The LUMIX DMC-FZ150 is fully equipped with a 25mm ultra wide-angle LEICA DC VARIO-ELMARIT lens and a powerful 24x Optical Zoom (35mm camera equivalent: 25-600mm) available for shooting both stills and videos. Additionally, the LUMIX FZ150 has two of Panasonic’s newest features – newly advanced Nano Surface Coating technology which helps minimize light reflection that causes ghost and flare – and the new 3D Photo Mode.
As the top-end model of LUMIX’s popular FZ series, the FZ150 combines a new 12.1-megapixel MOS sensor and the renowned Venus Engine giving the camera high-performance image recording capability in both higher light sensitivity and speed. And as a step-up from the recently announced LUMIX FZ47′s 1920 x 1080 60i video feature, the FZ150 realizes 1920 x 1080 60p Full-HD AVCHD Progressive (MPEG-4 / H.264) format. It is also possible to take still images while recording video simultaneously (3.5-megapixel) and the powerful 24x optical zoom is available in video recording. The FZ150 incorporates a stereo zoom microphone with a Wind Cut function, so that videos come with high-quality stereo sound through Dolby® Digital Stereo Creator.
The Light Speed AF of approx. 0.1 sec never misses fleeting photo opportunities. To encourage step-up users to enjoy shooting even more, full manual control is available with the FZ150. Users can enjoy image shooting while expressing their intention not only in photos but also in video, utilizing a host of options including the new Creative Control and Photo Style with a wide variety of preset options. The effective hand-shake correction system POWER O.I.S. now gains Active mode, which helps to record stable video even if shot while walking.
The LUMIX’s popular iA (Intelligent Auto) Mode powerfully assists in any shooting situations to get the best results. Thanks to the Intelligent Resolution technology, Intelligent Zoom is available with the FZ150 extending the zoom ratio by approx. 1.3x, maintaining the picture quality while combining a digital zoom. This means the 24x optical zoom can virtually extend to a 32x equivalent. Not only drawing near the subject that is far away with its powerful optical zoom, the 25mm ultra wide angle lens captures approx.196% wider angle of view compared with a standard 35mm camera. This is helpful for shooting dynamic landscape or indoor group portrait.
The popular iA (Intelligent Auto) Mode is also available in video recording. The POWER O.I.S. (Optical Image Stabilizer), Face Detection, Intelligent Scene Selector and Intelligent D-range Control also support shooting beautiful videos with ease. The Intelligent Scene Selector automatically switches between Normal, Portrait, Macro, Scenery, and Low Light modes according to the situation, to optimize visual quality. The Intelligent D-range Control makes images look more natural by preventing blocked shadows and blown highlights to optimize the exposure for each part of an image. It also ensures a beautiful reproduction of gradation and details.
A new 12-Megapixel High Sensibility MOS sensor pursuing Resolution, Sensitivity and Speed has been incorporated along with the renowned Venus Engine enabling the FZ150 to excel in image processing power. The combination of these powerful components results in the S/N ratio improvement by 3.9dB (ISO 100) to 4.7dB (ISO1600) compared with the predecessor – the FZ100. Newly developed Multi-process Noise Reduction applies optimum noise reduction according to the brightness of the part of the picture. Both high frequency noise that occurs in the dark part and low frequency noise in the light part are suppressed even in a picture. As a result, Images recorded in low-lit situations are now dramatically clear.
The Venus Engine has a quad-circuit system for processing large amount of progressive Full HD data at high speed. Not only 1920 x 1080 60p smooth Full-HD video recording, but also super fast consecutive shots at 12 fps (without auto focusing) and 5.5 fps (with auto focusing) in full resolution. It is also compatible with recording high-speed video at 220fps in QVGA. At the same time, the multi-task image- processing engine, the Venus Engine, realizes a super-fast response time. The auto focus gains approx. 50% faster speed compared with the FZ100, achieving Light Speed AF of approx. 0.1 second. The speed in AF Tracking also becomes faster, thanks to the improved tracking performance which doubles its sampling frequency.
The FZ150 provides the new Creative Control mode with a selection of artistic effect modes; Expressive, Retro, High Key, Sepia, High Dynamic, Miniature Effect, Film Grain and Pin Hole. In addition, Photo Style is newly added to the FZ150 for the expression of finer nuance. It has Standard, Vivid, Natural, Monochrome, Scenery, Portrait presets, while enabling finer adjustment of contrast, sharpness, saturation and noise reduction by each.
