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on November 10, 2011
For many years, I used SLR cameras and purchased a DSLR a few years back. I finally realized that some super-zoom cameras were on the market that would take pictures good enough for everything I did and would not require me to carry around multiple lenses. I bought a Panasonic FZ35 and was quite pleased with it. It turned out to be one of the better super-zooms ever made. My complaint was that I would like a longer zoom. I decided to try out another Panasonic camera but was put off by the tepid reviews of the FZ100.

Since the FZ150 had not yet been released and there were only a few reviews of the camera, I purchased the highly praised Sony HX100V even though it lacked some features I would like to have. I was pleased with the pictures it took - up to a point. Thanks to a generous return policy of Amazon, I returned the HX100 and bought a Panasonic FZ150 which was the right move for me. I reviewed the Sony camera and you can read it elsewhere but this is a review of the Panasonic FZ150.

While the zoom of this camera is not as great as some competitors, the intelligent zoom makes up for this. I was able to take high quality pictures of distant objects under a variety of lighting conditions using high zoom and generally hand holding the camera. Impressive! The FZ35 did a good job of keeping noise low up to about ISO 400. The FZ150 does the same but up to ISO 800. Even ISO 1600 shows low noise. I was able to read license plates from 3-400 feet away even in low light. I suspect that Panasonic has found the 12 MP resolution using a small sensor is a sweet spot and allows good noise reduction even at high ISO.

I was able to take excellent closeups, the wide angle works well with minimal distortion and you can choose to record in RAW for better control in post production. And all of this works rapidly and reliably. The image stabilizer worked well in all but extreme closeups.

To test both the video and burst modes, I stood near a train track and took pictures of oncoming and leaving trains. The burst mode is outstanding and the video is as good as can be expected from a super-zoom. The sound is excellent although in a quiet situation, you can hear the zoom being changed during recording. I like being able to choose AVCHD or MP4 for video recording. This gives you some control over video size, video quality and easy of use by various operating systems.

The Sony has a panoramic mode while the FZ150 has a panoramic assist mode. With the assist, you can fairly easily set up successive pictures for merging using software. I found this assist allows you to control the resolution of a panorama better then when the camera creates the panorama. This is not a big deal since I mainly use this type of assist to merge 2 pictures rather than merge 5 or 6 shots and the software merge is fast.

I was impressed by how well the FZ150 handled white balance. Outside, the automatic worked flawlessly. But this was also true indoors. I watched the camera readjust the white balance as I moved it between scenes illuminated by different light sources. This produced shots with correct color balance. With the FZ35, I had to manually switch white balance to maintain correct color rendition.

A couple of other super-zooms do not have lenses with threads for filters. I was pleased to be able to use a UV filter (mainly to prevent lens scratching while walking through the woods) and use a polarizing lens as needed. I noticed that there are additional lens modifications available that fit the threads.

Unfortunately, printing a full manual appears not to be in the cards any more. The manuals, both basic and advanced, are available in PDF format which allows you to print off sections as needed. But I still would like a printed manual provided by the manufacturer.

The articulated viewing screen has good resolution although not as high as some competitors. I very much like being able to turn the screen over and close it. This protects the surface of the screen. You can use the EVF viewfinder which I like to use but did find myself using the LCD screen whenever I could.

The FZ50 apparently requires a coded battery in order to see the amount of charge remaining in the camera viewer. I bought a non-Panasonic extra battery for the FZ150 and find that the amount of charge is shown in the viewer. This is a $ saver since non-Panasonic batteries cost less than those from Panasonic.

I have used most every mode on the camera and find them all to do exactly what they are supposed to do. In summary, I would recommend this camera to anyone who wants to buy a super-zoom. You can use automatic features if you are a neophyte or use the variety of settings if you are a knowledgeable enthusiast. In both cases, you will be pleased.
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on October 5, 2011
This camera is everything the FZ100 is and they fixed all the shortcomings to produce the FZ150. The buttons in the back of the 100 were too easy to push. I was constantly pushing the playback button when holding the camera with one hand. No more. The button is recessed and the problem is gone. Most if not all the accessories that work on the 100 also work on the 150. Aftermarket batteries actually show capacity now!

