Slightly more moderate in regards to zoom compared to other brands, the new Lumix DMC-FZ72 from Panasonic is a 16-megapixel camera that now beats every record in an uncommon move from the manufacturer, with its 60 levels of zoom. The lens outperforms most lenses available in the market for this kind of cameras with its 1.200 millimeters –something other cameras already offered-, along with another interesting feature: a 20-millimeter angle. It was recently announced in thedigitalcamera.net that, after testing the new Lumix for a few minutes, this camera is far from being compact.
After their relatively recent and quite shocking release of the Canon PowerShot SX50 HS and its 50 levels of zoom last fall, Panasonic once again proves there it still a lot to be made in regards of creating the most powerful zoom for a compact camera. The latest demonstration of this comes with the Lumix DMC-FZ72 (FZ70 in America), which leaves any other camera behind with its astonishing 60x.
Many may question the need for such a powerful zoom –we know we did-, but Panasonic had a great idea: use this feature not only to offer an amazing 1.200-millimeter lens –like Canon did-, but also include a 20-millimeter one, which, to be honest, is the most interesting feature for us.
Cliché jokes about size aside; the FZ72 really makes a strong first impression. Compact camera? The same question passed through our minds when we set it right next to the remarkably small Lumix DMC-XS3, which has been presented by Panasonic today.
Its design is solid and a real eye-catch despite being plastic-made and its size made us ask ourselves if it was thought with the lens or ergonomics in mind, or there is an aesthetic reason behind it. It really shows their goal was making the compact with the most powerful zoom in the world.
With those lines characteristic of small SLR cameras, the FZ72 is, in fact, bigger than most Lumix cameras with interchangeable lens, which is something good when we’re trying to stabilize the zoom and steadily hold the camera.
Despite all the good stuff we’ve heard about Panasonic’s Power O.I.S. stabilization system, getting good results with a 1.200-millimeter lens is a very tough task. In fact, even framing correctly becomes difficult. That’s why systems like the ones features in cameras like Canon’s SX50 are missed, so we can fully make use of all of the camera’s features and not waste time (or photos).
Is the 1.200 millimeters are not enough, the “intelligent zoom" system from Panasonic doubles the range without –in theory- impacting negatively the image quality. From this point onwards, the 5x digital zoom can be used to obtain results equivalent to those of a 10.000-millimeter lens.
Here is a small simple of the power zoom of Panasonic’s Lumix DMC-FZ72, from 20 to 1.200 millimeters, and using the “intelligent zoom” system. Click on the pictures to enlarge them.
But leaving big names and impressive numbers and specs aside, we consider the following three key features the most interesting ones this camera has to offer: its 20-millimeter angle –very uncommon-, its f2.8 luminosity, which keeps at a f5.9 in the biggest focal, and the speed of its automatic focus. Speed that, by the way, we’ve been able to see demonstrated for ourselves.
Although we evidently feel more attracted to what the Lumix DMC-FZ200 and its 25-600 mm f2.8 have to offer, it’s still important to notice that image quality should always be the most important thing for a camera of these characteristics.
The FZ72 is the successor of the Lumix DMC-FZ62, just below the FZ200, although the approximate 400 Euros Panasonic will be charging for it when it hits the market around September will be more or less the same price of its bigger sister.
Besides the size of the camera and the powerful zoom (the FZ62 had only 24x), the FZ72 is also capable of shooting in RAW, and features a new microphone, that not only looks good, but also performs significantly better than its predecessors, offering better-quality sound recording and suppression of ambient noise.
The zoom sells
What about the image quality? Although we still haven’t tested the FZ72, just taking a quick look at its specs (1/2.33-inch, 16-megapixel CMOS) are pretty much to know the performance of this compact camera will be good enough to offer an adequate image quality.
Zoom and an all-in-one concept taken to the extreme is what this camera is all about. Something that, despite having more and more detractors over the years, is very successful on the market.
Cameras with great performance and powerful zoom: that is without a doubt the winning formula. And if you add to that something like shooting in RAW or a 20-millimeter angle, you can make the FZ72 a truly worthy model.