Panasonic Lumix FZ150 as a Bloggers Camera

Posted on 20 October 2011, Last updated on 20 October 2011 by

fz150_frontI like photography but I don’t have the time for it. For my work, however, I need a camera. I don’t call that photography, I call it blogography and it needs a different type of device. I’ve just bought a Panasonic Lumix FZ150 which I’m hoping will fulfill an important role in my job as an online reporter.

DSLRs are wonderful bits of kit with amazing light sensitivity, fast processing, quick startup and quality lenses. They are great for photographers, but not for bloggers who need a different kind of media device. Here’s my list of requirements…

  • 1080p, 720p, 480p videography
  • 600px-wide online ‘printing’ quality
  • Long lens for press events in dimly lit rooms
  • Wide angle for self-video and close-up
  • Rotating viewfinder for self-filming
  • Reasonable low-light performance (s/w and h/w processing is acceptable)
  • Fast start
  • Fast zoom
  • Fast focus
  • External Mic
  • SDHC / SDXC card and USB 2.0 (with HDD support)
  • Wi-Fi or Bluetooth transfer
  • 3G connectivity
  • HDMI and analogue video output
  • PC software controlled shooting via USB
  • Long battery life
  • Light weight
  • Take picture while recording video
  • An element of ‘presence’ (I.e. Not looking like a point and shoot camera)

Nice to have features.

  • Multi-image combining – Take 3 shots and re-process for sharpness
  • ‘Best shot’ from multiple-shot bursts. 5 shots/second or more

There are DSLRs out there that can fulfill all these roles although the swivel viewfinder is quite a tough challenge. The main problem with the DSLR is the cost and weight though. Try getting a 24-600mm lens and body in under 500gm and $1000. Weight is the main reason I went for a bridge camera and the FZ150 fulfills my wish-list like no other camera in the past. The only things that are missing are:

  • Wifi / BT / 3G connectivity
  • 480p video mode
  • PC Software control

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It’s the low-light work that is really going to test this camera though. It needs to be able to shoot a decent picture in room lighting at 12x zoom which means either – high sensitivity, high quality hardware stabilisation, high quality post-processing (software stabilisation.) Lets look at a few other cameras I have to see what sort of sensor size it has.

Sensor size comparison.

  • Canon S2IS – 1/2.5 – 5.744 x 4.308 mm (5Mp)
  • Nokia N8 – 1/1.83 – 7.5 x 5.5 mm (est.) (12Mp)
  • Panasonic FZ150 – 1/2.33 – 6.12 x 4.51 mm (12Mp)

The Canon S2IS is my outgoing bridge camera. It was reasonable for it’s day, 4-5years ago, but I have serious issues with it’s speed, stabilisation and overall quality/sensitivity. The Nokia N8 produces way better shots if you can frame the shot correctly (there’s no zoom on the N8 of course!) but there’s no hardware stabilisation so you hit limits when you’re hand-holding in low light and video, while amazing for a smartphone, is relatively poor if you’re hand-holding the camera. This low-light handheld challenge is the scenario I want to test first with the FZ150 but first, I’m off to finish editing an unboxing video… See you in the next post.

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