18.10
Megapixels
60.00x zoom 1/2.3 inch
size sensor
image of Panasonic Lumix DC-FZ80
Front side of Panasonic FZ80 digital camera Front side of Panasonic FZ80 digital camera Front side of Panasonic FZ80 digital camera Front side of Panasonic FZ80 digital camera Front side of Panasonic FZ80 digital camera
Basic Specifications
Full model name: Panasonic Lumix DC-FZ80
Resolution: 18.10 Megapixels
Sensor size: 1/2.3 inch
(6.2mm x 4.6mm)
Lens: 60.00x zoom
(20-1,200mm eq.)
Viewfinder: EVF / LCD
Native ISO: 80 - 3200
Extended ISO: 80 - 6400
Shutter: 1/16000 - 60 seconds
Max Aperture: 2.8
Dimensions: 5.1 x 3.7 x 4.7 in.
(130 x 94 x 119 mm)
Weight: 21.7 oz (616 g)
includes batteries
Availability: 03/2017
Manufacturer: Panasonic
Full specs: Panasonic FZ80 specifications

Panasonic FZ80 Review -- Now Shooting!

Updates:
01/30/2017: First Shots posted
02/22/2017: Gallery images posted
: Field Test posted!

While the Panasonic FZ80 doesn't start shipping to the general public until mid-March, we got our hands on an early production model and after posting First Shots, we immediately sent it out to photographer and writer Jeremy Gray in Maine to check it out. To see how this affordable superzoom fared in the real world, see Jeremy's Gallery images and click here to read his detailed Panasonic FZ80 Field Test!

For those looking for our overview that explores the camera's features and specs, please click here.

 

Panasonic FZ80 Field Test

Versatile superzoom includes many features, some compromises

by Jeremy Gray | Posted 03/01/2017

Panasonic FZ80 Review: Field Test -- Gallery Image
148.1mm (827mm equivalent), f/5.6, 1/400s, ISO 320.
This image has been cropped. Click for original image.
Introduction

Back in 2013, Panasonic launched the FZ70. The all-in-one superzoom camera offered a then unprecedented 60x optical zoom. Since then, many new superzooms have entered the market, but Panasonic hasn't had any reply, at least not in the superzoom category. That has changed with the introduction of the Panasonic FZ80.

Sporting the same 60x zoom lens, the Lumix FZ80 brings with it a new higher-resolution image sensor, new processor and a bevy of new features, including 4K UHD video recording. Let's see how the Panasonic FZ80 fares in the field.

Key Features and Info

  • 18.1-megapixel 1/2.3-inch CMOS sensor
  • 60x zoom lens (20-1200mm equivalent f/2.8-5.9)
  • 3-inch touchscreen LCD display
  • 10 frames per second continuous shooting
  • RAW format support
  • 4K UHD video recording
  • 4K Photo modes
  • Built-in Wi-Fi
  • US$400 street price
Panasonic FZ80 Review: Field Test -- Gallery Image
3.6mm (20mm equivalent), f/5.6, 1/500s, ISO 80.
Click for full-size image.

FZ80 has a good touchscreen interface

The Panasonic FZ80 shares similar styling with its predecessor, the FZ70. It is an SLR-styled superzoom camera that offers a massive 60x optical zoom range, meaning that it is not a compact camera. The FZ80's dimensions are about 5.1 x 3.7 x 4.7 inches (130 x 94 x 119 millimeters) and it weighs 21.7 ounces (616 grams) with card and battery, which is just a bit shorter and a bit heavier than its predecessor.

Priced at $400, which is a great bargain for a 4K-capable superzoom camera, it is hard to be overly critical of the build quality of the FZ80. There are ample physical controls on the camera, which is excellent. Compared to the $1200 Panasonic FZ2500, which I used recently, the FZ80, as would be expected, feels like much more of an inexpensive camera and the FZ80 certainly feels less robust in use. The image stabilization and the autofocus system both work well but I did notice some noise from both systems when in use.

