Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ50
- Great features, Speedy operation, Big zoom
- Soft pictures, Noise canceling algorithm leads to loss of clarity, Big, Price
While the FZ50 is a reasonably strong advanced camera, a combination of its size, price tag and issues at high sensitivities mean it is only suited to certain buyers.
Price$ 989.00 (AUD)
Panasonic's latest pseudo-SLR, the FZ50, includes a 10 megapixel sensor and 12x optical zoom. While it doesn't capture the best pictures we've seen, they are quite good, and combined with a robust feature set and a few nice design elements, the FZ50 is a reasonably strong advanced camera.
The Imatest sharpness test score of 1599 is a decent result for an advanced camera, and satisfied our expectations of the FZ50's 10 megapixel sensor. Unfortunately, it was somewhat counterfeited by the high level of undersharpening, which Imatest detected at 15%. This was clearly evident in our shots, with some edges having a soft look to them that left us longing for a little more clarity.
Images were further hampered by high chromatic aberration, for which Imatest gave a score of .194%. The norm for high-end advanced models is usually around .12% or so, so the FZ50's performance left a little to be desired. When we opened our test shots, there was some obvious haloing and fringing at areas of high contrast, however bizarrely it only showed up on horizontal edges. Our test charts contain both horizontal and vertical edges, and while the vertical lines showed no signs of chromatic aberration at all, the horizontal edges had pronounced blue and red fringing.
The FZ50's colour results were slightly better, but still not particularly impressive, with Imatest awarding a score of 8.9 in the colour checker test. Red and green were the two major problem areas, with blue, yellow and the greyscale spectrum being much more accurate. Most cameras score between seven and eight in this test, so this result is slightly below average.
The same can be said for its results in our noise test, with the FZ50 achieving a score of .65%; slightly higher than the .55% or so that we normally see from advanced units. Even so, at this level the noise really isn't visible at smaller magnifications and won't be a concern unless you're making fairly large prints. Furthermore, this unit exhibited very little noise at high ISO sensitivities, scoring just 1.06% at ISO 1600. This is deceptive however, as the noise reduction technology begins to kick in above ISO 200 and it really shows in the shots. While the noise at ISO 800 and ISO 1600 is quite low, significant detail is sacrificed to achieve this through sharpness degradation by the noise reduction algorithm. We'd recommend steering clear of ISO settings above 400 if you purchase this camera.
Thankfully while the images have a few issues, Panasonic has done a good job of packing in all the features you'd expect from a pro-sumer camera. In addition to manual, aperture, shutter and program priority modes there are three custom settings, allowing you to save a pre-determined configuration for later use, and 14 scene modes. Shutter speed extends from 60 seconds to 1/2000th of a second, with aperture ranging from f/2.8 to f/11. There are the usual array of preset white balance modes, as well as a custom option, and ISO sensitivities up to ISO 1600. One big selling point of this model is its resemblance to an SLR, and especially the fact that manual focus is controlled via a focus ring towards the middle of the lens. The array of metering options - including spot, centre and multi-zone - further complement this..
The FZ50 also sports a massive 12x optical zoom lens, which is accompanied by Panasonic's fantastic Mega Optical Image Stabilisation, one of the best OIS technologies on the market. Stabilisation made a noticeable difference in our test shots, and while shooting at a full 12x zoom is still something better saved for when you've got a tripod, the OIS really helped reduce the effect of handshake at mid to high zoom levels.
In our speed tests, everything was handled quite well. As the lens itself doesn't extend (it permanently juts out from the front of the unit) there is very little start-up time, so you'll be snapping shots in just over a second. Meanwhile the FZ50's .06 seconds of start-up time and 1.7 seconds between shots are more than adequate for ensuring a speedy user experience. Similarly, the burst modes performed quite well. The high-speed option operates at roughly 3.5 frames per second, but only runs for three shots, while the other variant is slightly more sedate, at three frames per second.
The FZ50 follows the design exhibited by previous Panasonic advanced units. It is extremely bulky, even by pro-sumer camera standards, basically resembling an SLR. It has a jutting, rubberised right hand grip and is quite comfortable to hold, although a little bulky for our tastes. The black, plastic chassis looks reasonably smooth and gives the camera somewhat of a professional look. Also note that although the LCD is quite small, it looks reasonably good and is hinged along the bottom, allowing you to rotate and flip it for more difficult shooting situations.