As a further step-up from the FZ47, the FZ150 is equipped with a hot shoe allowing attachment of various accessories including an optional stereo microphone (DMW-MS1) or an optional external flash (DMW-FL220 / FL360 / FL500). The FZ150 is also compatible with an optional remote shutter (DMW-RSL1) for advanced expression in photography.
The newly-added 3D Photo mode takes 20 panning shots and then the camera automatically selects the two most suitable images – one for the right eye and one for the left eye – to synthesize a 3D composite. The 3D image can then be viewed on any VIERA 3D HDTV. The format of 3D images is compatible with MPO which can be played back on other MPO-compatible equipment.
Other features of the Panasonic LUMIX FZ150 include:
This camera is everything the FZ100 is and they fixed all the shortcomings to produce the FZ150. The buttons in the back of the 100 were too easy to push. I was constantly pushing the playback button when holding the camera with one hand. No more. The button is recessed and the problem is gone. Most if not all the accessories that work on the 100 also work on the 150. Aftermarket batteries actually show capacity now!
When focusing, when the camera focuses it beeps now so you don’t have to be looking at the screen. That is great for using Red Dot Sights on this camera. Night shots are awesome with the Handheld Night Shots Mode. It takes several pictures and combines them for great shots with no blur. The camera has way less noise then the FZ100. Even at ISO 1600 and ISO 3200 the noise is better than the FZ100 was in ISO 400. Camera focus in the picture mode and in the video mode is much faster. You can take 12 frames per second burst inside now at all ISO’s. The 100 will not do that.
The camera works great in iA (intelligent auto) were the FZ100 was real noisy in that mode. The camera will zoom to 62.4X in the 3mp picture mode with I-Zoom turned on. I like setting the camera at 8mp picture size, which gives me 39.1X zoom. It records in 1080P video!
The flash works great! It goes out over 30 feet and lights up the rooms very well. I will post some pictures of that. Pictures are very sharp, not noisy, and crisp.
This camera is everything that the FZ100 is and much more. This camera is a REAL WINNER! Great job Panasonic!
I just went outside and put the camera in the 12 frames per second mode, shot 12 shots, waited 1 second, shot another 8 shots, waited another second, shot another 8 shots.
Someone mentioned the Canon SX40IS, so I checked it out. The cameras are similar in a lot of ways. Each one has it’s strengths and weaknesses. The killer for me is the burst mode. The Canon will shoot at 10 frames per second for 8 shots. The Panasonic will shoot at 12 frames per second for 12 shots. Not that much different there. The part they don’t tell you is the Panasonic after taking the 12 shots, wait 1 second, you can take another 8 shots, wait one second, another 8 shots. In the 5.5 fps burst it will go 30-35 shots before slowing down. The Canon will not do that. At 5.5 fps in Auto Focus the camera will go 30 to 35 shots and focus between each shot. In the Canon the rate of burst in Auto Focus is .8 fps. Yes, .8 frames per second. Less than 1 frame per second and focus in between shots. That in my opinion is a deal killer. That is exactly why I chose the Panasonic FZ100 over the Canon SX30IS. It is just too slow for any kind of action shots.
I was at an Animal Safari this last Sunday and had a problem with the camera focusing on the bars of the cage instead of the animal. Sometimes it focused on the animal and sometimes it would not. Finally I used the button on the left side of the lens. It is a ZOOM/FOCUS button, and to change it to a zoom, go to Menu Set, Setup Menu, Page 2, the third one down (Side Lever) and change it to ZOOM or to FOCUS. I changed it to FOCUS and put the focus lever in manual focus. From that point on I had no trouble focusing the bars out of the picture. This camera is awesome!
Another thing that happened to me is I was inside a display area. It was dark inside. All the displays were encased in glass so flash was out of the question. I was in Aperture Priority and for some reason the pictures kept coming out too bright. I changed the Aperture, no help. Then I put the main dial in iA (intelligent auto) and took a picture. It came out perfect! The FZ100 was always a problem in iA, usually because of the noise. Not this camera! It gets it perfect every time. If you are a novice and don’t want to mess with camera controls, this is the camera for you. Anyone can shoot it and get great pictures as long as they can frame a shot and push the shutter release button! If you want to take full control, fine, the camera will do that too. This camera is great for the novice and the experienced photographers! Panasonic got it right this time!
I have noticed that my camera tends to be towards the warm side in color temperature in Auto White Balance. That is totally adjustable and it is explained on pages 114 and 115 of the manual.
I am listing this and guarantee it will get someone. If you try to take a picture with the flash and it will not go off, the flash is open and it is dark enough for it to go off and it does not……. Your camera is in the Burst Mode!!!! That gets lots of people all the time.