When focusing, when the camera focuses it beeps now so you don't have to be looking at the screen. That is great for using Red Dot Sights on this camera. Night shots are awesome with the Handheld Night Shots Mode. It takes several pictures and combines them for great shots with no blur. The camera has way less noise then the FZ100. Even at ISO 1600 and ISO 3200 the noise is better than the FZ100 was in ISO 400. Camera focus in the picture mode and in the video mode is much faster. You can take 12 frames per second burst inside now at all ISO's. The 100 will not do that.

The camera works great in iA (intelligent auto) were the FZ100 was real noisy in that mode. The camera will zoom to 62.4X in the 3mp picture mode with I-Zoom turned on. I like setting the camera at 8mp picture size, which gives me 39.1X zoom. It records in 1080P video!

The flash works great! It goes out over 30 feet and lights up the rooms very well. I will post some pictures of that. Pictures are very sharp, not noisy, and crisp.

This camera is everything that the FZ100 is and much more. This camera is a REAL WINNER! Great job Panasonic!

I just went outside and put the camera in the 12 frames per second mode, shot 12 shots, waited 1 second, shot another 8 shots, waited another second, shot another 8 shots.

Someone mentioned the Canon SX40IS, so I checked it out. The cameras are similar in a lot of ways. Each one has it's strengths and weaknesses. The killer for me is the burst mode. The Canon will shoot at 10 frames per second for 8 shots. The Panasonic will shoot at 12 frames per second for 12 shots. Not that much different there. The part they don't tell you is the Panasonic after taking the 12 shots, wait 1 second, you can take another 8 shots, wait one second, another 8 shots. In the 5.5 fps burst it will go 30-35 shots before slowing down. The Canon will not do that. At 5.5 fps in Auto Focus the camera will go 30 to 35 shots and focus between each shot. In the Canon the rate of burst in Auto Focus is .8 fps. Yes, .8 frames per second. Less than 1 frame per second and focus in between shots. That in my opinion is a deal killer. That is exactly why I chose the Panasonic FZ100 over the Canon SX30IS. It is just too slow for any kind of action shots.

I was at an Animal Safari this last Sunday and had a problem with the camera focusing on the bars of the cage instead of the animal. Sometimes it focused on the animal and sometimes it would not. Finally I used the button on the left side of the lens. It is a ZOOM/FOCUS button, and to change it to a zoom, go to Menu Set, Setup Menu, Page 2, the third one down (Side Lever) and change it to ZOOM or to FOCUS. I changed it to FOCUS and put the focus lever in manual focus. From that point on I had no trouble focusing the bars out of the picture. This camera is awesome!

Another thing that happened to me is I was inside a display area. It was dark inside. All the displays were encased in glass so flash was out of the question. I was in Aperture Priority and for some reason the pictures kept coming out too bright. I changed the Aperture, no help. Then I put the main dial in iA (intelligent auto) and took a picture. It came out perfect! The FZ100 was always a problem in iA, usually because of the noise. Not this camera! It gets it perfect every time. If you are a novice and don't want to mess with camera controls, this is the camera for you. Anyone can shoot it and get great pictures as long as they can frame a shot and push the shutter release button! If you want to take full control, fine, the camera will do that too. This camera is great for the novice and the experienced photographers! Panasonic got it right this time!

I have noticed that my camera tends to be towards the warm side in color temperature in Auto White Balance. That is totally adjustable and it is explained on pages 114 and 115 of the manual.

I am listing this and guarantee it will get someone. If you try to take a picture with the flash and it will not go off, the flash is open and it is dark enough for it to go off and it does not....... Your camera is in the Burst Mode!!!! That gets lots of people all the time.

Part of the picture on playback is flashing in black and white.... Your HIGHLIGHT is turned on and the picture is saturated in the black and white saturated area.
To turn it off go to the SETUP menu, page 3 at the bottom.

