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.
on September 5, 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.
on August 4, 2014
This camera works far better than I expected. Literally just point and shoot for great pictures. I decided to try the Moon shot because it should be very difficult to hold the camera steady. The moon picture on Aug 4 2014 was not done with a tripod. Think I might have a typo and put the 14th instead of the 4th but the picture is what is important. It came out very sharp for a maximum zoom picture without a tripod. I will absolutely recommend this camera to friends and family.
on September 9, 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 .....
on June 13, 2014
I am an amateur photographer and prefer taking pictures of wildlife, which includes insects and birds. The zoom on this camera allows me to get closer than I've ever gotten before! I have purchased many cameras on-line, but most of them are returned because of the difficulty of using them...that is not true with this camera. I have had many Lumix cameras before and the only reason I upgrade is because they keep improving the range of the zoom. They serve well, translate color well, and are easy to operate.
on August 25, 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.
on February 17, 2015
I have a very lengthy history with point and shoot cameras. I am a professional photographer so I suppose that I am spoiled by DSLR quality however Panasonic has never let me down. I bought a Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS3 when it first came out. I was thoroughly impressed with the quality for the price that I had paid. Concert videos came out great and a lot of the photos were really good too. I still have that Lumix and my son now uses it.
After dabbling with DSLRs for a while I decided that I wanted a more professional level point and shoot. I bought a Canon G12 and while it had some impressive features it just was not what I expected from the reviews I had seen. It was okay during concerts (one of the main reasons I have a point and shoot) but it wasn't something I was excited to use. After I sold the Canon I went to a Nikon Coolpix. I am an avid Nikon fan. That is the only DSLR I shoot with so I figured the point and shoot would be just as good. I was wrong. The quality of the photos was horrible and I couldn't get a clear shot to save my life. The Coolpix quickly went back. I stuck with the Panasonic Lumix ZS3 for a while and then went to a Nikon N1 J3. Again, not great. I did not like how it handled but I have kept it around for a year.
I was browsing reviews for cameras that are great for my upcoming trip to Disney. I saw this Lumix FZ70 listed so I did some more research. After reading reviews here on Amazon as well as other sources such as Ken Rockwell I decided that I would jump on the low price that I paid. Yet again Panasonic did NOT disappoint. I got the camera this morning so I have not been able to fully test it and will definitely update when I do, but from what I have done so far today...IMPRESSIVE. The zoom is ridiculous and much clearer than I expected it to be at 1200mm!
Below I posted a macro shot (holy crap!) and also posted a shot where the lens was at the shortest and then the longest length to show the power of the zoom. In the shot where you can see the entire street I put a red circle around the car that I zoomed in on. The red circle is in the center of the photo, far far down the street. I cannot wait to get out there and test this camera's capabilities in Disney in a few months and then at a concert in May.
on March 31, 2015
I take photos for fun and have dangerously little knowledge of cameras or photography. I received my Lumix a few days ago and am sharing some of the pics from my trial batch.
on December 8, 2013
Excellent Magna-Zoom PnS camera, It's just as good as my Panasonic LUMIX G10, but w/out all the lenses. I have a similar PnS, being a Kodak Max Z990 w/ 30X Zoom, and this Lumix beats it hands down, well except for one thing,,,Kodak's colour,,It's still unbeatable, even after all these year's.
on March 22, 2014
Initially, bird pics were soft. Lowering the Noise Reduction setting to -2 gives more sharpness and detail but still with good noise control. If needed, noise reduction is done in pp. I really like the rendering in the FZ70 pics. It doesn't have the fast lens and other features of my FZ200, but noise control is better, IMO, so you can use higher ISOs. Also, compared to the FZ200, iZoom performs much better, fewer artifacts, very usable pics. The camera focuses very fast. A great birding camera.
I do wish it had an articulating screen, remote shutter socket, larger buffer, but you can't have everything at this price.