Panasonic FZ80 Review: Field Test -- Product Image Front

The Panasonic FZ80's controls are quite good overall, and the touchscreen interface performs nicely. The shutter release feels fine and the zoom toggle switch around the release works well. The FZ80 only has one control dial, but it's pressable which allows it to quickly change functions. For example in manual exposure mode, you can switch between controlling the shutter speed and the aperture by simply clicking the dial. You can also press it switch to/from exposure compensation in aperture- or shutter-priority mode, etc.

The built-in electronic viewfinder is a 0.2-inch color LCD with 1,166k dots and approximately 100% coverage. The 35mm equivalent magnification of the EVF is only 0.46x -- still useful, but it's small, as is par for the course for this class of camera. There's no built-in eye sensor, but rather switching between the EVF and the rear display requires you to press a button to the right of the EVF; which is troublesome when wanting to shoot through the EVF and review images on the rear display. A minor issue I have with the EVF is that the diopter adjustment dial to the right of the eyecup is easy to adjust accidentally. I occasionally had to tweak the diopter back to my desired setting after carrying the camera around my neck because my jacket would move the dial.

Panasonic FZ80 Review: Field Test -- Product Image Top

The rear display on the camera is good and I often found myself opting to use it in lieu of the EVF in many situations. The 3-inch touchscreen LCD has 1,040,000 dots and is a fixed display. A tilting display would be welcome, especially because the display can be difficult to see in bright conditions.

Panasonic FZ80 Review: Field Test -- Product Image Top

The lack of quality of use features such as an eye sensor for the viewfinder and a tilting display are notable. With that said, in other more important ways, the FZ80 doesn't feel like a $400 camera, but rather like a quite capable enthusiast-oriented superzoom. The amount of physical controls is excellent and the touchscreen functionality works well to make the camera more approachable for newer photographers while also speeding up the process of changing settings in the field for more advanced users.

Panasonic FZ80 Shooting Features

Image Quality and High ISO Performance

The FZ80 uses an 18.1-megapixel CMOS sensor, an "upgrade" over the 16.1-megapixel sensor found in its predecessor. The sensor is a small 1/2.3-inch type chip, which is what makes such a long zoom possible at this size and pricepoint. It's arguable whether the FZ80's new image sensor and new Venus Engine processor result in a significant improvement in image quality over the FZ70, as both cameras produce fair images at base ISO and marginal images at higher ISOs, however the FZ80 does seem to resolve a bit more detail than its predecessor.

Panasonic FZ80 Review: Field Test -- Gallery Image
100% crop from an in-camera JPEG image. Although fine detail is pretty good for its class, you can see a lot of artifacts in this image.
169.6mm (947mm equivalent) , f/5.9, 1/125s, ISO 100.

Click for full-size image.

The Panasonic FZ80 employs aggressive sharpening in-camera as well as area-specific noise reduction, resulting in images with a lot of artifacts and odd, blocky visible noise, even at ISO 80. When you start to increase the ISO, the situation of course deteriorates.

High ISO
Panasonic FZ80 ISO Comparison
100% crops from highest-quality JPEG images with default settings
(Click for full-size images)
Panasonic FZ80 Review: Field Test -- Noise Test Image
ISO 80 Full Scene
Panasonic FZ80 Review: Field Test -- Noise Test Image Panasonic FZ80 Review: Field Test -- Noise Test Image
ISO 80
ISO 100
Panasonic FZ80 Review: Field Test -- Noise Test Image Panasonic FZ80 Review: Field Test -- Noise Test Image
ISO 200
ISO 400
Panasonic FZ80 Review: Field Test -- Noise Test Image Panasonic FZ80 Review: Field Test -- Noise Test Image
ISO 800
ISO 1600
Panasonic FZ80 Review: Field Test -- Noise Test Image
ISO 3200

As we can see, between the artifacts in the first image in this section and the ISO table above, the Panasonic FZ80 offers mediocre image quality across the board, though that's not a surprise given its tiny sensor. On the plus side, colors are good and the images look mostly okay when not viewed at full size. I think that the FZ80 is more than capable of producing decent images for sharing on the web or printing at small sizes (4 x 6, maybe 8 x 10).