Did you know that you can take a snapshot or a burst of pictures while taking video? This camera will do that. The picture size is 3.5mp. You can record up to 40 pictures per video. Look in the manual on page 38.

You shot a really cool video and want a snapshot from it. Simply play the video back in the camera in the play mode, and pause the video where you want the shot, press Menu Set, it asks SAVE THIS IMAGE? Highlight YES and press Menu Set! Done. You have saved a picture from the video that you took. I can't seem to find that in the manual but am still looking. It works just the same. I think the picture size is 2.5mp, but can't find it in the manual.

The camera has a live Histogram so you can see the picture readout before you shoot it. Go to Menu Set, SETUP, Page 3, second one down. To move from one page to the next, simply pull the zoom lever to the right. To go down move the zoom lever to the left.

The camera will take 5 flash shots in quick succession. To do that, go to SCN on the main dial, go to the second row, the forth one down. Pick your picture size and press Menu Set. It will now take 5 quick flash pictures by holding the shutter release button down. Make sure you open the flash.

The camera will take 220 frames per second in the video mode. To do that go to SCN again and go to the second page and it is the middle icon. HS

If I was using any of the priority modes at night (I would use iA in this camera) go to Menu Set and the REC mode, on the first page under PHOTO STYLE, I would use Natural as it is more sensitive to light. It may be a moot point as iA (Intelligent Auto) is better for low light.

This camera works really well all the way to ISO 1600 in low light areas. ISO 3200 works too, but is more noisy.

I have the Vivitar DF-383 flash that I use on this camera. It is a very powerful flash and is much cheaper than the Panasonic Flash. It is not quite as powerful as the top of the line Panasonic Flash but half the price. Make sure you get the Vivitar DF-383 flash for Panasonic.

DF-383 Power Zoom AF Flash for Panasonic

I would get a remote shutter or a interval timer for this camera. The camera has to be powered to use for time lapse photography and an interval timer, but if you push the EVF (Electronic View Finder) button to shut down the LCD, the drain on the battery is minimal. I took a 3 hour time lapse video this way and the battery showed 1 mark down from full charge at the end.

Aftermarket batteries now show capacity in this camera. They are much cheaper than Panasonic batteries even though the Panasonic batteries seem to be dropping in price.

An external mike can be used on the camera, but be advised it takes a 2.5mm plug instead of the 3.5mm plug that normally comes on external mikes. Amazon sells an adapter for cheap that will adapt the plug. Rhode Mikes work on this camera.

Teleconverters work well on the FZ150. There are 5 main ones that work well. Don't waste your money and buy the cheap 2X and larger teleconverters. Two of them are Olympus Lenses. They are the TCON-17 (1.7X with no letters behind the number. It looks like a pear.), and the B300. The Olympus lenses are no longer made and can be found on Ebay. Nikon makes the TC-E15ED (1.5X).
Panasonic makes a 1.7X lens as well. <...>, The last lens is a Raynox DCR-2025 Pro (2.2X).

This camera has excellent stabilization and I am able to shoot at 39.1X (8mp picture size with I-Zoom turned on) without blurry photos during the day with no problems.

This is my opinion and others may disagree. Don't connect the camera to the computer and risk damaging it. Pull your SDHC card out of the camera (it takes a whole 1/10 second to pull your card out of the camera, just open the door and push on it) and put it into the computer if your computer has a SDHC card reader. The software supplied with the camera will know you put the card into a reader and it will prompt you to download the files, both video and photo. If your computer doesn't have a SDHC card reader, buy a good inexpensive USB card reader. They are only around $15 or so. It is much faster and safer and less hassle to pull your card out of the camera to download the files. Just do it.
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on January 19, 2012
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.
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on November 11, 2011
Let me begin by saying that my knowledge of cameras is very limited and I am as "newbie" as they come regarding photography. My son was going to be playing in a national lacrosse tourney in Florida (We are from the midwest) and I wanted to purchase a camera that would let me capture all the action. I was looking for zoom, burst, high quality action pics, and a reasonable price package. Done, done, done, and done.

