241 of 250 people found the following review helpful
Great features, great lens, less than stellar engineering,
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This review is from: Panasonic DMC-FZ150K 12.1 MP Digital Camera with CMOS Sensor and 24x Optical Zoom (Black) (Camera)
I researched this purchase for several months, watching videos made by others using the camera, and pictures taken. I was very impressed with the video quality and picture quality from my research. It also had all the features I wanted (RAW shooting, flip-out LCD screen, a relatively decent "superzoom" lens and small size). I was aware of complaints of build quality, and the user interface, but I wasn't as concerned about that as with the features for the price.
After using the camera for a few months, I have several things to mention.
1.) The HD video quality is top-notch. Very impressive. I love the camera's ability to zoom and refocus while capturing movies. It makes my shots seem more "cinematic".
2.) The photo quality is also excellent, pleasantly saturated colors (adjustable), although a bit grainy at the higher ISOs (not surprising given the camera's sensor size)
3.) The build quality is indeed less than stellar. It seems a little more "plasticky" than it's competitors. This probably adds to the camera's light weight (which I do like), but when I use it, I feel like I have to be more careful than with other simlar camera's I've handled. Consequently, I carry it in a well-padded bag.
4.) The interface is a bit confusing and overly complicated. Panasonic should take a lesson from Canon on interface design.
5.) The buttons are a little small and tightly arranged. Although I've gotten used to it, it does make using the camera feel a little cramped - not a huge issue.
6.) In at least one instance, the EXIF data indicated the flash did not fire, when in fact it did.
7.) This is perhaps the most troubling issue (a glaring design flaw, in my opinion), and the main reason for not giving this product a full five star rating - In some pictures using the flash, white disks or "soap bubbles" (as the camera's manual calls them) appear superimposed over the subject. This phenomenon is mentioned in the PDF manual on page 197 (you can download a PDF of this Manual from Panasonic's website and read it yourself). I did read the PDF manual all the way through before buying the camera but I did not expect those artifacts to be so common (the shot in the manual showing the artifacts is not a picture style I typically shoot). The manual says they "may appear as a result of the flash reflecting off of dust particles in the air". To me, this is a major design flaw and has already ruined a number of my shots. I have never seen such artifacts from any cameras with on-board flash. At times the artifacts are subtle enough to where you don't see them until you download the pictures from the memory card to your computer and examine them - too late to re-shoot the photo without the flash. Of course, I have never seen the problem in video clips, but I have never used a video light source with the camera so I can't say if they wouldn't appear in that case.
I am hopeful a firmware update will fix the EXIF and "soap bubbles" problems. If so, this would be a five-star product, in my opinion. In the mean time, I have created my own "DIY" flash diffuser for the pop-up flash that will hopefully eliminate or lessen the problem. If I can post a follow-up review, I will report the results of the change.
Tracked by 11 customers
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Showing 11-20 of 24 posts in this discussion
In reply to an earlier post on May 31, 2012 11:40:03 AM PDT
The soap bubbles issue can be so bad (10 or 20 bubbles in a single image), that "touching" up such an image would be an exercise in futility, even with Photoshop or LightRoom. Plus, you never know when they will appear. It's like playing Russian Roulette with your images. I have never seen this phenomenon with any other camera and I am not convinced Panasonic engineers can't solve the problem. I still have my FZ-150 and use it, but I am disappointed with the build quality. I would not purchase another similar product from Panasonic.
In reply to an earlier post on Jun 1, 2012 8:50:08 AM PDT
Tests show the FZ150 to be less sharp than the SX40, too.
In reply to an earlier post on Jun 1, 2012 10:11:54 AM PDT
I spent a lot of time looking at tests of several cameras and determined that for my purposes, the FZ150's lens configuration was right for me. The build quality of the SX40 is better. It's also heavier. I opted for the FZ150 because it is lighter, offers RAW shooting, has an interesting slow motion feature, and the lens is shorter on the long end. I wanted the long zoom but not THAT long. There were other features I wanted as well that the SX40 didn't have. In retrospect, however, I would have probably choosen the SX40 had I known then, what I know now about the FX150 and how I use it.
In reply to an earlier post on Jun 1, 2012 10:47:31 AM PDT
Skip Thomsen says:
Well,don't leave us all hanging! What has your retrospect demonstrated that would have made you choose the SX40 over the FZ150?
In reply to an earlier post on Jun 1, 2012 1:23:06 PM PDT
SX-40 over FZ-150: Build-quality, better user interface (the one on the FZ150 is very confusing), compatibility with my Canon external flash, significantly less likelihood of "soap bubbles" (Someone I know has an SX10 and it's never exhibited soap bubbles). FZ-150 over SX-40: Raw shooting, lighter, better movie mode.
Posted on Jun 5, 2012 9:49:01 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 5, 2012 9:55:01 AM PDT
I have just received this camera and I, too find the build quality and feel of the item less than stellar. I'm used to Canon's quality and the SX40 I handled in a store felt very well built.
It does feel very plasticy and somewhat delicate. The "on/off" button feels especially cheap.
If not for the overall stellar reviews I've read, I'd have gone with the Canon. I hope this lives up to the picture quality reviews or it will ne a quick rerurn.
Posted on Jun 11, 2012 9:21:46 PM PDT
Gregory A. Henry says:
"Orbs" as most have already said, are a reflection of dust. No firmware or update is going to fix this. The closer the flash is in relation to the lens, the more pronounced it can be. Using an external flash that's tall enough can REDUCE the effect, but nothing will get rid of it in a dusty environment (except learning how to use the "clone" or "healing brush" tools in Photoshop/Elements).
Posted on Jun 22, 2012 11:03:46 AM PDT
I have a gripe with consumer electronics in general, cameras in particular including the FZ150: too much complexity that adds little value and pushes up cost.
For example, this camera has two physical controls to motor the zoom, and two physical buttons to select options. One would be enough in both cases.
It also has a number of options that I'm guessing would take you as long to figure out as it would take to just take manual control of a few useful settings - or post-process in the software of your choice. I doubt that many of these really work that well, and some are useless (eg. photo frames, b&w, etc.)
Just give us a handful of really useful options that are simple to understand and use, and that make a real difference to the photo we took. Delete the rest to reduce complexity and cost.
In reply to an earlier post on Sep 7, 2012 1:12:55 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Sep 7, 2012 1:15:13 PM PDT
I'm looking at these two cameras now, deciding on which to purchase. I'm curious re your comment:
"I would have probably choosen the SX40 had I known then, what I know now about the FX150 and how I use it."
How do you use it? And how then would the SX40 worked better for you? Also, the FX150 images seem super sharp but a little on the cool (e.g., perhaps a tad "undersaturated") side. Any comment on this?
Very grateful for any thoughts you might share on this - thanks.
In reply to an earlier post on Sep 7, 2012 1:50:11 PM PDT
Zelly, I use it for casual shooting, day trips, around the house, pets, flowers, etc. and for video shorts (Check out "Bee Movie" by me on YouTube - shot exclusively with the FZ-150). It may come down to whether you need RAW or not, and weight issues. Color casts in images are easily corrected with even basic software, and since you can't get anything but JPEGs from the SX-40, you're limited in maximizing sharpness due to JPEG compression. Apart from that, you will probably be happy with either one. The SX-40 is quite a bit heavier, build quality is not as nice on the FZ-150. You may also want to look into the FZ-150's replacement, the FZ-200.