keep your expectations in check. I purchased it at a lower price than the initial four hundred asking price and it's available for closer to three hundred now so it's a great bargain.
37 of 41 people found the following review helpful
on February 12, 2014
I really like the FZ70 especially the super wide angle and extra zoom in the lens and now priced around $300. The super wide angle is rather unique in a super zoom and great for landscapes and indoor shots. The F2.8 at wide angle allows for pretty good low light images. It's rare to see really wide angle in any lens but it does present a problem finding a lens hood that will work at extreme wide angle. The FZ70 is really a stripped down version of the more expensive FZ150/FZ200 with a much bigger zoom lens, different sensor, and missing many extra important features which an experienced image taker expects. These features are nice to have but really not necessary features for the beginner or someone like myself with other cameras.
The FZ70 is very easy to hold and still snap sharp images or take excellent video with its separate video button. The electronic viewfinder (EVF) is fair but not large or as bright as the more expensive models such as the FZ200. It's good enough for bright light or low light but not great.
I think this camera is aimed mainly for the beginner or anyone considering buying a dSLR but not prepared to spend the hundreds or thousands for extra lenses beyond the kit lenses included with most dSLR. It appealed to me for the wide angle and extra zoom. The FZ70 will take macro images but it not nearly as good as any dSLR or MFT (micro four thirds cameras)
The image stabilization on the FZ70 is outstanding just like the FZ150/FZ200. I was able to get sharp hand held images at 60X zoom most of the time. It should be impossible to do that but with some extra bracing, the sharp images were close to all of the time. I think the Panasonic FZ150/FZ200 has the best image quality for the bridge cameras but there is not a huge difference. The FZ70 images are very good and sometimes breathtaking. I checked out an assortment of wide angle to full zoom images and was amazed just how good they were. An example....I took an image of a house 1/5 of a mile from the camera, hand held at full zoom. I could almost see the individual granules in the shingles and individual leaves in the trees behind the house. I can't do that with my Canon 60D dSLR and $600 zoom lens. I recently took the FZ70 along with an Olympus OMDEM5 with a Panasonic 14-140, that combination cost 6X the FZ70 to the local zoo. I used the FZ70 for the wide angle images and the extreme zoom images. I captured in sharp detail, all the animals in their habitat as if I was right next to them. The OMD allowed capturing images through any cages or fencing, something that is nearly impossible to do with the FZ70. The EVF for the OMD is vastly superior which you would expect, which made image taking much easier with that camera. It also had touch controls and more adjustment capable but is not as user friendly as the FZ70. So how did the images compare? Amazing close in sharpness which was very unexpected. The OMD captured much more detail and better color, but you expect that with a larger sensor and better lens.
Is the camera easy to use?....extremely easy. 100 times easier than my OMD or 60D. The setup is easy, just turn the dial to ia and press the shutter ½ way to focus and then press all the way. When you grip the camera and use the EVF, your images will be vastly improved over your phone or LCD compact camera.
What about all those 1 or 2 star reviews you may have noticed? Each of those reviews has pointed out some deficiency which the reviewer experienced with the camera. I believe most of it is unfamiliarity with the camera rather than a defect. An example: 1. blurry images=hand shake during exposure or speed too slow, using full zoom in too low of light...solution, use flash or raise the ISO . 2. Audio noise when zooming...at full zoom the camera's microphone amplifies sound especially at full zoom. 3. Slow startup...big zoom needs time under a second to set itself. 4. Missing features.....to keep cost low, unneeded features not included with this camera. 5. Cheap build...Mostly plastic... To keep camera light, inexpensive and durable, plastic is the way to go. Metal frames add a lot of weight and cost and defeat the purpose of easy to carry around camera. My OMD is much smaller but also much heavier with it all metal framework. I can take images in very wet conditions something not recommended with the FZ70 but who wants to take pictures in the rain? It does help in humid or dusty conditions.
If you do not want to spend much over $300, the FZ70 is a great deal. If you have some extra money, I think the FZ200 is the way to go but it is missing the extra zoom and wide angle, but the FZ200 is more compact and takes very good images, video and is a little better in low light. If you want the best images and videos possible in a bridge camera you may want to consider the new Panasonic FZ1000 and/or Sony RX10. These cameras with large sensors and larger lens, cost under $1000 but provide much better low light images and video that comes close to dSLR quality. These cameras are larger and heavier than the FZ70 but smaller and lighter than a dSLR. It is worth considering if you have the budget. If you like just automated settings, big zoom, the FZ70 is a great choice. Read the manual first it's online. Basic and Advanced. If you have a tablet, who doesn't, it's an easy to read PDF. If that puts you to sleep get the camera first and wait until you need to know how to do more complicated things.