Built-in lens

The 20-1200mm equivalent lens offers a very wide and versatile 60x zoom and performs okay at certain focal lengths, but struggles at the extreme ends of the lens, especially the telephoto end where a superzoom is most likely to be used.

Panasonic FZ80 Review: Field Test -- Gallery Image
3.6mm (20mm equivalent), f/2.8, 1/1600s, ISO 80. 100% top right corner crop from JPEG image shot at default settings.
Click for full-size image.

The lens has a lot of distortion at the wide end and shows considerable purple fringing and issues with chromatic aberration, even when viewing JPEG images, which include a lot of in-camera corrections.

Panasonic FZ80 Review: Field Test -- Gallery Image
215mm (1200mm equivalent), f/5.9, 1/100s, ISO 80. 100% crop from center of JPEG image shot at default settings.
Click for full-size image.

With that said, the lens allows you to do something very few lenses allow: optically zoom to 60x starting from a very wide 20mm equivalent. In the series of images below, ranging from 20mm to 1200mm with a 600mm shot in between, you can see how powerful and versatile the FZ80's lens is.

Panasonic FZ80 Review: Field Test -- Gallery Image
3.6mm (20mm equivalent), f/2.8, 1/1600s, ISO 80.
Click for full-size image.
Panasonic FZ80 Review: Field Test -- Gallery Image
107.6 (600mm equivalent), f/5.6, 1/125s, ISO 80.
Click for full-size image.
Panasonic FZ80 Review: Field Test -- Gallery Image
215mm (1200mm equivalent), f/5.9, 1/100s, ISO 80.
Click for full-size image.

The lens suffers from distortion, a lack of overall sharpness and various optical issues, such as purple fringing at the extreme ends of the lens, but it provides the opportunity to capture images very few other cameras can. We have to temper our expectations for what the camera will be capable of as far as image quality is concerned.

Metering

I found the Panasonic FZ80 to provide generally good metering performance. It offers Intelligent Multiple, Center-Weighted and Spot metering, with the lattermost option being linked to the autofocus point when using a compatible autofocus mode (such as 1-point). The camera had a slight tendency to underexpose, but that's not unusual and it was mostly consistent, meaning that I could easily utilize exposure compensation to correct most issues. White balance metering was good as well.

Panasonic FZ80 Review: Field Test -- Gallery Image
148.1mm (827mm equivalent), f/5.6, 1/500s, ISO 320, +0.67 exposure compensation.
This image has been cropped. Click for original image.
Autofocus

With its contrast-detect autofocus system, the Lumix FZ80 requires decent light for good autofocus performance. At wide focal lengths, it can be quite fast, especially in good light. However, when you take full advantage of its 60x zoom lens, the FZ80 will struggle in low light conditions.

Autofocus area modes include face/eye detection, tracking, 49-area, custom multi, 1-area and pinpoint. All of them work as expected, although 1-area doesn't seem to offer as precise autofocus performance as it has on other Panasonic cameras I've used. By this, I mean that the camera can struggle to focus on very fine details inside the focus area even when they fill a good portion of the focus area.

Panasonic FZ80 Review: Field Test -- Gallery Image
215mm (1200mm equivalent), f/5.9, 1/125s, ISO 125. 100% crop from a JPEG image straight from the camera. Autofocus is sometimes very accurate, but capturing sharp images at 1200mm proved difficult in limited light.
Click for full-size image.

Regarding continuous autofocus performance, the camera did okay in good light, but its subject tracking mode struggled. When zoomed in a lot, continuous autofocus performance became slower, but this isn't surprising because overall autofocus performance slows considerably at longer focal lengths. The maximum aperture falls to f/5.9 at telephoto focal lengths, rendering it quite slow to focus in low light. With that said, focus is quite accurate when it can lock on and the camera doesn't hunt often once focus has been acquired, even if acquisition was itself slow. Sometimes contrast-detect autofocus systems can hunt, especially when set to continuous autofocus, but the FZ80 performed fairly well in this regard.

