What makes an ideal camera for a blogger and travel writer?
We bought the Panasonic DMC-FZ200 in March 2015 and it’s gone on a lot of adventures with us. Over this period, I had a chance to test the camera under different circumstances and, with it’s help, improved my own photography skills.
This is a relatively old model by now, so why write a review?
Well, I think this bridge camera is a brilliant option for bloggers, travellers and photography enthusiasts, who want DSLR type of quality without the pricetag. This camera still packs a punch.
My first impression of the camera weren’t good- I had ghosting of images. Then as I’ve used the camera, I learnt that this happens in HDR mode in lower light, or if my hands aren’t very stable (like after a sprint) or my subjects are very fast.
However over the last 2 years this camera has proved itself:
- The zoom is amazing, 24x : this gives me the option to capture the kids acting naturally, because I’m not in their faces with the camera
Shot on auto
Shot on auto, standing in the same position, zooming in. (no edits, yet look at the detail!)
- Does a decent job in low-light, as long as you have a steady hand
- The battery life is perfect- it lasts a day, most days, even with a lot of filming … and I’m still on my first battery
- The tilt-screen is very useful for little filming projects, or if you are into selfies
- The functions and customisability of the camera are immense: for the beginner it guides your through with great auto functions
I love the depth that this image gives… not quite focussing where I wanted to, but still a fave image
- The manual settings mean you can learn as you go along and you can even shoot Northern Lights
The edited image of very faint Northern Lights, it was colder than -20C when taking this picture.
Used the max 8 second exposure the camera does.
Image of the Northern Lights, not edited at all, just as it came off the camera. Shot on an 8 second exposure.
- The camera is robust: it’s travelled far and wide and has had a fair few knocks and been covered in road dust, survived well in -20C and +40C (and the battery didn’t seem to mind either)
The unedited picture of a wild pig…just look at the detail captured! (This was a 40C day and we were jealous of the pig!)
- The DMC-FZ200 may be bulky, but with that it brings street cred- it looks like a DSLR on first glimpse, so if your are with a bunch of pro photographers at an event you don’t stick out like a sore thumb. 😀
- Allows to shoot in RAW format, like a pro which then gives me more options to edit the images. It really helps the user develop their photography skills… if and when they want.
The bits that I don’t like? You know, they are often the same as the features I love.
- You can customise the camera to a high degree. If I’ve done this and then need to revert to more general settings and forget, I get cheesed off: Like leaving it on Autofocus Macro and wondering why it won’t focus on what I want. Or if Dadonthebrink picks up the camera after I’ve used it, assuming he’s shooting auto and ends up with rubbish images 😀
- The bulkiness when we’re trekking all day and I have to strap it underneath the hip harness to stop it from swaying. Yet, any DSLR would be be as bulky and likely heavier too. I have to remind myself that the bulkiness allows it to have the amazing battery life.
- Low-level light images of fast moving objects, like kids. This is something you have to work at to get the right settings! Though auto generally does a good job, but it can be a hit and miss.
- I’d love to have geotagging and Wifi on it…this is where you realise it’s an older model…not that the new bridge cameras have both these features!
Overall for the price and the functionality this is still an excellent option for someone wanting to up their photography skills.