The control layout seems designed to mimic popular SLR designs, offering a string of buttons down the side of the display, a directional pad, a function wheel on top and a switch on the side of the lens for focus modes. Everything is fairly intuitive, although novice users may struggle with the multitude of buttons. Panasonic quotes the battery life at 360 shots, which is quite good but not outstanding. It will be more than adequate for most.
Join the newsletter!
Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44
Bang and Olufsen BeoVision 14
Nespresso Creatista Coffee Machine
WD MY PASSPORT™ X Gaming Storage
Panasonic OLED 4K Ultra HD TV - TH-77EZ1000U
Panasonic OLED 4K Ultra HD TV - TH-55EZ950U
cloudandco Smart Cane
SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™
Apple iPhone X
WD MY PASSPORT™ Gaming Storage
Toys for Boys
Google Daydream View VR Headset
LaCie Rugged USB-C Portable Hard Drive
Bose SoundLink Micro
UBTech First Order Stormtrooper Robot
Leica M10 Digital Rangefinder Camera
Lego Mindstorms EV3
Onyx Smart Walkie Talkie
Propel Star Wars T-65 X-Wing Drone
Ubiquiti Network’s Front Row Camera
Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K
Dearear Endear In-ear Wireless Earphones
Amazon Echo Bluetooth Speaker
iRobot Roomba 980 Vaccum Cleaning Robot
Xbox One X
Nest Protect Smart Smoke Alarm
PETKIG Go Smart Dog Leash
WD MY CLOUD™ HOME Personal Cloud Storage
Toffee Bags Commuter Satchel
Belkin Pocket Power 10,000mAh
Panasonic Hi-Fi - SC-UA7GS-K
3SIXT 3-in-1 Smartphone Lens Kit
Lexon Flip Alarm Clock
Ikea NORDMÄRKE Wireless Charging Pad
Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse
Urbanworx Full HD Action Camera
Fallout Geeki Tikis
Kogan Bluetooth Soundbar
Panasonic Portable Splashproof Fun - RF-D20U
Raspberry Pi Starter Kit
Tile Pro Bluetooth Tracker
Logitech Doodle Collection Wireless Mouse
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Hisense takes the fight to home entertainment heavyweights with flagship Series 8 and 9 ULED TVs
- 2 Sony's latest Ultra HD OLED debuts in Australia
- 3 Panasonic Ultra HD OLED TV Review
- 4 D-Link Omna 180 Cam HD DSH-C310 review
- 5 Oppo A77 smartphone: Full in-depth review
Latest News Articles
- Panasonic Announces Compact, Lightweight ultra-telephoto LEICA Lens
- Panasonic announce still-shooter flagship G9
- Sony Announces Development of New G Master Super-Telephoto Full-Frame E-Mount Lens
- Sony Expands Full-frame E-mount lens lineup
- Sony’s New Full-Frame α7R III Interchangeable Lens Camera promises to delivers both resolution and speed
PCW Evaluation Team
I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.
It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.
Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.
The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.
The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.
The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic
- LG V30+ review: The videographer's smartphone arrives
- Fitbit Ionic review: Impressive but not quite iconic
- Xbox One X review: Brave new world
- Which flagship TV is best? Sony 4K HDR Bravia 2016 versus LG 4K HDR OLED 2016
- 10 Blu-ray movies / Best looking Blu-ray movies
- FTDigital BAOther
- CCMS Exchange / Messaging AdministratorWA
- CCGenesys Specialist - SME - TelcoVIC
- FTInsights AnalystOther
- FTDelphi DeveloperOther
- FTBusiness ConsultantOther
- FTSenior Business Analyst - Agile - ERPOther
- CCJunior to Mid Level - Java Developer - BrisbaneNSW
- FTCyber Security Analyst | 6 mthOther
- TPBusiness AnalystVIC
- FTJunior-Mid Level Java Developer (Brisbane Location)ACT
- CCSystem Analyst - AxwayACT
- FTJunior CRM Support AnalystOther
- CCProject ManagerVIC
- FTBroker Support/ Applications SupportOther
- FTPreSales / Offerings Solution Architect - BPS or BPONSW
- CCIntegration DeveloperVIC
- TPFull Stack Developer - AWSNSW
- FTProject Coordinator - FinancialsOther
- TPSecurity ArchitectACT
- FTO365 ConsultantOther
- FTBusiness AnalystOther
- TPProject Manager - CRMQLD
- FTInfrastructure Solutions Architect - Converged InfrastructureOther