After reading countless reviews and trying to make heads or tails out of every photography detail out there, I finally decided to purchase this awesome camera. I could not be more satisfied. After downloading the manual, it took me a couple of minutes to read about and set the action sports & burst settings. With a couple of turns and button pushes, I was ready to go. The pictures I took at the tourney are absolutely stunning. I used the 5.5 pics/second auto focus burst mode and captured unbelievable action shots. When my son went to shoot, I would capture the entire sequence from beginning to end with perfect focus - about 5 pics from the load to the end of the follow through. Amazing is all I can say. All I did was zoom in, put my son in the center of the frame, and press the button. I was at least 50 yards away when I took the shots and they are perfect - like I was right next to him. High level lacrosse is a very fast moving game and this camera made it simple to catch the action. I would like to take some credit, but I would have no clue how to catch the shots that I did if this camera didn't make it so easy.

In between games, we had the opportunity to head over to the beach a couple of times and the photos taken there with iA were just as good. We took photos in bright sunshine, the shade, and at dusk using the iA mode and all the pictures were excellent. We took some movies with the camera as well and they are also excellent.

If I was a camera aficionado, maybe I would find some faults with this camera. Since I am not, I can't find any so far. If you are a novice like me, this camera will have you taking outstanding pictures as soon as the battery in charged. Speaking of battery charge, we took about 800 pictures and five short movies over two days. There was a lot of reviewing of pictures in the stands during this time and the total battery usage was about 1/3 of a full charge. We used a class ten memory card and had no issues with lag or inability to shoot pics. The camera's ergonomics are good. Everything I used was well placed, easy to use, and I had no accidental touches that changed camera settings. The camera seemed very lightweight - I mountain hike and this camera will definitely be in my pack from now on.

I rarely write reviews - usually only if something is terrible or is a real pleasure to use. This camera is definitely the latter. If you need a camera to capture action shots and want to spend less than $500 bucks for the camera, card, case, etc. - you can stop comparing because this is it.
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on October 6, 2011
After trying out the new Lumix G3 to replace my FZ30, I was sorely disappointed. The sample images I viewed on were excellent, but the pictures I took were horrible. That's because they were using super expensive lenses. Hmm....The kit lens was useless and I wasn't wanting to spend lots of money on more lenses. I also missed the zoom capability....enter the new Lumix FZ150. This looked more like the camera I have been using since 2005 (the FZ30), just totally upgraded.

Right out of the box, I was not disappointed. The FZ150 is smaller than my FZ30, yet still feels very comfortable and secure in the hand. All the buttons seem to be in the right place. (The G3 was not designed well and I kept hitting a button I didn't want to press when I held the camera.)The FZ150 also takes great, natural-looking pictures indoors (which was what I was looking for) without a flash. It also takes wonderful macro images, which the G3 had a very difficult time doing. The G3 wouldn't even TAKE the picture if it wasn't in focus. The FZ150 focuses quickly and accurately.

The video looks great, as well. The only drawback is the format of MP4. It does not import in Adobe Premiere Pro 2.0 without first being converted to an avi or mov file, but that seems to be the trend in all newer cameras, so I won't fault the FZ150 there.

All in all, I am very, very pleased with this camera and would not hesitate to recommend it to anyone who wants to take great pictures without the bulk and expense of a DSLR.