Overall, autofocus performance was impressive at the wider end of the lens and less impressive near and at 1200mm equivalent focal lengths and continuous autofocus performance was decent.

Panasonic FZ80 Review: Field Test -- Gallery Image
215mm (1200mm equivalent), f/5.9, 1/400s, ISO 500.
Click for full-size image.
Performance

The Panasonic FZ80 may shoot at the same speed as its predecessor, 10 frames per second, but its performance is considerably more impressive than the FZ70's specifications were. (The FZ70's top burst speed was specified at 9 fps but it managed 10 fps in our lab, however the buffer depth was limited to only 3 JPEG frames.) The FZ80 can shoot at 10 fps with autofocus locked for up to 13 RAW+JPEG frames and around 100 JPEG frames. The RAW+JPEG buffer depth is still a little disappointing and somewhat slow to clear at a bit less than 20 seconds, but the JPEG buffer depth is much more impressive and clears very quickly, taking less than a couple of seconds. I tested the FZ80's speed with a SanDisk Ultra SD card with 30MB/s read speed and 10MB/s write speed, so faster cards should perform better.

Panasonic FZ80 Review: Field Test -- Gallery Image
215mm (1200mm equivalent), f/5.9, 1/160s, ISO 80.
Click for full-size image.

If you want to shoot with continuous autofocus, the camera tops out at 6 fps, which is still pretty good. Unfortunately continuous autofocus performance itself isn't particularly impressive and I wasn't able to capture very many in-focus shots using AF-C, particularly at long focal lengths.

Video: 4K UHD video for $400?

One of the more impressive aspects of the FZ80 is its suite of video features. Despite its low cost, the FZ80 not only records 4K UHD video, but it has a wide range of video features. The Panasonic FZ80 records 4K UHD video at up to 30 frames per second with a 100Mbps bitrate. 4K UHD video can be recorded continuously for up to 15 minutes. In addition to 4K UHD video recording, the FZ80 can record Full HD video at up to 60 fps and can record 720p video at 120 fps and 640 x 480 video at 240 fps. In addition to the regular full HD video recording, the FZ80 offers 4K Live Cropping, which allows you to move a Full HD crop around a 4K UHD frame.

Panasonic FZ80 4K Video Sample
3,840 x 2,160, 30p, Auto settings
Download Original (153.3 MB .MP4 File)

Speaking of the frame, 4K video is not recorded with the full width of the image sensor, but rather is cropped in. The focal length range when recording 4K UHD video is 28-1680mm equivalent. While it would be beneficial at times to be able to record 4K UHD video using the full width of the image sensor, it is probably better for a superzoom camera to gain extra reach instead.

Panasonic FZ80 Review: Field Test -- Gallery Image
4K UHD video frame at max wide angle
Panasonic FZ80 Review: Field Test -- Gallery Image
Full HD video frame at max wide angle

The Lumix FZ80 offers easy access to a variety of shooting modes for recording video, including full auto, aperture priority, shutter speed priority and manual mode, which is more than I can say for other cameras I've used which cost a lot more. Further, despite their being a dedicated movie record button, you can start and stop video recording using the shutter release when in the dedicated movie recording mode.

On the less positive side of things, the FZ80 does not include a headphone or mic input. Further, when the built-in lens zooms, there is some shake and noise, making it less than ideal for recording while zooming.

Panasonic FZ80 4K Video Sample
3,840 x 2,160, 30p, Auto settings, full zoom from 28mm to 1680mm
Download Original (288.5 MB .MP4 File)

Overall, 4K UHD video quality is decent at lower ISOs, but not great when the ISO increases. In the video sample below, recorded at ISO 1600, you can see noise and the overall sharpness of the video is fair.

Panasonic FZ80 High ISO 4K Video Sample
3,840 x 2,160, 30p, ISO 1600
Download Original (83.2 MB .MP4 File)

Keeping in mind that the Panasonic FZ80 is a $400 superzoom camera, the fact that it records 4K UHD video should be considered impressive. And in the right conditions, the camera can do a pretty good job, but its small sensor also means that the FZ80 is limited in low light and it lacks some features that videographers demand. But hey, you can record 4K UHD at a nearly 1,700mm equivalent focal length that looks pretty good at base ISO.