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on August 26, 2014
The zoom range on this camera is unbelievable. The base camera has a 60X zoom range making it the longest of any camera available at the moment. The total zoom range in mm is 20 - 1200 mm which is very impressive. Standard SLR lenses with those types of ranges would require several lenses and untold thousands of dollars......plus the cost of the camera itself. Yet this Lumix jewel accomplishes all that and more at a scant fraction of the cost. The camera is easy to operate, has an incredible amount of built in features and much more just waiting to be discovered by experimenting. An added bonus is the ability to extend the zoom range by selecting image resolutions less than the full 16.1M. While there are those who will always want to shoot at 16.1M for me it is overkill. Image resolution is a subjective issue. It is simply a matter of what you want to believe and are willing to settle for. I currently use a Sony DSLR compact camera like this Lumix, a Nikon D50 with several lenses but usually coupled with a Tamron 18 - 200. This D50 is a 6.1M camera and I have shot and enlarged flawless prints at 11 x 14 with total clarity. Some may take issue with this statement but excessive megapixels in a camera is much like owning a car that will run 150 mph when all you can go on the highway is 55 mph. The capacity is there..........but when, if ever are you going to utilize it. Now, if you are a professional photographer or a serious amateur and routinely enlarge to 16 x 20 or even 20 x 30 or more.....that is one thing. But if your basic need is for standard 4 x 6 prints and an occasional 5 x 7 or even an 8 x 10 then your eye will be hard pressed (if even able to) discern any difference between a 5M photo and a 16M photo.
I said all that to say this........one of the great features of this camera is the ability to increase the zoom range by selecting less than 16.1M resolution. I have taken it down all the way to 5M, still get crystal clear pictures and this increases the zoom range from 60X all the way to 270X! Yes, you read correctly!!! Then.....if you add the digital zoom you can end up with a total on camera zoom range of 675X. Have you ever heard of anything like this? Then for fun and games I took a Sony brand teleconvertor for my Sony that is rated for 1.7X and mounted it to my Lumix. The standard filter size for the Lumix is 55mm but I had bought a Goja filter adaptor ring in order to be able to use my several hundred dollars worth of existing filters. Many of them are 58mm so I simply bought a Goja 55mm to 58mm adaptor ring and viola......instant filter availability. AND.....it just so happens that my Sony teleconvertor has 58mm threads and I was able to couple this right to my Lumix, which now takes the 675X max zoom of the camera with izoom and digital zoom, multiples it by 1.7 and now gives a total zoom range of 1147X. That is NOT 1147 mm.............it is 1147X zoom range.
Now.......I will admit, the camera is a bear to use in a hand held mode, but that is just what I did to see worse case scenario. I am going to post a couple of pictures taken hand held at these extremes so you can just see the potential this camera offers. My, my......we are almost talking spy type pictures from 10 miles off. I will let you judge the photos........not for clarity or subject matter.........but just for an example of the zoom range of this camera. I will say this here........the bus in the photos was roughly 500 feet from my position and all photos were taken hand held from the same spot.
But even without the impressive zoom features......this is one heck of a camera. The pictures, even at 5M are crystal clear and will be certain to please. Then with all the built in special modes, the 11 or more internal filter modes, the 23 or so scene selection modes, and full manual mode with shutter or aperture priority mode.........you can go any route that you need for your shooting needs.
Another feature I like about this camera is that while filming a video you can press the shutter button and take a still photo. Or while viewing a video you can take still photos from the video. I am anxious to experiment with this more as I have a son in the band and I usually take multiple cameras to their concerts, etc. in order to video it and also take some still shots. With this camera I am hopeful to be able to do both with one instrument. We have the first White Shoe rehearsal this Thursday and our first football game this Friday. It will be a time to see what this camera can really do with its zooming ability from up in the stands.
In closing, as a camera buff of many years (40+) I am well pleased with this purchase. I have had a Pentax SPII, a Pentax ESII, a Nikon N70, a Nikon D50, several smaller point and shoot type all in one cameras and now this Panasonic. For ease of use, range of features and cost vs ability......I put this Panasonic Lumix at the top of the pack in features. No, it does not have the quality that either the Pentax or Nikons do.....but then again..........this camera cost a fraction of what they did and some of the individual accessory lenses I have bought for them in the past cost several times the cost of this camera............so it is not even a fair comparison. But for features...........my expensive toys cannot begin to compare with the ability of this camera. I am well pleased with it. To see the zoom range please look at some of the photos I am going to upload.
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
I am not going to write a lot about specs because they are fully listed at Panasonic's site but maybe I should note a few of the features that made me fall in love with this camera.
- Resolution up to 16.1 MP
- 60x optical zoom (it's true)
- Accepts SD, SDHC and SDXC (just added a 64GB SDXC and it flies)
- Rechargeable battery, AC charger, wrist strap and semi-proprietary USB data cable included
- Small and light when compared to a full DSLR
- Photo in all the formats you'd expect including 360-degree panoramic and 3D and with various preset settings, too many to mention in a brief review
- Supports JPEG (DCF/Exif 2.3), RAW, DPOF for photos, MPO for 3D and AVCHD and MP4 for movies
- Photo resolution from 480x480 up to 4608x3456
- Video from 640x480 to 1920x1080 at 30 fps
- Tripod socket and flash horseshoe (there is a built-in flash, of course)
- Relatively easy to navigate menus (must invest some time if you're a first time LUMIX user)
- Nice image processing capabilities
- Several levels of 'ease of use' from nearly full automatic to allowing you to set everything the way you want it.