UPDATE: I took this camera to an event this weekend and it performed almost FLAWLESSLY!! Out of hundreds of pictures only a few were deleted! Also took lots of video (in MPEG4). As a heads up, the video did have a jerky playback on the computer until I converted it to an avi.
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on February 25, 2012
I have playing in photography for fifty years, and have upgraded of late to a Canon 5D Mark II and a bag full of L-series lenses. I finally decided this package is just too much in weight and size to carry around. While I have a couple of point and shoots, neither have really good resolution. After doing some research I decided a "good" mirror less bridge camera would fulfill my needs. I didn't realize I was beginning a quest. The short version of which is the Panasonic is my seventh camera to evaluate. What I wanted was a light weight mirror less unit with excellent resolution, good zoom and auto focus, flash and electronic viewfinder. All the cameras had video, but I don't normally use it. I should also mention I take many pictures of animals, dogs, horses and the miscellaneous bird. Zero, or close to it, shutter lag is very important, as with some of the units tested my dog could literally walk out of the picture by the time the shutter tripped. It was also very important my wife could pick up the camera and take a picture of whatever hit her at the moment.
I bought my sample cameras at Best Buy, Costco and Amazon, which is my favorite except for the fact one can't handle the camera beforehand. All have excellent, no hassle return policies which I made use of. I evaluated two Nikons, at least one Sony, Canons and two Panasonics. One Nikon was the relatively new V1, which took the best pictures (I felt) but didn't have a built in flash and I was trying to stay away from interchangeable lenses. Oddly, I could usually tell within five minutes whether the camera of the day was the "right one". This bugged my wife who in the beginning would say "why don't you give it a chance?" to now, "you haven't liked six others, you won't like this one!" Not surprisingly however, time won't cure the fact the camera doesn't feel good in one's hand, can't focus nor do whatever else you want.
I should mention in passing my testing method is extremely rigorous. I sit on my porch and take pictures of my dogs and horses who wander around the property. One wouldn't think a camera would have trouble taking sharp, in focus pictures of a dog eight feet away, but most did. As my price range was roughly $500 to $1,000, I don't think I was asking "too much" of the respective cameras.
The Panasonic was ordered from Amazon and felt right coming out of the box. It even had a user's guide which many did not. It has no shutter lag, takes excellent sharp, well saturated pictures. Low light sensitivity is good, and it is light weight. It is a camera I will be comfortable using around town and on trips. If you're on the fence, buy it from Amazon and you'll be happy you did.
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on March 9, 2012
I bought this camera for taking indoor and outdoor amateur sports shots, group photos, artistic landscape pictures and pictures of people at events. I wanted a camera that worked in high and low ISO ranges, had burst mode and a good wide and telephoto range, and had a viewfinder. I also did not want to pay the expense of a DSLR or have to keep swapping lenses.

After just a few weeks, I am very pleased with the FZ150. It is significantly better than my previous digital cameras. The 25mm to 600mm range is more than enough for most macro, wide angle or telephoto pictures that I can imagine taking. As a test, I read a standard printed letter posted on a bulletin board from about 25 feet away by zooming in and reading it off the LCD screen. At its widest setting, I could capture an entire room in one frame. I am able to stand half as far back from groups as I needed to previously to get the entire group into the shot. I was able to take a great macro shot of a remote control from a couple inches away, as well as of a trophy from 10 feet away. The stabilization makes taking shots at 24x very doable even handheld.

The burst mode menu is very nice and easy to access from a dedicated button on top of the camera. Most cameras require a complex menu system to turn on and off the burst mode. At 5.5 fps, I shot about 6 or 8 seconds of shots before a 1/2 second pause, and it continued with another 6 or 8 seconds of shots before the next pause. The autofocus during burst was pretty good too, though obviously not as good as without burst mode.

I like the on/off being a switch instead of a button. One of my old cameras used to come on in the carrying case and chewed through batteries like candy. The battery for the FZ150 seems to be pretty good. I have done a lot of testing, including a lot of LCD screen and flash testing, and it seemed to take a while before it dropped a bar. My only beef is that the charger does not have a light to indicate when the battery is done charging. It merely turns off the other light that indicates it is charging. The first time I went to charge the battery, I was not sure if it had come unplugged.

Taking daylight scenery shots was very impressive as was the full telephoto range of these shots. Taking nighttime shots was rather impressive and much better than any of my previous cameras. I have not had many opportunities to take high ISO shots, especially indoor sports shots yet, but the limited shots that I did take give me hope that I found the camera that I want. I will know more when spring sports season starts, though the high ISO sports shots will have to wait till fall sports to test.