4K Photo

In addition to 4K video modes, the Panasonic FZ80 also offers a wide array of 4K Photo modes. There are standard 4K Photo burst modes, which allow you to capture 8-megapixel JPEG images at up to 30 frames per second, but there are also modes for post-focus and focus stacking. With post-focus, the camera captures images at different focal distances, allowing you to either select a single frame with a particular focus point or have the camera automatically stack all of the images together (or a user-selected range of images) and have an enhanced depth of field. The modes work well for what they are.

Shooting modes

The Lumix FZ80 includes additional distinct shooting modes, such as a panorama mode and various creative filters. The panorama mode did a good job, but the final panoramic image is a JPEG file and its height is limited to 1,920 pixels. You can of course do better stitching your own panoramas on a computer, but if that isn't in the cards, the FZ80 can do okay on its own. Similarly, the built-in Creative Filters work okay, but don't look particularly good to my eye. If you want to add some creative flair to your photos, I recommend doing it in your photo editor of choice. For photographers who prefer to import their photos from their camera and stay hands-off, then the Creative Filters mode works well.

Panasonic FZ80 Review: Field Test -- Gallery Image
3.6mm (20mm equivalent), f/4.0, 1/1600s, ISO 80.
Click for full-size image.
Panasonic FZ80 Review: Field Test -- Gallery Image
3.6mm (20mm equivalent), f/4.0, 1/800s, ISO 80. Star filter.
Click for full-size image.
Wireless Shooting

Using the Panasonic Image App, you can transfer and remotely capture images. The connection process is very simple on iOS. You turn the camera's Wi-Fi on in the menu and then locate the FZ80 connection in the iOS Wi-Fi settings. After connecting, you open up the Panasonic Image App and you are all set. The Panasonic FZ80 does not include NFC, so the process should be similar on Android devices, which can sometimes leverage NFC communications for more convenient pairing.

Panasonic FZ80 Review: Field Test -- Wireless Application
Screenshots from the Panasonic Image App iOS application.

The real-time feed to my smartphone was okay, although there was a bit of lag and the framerate is not great, especially when the camera is in a low-light environment. You can control a large amount of settings remotely, including aperture, shutter speed, metering mode, white balance, ISO, AE lock, Photo Style, filters, quality, focus mode and much more. It is a very impressive application. Panasonic's remote control functionality is the best I've used and that trend continues with the FZ80.

In the field: Photographing birds

The Panasonic FZ80 would make an excellent, affordable camera for the hobbyist birder. Its continuous autofocus performance is not up to the task of staying locked on small, fast-moving birds, but the FZ80 nonetheless works well for its price.

While not capable of capturing high-quality images in general, especially at the 1,200mm-equivalent focal length, the FZ80 is more than capable of taking decent images for use on the web or making small prints, provided you are shooting at low ISOs.

Panasonic FZ80 Review: Field Test -- Gallery Image
215mm (1200mm equivalent), f/7.1, 1/500s, ISO 80.
This image has been modified. Click for original image.

What helps set the FZ80 apart from some other superzoom cameras is Panasonic's very good 4K video and 4K Photo features, which can also work very well for wildlife photography. The 4K Photo Burst mode, for example, captures decent 8-megapixel JPEG images at up to 30 frames per second while also shooting at a longer equivalent focal length (1680mm) due to its crop factor, which is beneficial for trying to photograph distant birds.

Panasonic FZ80 Review: Field Test -- Gallery Image
174.8mm (976mm equivalent), f/5.6, 1/320s, ISO 80.
Click for full-size image.
Panasonic FZ80 Field Test Part Summary
A great value and a capable superzoom camera

What I like:

  • 60x wide-angle zoom lens offers a lot of versatility
  • 10 frames per second shooting
  • RAW support
  • 4K Photo modes are fun and useful
  • 4K video recording in a camera at this price point is impressive

What I dislike:

  • Image quality, even at low ISOs, is fair to good, but not great
  • While the lens offers a lot of reach, its optical quality degrades considerably at the extreme ends of the lens
Panasonic FZ80 Review: Field Test -- Gallery Image
9.5mm (53mm equivalent), f/7.1, 1/500s, ISO 80.
Click for full-size image.

