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Panasonic LUMIX G / GF / GH / GX Series
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Old August 11th, 2013, 10:40 AM   #1
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Panasonic FZ200 sample footage

I recently sold off my GH2s and have gone strictly camcorder, except for my new Lumix FZ200. Folks have asked me to report how the Panasonic works out. My initial impression is very favorable.

In the video below I ran in P mode on all cameras, adjusting only white balance.

I am aware on an altar shot of the priest he was out of focus, at least I hope that is why it looked so fuzzy. Rather embarrassing, but it is what it is.

Pros of the FZ200

1. Better continuous autofocus than my GH2 or XA-20. It behaves like a videocamera does, and it does it better than many videocameras.

2. Bright, sharp images, much sharper when zoomed than my XA-20.

3. F/2.8 constant aperture with a fixed zoom lens of 28x. It starts out wider so it doesn't gain much distance wise over the XA-20. For purposes of reach, I actually do not need the 20X zoom of the XA-20, the FZ200 does it better. I could, in theory sell my XA-20 and not lose too much sleep.

4. Better auto white balance than my XA-20 or GH2, most times. I can actually use the auto white balance with this camera, first time in years. Also has manual color temp adjustments just like any camera.

5. Two zoom switches, one on top, one of the side.

6. Generic Wasabi batteries behave similarly to the OEM batteries and actually have a power bar indicator. Same battery as the GH2.

7. The FZ200 uses MUCH less power than the GH2, and will film 90 mins or more on a single battery, it might go two hours, not sure.

8. Has a mic input, like the GH2, but it is the tiny one, not the standard size.

9. IS works better than the IS on the XA20, at least it seems to. The GH2 has no built in IS at all, which I always hated. The FZ200 has IS for both photo and video mode.

10. Weighs little, extremely easy to handle.

11. It costs around $500.

Cons:
1. Grainy at times, sensor is not nearly as large as the GH2 or GH3. ISO past 800 is pretty noisy.

2. Manual focus is a bit of a joke, it's with a button, not on the barrel. I don't care, because the auto focus is so good I won't need manual much for what I do.

3. LCD screen is not too good, but I can get by with it. It's not the high quality of the GH2 or GH3.

The GH2 and GH3 are far superior cameras, that is not up for debate. What the GH2 does not do is come with a built in 28X zoom with constant F/2.8 zoom. The FZ200 takes excellent photos, I like shooting photos MUCH better than with the GH2. I actually am enjoying photography again and went out and acutally shot for fun yesterday.

Anyway, as a tool in my tool kit, this camera is a keeper, for now. It is only a tool. It's strengths outweigh it's weaknesses for my needs.

Password is FZ200




Last edited by Jeff Harper; August 12th, 2013 at 08:25 AM.
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Old August 11th, 2013, 06:32 PM   #2
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Re: Panasonic FZ200 sample footage

Your videos looked pretty good. The Fz200 seems to have a very accurate and responsive auto-focus.
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Old August 12th, 2013, 04:09 AM   #3
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Re: Panasonic FZ200 sample footage

Thanks for this, Jeff. Great work. Not bad for a camera less than a quarter of the price of your $2200 XA20 :)

I'll bet you're the only pro wedding guy shooting with this camera combination!

Happy shooting,

Bill
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Old August 12th, 2013, 08:48 AM   #4
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Re: Panasonic FZ200 sample footage

Thanks Mark. Yes, Bill, this is the most fun I've had with a piece of gear in years.

No more changing lenses! Great photos! Great video. It's small, but not as fiddly as the GH2. It's light as a feather.

Nigel commented that the footage has a video look, and I can't disagree with him. It does not have the DSLR look many people want. It may be tweakable, I don't know, but I'm happy with it as is.

I'm mostly concerned with getting the shot these days, not the look so much.
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Old August 14th, 2013, 11:46 AM   #5
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Re: Panasonic FZ200 sample footage

After a lot of research and after the samples and comments on this forum, I went ahead and ordered a FZ200. It arrived this morning and I have spent some time today trying various tests and settings on both video and stills.

As I offer a joint stills and video wedding package, usually solo, I wanted a camera that would give me good quality stills and video, that I could use alongside my other cameras to keep the low profile work style that I use.

I am very impressed with the quality of the stills in daylight and the ease of use. The ability to take close up shots from a distance with the zoom, with no need for a lens change is excellent and even handheld are very sharp. I have yet to try low light shots, but will have a go this evening. The video is also compatible with my Panasonic video cams and again, the zoom will be very useful.