This bridge camera is not 'cheap' in any way except maybe for the price when factoring in the value it provides but, as a bridge, it may underwhelm those who have used DSLRs for years while 'point and shoot' users may find it too big, too complicated and probably too expensive. But, one month later, I can say that I am in love with this camera and I am actually using it in instances where I would normally take shots with a phone or a small point-and-shoot AND in most instances where I would have brought a DSLR before I had a the opportunity to try out this LUMIX.
This being my first Panasonic camera of any kind, learning it wasn't easy but, after taking some time getting used to it, it does become 'second nature', eventually. It took me about one month to advance from the basic 'all auto' settings to maybe half-way to 'pro' skills and, not being a professional photographer, I may not advance much farther. I can already take near-perfect HD video with clear stereo sound, macro photos, beautiful low-light shots and, with a tripod, I did a pretty good portrait of the Moon at 60x zoom and max res. I am currently experimenting with a third-party flash and I continue to be impressed by my output's quality and the ease of getting it that way.
Of course, not everything is perfect. Yes, it's not a DSLR and it doesn't support Wi-Fi or Bluetooth or 'location', meaning that you will be transferring your work out either through a wire or a card reader adapter and you'll have to make a not of where the photo was taken - I personally don't care much about these features but no everyone is 'me' so it's worth stating it. I also do not
like the non-standard USB cable for data transfer but I'm using a card reader anyway so yes, it's bad but not too bad.
Not a negative at all because it's customary, but it's worth noting that you need to supply your own carrying case, memory card because the 300MB or so built in won't take you too far.
I like this LUMIX a lot and after all these years of juggling between phones and point-and-shoot and DSLRs for 'serious' events or happenings, I may just stick with the 'bridge' because it's so much fun to use while giving me almost everything I could squeeze out of a DSLR and often more: incredible zoom power, movies and microphone quality, flexibility in setting picture format and resolution.
51 of 60 people found the following review helpful
on September 5, 2013
I upgraded from FZ60/2 to this model as I wanted ability to shoot in RAW format, hotshoe for flash and for the extra zoom.
All round I am extremely pleased with camera: handles well and feels solid and chunky but not too heavy. The zoom is outstanding - optical to x60 excellent and the digital iZoom doubles this with no loss in image size and manageable loss in quality, there is more digital zoom on top of this but then noise really starts to become unacceptable. In amongst all the zooming options I shouldn't forget to mention the wide angle ability (20mm) which is significantly better on this model and excellent both for landscapes and indoors
Also pleased with clarity and simplicity but also the depth, of the menu settings and ease of access - normal via menu button, quick menu button and via scroll dial plus two customisable shortcuts. This has made using the manual settings straightforward. One other plus point is the start up speed - I would estimate at approx 1 second.
Picture quality has been very pleasing from macro to zoom - even on large PC monitor display
Downsides - no real negatives - I'd have liked the LCD not to be fixed but really just a quibble rather then a complaint
Extremely pleased I upgraded and delighted with the camera's performance. Hope this helps
23 of 26 people found the following review helpful
on September 23, 2013
I had the FZ47 and have the FZZ00. The FZ47 was a great bargain priced all around camera. The FZ200 has the F/2.8 max aperture lens (from 25mm to 600mm), which makes it a favorite for people who need fast shutter speeds in an affordable package. The FZ70 is, to me, a pumped up FZ47 with double the zoom range. The picture quality is decent and, in good lighting, very good. There is some geometric distortion at full wide angle. If it bothers you, you can correct it in software. It focuses pretty fast, faster, I think, than the FZ47. Its top burst mode is fast, but shallow - about 3 shots in half a second. In this way, it's much inferior to the FZ200, which fires off shots like a machine gun and goes over 10 shots before pausing briefly to process them. The FZ200 has an articulating LCD scree while the FZ70 doesn't. The EVF is also much sharper in the FZ200.
This is not a camera for someone to take to a night time HS football game under the lights. It simply won't get you a fast enough shutter speed to freeze the action as the max aperture at full zoom is F/5.9. However, it could be useful for soccer moms and dads for daylight games. No part of a football field or soccer pitch would be too far for the sideline fan. It would also be useful for football and baseball fans who sit far from the field and want to get shots of their favorite coaches or players from high up in the stadium during day games. Other people who might like this camera include real estate agents who can get "the whole house" easily at the 20mm setting and amateur enthusiasts taking pictures of large groups at work or school.
Its intelligent auto mode is actually pretty sharp, picking the appropriate mode (portrait, landscape, night time portrait, low light, etc.).
It's not an upgrade from the FZ200. It's an upgrade from the FZ60. However, for less than 400 bucks in the US, I think it's a good deal.
If you are a photographic perfectionist, a so-called "pixel peeper", don't get this camera. Spend the money and get a DSLR with a good lens or two. It will probably cost you well over $1,000. It will not give you the reach you have with this camera.
This camera is like a decent decathlete - it can do lots of things pretty well, but it won't match the "specialists" in their strengths.
I like this camera and recommend it. However, if you are happy with "just" 25-600mm and can spend $150 to $200 more, consider the FZ200. It's the gold medalist for "decathlete" cameras.