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Old Nov 29, 2012, 8:23 PM   #1
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Default Is the Panasonic FZ200 a good choice? Scenery, animals, mostly outdoors.

Hi folks,

It's camera buying time again for me, and I thought I should test my current assumptions to make sure I'm buying the right camera for my needs.

Here's what I'm thinking.

Most of the photos I take are scenery shots - views of mountains, waterfalls, beaches and wildlife. I like the idea of a big zoom because I can zoom in on wildlife. I also need a zoom because my 3 year old daughter hates having her photo taken (passionately, to the point where I haven't taken a photo of her in months) and a little bit of covert photography might be the only way to keep the grandparents happy.

Most of my photography is done on overnight hiking trips, so a DSLR is out of the question - I really need something I can carry easily and multiple lenses doesn't appeal. Ideally pocket sized is good, but I'm happy to forego this or buy pants with really big pockets.

I like the idea of fast burst shooting for things like dolphins and whales. I'm also having to admit that I might be a shaky-handed shooter after my last camera, a panasonic TZ5, didn't work awfully well for me and showed the shaky icon quite a lot when I used it, so I'm thinking a viewfinder would probably be a good idea, or at least something I can hold in a more stable manner. Unfortunately the TZ5 found itself on the beach and was swamped by a freak wave, with expected consequences. Time to buy a new camera.

So, with all this in mind, I'm thinking the Panasonic FZ200. It seems to tick all of my boxes, and I'm familiar with the knobs and buttons, having owned to panasonic cameras (the other was an FZ3 which I loved dearly) in the past.

Am I making the right choice, or is there a reason to look elsewhere? I'd appreciate any advice you might have for me.

Cheers,

Larry.
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Old Nov 30, 2012, 3:42 AM   #2
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The FZ-200 would seem to be a very good choice for your needs- and if speed is what you're after, it's certainly top of the pile- with brisk shot to shot times(with image review off),fast burst options and quick auto-focus. The viewfinder will certainly aid stability- though the shake icon you were experiencing on your TZ5 would have been due to too slow a shutter speed for the light/zoom range you were using at the time- one of the pitfalls of a "auto" point and shoot.
The tilting LCD will also assist you in sneaking shots of your shy daughter- with you looking down at the camera it merely looks as if your adjusting settings or such like...
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Old Nov 30, 2012, 7:06 AM   #3
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As you have said, you are not looking for a dSLR mainly for their size. But Panasonic fz200 is also like a dSLR in size, and forget about pocketibility of that. I mean you can not keep it in your pocket.

May be if you want IQ, you can too consider one from the new class of cameras "mirror less system cameras", which will be compact in size but you have to invest more dollars for a long zoom lens.
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Old Dec 1, 2012, 7:09 AM   #4
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Thanks for the replies.

CrazyTechie, I hadn't much looked into the micro 4/3 stuff or mirrorless route because I'm looking to avoid changing lenses if I can. That said, I haven't quite looked into the dimensions of the FZ200 and may be in for a nasty shock. I'm hoping it's not too much bigger than my old FZ3, which I used to carry in a big front pocket. Time to check.

In terms of the image quality, would the panasonic G3 be miles better than the FZ200? I'm checking prices and I see I could buy a G3 with the standard lens plus a 45-200mm zoom lens for around the same price as an FZ200.

I guess if it is significantly better picture wise I might be tempted, but it does add a layer of fuss and complexity that my meagre photography talents might not warrant.

Simon, thanks, hadn't thought about using the tilting LCD for super-sneaky photos. That's genius! Interesting point about the settings on the TZ5, I think that tells me that if I shell out $500 plus on a new camera I really need to gain a better understanding of the basics and start using the manual controls a little more. That said, I'm still shaky. I also produced quite a lot of blurry shots of still subjects.
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Old Dec 1, 2012, 7:32 AM   #5
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This is what the form factor difference between FZ3 and FZ200 got from snapsort.com

Quote:
Significantly smaller 108x68x85 mm vs 125x87x110 mm Around 50% smaller
Significantly lighter 326 g vs 588 g More than 40% lighter
Thinner 3,3" vs 4,3" More than 20% thinner
For IQ you can compare the same at http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/panasonicdmcg3/16 and select the different camera images at different ISO settings. At least I can see the IQ of Pana G3 is better than Pana fz200, above all its a m4/3 vs 1/2.33" :-)

Best wishes for your new camera.

Last edited by CrazyTechie; Dec 1, 2012 at 7:40 AM.
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