Part of the picture on playback is flashing in black and white…. Your HIGHLIGHT is turned on and the picture is saturated in the black and white saturated area.
To turn it off go to the SETUP menu, page 3 at the bottom.
Did you know that you can take a snapshot or a burst of pictures while taking video? This camera will do that. The picture size is 3.5mp. You can record up to 40 pictures per video. Look in the manual on page 38.
You shot a really cool video and want a snapshot from it. Simply play the video back in the camera in the play mode, and pause the video where you want the shot, press Menu Set, it asks SAVE THIS IMAGE? Highlight YES and press Menu Set! Done. You have saved a picture from the video that you took. I can’t seem to find that in the manual but am still looking. It works just the same. I think the picture size is 2.5mp, but can’t find it in the manual.
The camera has a live Histogram so you can see the picture readout before you shoot it. Go to Menu Set, SETUP, Page 3, second one down. To move from one page to the next, simply pull the zoom lever to the right. To go down move the zoom lever to the left.
The camera will take 5 flash shots in quick succession. To do that, go to SCN on the main dial, go to the second row, the forth one down. Pick your picture size and press Menu Set. It will now take 5 quick flash pictures by holding the shutter release button down. Make sure you open the flash.
The camera will take 220 frames per second in the video mode. To do that go to SCN again and go to the second page and it is the middle icon. HS
If I was using any of the priority modes at night (I would use iA in this camera) go to Menu Set and the REC mode, on the first page under PHOTO STYLE, I would use Natural as it is more sensitive to light. It may be a moot point as iA (Intelligent Auto) is better for low light.
This camera works really well all the way to ISO 1600 in low light areas. ISO 3200 works too, but is more noisy.
I have the Vivitar DF-383 flash that I use on this camera. It is a very powerful flash and is much cheaper than the Panasonic Flash. It is not quite as powerful as the top of the line Panasonic Flash but half the price. Make sure you get the Vivitar DF-383 flash for Panasonic.
I would get a remote shutter or a interval timer for this camera. The camera has to be powered to use for time lapse photography and an interval timer, but if you push the EVF (Electronic View Finder) button to shut down the LCD, the drain on the battery is minimal. I took a 3 hour time lapse video this way and the battery showed 1 mark down from full charge at the end.
Aftermarket batteries now show capacity in this camera. They are much cheaper than Panasonic batteries even though the Panasonic batteries seem to be dropping in price.
An external mike can be used on the camera, but be advised it takes a 2.5mm plug instead of the 3.5mm plug that normally comes on external mikes. Amazon sells an adapter for cheap that will adapt the plug. Rhode Mikes work on this camera.
Teleconverters work well on the FZ150. There are 5 main ones that work well. Don’t waste your money and buy the cheap 2X and larger teleconverters. Two of them are Olympus Lenses. They are the TCON-17 (1.7X with no letters behind the number. It looks like a pear.), and the B300. The Olympus lenses are no longer made and can be found on Ebay. Nikon makes the TC-E15ED (1.5X).
Panasonic makes a 1.7X lens as well. <…>, The last lens is a Raynox DCR-2025 Pro (2.2X).
This camera has excellent stabilization and I am able to shoot at 39.1X (8mp picture size with I-Zoom turned on) without blurry photos during the day with no problems.
This is my opinion and others may disagree. Don’t connect the camera to the computer and risk damaging it. Pull your SDHC card out of the camera (it takes a whole 1/10 second to pull your card out of the camera, just open the door and push on it) and put it into the computer if your computer has a SDHC card reader. The software supplied with the camera will know you put the card into a reader and it will prompt you to download the files, both video and photo. If your computer doesn’t have a SDHC card reader, buy a good inexpensive USB card reader. They are only around $15 or so. It is much faster and safer and less hassle to pull your card out of the camera to download the files. Just do it.
For many years, I used SLR cameras and purchased a DSLR a few years back. I finally realized that some super-zoom cameras were on the market that would take pictures good enough for everything I did and would not require me to carry around multiple lenses. I bought a Panasonic FZ35 and was quite pleased with it. It turned out to be one of the better super-zooms ever made. My complaint was that I would like a longer zoom. I decided to try out another Panasonic camera but was put off by the tepid reviews of the FZ100.
Since the FZ150 had not yet been released and there were only a few reviews of the camera, I purchased the highly praised Sony HX100V even though it lacked some features I would like to have. I was pleased with the pictures it took – up to a point. Thanks to a generous return policy of Amazon, I returned the HX100 and bought a Panasonic FZ150 which was the right move for me. I reviewed the Sony camera and you can read it elsewhere but this is a review of the Panasonic FZ150.
