New Panasonic Lumix FZ200 Superzoom Sports 24x f/2.8 Leica Zoom Lens

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New Panasonic Lumix FZ200 Superzoom Sports 24x f/2.8 Leica Zoom LensPanasonic just announced the 12-megapixel Lumix DMC-FZ200, the world’s first superzoom camera with a large, f/2.8 aperture – a fixed f/2.8 aperture, I mean. The FZ200’s Leica zoom lens can open up to f/2.8 across the whole 24x zoom range, from 25 to 600mm (equivalent). That’s an impressive achievement for a compact, consumer-level superzoom camera. Most superzoom cameras have lenses with slower f/3.5-5.6 variable apertures. The FZ200’s large f/2.8 aperture allows more light to reach the sensor and that means better low light shooting, better action-stopping ability and better depth-of-field control. To complement the fast lens, the FZ200 can shoot RAW and has a full range of shooting modes, including program, aperture priority, shutter priority and full manual, as well as Intelligent Auto (iA) for less experienced photographers.

Panasonic's New FZ200 Superzoom Camera With 24x f/2.8 Leica Zoom

Besides the 24x f/2.8 Leica zoom lens, full suite of exposure options and RAW shooting, the FZ200 also has 1920 x 1080 60p AVCHD video, a flash hot shoe, a 3-inch tilt-swivel LCD display and a brand new 1.3-million-dot electronic viewfinder (EVF). The FZ200 is fast, too. It can shoot full resolution bursts at up to 12 frames-per-second and its High Speed Video mode can shoot at 120 FPS (NTSC/HD) or 240 FPS (NTSC/VGA) – perfect for slowing down action sports footage or analyzing your golf swing.

The FZ200 looks like a great choice for someone who wants a compact camera with serious performance and a lot of lens, but without the cost and size of an actual digital SLR. I see it as an especially good camera for sports-related business, coaches and athletes. The only other superzoom camera that compares is the Fujifilm X-S1, which has a 24-624mm (equivalent) optical zoom with an f/2.8-5.6 variable aperture. It will be interesting to see how these two cameras measure up in the real world. The FZ200’s f/2.8 Leica zoom certainly looks better at first glance – especially for low light and action telephoto photography. However, the Fujifilm X-S1’s 26x zoom is a bit wider, longer and also has an f/2.8 aperture at the short end of the zoom. More important, the X-S1 uses the same 2/3-inch sensor as the Fujifilm X10. It’s considerably larger than the FZ200’s 1/2.3-inch sensor and produces some of the best image quality I’ve ever seen from a compact camera.

Panasonic hasn’t announced pricing or availability for the FZ200 yet. However, I checked the B&H Web site and they already have a page up for the FZ200 with a price of US $599, which sounds about right based on the features and specs.

Panasonic Lumix FZ200 Superzoom Press Release >>

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About the author: Photo-John

Photo-John, a.k.a. John Shafer, is the managing editor of and has been since the site launched back in 1999. He's an avid outdoor enthusiast and spends as much time as possible on his mountain bike, hiking or skiing in the mountains. He's been taking pictures for ever and ever, and never goes anywhere without a camera.

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