With its 24x optical zoom, 12 frames per second capture rate and full manual control, the DMC-FZ150 wants to be the ultimate all-in-one camera. Tim Coleman tries it out
Build and Handling
Image: Such a wide focal range makes shooting a number of situations possible, especially for good levels of detail with distant subjects
The DMC-FZ150 feels good in the hand. I like the understated contours of the handgrip and thumb rest, both of which have a good-quality leather-effect surface. The body is made mainly from a tough plastic and is lightweight, weighing 528g including card and battery.
There is a comprehensive number of controls to hand dotted around the 124.3×81.7×95.2mm body. One of these is for the continuous shooting drive mode, from where a capture rate of up to 60fps can be made. The shooting mode dial is a little overcrowded with too many modes for my liking, including PASM control and ten presets.
Other controls include a direct movie record. Stereo sound is recorded by a microphone built into the pop-up flash on the top of the camera. A hotshoe mount enables the use of compatible accessories such as a flashgun and external microphone.
At the press of a button, the user can choose between the 3in, 460,000-dot LCD screen and the built-in electronic viewfinder (EVF) for controlling, composing and viewing images. The screen is fully articulated from the side of the camera, offering a wide angle of view, with a reasonably bright and crisp output. The EVF has a resolution of 201,600 dots and is useful for bright daylight situations, but it has the rough pixelated edges often found in low-resolution viewfinders.
As the DMC-FZ150 is a superzoom camera, there is great emphasis on the handling of the lens. Its zoom function can be controlled in two ways: by the shutter or on the side of the lens through a zoom lever, which can also be assigned for focusing. We have seen a zoom lever introduced in a couple of new Lumix G micro four thirds lenses, primarily to help provide steadier handheld zoom control for video users. Having used both controls, I found that any difference in steadiness is minimal and unlikely to affect stills photographers. Nonetheless, the extra option is a useful one. An AF/macro AF or manual-focus switch is also present.
As it can become increasingly difficult to control a camera in the hand at the telephoto end of the focal length, Panasonic’s Power OIS built-in stabilisation works against the up and down movement produced when shooting handheld, giving extra flexibility for handheld, blur-free shooting in low light.
Overall, the DMC-FZ150 is a versatile camera with speedy access to a good level of manual and automatic control.