There are a couple of things that are a little disappointing, one being the ease of touching and turning on the settings buttons on the right side of the camera back, whilst hand holding. When using the grip, the heel of the hand sits on the buttons which is really annoying. Not a problem when tripod mounted of course which is how I would normally use it, but still annoying.

The second disappointment was the ammount of camera noise picked up by the onboard mic. Although the sound quality would otherwise be useable from the stereo mic, the zoom motor is very noticeable, but of more concern is the fact that there is a continuous background chatter, which appears to be from the internal electrical adjustments. I've never noticed that on any of my video cameras, and would make it essential to use external mics if using sound from the camera. Coupled with this is the 2.5mm socket that Panasonic have decided to use for their own accessory mic, whereas my other 4 cameras all have 3.5mm sockets. Again something that I can get round with an adapter, but annoying never the less.

There has been some criticism of the manual focussing arrangement for the camera, but I quite like it. There is a quick touch button to set auto focus while in manual, which works very rapidly. You can also assign the lens side rocker button to focus or telephoto and the rear dial is also useable to set focus. If you prefer a lens ring, then you may be disappointed.

Overall for a first day of experimenting, I am delighted with my purchase, which fulfills my needs for an unobtrusive camera which is quick and easy to use but with full manual options. The picture quality so far is up to my requirements, but it won't satisfy those who want the portrait capabilities, shallow dof and big sensor function of a high end DSLR, but it seems to do a damn good job at a fraction of the cost and many times the convenience.

Roger
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Old August 14th, 2013, 12:13 PM   #6
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Re: Panasonic FZ200 sample footage

I feel the same Roger. I purchased a Canon XA-20 camera, primarily for the 20X zoom, and I may sell it. The FZ200 performs, overall, better for me as a video camera and has a slightly longer reach. It is sharper at full zoom. I would never use the audio from the camera except for syncing.

In short, I am crazy about the camera. It is revolutionary (as a reviewer pointed our re: the F2.8 constant aperture) and it is total package for around $500.
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Old August 14th, 2013, 12:44 PM   #7
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Re: Panasonic FZ200 sample footage

Roger, an experienced photographer wrote a review on Amazon about his purchase of an FZ200 for use on holiday so he would not have to lug his 5D around. He found that for the most part the quality of his photos was just as good, and he was astounded at the quality.

I love the photos from the camera. Don't get the DOF of a fast lens, but as I've said previously, I'm fine with that.
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Old August 14th, 2013, 05:54 PM   #8
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Re: Panasonic FZ200 sample footage

Jeff, I read the same or similar comprehensive Amazon review which convinced me further to buy the camera. I could also end up falling in love with the camera, and the results this evening from low light testing at home suggest that evening filming at weddings would not be a problem for it.

I also tried the built in HDR setting today which gave unexpectedly good results. As my weddings are documentary style, I don't have much use for shallow dof, so not a problem, but I will be interested in seeing what sort of hesitation there is at the 4gb maximum file size as many church services will be longer than that limit. I might try a test recording of the clock tomorrow, to see what sort of jump there is in the timing of the second hand at the new file point.

Can't believe I got so much for such a small outlay, no wonder many UK suppliers seem to be running out of stock.

Roger
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Old August 14th, 2013, 09:51 PM   #9
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Re: Panasonic FZ200 sample footage

What I am finding is the more I use it, the more I like it. It's not impressive to look at. It's just so darned good at what it does.

Beware of noise at higher ISO. In case you haven't found out yet, the LCD will not show the noise at higher ISO. I was taken aback after reviewing some footage shot in very low light that had appeared to be really great, only to see it in my editing program to be very noisy. As long as there is sufficient lighting, it's perfectly fine, but it will get noisy quickly if we're not careful. Glad you are liking the camera.

I want to go ahead and sell of one of my Canon XA camcorders, but I do not feel secure enough yet to do so. After I've used the FZ200 a few times I'll be able to feel more confident, I'm sure.
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Old August 15th, 2013, 04:02 AM   #10
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Re: Panasonic FZ200 sample footage

I'll be using it alongside my Main camera on a double mount at the next wedding, so will also reserve my final judgement until after that. Meanwhile I have ordered a couple of extra batteries and an adapter lead for the mic connection.

Unusually I have no wedding this weekend after 3 last week and 2 next week, so I have plenty of time to practice with the new camera. One of the weddings next week is also with the photo package, so I will give the camera a real workout.

Roger
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Old August 19th, 2013, 01:10 PM   #11
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Re: Panasonic FZ200 sample footage

I also find the theFZ200 to be a good and versatile video camera. Here is a video I shot that really takes advantage of the fast, telephoto end:

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