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The Panasonic Lumix FZ72 (aka FZ70) packs the world's longest zoom on a bridge camera, which at 60x offers an equivalent range of 20-1200mm. The camera features a 16 megapixel sensor, full HD video, and a new wind shielded stereo microphone.
The zoom can also be extended to a 120x equivalent whilst maintaining picture quality thanks to Intelligent Resolution Technology / Digital zoom. A 1.7x tele conversion lens (DMW-LT55) will also be available seperately to boost the optical zoom to 102x as shown above.
The camera features a 16.1 megapixel MOS sensor, light speed AF and Power OIS, as well as HD video recording, full manual control and a flash hot-shoe. It is capable of shooting 9fps at full resolution, and 5fps with continous AF.
- 16.1 megapixel MOS sensor
- 60x optical zoom lens, 20-1200mm equivalent
- POWER O.I.S. (Optical Image Stabilizer) with Active Mode
- 3 inch screen, 460k dots
- Electronic viewfinder, 202k dots
- Full HD video with stereo sound, Wind Shield Zoom Microphone
- 9fps continuous shooting, 5fps with continuous AF
- Flash hot-shoe
- ISO100 - ISO3200
- 1cm Macro focus
- HDR, Panoramic, RAW shooting, Manual controls
Handling - The plastic bodied camera has a large hand grip with a rubber grip around the front, as well as a decent sized thumb grip on the back, although the back grip is just textured plastic rather than rubber. The styling of the camera gives it the look of a Digital SLR, with a number of external buttons and controls, giving quick access to settings including dedicated continuous shooting, focus, video, AF/Macro/MF, AE Lock buttons, with the last button doubling as a customisable Function / Fn button. A second Fn button can be found on the 4-way controller. To switch between the rear screen and the electronic viewfinder you simply use the LVF button.
Menus – The Panasonic menus are clearly laid out with clear descriptions of settings and options. The Q.Menu brings up an overlay of options so you can quickly change settings without having to drop into the menus.
Battery life - Battery life is rated at 400 shots according to Panasonic / CIPA test results, which is quite good. The camera was quick to switch on and focus seemed to perform well, although we will need to get the camera in to ours studio before conducting our usual speed test.
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Panasonic Lumix FZ72 Outdoor images
Wide | 1/60 sec | f/2.8 | 3.6 mm | ISO 250
Full Optical Zoom | 1/125 sec | f/5.9 | 215.0 mm | ISO 160
Rhino | 1/100 sec | f/5.5 | 40.0 mm | ISO 100
Heron | 1/80 sec | f/5.6 | 57.2 mm | ISO 100
Vultures | 1/80 sec | f/5.6 | 108.4 mm | ISO 200
Tiger | 1/80 sec | f/5.6 | 74.4 mm | ISO 250
Lion | 1/125 sec | f/5.6 | 81.7 mm | ISO 100
Cheetah | 1/200 sec | f/5.6 | 154.9 mm | ISO 400
Cheetah | 1/200 sec | f/5.6 | 140.8 mm | ISO 200
Wolf | 1/100 sec | f/5.6 | 84.3 mm | ISO 100
Wide | 1/800 sec | f/2.8 | 3.6 mm | ISO 100
Macro (Wide) | 1/13 sec | f/2.8 | 3.6 mm | ISO 400
The camera has performed well on Safari at Longleat, where the weather was not ideal, with mostly grey cloud. Despite this the camera has produced a number of sharp results, even when using the full 60x optical zoom lens, which is the equivalent of 1200mm in 35mm terms.
The 60x optical zoom lens gives a much wider view than the majority of other ultra zoom bridge cameras, starting at 20mm, and will zoom to 1200mm equivalent, which is what a number of other 50x zoom cameras are capable of. However it's when used in combination with the optional 1.7x tele conversion lens that you can see the huge appeal of the camera. Although it's quite likely that to get the best results from this combination a tripod and good weather will be required.
We've shown an example above, resized, as we were using the camera handheld, to show the difference between 60x optical zoom, and then with the 1.7x tele conversion lens attached.
Panasonic Lumix FZ72 ISO test images
1/8 sec | f/4.7 | 16.0 mm | ISO 100
1/15 sec | f/4.7 | 16.0 mm | ISO 200
1/30 sec | f/4.7 | 16.0 mm | ISO 400
1/60 sec | f/4.7 | 16.0 mm | ISO 800
1/125 sec | f/4.7 | 16.0 mm | ISO 1600
1/250 sec | f/4.7 | 16.0 mm | ISO 3200
ISO Noise Performance - The ISO range available goes from ISO100 to ISO3200, with higher ISO sttings available in High Sensitivity mode. Once we have the camera in our office for testing, we will be able to post our usual ISO test images.
Video - Video can be recorded as AVCHD / 50i or MP4 / 25p at full HD resolution of 1920 x 1080. The lens has additional reach in video recording mode, equivalent to 22 - 1320mm in 35mm terms. Video is stabilised using the camera's active mode optical image stabilisation and appears to work well. Additional videos can be found on the ePHOTOzine YouTube channel.
Value For MoneyThe Panasonic Lumix FZ72 is available for around £365 which makes it a little more expensive than the competition, but not by much, and is up against the following ultra-zoom cameras, although it is one of very few with an ultra wide-angle lens, however the Kodak PIXPRO AZ521 has slightly more telephoto reach:
Kodak PIXPRO AZ521 - 52x, 24-1248mm equivalent, no EVF, £249
Fujifilm FinePix SL1000 - 50x, 24-1200mm equivalent, £257
Sony Cyber-shot HX300 - 50x, 24-1200mm equivalent, £325
Canon Powershot SX50HS - 50x, 24-1200mm equivalent, £349
You'll also need to buy a memory card and a case or bag to keep your camera safe and protected - have a look at our complete guide to camera bags.
Once we have the camera in our office for review, we will update this review with our full test results, as well as additional sample photos.
Panasonic Lumix FZ72 Specifications
|Max Aperture||f/2.8 - f/5.9|
|35mm equivalent||20mm - 1200mm|
|CCD pixels||16.1Mp (Megapixels)|
|Sensor Type||Live MOS Sensor|
|Sensor Size||1/2.3 inch|
|Sensor Size (width)||No Data|
|Sensor Size (height)||No Data|
|Screen resolution||460k dots|
|Shutter speeds shortest||1/2000sec|
|Shutter speeds longest||60sec|
|ISO sensitivity||100 - 6400|
|Video FPS||50i, 25p|
|Optical Zoom with Video||Yes|
|Battery Type||Li-ion Battery Pack|
|Box Contents||Battery Pack, Battery Charger, USB Cable, Shoulder Strap, CD-ROM, Lens Cap, Lens Cap String|