Playing The Long Game: Outdoor Photography With Telezooms

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ150 Ultra Zoom Review

Joshua Waller reviews the new Panasonic Lumix FZ150 - the latest ultra zoom from Panasonic features 12fps shooting at full resolution.

| Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ150 in Compact Cameras

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ150 Ultra Zoom Review: Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ150

The Panasonic Lumix FZ150 is the update to the Panasonic Lumix FZ100 and replaces the 14.1 megapixel MOS sensor with a 12 megapixel High Sensitivity MOS sensor for improved ISO performance and lower noise. Other improvements include a new nano surface coating on the lens, additional controls on the side of the lens, improved lens grip and higher quality buttons.

Panasonic Lumix FZ150 Features

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ150 Ultra Zoom Review: Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ150
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ150

The Panasonic Lumix FZ150, like the FZ100 before it, features a wide angle 24x optical zoom lens, a 3 inch tilting screen and full manual controls letting you get creative when shooting. Or alternatively you can use the many scene modes or creative filters to help add some style when taking photos. The FZ150 updates the FZ100 with a 12 megapixel MOS sensor instead of the 14.1 megapixel MOS sensor used in the FZ100, this should enable lower noise images and ideally better image quality overall.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ150 Ultra Zoom Review: Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ150
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ150

Another feature of the FZ150 worth noting is the high speed shooting options available: 2 / 5.5 fps continuous AF or single AF, 12fps single AF mechanical shutter, 40fps single AF electronic shutter (at 5mp) and 60fps single AF electronic shutter (at 2.5mp). The camera also features a high speed video mode shooting 320 x 240 pixels (QVGA), Motion JPEG at 220 fps.

Key Features

  • 25mm wide-angle 24x optical zoom
  • f/2.8 - 5.2 Leica DC Vario-Elmarit lens
  • Full HD Movie in AVCHD with Creative Movie Mode
  • 12.1 megapixel high sensitivity MOS sensor
  • iA (Intelligent Auto) mode with Power OIS
  • Intelligent Resolution Technology
  • 32x Intelligent Zoom
  • Intuitive Manual Control and Creative option
  • My Colour Mode
  • 3in tilting LCD screen
  • Flash hot-shoe
  • Microphone socket

Panasonic Lumix FZ150 Handling

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ150 Ultra Zoom Review: Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ150
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ150

The Panasonic Lumix FZ150 looks a lot like the previous model, although on closer inspection the position of the AF-assist lamp has moved. As well as this subtle change, the FZ150 has a new zoom control on the left of the lens, increased quality buttons on the back, additional grip surrounding the lens and a continuous shooting button on the top.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ150 Ultra Zoom Review: Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ150
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ150

The camera features a large rubberised hand grip at the front and a textured thumb grip at the rear. The dedicated mode dial makes selecting the mode easy and it is feature packed with full manual controls, as well as aperture and shutter priority modes. There are a number of scene modes on the dial each giving access to similar scenes for example, the Sports setting lets you choose from Normal, Outdoor and Indoor.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ150 Ultra Zoom Review: Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ150
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ150

Menus - The Panasonic Lumix FZ150 menus are easy to navigate, with each set of options clearly colour coded. For example the options are: Record, Motion Picture, Setup and in Playback the menus are Playback Mode, Playback and Setup. The camera gives a lot of options, with 7 pages of Setup options, 5 pages of Record options and 3 pages of Playback options. The text is easy to read and clear.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ150 Ultra Zoom Review: Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ150
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ150

Battery Life - rated at 410 shots according to CIPA standards (10 shots better than the FZ48). We were able to take over 400 shots before the battery went flat, this is good and should allow several days shooting before having to recharge the battery again.

Speed - We took a number of shots to test the camera's responsiveness, from switch on to first photo, shot to shot, focusing speed etc. We take a number of shots and then use the average to ensure accurate and consistent tests, making it easy to compare with other cameras.

Panasonic FZ150
Panasonic FZ48
Shutter Response 0.05
Wide - Focus / Shutter Response 0.15
Full zoom - Focus / Shutter Response 0.25
Switch on Time to Taking a Photo 1.6
Shot to Shot without Flash 0.6 (~)
0.7 (3 shots)
Shot to Shot with Flash 0.8 (~)
1.3 (2 shots)
Continuous Shooting
(shots before slow down)
11fps (12 shots)
2.5fps (7 shots)
Continuous Shooting - Flash N/A
Continuous Shooting - RAW 11fps (11 shots)

The FZ150 gives impressively quick focus (quick AF on), shutter response and excellent shot to shot time. Continuous shooting is excellent at 11fps with focus and exposure fixed with the first shot, alternatively continuous AF is available when shooting at 5.5fps. Flash burst is available as a scene mode letting you shoot at 2fps at 3mp.

Panasonic Lumix FZ150 Performance

Here are several sample photos taken in a variety of lighting conditions, click "Hi-Res" to view full size sample photos, there are more sample photos in the equipment database where you can also add your own photos and review:

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ150 Sample Photos

Sample photos show good colour and detail, although there is some purple fringing and highlight clipping. Noise is generally low at the lower ISO settings. The portrait shot shows virtually no red-eye and quite good detail, although manually selecting a lower ISO setting is likely to produce shots with more detail.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ150 Lens test images

Lens test images show good detail at both wide angle and when using full optical zoom. Macro performance is excellent allowing you to focus on subjects right in front of the lens. Purple fringing is low considering the amount of zoom on offer, but can be noticed in areas of extreme contrast.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ150 ISO test images

ISO test images show low noise at ISO100, noise increases slightly at ISO200, ISO400 sees a slight increase in noise and ISO800 sees noise increase further although results are better than the FZ48. ISO1600 shows reasonable noise levels, with the images appearing usable. The ISO3200 setting is best avoided as it shows high noise levels, although the photos may be of use resized.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ150 White-balance test images

White balance performs extremely well using auto white balance in tungsten and fluorescent lighting, with the tungsten preset mode giving a warmer result. The camera doesn't feature a fluorescent preset mode as the camera does an extremely good job on the auto white balance setting.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ150 Digital filters

Digital Filters / Colour modes - shown here are the eight creative filters available. There are also a number of colour options available letting you customise saturation, contrast, sharpness and noise reduction, to see examples, have a look at our Panasonic Lumix FZ48 review.

