Photography Camera review: The new Panasonic Lumix DC-FZ80

Photo of Mogens Johansen

Superzoom cameras appeal to those who don’t want to carry multiple lenses but still want a range of options, from wide angle to powerful telephoto lens. 

A 60x zoom is huge by anyone’s measure. 

The new Panasonic Lumix DC-FZ80 has one, putting it into the superzoom category.

Superzoom cameras (or bridge cameras) appeal to those who don’t want to carry multiple lenses but still want a range of focal-length options, from wide angle to powerful telephoto lens. 

Superzooms are medium-size cameras, between DSLR and compact but considering the range of focal lengths they offer, superzooms are relatively compact.

The FZ80’s greatest appeal is the massive 60x optical zoom spanning from 20mm-1200mm (full-frame equivalent). 

It has a new 18.1MP MOS sensor and the usual P, A, S, M shooting modes. Panasonic has also given the camera useful features such as 4K video, 4K Photo and Creative Control with 22 filter options. 

The camera is nice to hold and even though it looks a little stocky because of the large lens barrel, thanks to its curvy shape it’s still easy on the eye.

I’m playing around with it during a walk along the Canning River, and seeing the zoom go from 20mm wide angle to the massive 1200mm telephoto is really impressive. 

I start with a pleasant wide-angle view of the jetty at the Shelley foreshore and finish off with a close-up pic of a couple of houses on the opposite side of the river at Salter Point.

The 1200mm telephoto comes in handy for a shot of a shag perched on a post about 100m from the shore. The autofocus performs well for a cheaper camera but I did find it was searching a bit before locking on, particularly when using the long focal length. 

The camera doesn’t have a built-in eye sensor, so if you want to switch between using the EVF and the rear display, you need to press the LVF button at the rear of the camera. The Lumix DC-FZ80 does most things reasonably well but the huge focal length range of this type of camera has to come with some compromises. 

The compact retractable lens starts with f/2.8 at 20mm and f/5.9 at 1200mm but the actual aperture range is limited. The autofocus struggles to lock on fast-moving subjects at the longer focal lengths and the resolution dropped off a bit at the longer focal lengths.

I’m not sold on the superzoom because the performance of the zoom at the longest focal length isn’t the best. But the convenience of having such a powerful zoom in one inexpensive compact package will have a lot of appeal for some and the camera represents good value for money at about $599.

Fact File

Disclaimer

Panasonic lent the Lumix DC-FZ80 to Mogens Johansen.

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