The Panasonic Lumix FZ80 is an entry level superzoom bridge camera. This camera is popular because of its 60x zoom range, affordable price, and 4K video capabilities.
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Touch LCD Screen
4K Burst Photo
Red Eye Reduction
The Lumix FZ80 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 80 to a high end of 6400. For the size of the sensor, this range is more than enough. I wouldn’t recommend using the highest setting of 6400 as the amount of noise would make the image very grainy. Try to stay as low as possible.
The Lumix FZ80 has an 18.1 MP sensor. That many megapixels, which result in a 4896×3672 image, provide enough resolution for everything except large prints. For reference, most computer monitors are 1920×1080.
The lens on the Lumix FZ80 is basically the same as the one on the older FZ70.
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 the 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 for lighter images and a shallower depth of field. 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.
This is one of the biggest differences between the FZ70 and FZ80. The FZ80 has 4K. This is amazing for such an inexpensive camera. The FZ80 also has 1080p/60fps, which is a huge upgrade over the 1080p/60i in the FZ70 (60i means 60 half frames per second).
4K video is great for greater resolution and allows for greater freedom when cropping during video editing. 1080p/60fps video provides smoother looking shots when there is movement in your video. If resolution and smooth movement in video matter to you, you won’t be disappointed with this camera.
The FZ80 also sports optical image stabilization (OIS). This feature operates when shooting both stills and video. It becomes necessary when shooting at the higher end of this camera’s focal range and is incredibly useful for capturing smoother video. At the high end of the zoom range, even with OIS, the video becomes shaky handheld. I recommend a tripod for shooting at such extreme focal lengths.
There is no external microphone port, so you’ll be stuck with the on-board stereo mic. It isn’t bad, but it won’t provide the same quality as a 3rd party mic solution.
There is a 30-minute recording limit for video, so if you need longer continuous video footage, this is not your camera. Most don’t need 30 minutes of continuous recording.
The Lumix FZ80 has both an LCD screen and electronic view finder (EVF). The EVF is where you put your eye to see what the camera sees. On the back of the camera you will find a fixed LCD touch screen. Unfortunately, the screen is not articulatable, which is a nice feature for vlogging and general ease of use. The touch screen isn’t necessary for image quality but makes the experience of using the camera much nicer.
The touch options are very responsive and intuitive. The menu buttons are also easy to use. I definitely prefer to use the LCD over the EVF, but both work well.
Button layout is not an issue for the FZ80. It is clean, simple and easy to understand.
Simplicity is the name of the game with the FZ80. The design is sleek and simple. This is great for beginners who don’t want to be overwhelmed by too many buttons and dials.
This camera has an 895 mAh rechargeable Lithium-ion Battery. The battery life should be more than enough for most people. Panasonic claims you will get 330 shots per charge, but you can get way more. Just taking pictures, you can get well over 500 shots on a single charge. If you’re taking 4K video, don’t expect it to last too long.
The camera has microHDMI TypeD, Micro-USB, and USB 2.0 wired connections, as well as Wi-Fi available for image transfer.
It’s important to remember this camera requires an SD card. I recommend the SanDisk 64GB Extreme PRO. It’s inexpensive, works with 4K video, is very reliable, and has plenty of storage.
The button layout is simple and easy to use. The menu system is very easy to navigate. Like I said earlier, simplicity is the name of the game here. Everything is clearly labeled and easy to understand. The feature set is not overwhelmingly large. The lens zoom function is simple and easy to use. The ergonomics of the camera are great. It feels good to hold.
Image quality is better than the FZ70, but not by much. This isn’t much of a surprise as the lens is the same and the sensor uses the same image processor. The added 2 MP doesn’t do a whole lot when everything else is constant. Like the FZ70, 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. Noise is a bit of an issue with this camera.
Overall, image quality is only ok, but I suspect people buying this camera don’t intend to put their images on billboards or order 10ft prints, so it’s not an issue. The images this camera takes look perfect on smartphones, computers, and when printed at reasonable sizes.
For under $300, this camera just makes sense. Image quality is perfect for the intended audience, the lens offers incredible versatility, and the camera is well-built and easy to use. The 4K and 1080p/60fps video and many added features make the FZ80 a better buy for most people than the FZ70 for only $50 more. If this is your price range and the type of camera you’re looking for, you can rest assured that this camera is a fantastic value.