Panasonic LUMIX DMC-FZ70 Review

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The LUMIX DMC-FZ70 is a super-zoom bridge camera made by Panasonic. This camera boasts a 60x zoom lens and a 16MP sensor. Panasonic has a strong presence in the budget market and this camera is why. It’s affordable, versatile, and user friendly.

Newer Version: LUMIX FZ80 Review

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Table of Contents

Panasonic LUMIX DMC-FZ70K

Key Features

  • 60x optical zoom (20-1200mm full frame)
  • HD Video (1080/60i, 1080/30p)
  • 1 Megapixel 1/2.3-inch MOS Sensor
  • Aperture: F/2.8-F/5.9
  • Image Stabilization (IS)

Sensor

The LUMIX DMC-FZ70 has a 1/2.3-inch sensor. This is a normal sensor size for compact, point-and-shoot, and bridge cameras. ISO noise performance will not be as good as on larger sensors, but for cameras at this price point, it is average.

The ISO range of this camera is from a base value of 100 to a high end of 3200. There is a high sensitivity mode that goes up to 6400. For the size of the sensor, this range is more than enough. I would not recommend using the highest setting of 6400 as the amount of noise would make the image very grainy.

16.1 MP is more than enough for this camera. This results in an image resolution of roughly 4920 x 3264. That’s a large image.

Video

The following video showcases the FZ70’s zoom and video capabilities. It also showcases the camera’s onboard microphone towards the end.

Lens

It’s easy to see that the lens is the most impressive part of this camera. With a range of 20-1200mm (full frame equivalent), it’s no wonder this camera is popular. This zoom range makes this camera the ultimate jack of all trades. It goes from ultrawide angle to hyper telephoto.

The ultrawide side of the zoom range is perfect for landscapes, architecture, and astrophotography. The telephoto end is great for nature and sports photography. The middle works well for everything in between.

The really impressive thing about this lens is the upper end of its zoom range. At 1200mm, you can take a picture of the moon that looks like it was though a telescope or get the facial expression of a deer 200 yards away. If you want more zoom power than you know what to do with, this is a great camera for you.

This lens has a wider aperture than many bridge cameras, coming in at F/2.8. This will allow more light and a shallower depth of field than higher apertures. Even with this wide aperture, the camera cannot compete with pricier mirrorless and DSLR cameras with larger sensors, as the same aperture on these cameras will produce even shallower depths of field. For the price point, however, this camera is impressive when it comes to aperture. You will not be able to pull of nighttime action shots, but you will get more light that similarly priced bridge cameras.

Video Capabilities

The FZ70 is capable of 1080/60i and 1080/30p, which means you can get some nice video from this camera. As you may have seen from the video earlier, the image stabilization keeps the video pretty steady, even when handheld at longer focal lengths. The image stabilization is also helpful for finding your subject when taking photos at high focal lengths.

There is no 4k video, but most people don’t have 4k monitors anyway. Most mobile streaming is also done at 1920×1080 or below.

When taking video, zooming in and out appears smooth and the camera finds focus at a reasonable speed. Zooming in and out is audible through the camera’s on-board microphone.

LCD Screen and EVF

The FZ70 has both an LCD screen and electronic view finder (EVF). The EVF is where you put your eye to see what the camera sees. The LCD screen on the back of the camera is 3in and has 460k dots. The screen is fixed to the camera body and is not touch screen. The menu buttons are easy to use, but something about having a touch screen is just nice. This does not really hurt the usability and certainly not the image quality of the camera.

Design and Battery

The design of the DMC-FZ70 is superb. The button layout is well thought out and the ergonomics are great. It feels sturdy to hold and looks great. Talking more about the button layout, it’s laid out simply and you won’t find yourself wondering what to press. There is a hot shoe capable of accepting accessories like speedlights to get more out of your camera.

The battery life is ok. Panasonic says you can expect to take around 400 pictures on a single charge. This isn’t bad for the price point and will only disappoint avid shooters or those who forget to charge their batteries. If that sounds like you, don’t fret. You can purchase extra batteries inexpensively.

Coming in at only 1.34 lb with the battery and an SD card in place, your arms won’t be tired even after a long shooting session. The camera is also pretty compact when the lens is at 20mm, so traveling with it isn’t much of a problem. It’s definitely larger than a point-and-shoot, but not too big.

LUMIX FZ70 w/Speedlight

Ease of Use

The menu structure is simple to understand and navigate, a hallmark of Panasonic cameras. Like I already mentioned, the buttons are laid out well and are easy to understand and use. The zoom function on the camera is intuitive and simple. Overall, this camera is very easy to use.

Image Quality

So, what do the images really look like? Well, image quality is only ok. That isn’t surprising for such a low priced, hyper-versatile camera. It’s about the same as similarly priced cameras. The image quality for low light situations is nearly unusable, but when you give the camera enough light, it can make some great images. There is some softness at the extremes of aperture and the extremes of focal length, but that is to be expected at this price point.

Conclusion

For under $300, this camera just makes sense. Image quality is ok, the lens offers incredible versatility, and the camera is well-built and easy to use. If this is your price range and the type of camera you’re looking for, you can rest assured that this camera is a great value.

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