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Panasonic FZ100, a funny little bridge camera (2017-02-15 12:50:20)


In 2010, this little bridge camera was sold for $500. Now it's cheapper than a Nikon EN-EL4a battery for the Nikon D3...
Whatever, I have one and decided to have fun with it. Honestly, compared to the weight of my Nikon DSLR, that FZ100 feels like carrying a pack of cigarettes.

In summary, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ100 is a so called super-zoom camera featuring an almost wide-angle 24x zoom lens (25-600mm F/2.8/5.2 in 35mm), 14 megapixel and 5fps continuous shooting at full image resolution with AF tracking and a buffer of 11 photos. There is a small articulated lcd screen, a terrible electronic viewfinder, and it can record full HD 1080i movies at 30fps. There is even an integrated nowhere near powerful enough flash, and a shoe for an external flash. The anti shake does his job, there is a PASM mode and the FZ100 can record RAW.

At first glance, it does better than my samsung phone camera. It's not too slow, the AF works well, the tracking can do his job if the tracked subjet is not too fast or doesn't move too eratically. The EVF sucks, the lcd screen sucks a little less... No big deal actually. 

At least this camera supports RAW. I hate jpg, I hate in camera processing, and I hate even more in camera noise and sharpness processing. RAW is the way to go. Too bad, DXO doesn't support this Panasonic camera, so I can't benefit of the Prime Noise Reduction, but Lightroom can import and process the files, and the results are not too bad, especially if you convert in black and white. There, the processed noise from the sensor give the photo a film look that I tend to appreciate.

Hi-Res panasonic: dmc-fz100. 542mm, f/4.7, 1/40s, 100iso.


Speaking of noise, the FZ100 was (in)famous for its alleged noise at base ISO, even for a small 1/2.3" sensor.  And actually, this sensor is really noisy, but not that much if you compare it in raw with other sensors of the same size and resolution. These sensors are just bad with noise. Period. The Nikon D3 actually makes less noise at iso 6400 than the FZ100 at base 100 iso... and if you process the raws heavily (that you will do anyway), the D3 at Hi2 (iso 25.600) still produce better images than the FZ100 at iso 100... Of course, it's not the same class of cameras and it's quite unfair to compare a full frame pro DSLR (even from 2007) to a budget bridge camera...
Here are a few 100% crops, processed in DXO for the D3 at iso 25.600, and Lightroom for the FZ100 at iso 100 and 400. 




Ok. Let's stop making fun of this brave little FZ100. I actually like it. It's not super sharp, it's noisy, the white balance is far from perfect and the EVF really sucks, BUT, it's a fun camera to shoot, it's light, easy to use, and you can take some pretty decent photos.

Hi-Res panasonic: dmc-fz100. 521mm, f/4.7, 1/125s, 100iso.

Hi-Res panasonic: dmc-fz100. 799mm, f/5.2, 1/320s, 100iso.

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