Considering the price of the Panasonic FZ80 -- a very reasonable $400 -- its versatility and breadth of features is impressive. The image quality, as we have seen throughout this Field Test, leaves something to be desired when compared to cameras with larger sensors. With that said, the FZ80 does a lot for the money. If you're looking for a superzoom camera that offers impressive bang for the buck, the Panasonic FZ80 is certainly worth consideration.

Panasonic FZ80 Review: Field Test -- Gallery Image
3.6mm (20mm equivalent), f/3.5, 1/500s, ISO 80.
Click for full-size image.

 

Panasonic FZ80 Review -- Overview

by
Posted: 01/04/2017

Panasonic FZ80 Review -- Product Image

In the superzoom market, the Panasonic FZ70 was something of a landmark camera when it was announced in the summer of 2013. It offered what was at the time a benchmark 60x optical zoom lens -- 20-1,200mm in a 35mm equivalence -- and a maximum aperture range of f/2.8-5.9. It feels like the FZ70 has been long overdue for a revision, especially in the face of Panasonic's massive push toward 4K video and 4K Photo features across its entire line of cameras. Well, the revision is here in the form of the new Panasonic FZ80, and it looks to have been worth the wait! Let's look at what this new superzoom bridge camera has to offer.

Similar appearance, but much different from its predecessor

You'll be forgiven for being unable to tell the FZ80 apart from its predecessor in terms of appearance, the two cameras look very similar in both styling and size. The FZ80 has dimensions of 5.13 x 3.71 x 4.69 inches (130.2 x 94.3 x 119.2 millimeters) and weighs 1.36 pounds (616 grams) with battery and SD card.

While the Lumix FZ70 has been on the market for well over three years, Panasonic has opted to utilize the same lens with the FZ80. There isn't necessarily anything wrong with that though as the powerful 60x optic offers a very wide 20mm equivalent to a super long 1,200mm equivalent range. The lens has 14 elements in 12 groups, including six aspherical elements, nine aspherical surfaces and three ED elements. The lens has optical image stabilization built-in as well in the form of Panasonic's Power OIS technology.

Panasonic FZ80 Review -- Product Image Back

Like its predecessor, the Panasonic FZ80 has a 3-inch display and a 0.2-inch electronic viewfinder. However, both displays have improved functionality. The rear LCD is now a touchscreen display with 1,040K-dots compared to the non-touch display of the FZ70, which had only 460K dots. The EVF, while the same size and offering the same 0.46x magnification (35mm equivalent), now has many more resolution too, 1,170K-dots equivalent versus 202K. Surrounding the display are the same arrangement of buttons and controls, including navigation buttons and a rear dial.

The top of the camera has a mode dial, power switch, movie record button and a pair of function buttons in addition to the shutter release with its surrounding zoom lever switch. On its mode dial, the FZ80 offers a wide array of shooting modes, including Intelligent Auto, P, A, S, M, Creative Video, C (Custom), Panorama Shot, Scene Guide and Creative Control, which offers an array of 22 different filters. There is also a hot shoe on top of the built-in flash. Speaking of the flash, it has a range of 0.3 to 14.1 meters at wide focal lengths and 1.5 to 6.1 meters at the telephoto end of the lens using Auto ISO.

Panasonic FZ80 Review -- Product Image Back

Panasonic FZ80 shooting features: New sensor, 4K and more

New 18.1-megapixel High Sensitivity MOS sensor

Starting our look at the inside of the camera, the changes since the Panasonic FZ70 become more apparent. The FZ80's imaging performance relies on a new 18.1-megapixel 1/2.3-inch High Sensitivity MOS sensor, offering about two more megapixels than the sensor found in the FZ70. Also, the ISO range is now expanded from 100-6400 to 80-6400. In addition to the new image sensor, there is a new version of the Venus Engine imaging processor found in the FZ80 as well, which we hope will lead to impressive image quality across the camera's ISO range.