Video - Video is recorded as Full HD 1920x1080 video at 30fps with stereo sound and optical zoom. The camera lets you choose from AVCHD / AVCHD Progressive or MP4 compression, as well as continuous AF (on/off), and wind cut. A high speed video example can be seen here and is shot at 220fps. Image quality is good and the built in image stabilisation helps, although when using the full 24x optical zoom a tripod is recommended.

Value For Money - priced at £390 at time of review this puts the Panasonic Lumix FZ150 at the top of the price range of ultra zoom cameras. Alternatives to look at include the Olympus SZ30MR (compact camera with 24x optical zoom), Nikon Coolpix P500 (8fps), Sony Cybershot HX100v (with GPS and 10fps), Fujifilm FinePix HS20EXR (flash hot-shoe) with more choices are available in our Top 10 Ultra Zooms. The FZ48 is very good value for money in comparison to the FZ150, costing nearly £130 less.

Panasonic Lumix FZ150 Verdict

The Panasonic Lumix FZ150 is an extremely competent all round camera providing a wealth of useful features, a large optical zoom and an emphasis on image quality and speed, thanks to the 12 megapixel MOS sensor.

The FZ150 offers high speed shooting, better noise performance than the FZ48 and most importantly better noise performance than it's predecessor the FZ100 thanks to the use of a new 12.1 megapixel MOS sensor instead of a 14.1 megapixel sensor. Additional options and features such as flash hot shoe, RAW shooting, tilting high resolution screen and additional controls on the side of the lens, give additional flexibility, however the additional £130 added to the price over the FZ48 is in our opinion a little much. Whether the FZ150 is worth the extra money will be up to you. You could however look at the Sony Cybershot HX100v with GPS and 10fps shooting for slightly less money or the Nikon Coolpix P500 with 8fps shooting much more zoom and a much lower price.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ150 Ultra Zoom Review:
The Panasonic Lumix FZ150 performs well with extremely fast continuous shooting available.

Panasonic Lumix FZ150 Pros

Excellent macro performance
12fps shooting
High quality tilting screen
24x optical zoom lens
Full HD video with stereo sound and optical zoom
Additional video options (High Speed, Progressive)
RAW and full manual controls
Flash hot shoe, Microphone socket

Panasonic Lumix FZ150 Cons

High Cost
Lens finger print prone
Lacks in camera panoramic stitching


Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ150 Specifications

Max Aperturef/2.8 - f/5.2
35mm equivalent25mm - 600mm
Optical Zoom24x
Image Sensor
Pixels12.1Mp (Megapixels)
Pixels (W)4000
Pixels (H)3000
Sensor TypeLive MOS Sensor
Sensor Size1/2.33 inch
Sensor Size (width)6.08mm
Sensor Size (height)4.56mm
Aspect Ratio
  • 4:3
  • 3:2
  • 16:9
  • 1:1
LCD Monitor
LCD Monitor3in
Screen resolution460k dots
Touch ScreenNo
Min Focus1cm
Focusing modes
  • Autofocus
  • Manual
  • Spot
  • Face Detection
  • AF Tracking
  • Multi
Exposure Control
Shutter speeds shortest1/2000sec
Shutter speeds longest30sec
Bulb modeNo Data
Exp modes
  • Program
  • Aperture-Priority
  • Shutter-Priority
  • Manual
  • Scene modes
  • Centre-weighted - Average
  • Multi Pattern
  • Spot
ISO sensitivity100 - 3200
White balance
  • Auto
  • Manual
  • Outdoors/Daylight
  • Cloudy
  • Incandescent
  • Shade
  • Flash
Exposure Comp+/-3
Shooting Options
Continuous shooting12fps
Movie modeYes
Video Resolution
  • 1920x1080 FullHD
  • 640x480 VGA
  • 1280x720 HD 720p
Video FPS30
Stereo SoundYes
Optical Zoom with VideoYes
Other Features
Image StabilisationYes
Card Type
  • SD
  • SDHC
  • SDXC
File Type
  • RAW
  • JPG
  • RAW + JPG
Power Source
Battery TypeLithium Ion
Battery Life (CIPA rating)410shots
Box Contents
Box ContentsBattery Charger, Battery Pack, USB Connection Cable, AC Cable, Shoulder Strap, CD-ROM, Lens Hood, Lens Cap, Lens Cap String

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Photographs taken using the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ150

Celestial Light.A Clourful Pair.Summer Garden.Dog Tired.This Is MY Seat.Big Red.The Ragged End.A Triumph In Blue.Homebuilder.Couldn't Manage A Whole One, Though.Go Your Own Way.Great Expectations.The Foundry Office.Yesteryear.A Mighty Organ.

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Ian Pratt Avatar
What does "lens finger print prone" mean?
joshwa Avatar
joshwa Plus
13 927 1 United Kingdom

Quote:What does "lens finger print prone" mean?

Hi, it means it seemed much more likely to pickup finger prints on the lens compared to other cameras. Perhaps something to do with the lens coating. But a minor issue.
cmiller Avatar
When you say full manual control (in addition to manual focusing) does this include independent aperture and shutter speed adjustment as opposed to using shutter or aperture priority modes?

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