While the zoom of this camera is not as great as some competitors, the intelligent zoom makes up for this. I was able to take high quality pictures of distant objects under a variety of lighting conditions using high zoom and generally hand holding the camera. Impressive! The FZ35 did a good job of keeping noise low up to about ISO 400. The FZ150 does the same but up to ISO 800. Even ISO 1600 shows low noise. I was able to read license plates from 3-400 feet away even in low light. I suspect that Panasonic has found the 12 MP resolution using a small sensor is a sweet spot and allows good noise reduction even at high ISO.
I was able to take excellent closeups, the wide angle works well with minimal distortion and you can choose to record in RAW for better control in post production. And all of this works rapidly and reliably. The image stabilizer worked well in all but extreme closeups.
To test both the video and burst modes, I stood near a train track and took pictures of oncoming and leaving trains. The burst mode is outstanding and the video is as good as can be expected from a super-zoom. The sound is excellent although in a quiet situation, you can hear the zoom being changed during recording. I like being able to choose AVCHD or MP4 for video recording. This gives you some control over video size, video quality and easy of use by various operating systems.
The Sony has a panoramic mode while the FZ150 has a panoramic assist mode. With the assist, you can fairly easily set up successive pictures for merging using software. I found this assist allows you to control the resolution of a panorama better then when the camera creates the panorama. This is not a big deal since I mainly use this type of assist to merge 2 pictures rather than merge 5 or 6 shots and the software merge is fast.
I was impressed by how well the FZ150 handled white balance. Outside, the automatic worked flawlessly. But this was also true indoors. I watched the camera readjust the white balance as I moved it between scenes illuminated by different light sources. This produced shots with correct color balance. With the FZ35, I had to manually switch white balance to maintain correct color rendition.
A couple of other super-zooms do not have lenses with threads for filters. I was pleased to be able to use a UV filter (mainly to prevent lens scratching while walking through the woods) and use a polarizing lens as needed. I noticed that there are additional lens modifications available that fit the threads.
Unfortunately, printing a full manual appears not to be in the cards any more. The manuals, both basic and advanced, are available in PDF format which allows you to print off sections as needed. But I still would like a printed manual provided by the manufacturer.
The articulated viewing screen has good resolution although not as high as some competitors. I very much like being able to turn the screen over and close it. This protects the surface of the screen. You can use the EVF viewfinder which I like to use but did find myself using the LCD screen whenever I could.
The FZ50 apparently requires a coded battery in order to see the amount of charge remaining in the camera viewer. I bought a non-Panasonic extra battery for the FZ150 and find that the amount of charge is shown in the viewer. This is a $ saver since non-Panasonic batteries cost less than those from Panasonic.
I have used most every mode on the camera and find them all to do exactly what they are supposed to do. In summary, I would recommend this camera to anyone who wants to buy a super-zoom. You can use automatic features if you are a neophyte or use the variety of settings if you are a knowledgeable enthusiast. In both cases, you will be pleased.
After trying out the new Lumix G3 to replace my FZ30, I was sorely disappointed. The sample images I viewed on dpreview.com were excellent, but the pictures I took were horrible. That’s because they were using super expensive lenses. Hmm….The kit lens was useless and I wasn’t wanting to spend lots of money on more lenses. I also missed the zoom capability….enter the new Lumix FZ150. This looked more like the camera I have been using since 2005 (the FZ30), just totally upgraded.
Right out of the box, I was not disappointed. The FZ150 is smaller than my FZ30, yet still feels very comfortable and secure in the hand. All the buttons seem to be in the right place. (The G3 was not designed well and I kept hitting a button I didn’t want to press when I held the camera.)The FZ150 also takes great, natural-looking pictures indoors (which was what I was looking for) without a flash. It also takes wonderful macro images, which the G3 had a very difficult time doing. The G3 wouldn’t even TAKE the picture if it wasn’t in focus. The FZ150 focuses quickly and accurately.
The video looks great, as well. The only drawback is the format of MP4. It does not import in Adobe Premiere Pro 2.0 without first being converted to an avi or mov file, but that seems to be the trend in all newer cameras, so I won’t fault the FZ150 there.
All in all, I am very, very pleased with this camera and would not hesitate to recommend it to anyone who wants to take great pictures without the bulk and expense of a DSLR.
UPDATE: I took this camera to an event this weekend and it performed almost FLAWLESSLY!! Out of hundreds of pictures only a few were deleted! Also took lots of video (in MPEG4). As a heads up, the video did have a jerky playback on the computer until I converted it to an avi.