The biggest drawback to this camera is my inexperience with the Panasonic menu system. It feels almost like relearning how to take pictures compared to my other cameras. The menus and features are easy to get to and to manipulate, but without knowing what many of the icons mean, it is hard to know what to select. The pdf manual is next to useless. It took me nearly an hour to determine which setting meant "fine" vs. "normal" JPEG photo quality. The manuals were useless and the web was no better. I eventually figured it out by seeing which setting had the most number of pictures left on the card. (The answer is that the arrow with the 2 rows of bars was the fine JPEG setting). I suspect that anyone already familiar with Panasonic cameras will not have this issue, but it is a learning curve for me. Also, for someone who just wants to leave it on iA mode, the camera can do all the work for you and the difficult menu icons are not a problem. The iA mode actually does a fairly good job of selecting the right mode for the given shot, though it is not as consistent as manually turning the dial to the right mode, and often changes modes from one shot to the next, even if the situation has not significantly changed.

Other than the learning curve, this is a wonderful camera. The picture quality is very good. The download software is good for an out of the box package. I love the stereo-audio HD movies, though I do not shoot movies very often. I like the fact that I can capture 3.5 Mpixel pictures while recording movies or after the fact in post production. The native HD format was exceptionally good, though the translated MPEG2 format was a bit grainy.

I was worried about the flash after reading some reviews about reflection from dust, but I did not see much problem with that, even when taking pictures out my open window during a snowstorm. There were some "bubbles" but nothing that I have not seen with flashes from other cameras. I also like that I have full control over the flash being open. Many digital cameras automatically pop the flash up making it difficult or cumbersome to turn the flash off. On this camera, if I don't want the flash to fire, I just don't pop it up. I also like that it has the option to add an external flash or remote trigger, if I want to purchase the accessories.

I was also worried about the "plastic" feel that many reviewers claimed, but I have not found any issues with that. The camera feels solid and fits well into my hand. While the zoom lever is not as comfortable as the barrel zoom of a genuine DSLR, it is still at least as comfortable and easy to use as any bridge or point and shoot camera that I have tried. It is a little bigger than most point and shoot cameras, but it is smaller than most DSLRs and many bridge cameras. I suspect that the reviewers who were complaining about the feel of the camera were comparing it to DSLR cameras. This camera is probably the second best "feeling" digital camera that I have ever owned, after my seven year old Sony, which really did feel like a DSLR. The biggest problem with my Sony is that it is hard to carry around, which is part of why I wanted a new camera. The FZ150 is much easier to carry back and forth everyday.

Overall, I would recommend the Panasonic DMC-FZ150 to anyone who wants a really good camera and doesn't want to fuss with the expense and additional lenses of a DSLR.

As a note, I bought some accessories when I bought this camera. Buying a filter to protect the lens is always a good idea. I would recommend against doing what I did and buying a doubler and wide angle add-on lens for this camera until you see how well you like the range that it already has. I am very pleased with the out of the box range and wish that I had not purchased the additional lenses, though they seem to work fine if as long as you use manual focus.

For reference, I am a high school teacher and amateur photographer. I take pictures of various school indoor and outdoor sporting events, as well as pictures of the students during classes, pep rallies and other special occasions. I am the unofficial school photographer for the yearbook and school newspaper. I also shoot outdoor landscape pictures for fun. I have been taking pictures with various cameras for about 30 years, starting with a Brownie Hawkeye as a child. My previous digital cameras were Canon, Sony and Nikon brands.

Update (3/14/12): I tried out the lowlight features at a high school musical this weekend and it worked great. I put it on the "high sensitivity" scene mode and was able to take fairly clear pictures from row M. It was a dark stage except for the spotlight on the singer. From wide angle, the faces were washed out, naturally, since the costumes were dark, but when I zoomed in to let the performer fill the screen, I could actually get the eye color of the performer. I had no trouble zooming even father to fill the screen with just a head shot that looked like I was standing 5 feet away.

I took movies and captured still pictures both at the time of the event by pressing the button (which slowed the camera a little for half a second) and after the fact in post processing of the movie. Both seemed to come out nicely, thought the post-processing pictures were smaller than the ones taken during the event. The sound quality seemed to be as good as any dedicated amateur movie camera that I have seen in the past.
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This review will be short. There are a couple of well-written long reviews that cover many technical details that I will not try to repeat.

