Panasonic FZ200 vs, Full Nikon (or other) Gear For a Change

Discussion in 'Casual Photo Conversations' started by john_h.|1, Oct 25, 2015.

  1. I'm considering swapping my full set of gear for the FZ200 for non professional uses. I really hate changing lenses when I'm in the middle of shooting a scene and lugging them all around even using a waist belt system which helps. The FZ200 has a f2.8 continuous ultrawide to super tele lens and my research shows it has much less distortion and other such issues usually attendant to such lenses. It has fast focus but can hunt tele in low light. I can get a rotate and swivel lens flash for it and maybe a cord for off camera flash use. The camera is light and I can buy another one if it malfunctions with out spending a grand. Heck, I could have a spare handy too.

    I can pick up one of them and see how it is but am interested in learning about experiences others might have with the FZ200 or other insight first. Thoughts?
  2. Last year I helped a friend, essentially a non-photographer, select a camera for a trip to go see gorillas in the wild. She bought the FZ200, and I worked with her to help her learn what it could do. It handles very nicely, the lens and image stabilization work well, and she returned with some very good photographs. It's a great camera for travel when you need a fast, long zoom.
    I don't know what kind of photography you do with your full kit, so that I can't comment on how it would work for you. There is now a successor, the FZ300, which I haven't tried. There is also a different all-in-one camera from Panasonic, the FZ1000, which has a one-inch sensor, and should be significantly better in low light. It's also heavier, bulkier and more expensive than the FZ200, but it would probably be my choice.
    Disclosure: I worked for many years for Panasonic, in research development not connected with photography, and it makes me look favorably on their products.
  3. Well, I might just be going in the opposite direction. Here is my reasoning. I have a Nikon d7000 which is my go to camera and has the Tamron 18-270 lens on it. My back up is a D90 with the 18-105 Nikon on it. I also have a 70-300 nikon VR zoom and a few primes. I am satisfied with both set ups. Now those kits are fine band I am satisfied with the images. I am familiar with the controls. But as I age they tend to get a bit heavy. I bought the Panasonic fz200 and have used it a lot. The images are satisfactory and it is lightweight. I bought an external flash and a wired remote too. But----even after all this time, the controls are confusing and the settings not easy figure out without an instruction book close at hand. I have taken it on vacation and accidentally changed a few settings, like the iso, , diopter adjustment, etc. The book that comes with the camera is awful. I got it printed out and it is ok at home but too big to carry around. Basically I find the menus just too confusing and not user friendly. . Ok--maybe I am just too used to Nikon. so I will try something different. I just got a Nikon d 3300 for a walk around daily use camera. It is really lightweight. I will use the kit 18-55 lens or a longer zoom. The menus are a breeze to use and follow and of course the images are excellent. It is a bit heavier has a lesser focal length, a slower lens, etc, but I do not get as frustrated with it, and unless I will be shooting sports or wildlife, this should be what I need. For serious shooting I'll probably use the d7000, an sb flash, etc. I will be experimenting and will let you know. Keeping my fingers crossed-----Jerry
  4. I rejected the idea of the FZ300 because B&H has the lens listed in its specs as a f/2.8 to f/8. I just looked at other sites which indictes it as a continuous 2.8 like the 200. I do a variety of different shooting so a general all purpose can be suitable. I would use my DSLR gear for low light when planned in advance.
  5. "I bought an external flash and a wired remote too."​
    Which wired remote? I read a review where there was some problem finding one that worked or something. I consider it an important feature for outdoor flash use. Especially for casual portraits and some action shots. Shutter synch speed compliant ones of course. Maybe you will have one for sale soon ;).
  6. John H---It is a "VELLO". Don't know the exact model number. Got it some months ago (ebay or Amazon) don't remember which. Works just fine. Jerry
  7. I bought an FZ200 earlier this year for the same reason you sight. I was so pleased with it initially I was ready to sell my DSLR gear and use it exclusively. Here is a link to my FZ200 folder on flickr:
    On a trip to Colorado last year, it is the only camera I took, and it was quite a pleasure to carry around. However, recently I've taken more to carrying both of my Pentax cameras in a sling bag, one with a 17-70 attached and one with a 55-300 (as I did on a 10-day trip down to Florida and back from PA earlier this month), just in case I get a shot I want to potentially have large prints of. It's definitely a lot more weight, but after doing closer examination of the FZ200 shots, I found them to have significantly more noise than the pics taken with the larger Pentax sensor, and the Panasonic does tend to miss focus more often than the DSLR gear. That said, if I were going anywhere where I just wanted to document the trip and get some decent shots, the FZ200 would still be the way to go, though the FZ1000 that was noted above does have a larger sensor so potentially less noise, though the trade-off is the loss of the constant aperture. Also, I've printed up to 13x19 from the FZ200, and thought the pics looked great.
    In short, I think the Panasonic models are good choices for the intent you mention, though you might find the initial excitement wanes a bit after extensive use.

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