454 of 470 people found the following review helpful
I am very impressed with this camera.
, August 28, 2012
This review is from: Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ200 12.1 MP Digital Camera with CMOS Sensor and 24x Optical Zoom - Black (Electronics)
I've only had it about 24 hours, but my first impressions are very favorable. I pre-ordered my Panasonic FZ200 from Amazon last week. Later I heard it was going to begin shipping on Monday, August 27th. To my pleasant surprise, the camera showed up yesterday, on Monday, August 27th. (Gotta love Amazon.) I played with the various controls and read the manual last night and spent a couple of hours shooting with it today.
Some background: Both my wife and I are long time Canon DSLR photographers. I am in the printing business and have been using Photoshop since version 2.5 almost 20 years ago. We are serious amateurs, not professional photographers, but we know our way around digital cameras and the digital darkroom. We compete in various photo competitions all over the world. Either with electronic images or prints. Our maximum print size is 12" x 18". Except for action shots, we shoot RAW exclusively.
We are both in our mid 70's and lugging around our Canon 40Ds with 28-300mm lens seem to get heavier every day. The specs on the FX200 are so spectacular that I wondered if it could be a replacement for our heavy, and somewhat obsolete, Canon gear. I frankly didn't expect the FZ200 to be as good as our Canon gear. Instead, my question was "is it good enough" for us to continue to be competitive in photo competitions. To my pleasant surprise, my initial reaction is yes.
We live in Florida a few miles from the Gulf of Mexico. We went to the beach today and took along one of our Canon 40Ds and the FZ200. We shot the same thing under similar conditions. The Canon shot only RAW and the FZ shot BOTH taw and jpeg. I haven't figured out how to use the Panasonic RAW software yet, so we ended up comparing Canon raw with FZ high quality jpegs.
When viewed "right out of the camera" on my 27" color calibrated iMac, the images look virtually identical. Needless to say, I am very impressed.
The FZ has a lot of special features and functions I haven't looked at yet, and maybe never will since I am so conversant in Photoshop I really don't need the camera to add saturation, convert to B&W, etc. I am totally unfamiliar with digital video, so it will be a while (if ever), before I get around to checking it out on the FZ.
The camera isn't perfect. Here are several things I'm not too fond of.
* The menu system is quite complex and various buttons and wheels access different parts of it. Tip: Put the camera in Manual (M) before going to the menu system. This is the only setting that shows ALL the possible menu settings according to Panasonic tech support.
* The user manual on the CD seems to be for a different camera than the FZ200. Either that or, the final version of the camera doesn't match an earlier version of the documentation.
* Worse of all, it takes 45 arrow and/or button clicks to perform the "Format card" function in the camera. (I counted them.) I talked to two different Panasonic tech support people to see if there was an easier way. They both confirmed that there wasn't. You won't find it in your user manual, so here is how to format your SD card.
* Set the mode to manual. Then click the "Menu/Set" button in the center of the arrow keys. Then hit the left arrow key to select the camera icon.
* The click the down arrow key two times to get the the settings (looks like a wrench.)
* Then click the right arrow key to go "Clock Set." Notice that the top right corner shows that you are on page one of 8 setting page. Format is on page 7. Unfortunately, you cannot access the page numbers and right click to advance to the next page.
Instead you have to click the down arrow and scroll, completely through each page to advance to the next page. It takes 43 down arrow clicks to get to format. (I counted them.) BE CAREFUL. Be sure to hit the right arrow key when you reach format. I hit the "menu/Set" button and had to start all over again.
Formatting an SD card is a real pain, but that is really the only fault I can find so far with this camera. Hopefully, Panasonic will fix this is an firmware upgrade-especially as they tell you in their manual not to format the card in your computer but instead do it in the camera. This is good advise, but a nuisance to do.
To end on a positive note, I'm going to continue to play around with this camera, but I feel I have already proven to myself that this camera is fully able to replace our Canon 40Ds for our intended use. Try it. I think you will like it too. (I don't work for Panasonic or Amazon.)
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