I am a long-time amateur photographer who has used and owns many SLR models as well as DSLRs and mirrorless compacts.

Although I get may compliments on my photos, I really don't make any prints larger than 8x10, don't do anything commercial and my principal objective with my photos is to have memories of trips, friends and family. In travel, I love ancient ruins, architecture, some scenic views and lifestyles that are different from my own. I have found that changeable lens cameras take wonderful photos, but in many conditions (dust, damp, climbing a ruin or back road path) changing lenses is a hassle and the weight of the equipment is a burden.

This camera offers fine quality photos that meet all of my expectations, an ample zoom range that covers more range than multiple lenses for my DSLRs, and a multitude of features that often exceeds the feature set of much more costly cameras.

My favorite thing about this camera is that it offers RAW format in addition to JPEG. At one time I wasn't much of a fan of RAW images, but as I learned how to use post-processing to regain details in otherwise washed out skies or dark shadow areas, I discovered that it is possible to get photos that reflect more of what is seen with the eye (which has a greater dynamic range than a camera) using RAW. Now I shoot RAW plus JPEG in most situations. The RAW feature on this camera is something not on most "bridge cameras" and is the one single feature that convinced me to make the purchase.

The camera's 24x zoom is not as long as the 30x and up on some bridge cameras, but the long end is equivalent to 600mm in a 35mm film camera. That exceeds the focal length of virtually every interchangeable lens I have ever owned. I don't need more. Moreover, I don't want more. At 24x, you are at about the real limit of zooming that can be done without serious quality sacrifice due to optical issues and due to the fact that at these extreme focal lengths, camera movement is wildly exaggerated, making it essential to have a pretty steady hand.

On the negative side of things, I find the owner's manual to be irritatingly obfuscatory. It really wouldn't take a lot of work to make it user friendly, but it seems to have been written by a non-native English speaker. Struggling through it with camera in hand, you can eventually figure things out, but it is a labor of love at times.

The camera has a mild HDR (high definition range) setting that is a little weak for true HDR. I do like HDR photo capabilities -- not for their initial output, but for the fact that they can capture a wide range of light and dark and they can, with some tweaking of contrast and levels, become good JPEGs. They can be very forgiving of difficult lighting situations.

The camera is light to carry. The battery has lasted longer than 300 shots (and I am taking shots with both JPEG and RAW outputs for the most part, which I count together as 1 shot) without going below 50% on the battery meter.

All in all, I am very pleased with this camera and the photos I have been able to get out of it. I expect that, in the near future, some e-bay shoppers will be getting terrific deals on my DSLR and mirrorless cameras as this camera appears to deliver everything I need.
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on November 21, 2011
It's a camera that makes me want to find an excuse to play with a camera. :)

- The build feels solid.
- It snaps shots off pretty fast.
- Impressive focal length range (25mm-600mm equiv), even if the competition fairs a bit better this is still quite good.
- Image stabilization works well. (I can snap shots off freehand at 24x zoom, and at least most of them will come out sharp. Not bad considering I have shaky hands.)
- Has a pop-up flash, and also a hot-shoe for external flashes.
- Can use a remote shutter with it (the $5 cheapos (such as the one made by Pixel) you find on amazon work fine too!), or an external mic.
- It does 1920x1080@60p video, which is good. I got this for taking pictures though, not video.
- Has 52mm filter threads. No adapter required. I can play with filters now! Telephoto/Close-up/wide-angle/fish-eye lenses are also an option available to this compact. I picked up a Raynox DCR-2025 telephoto lens to extend my reach. I also picked up a polarizer and some ND filters both for creative effect and to help with challenging lighting conditions.
- The grip is good overall, and the controls seem to be in palatable places.
- Intelligent Auto mode is intelligent (judges the scene, knows if you're shooting free-hand, etc). In most situations it makes good decisions.
- Good manual controls.
- Battery life is good.
- Takes pretty pictures!! Colors seem accurate. Sharpness out-of-the-box seems about right. Noise doesn't become apparent until you really up the ISO. I've got some that I've taken at ISO 800 on a rainy day that aren't noisy.
- RAW. This is one of the main reasons I went with this camera. The included RAW processing software (SilkyPix) is good, easy to use, and runs fine in Wine.
- Fully articulated, hi-res, anti-glare LCD. Electronic viewfinder is a nice plus.
- Very good low light performance for a compact.
- Dedicated ISO button, function button (as in, you choose what you want the button to do.)

