The 14.1Mp Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ100's 24x optical zoom (equivalent to 25-600mm) may be 'modest' when compared to some of the latest megazoom cameras, but this DSLR ticks all the boxes for attendant features.
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ100 offers image-stabilised Leica optics, 1920x1080 Full HD movies in AVCHD format with one-touch record. You also get switch-selected auto and manual focus, a hotshoe for an external flash unit and a built-in stereo microphone.
Bettering its Nikon and Fujifilm competitors, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ100 boasts a free-angle, 3in, 460k dot resolution LCD screen. This means it doesn't just tilt up or down, it can be flipped out at right angles and folded screen-in to the body for protection. There’s also an electronic viewfinder for framing and reviewing shots.
Powering up in around two seconds, the dSLR-style camera feels chunky and well built. We did, however, notice the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ100's lens rattling around in its housing when transporting the camera. Given the fairly high asking price, this was disappointing. Another niggle was the position of the dedicated Record button. This useful button enables you to jump to shooting video in an instant, but would have been better placed under the thumb on the backplate. Instead it's squeezed awkwardly between the shutter release and burst mode buttons on the top plate.
Full-resolution photos are committed to the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ100's memory in two to three seconds, which is average for its class. So too is the time the lens takes to move through its entire range: another three seconds. That it does this near silently is a bonus, as is the fact that the zoom can be utilised when recording video clips as well as stills.
Picture quality is as consistent as we'd expect from a Lumix model, producing colours with real 'pop' straight out of the camera. As with Panasonic's G-series hybrid cameras, film simulation modes make a reappearance. This allows you to alter the look and mood of shots within the camera rather than in a photo editor later.
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ100 is a solid contender, but not a winner given its inflated price.
NEXT: our expert verdict >>