Panasonic FZ80 Review -- Product Image Right Side

Autofocus and Metering: Faster, more sophisticated autofocus

The Lumix FZ80 includes a new, faster autofocus system than its predecessor. The Lightspeed AF-branded autofocus system now includes Depth from Defocus (DFD) technology, a feature not found in the FZ70. In addition to what we expect will be faster, more consistent autofocus speed, there are now 49 autofocus areas compared to 23. Autofocus modes include face/eye detection, tracking, 49-area, custom multi, 1-area and pinpoint. The addition of the touchscreen display also means that the new superzoom camera includes full area touch autofocus. Minimum focus distance is 0.39 inches (1 centimeter) in the macro focus mode and 11.8 inches (30 centimeters) during normal autofocus.

To expand on the AF performance, DFD technology basically works by the camera calculating the distance from the lens to the subject by comparing two images with different sharpness levels with a 240 frames per second signal exchange speed. The end result is that the FZ80 can achieve autofocus speeds as fast as 0.09 second (using AFS at the wide end of the lens), according to Panasonic.

Metering modes include intelligent multiple, center-weighted and spot with exposure compensation available for up to +/- 5EV when shooting stills and +/- 3EV when recording video.

Panasonic FZ80 Review -- Product Image Back

Continuous Shooting: Much faster shutter, slightly faster continuous shooting

While continuous shooting performance isn't particularly improved compared to its predecessor, the FZ80 does gain an additional frame per second of continuous shooting speed, bringing the total to 10 fps when using AFS (6 fps when using continuous autofocus). However, other aspects of its performance see more drastic changes. The FZ80 now includes a 4K Photo mode, which lets you shoot 8-megapixel JPEG images at up to 30 fps in multiple burst modes. Further, the FZ80 has an electronic shutter mode in addition to its mechanical shutter, allowing for shutter speeds as fast as 1/16,000s when shooting stills. The overall shutter speed range is 4s to 1/2,000s when using the mechanical shutter and 1s to 1/16,000s when using the electronic shutter, although a special Artistic Nightscape mode is available which offers up to a 60-second exposure.

We will need to await full lab testing of the FZ80 to see how its performance fares, but on paper, this does appear to be a speedy superzoom camera.

Panasonic FZ80 Review -- Product Image Front Left

4K UHD video recording and 4K Photo burst modes highlight strong 4K features

4K fans take note, the Panasonic FZ80 has a wide array of appealing 4K features, including 4K UHD video recording at up to 30 fps with a 100 Mbps bitrate. The camera can continuously record 4K UHD video for up to 15 minutes, which while not matching the video specs of its big brother, the FZ2500, is still very impressive. The camera also offers Full HD video recording at up to 60fps and two high speed video modes: 1280 x 720 video at 120 fps and 640 x 480 video at 240 fps. The FZ80 includes a 4K Live Cropping mode as well, which lets you move a Full HD frame around a 4K frame while recording video providing a simulated camera slider motion or a "Ken Burns"-like effect all in-camera.

4K Photo, wherein the camera records 8-megapixel JPEG images, comes with a variety of modes beyond the aforementioned burst modes. You can also capture a series of images with different focus points, allowing you to select the focus point after capture (Post Focus). Alternatively, you can have the camera stack all of those images captured at different focal distances and create a final image with an increased depth of field (Focus Stacking).

Panasonic FZ80 Review -- Product Image Front Left

Connectivity, media and battery

The Panasonic FZ80 includes built-in Wi-Fi, although NFC connectivity is absent. It includes Micro HDMI (Type D) and USB 2.0 (Micro B) ports, a stereo microphone and a mono speaker. The camera records files to SD/SDHC/SDXC memory cards and has UHS-I, but not UHS-II, support. Notably, unlike its predecessor which included about 200MB of built-in memory, the FZ80 lacks on board storage, but that is in line with current cameras on the market.