- Intelligent Auto mode will only record in JPEG.
- idynamic only works if you're recording in JPEG.
- Competition gives a bigger zoom for the $.
- It doesn't make me breakfast. All cameras should make me breakfast.
- Price. If I didn't need the zoom I probably would have went with a cheap DSLR instead. I may still do that and keep this for those situations where I need to zoom in, seeing as an equivalent telephoto lens would BE extraordinarily expensive (search for 600mm lens on Amazon, go on , I dare you! (Do be prepared to cringe if you do.))

Other thoughts
- If you've owned/used another Lumix in recent years, you'll be right at home with this camera as the menus/layout/etc are very similar.
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VINE VOICEon May 25, 2012
My journey as a photographer has seen me use similar ultra zooms (Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ10S 4MP Digital Camera with 12x Optical Zoom (Silver)) before transitioning to a SLR (Nikon D70S 6.1MP Digital SLR Camera (Body Only)) then another (Nikon D90 12.3MP DX-Format CMOS Digital SLR Camera with 3.0-Inch LCD (Body Only)) and back to this. Well sorta, as I still have my D90 and love it's image quality. Alas, when I tried to get the light gathering ability and telephoto capabilities on the DSLR, I ended up lugging around a Sigma 50-500mm f/4.5-6.3 APO DG OS HSM SLD Ultra Telephoto Zoom Lens for Nikon Digital DSLR Camera as well as a couple other lenses. While this gave great image quality, it also provided quite a workout. In the end it was starting to be way too much, and it certainly drew a lot of attention. So now I'm here!

So what does this baby offer? Plenty. I won't rehash everything listed in the description and marketing spiel, but I will say it's an awesome camera for what it is (compact ultrazoom). At ISO 100-400 it offers solid image quality indoors and out, plus the RAW capability allows those who partake in RAW editing to eek out a bit more IQ. With ample light it can go to ISO 800 easily, and its stabilized lens helps give some leeway with shutter speeds. It's got loads of automatic modes I've only started to dabble with (as an avid DSLR user I'm mostly using aperture and shutter priority modes right now), and I wouldn't hesitate to hand it to a novice to take a great pic. The available flashes, converter lenses, and other accessories can extend it's capabilities a bit more if you're so inclined. That's the good stuff, now the ... great stuff!

OMG this is so freaking light. It's way lighter than anything that touches my Nikon, let alone the whole kit. It's way lighter than it's ancestor FZ10 or anything I've used in ages. It's small too, but the lightness is amazing. The video is also absolutely amazing. The still IQ is good (coming from a great DSLR), but the video IQ is phenomenal. Originally I planned on using this whenever I didn't want to lug the SLR around or when I needed more reach (I sold the "Bigma"), but the video capabilities will see this puppy used a lot more. It really blew me away. Lastly, it's wicked fast all around, especially focusing.

Any negatives? Not really. IQ could be better, but not at that sensor size or with such a versatile lens. I'm reluctant to zoom in at a pixel level, where I'd do that in a heartbeat with my D90, but it's not a huge deal. The body is plastic, but it's well made and I'd rather save the weight. The lens extends, but it's better than being bigger all the time, so no biggie. The battery is proprietary, but what isn't in this class? The interface did take some getting used to, but it's not horrible (it would be one of my biggest areas for improvement). I do however wish it had GPS, which is my #1 wish for it's successor.

There you have it, a great camera, with a few things to get used to and a whole lot of upside. Welcome to my camera bag FZ150, get settled in, as you'll be there a while!
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