The FZ200 is one solid performer. Use the Auto or Program mode in broad daylight and you’ll get pristine results with very good reproduction of colours and details. Even the fine details in the farthest objects are clearly visible at 100 percent zoom. The quality is even better if you shoot in RAW and process the results. By far, this is the best performing super-zoom camera when it comes to taking photos.
The noise is handled extremely well up till ISO 400. The constant f/2.8 aperture lens goes a long way in being able to shoot at acceptably fast shutter speeds in low light and at the telephoto end. The photo quality starts deteriorating from ISO 800; the graininess increases at a faster rate with subsequent increments in ISO, but thankfully, there is negligible colour noise. Hence, there hardly any colour deviation and the luminance noise can be reduced by a significant extent by applying a bit of noise removal in photo editing applications or image viewers.
Outdoor shots in good light have good details and contrast
The optical image stabilisation mechanism performs incredibly well. We were able to shoot at shutter speeds as low as 1/10-sec handheld in low light and the shots were crisp. The IS also helps keeping the video frame steady while shooting even at full zoom.
Crisp handheld shot in very low light - ISO 640, 1/5 sec shutter, f/2.8 and no flash
The quality of video recording was excellent. The picture quality of full HD videos shot outdoors in shadow and indoors was excellent; however, a slight jitter was noticeable while panning. Also, videos shot against bright backgrounds such as sky looked slightly overexposed, which could have been due to incorrect metering.
Shot using the One Point Colour effect filter - blue colour selected
Excellent background defocus with the large f/2.8 aperture
On the whole, the performance of the FZ200 was excellent—we give it 9 out of 10 for the kind of performance it delivers in its class!
Verdict and price in India
The biggest advantage that DSLRs have over digital cameras is the sensor that’s more than thrice as large. This helps capture almost noise-free images at up to ISO 800 along with larger optics that yields excellent background blur; the quality of photos you get is outstanding. With a prosumer-class digital camera, the noise is handled quite well at up to ISO 400, after which you have to be careful not to boost the ISO too high. But the advantage is the single lens that can capture anything from super macros to distant scenes with great ease. And this is the forte of the FZ200; we’ve never seen such a great lens on a super-zoom camera. Thanks to the large aperture, it takes great-looking shots even in low light. Also, the handling is one of the best in its category.
At Rs 34,990, the price far exceeds the price of an entry-level DSLR. At such a high premium, it’s fair to expect built-in GPS and eye sensor for the EVF, which are missing from the feature set. Also, the SD card slot should have been placed on the side so that it would have been accessible while the camera is on the tripod.
If you don’t need a telephoto lens and your priority is pristine photo quality, go in for a DSLR. But if it’s the other way round and you don’t have the budget to invest in telephoto and macro lenses, then the FZ200 will keep you more than happy.
Updated 19 Jun, 2013, 9:00 am IST
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