Regarding power, the Lumix FZ80 uses a 7.2v 895mAh lithium-ion battery that offers a 330-shot battery life when using the LCD monitor and 240 shots when using the electronic viewfinder. This is a fairly large reduction in battery life compared to the FZ70 with the same battery, as it was CIPA-rated at 400 shots with the LCD, so it appears a spare battery might be in order for FZ80 users.

Improvements over its predecessor
  • Higher-resolution rear display, which now has touchscreen functionality
  • 18.1-megapixel sensor compared to the 16.1-megapixel sensor found in the FZ70
  • New Venus Engine image processing
  • Expanded ISO range to 80-6400 from 100-6400
  • The addition of an electronic shutter with shutter speeds faster than 1/2,000s
  • Improved autofocus with Depth from Defocus technology and more AF points
  • Faster continuous shooting speeds
  • 4K video and 4K Photo features
  • High speed video recording options
  • Built-in Wi-Fi
  • USB battery charging
Panasonic FZ80 Review -- Product Image Back
Pricing and availability

This superzoom camera will be available in March for just under US$400. It has been a long wait for this FZ70 successor, but it appears to have been well worth it as the FZ80 is poised to offer a lot of performance for the price.

 

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FZ80 vs HX400V

$439.84 (10% more)

16 MP (13% less)

Also has viewfinder

43% smaller

52x zoom (15% less)

FZ80 vs XG-1

$273.99 (45% less)

16.1 MP (12% less)

Also has viewfinder

Similar size

6x zoom

FZ80 vs FZ70

$449.00 (11% more)

20.4 MP (11% more)

Also has viewfinder

17% smaller

5x zoom (20% less)

FZ80 vs HX300

$584.30 (32% more)

16.1 MP (12% less)

Also has viewfinder

26% larger

83x zoom (28% more)

FZ80 vs P900

$429.00 (7% more)

16.1 MP (12% less)

Also has viewfinder

44% smaller

42x zoom (43% less)

FZ80 vs P530

$256.95 (55% less)

16.1 MP (12% less)

Lacks viewfinder

72% smaller

4x zoom (50% less)

FZ80 vs B500

$225.95 (76% less)

16.1 MP (12% less)

Lacks viewfinder

72% smaller

38x zoom (58% less)

FZ80 vs L840

$446.95 (11% more)

20.2 MP (10% more)

Also has viewfinder

29% smaller

6x zoom

FZ80 vs B700

$236.14 (69% less)

16.2 MP (12% less)

Also has viewfinder

42% smaller

35x zoom (71% less)

FZ80 vs WB1100F

$399.00

16.1 MP (12% less)

Also has viewfinder

29% smaller

6x zoom

FZ80 vs P610

$597.99 (33% more)

12.1 MP (50% less)

Also has viewfinder

Similar size

24x zoom (150% less)

FZ80 vs FZ300

$178.00 (124% less)

20.1 MP (10% more)

Lacks viewfinder

64% smaller

35x zoom (71% less)

FZ80 vs H300

$429.00 (7% more)

16.1 MP (12% less)

Also has viewfinder

8% smaller

65x zoom (8% more)

FZ80 vs SX60

$349.48 (14% less)

12.1 MP (50% less)

Also has viewfinder

22% smaller

24x zoom (150% less)

FZ80 vs FZ200

$268.00 (49% less)

20.1 MP (10% more)

Also has viewfinder

Similar size

63x zoom

FZ80 vs H400

$374.00 (6% less)

20.3 MP (11% more)

Lacks viewfinder

62% smaller

5x zoom (20% less)

FZ80 vs SX540 HS

$247.67 (61% less)

16 MP (13% less)

Lacks viewfinder

62% smaller

5x zoom (20% less)

FZ80 vs SX530 HS

$799.00 (50% more)

20.2 MP (10% more)

Lacks viewfinder

47% smaller

25x zoom (140% less)

FZ80 vs G3X

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