A few days ago I got to travel to the Central Coast of NSW and test some of Panasonic’s newly announced compact cameras (LX7, FZ200, GF5) with a dozen other Australian photographers/technology journalists, guided around the region by famous panoramic landscape photographer Ken Duncan.
The cameras we were testing were pre-production so there were some glitches but that’s to be expected with any electronics product that isn’t on sale yet. They will be on sale in September/October at the usual range of camera retailers and online stores.
I used the FZ200 most of the time because it reminded me of my first ever digital camera, a Panasonic FZ20 ultrazoom/bridge camera which I purchased just before Christmas 2004.
Digital cameras have improved a lot during the 8 years since, however just like they replaced film as the default choice for most photographers, low/middle range digital compact cameras are now seriously threatened by people using smartphone camera functionality instead.
Replacing the previous FZ150 model, The FZ200’s main 2 features are a 24x (25-600mm) zoom and F2.8 aperture throughout which is a world first for a digital compact camera.
The LZ7 has a slightly smaller sensor than it’s predecessor LX5, however the LX7 lens is very fast at F1.4-F2.3, with a 24-90mm versatile zoom range and the internal 3 stop neutral density filter makes it possible to reduce light for a slower shutter speed.
I didn’t use the GF5 much because the pre-production one I had suffered from focusing issues.
View all 58 test photos taken with the LX7/FZ200/GF5 that I shared on Flickr. View each photo’s EXIF for camera setting details. Most will be AUTO because I test consumer cameras using them as an average buyer would use them.