Caffeine Priority: Robust Panasonic FZ300 makes a great first impression
posted Saturday, February 13, 2016 at 5:14 AM EDT
The 12-megapixel Panasonic FZ300 uses the same 1/2.3"-type image sensor and 25-600mm f/2.8 equivalent lens of its predecessor, the FZ200, but it adds a new image processor and brand new camera body. Overall, the FZ300 is a fun and versatile camera to use and it provides a lot of performance for the price.
While not very high resolution, the 12-megapixel sensor provides good image quality across a wide range of ISO sensitivities (the ISO range of the FZ300 is 100-6400). JPEG images are sharp and vibrant straight out of the camera and RAW files provide high quality images after processing.
I never had a chance to use the Panasonic FZ200, so I can't say whether or not the new camera body is a big improvement ergonomically, but I can say that the FZ300 feels excellent to use. The SLR-like camera body has a deep front grip (a bit deeper than the one on the FZ200) and its controls are conveniently-located. Further, the all-new camera body also has splash and dust-proofing, which is a big improvement for an outdoor camera like this.
Autofocus has seen an overhaul as well, the FZ300 comes equipped with a Light Speed AF system that uses Panasonic's Depth from Defocus technology. Refreshing at 240 frames-per-second, the autofocus performance is quite impressive. The FZ300 can even autofocus down to -3EV, which is very good. In my experience, the autofocus has proven to be both fast and accurate, allowing me to capture sharp images in a wide variety of situations and across the entire focal length range. Autofocus speeds do decrease a bit at the extreme telephoto end of the lens, but it remains plenty capable of keeping up with fidgety birds and my dog.
Overall, I've been impressed with the FZ300. It handles well, can capture great images, and its autofocus is snappy. My full field test will be coming soon and will include more on the aforementioned topics, any drawbacks I find, plus a discussion of additional features such as the improved displays, increased high-speed shooting, and video performance. In the meantime, the FZ300 has made a great first impression and I'm looking forward to using it more.
Panasonic FZ300 Overview • Lab Samples
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Caffeine Priority is a new series of short photo-tidbits to ease you into your day, and give us a chance to share a bit more of what life’s like here at IR. We're more like a group of friends testing and talking about cameras and lenses than the buttoned-down, big-corporation world that some of our photo-friends at other companies work in; hopefully these little snippets will share some of that. So... grab another coffee and join in the conversation with us down below!