The new Fujifilm F770EXR digital camera has a 20x optical zoom, which is the equivalent of 25–500mm in 35mm format. Its Intelligent Digital Zoom function also doubles the optical zoom, to 40x.
The Canon Powershot SX260 also introduced during 2012 includes a 20x zoom lens (25–500mm).
The Samsung WB850 has a 21x-optical-zoom lens.
Despite all the hoopla in the digital photography marketplace about new DSLRs for 2012, there has also been a surge of new compact cameras with super optical zoom lenses. The new (July 2012) Panasonic LUMIX FZ200 may just be the newest leader in this category. Panasonic claims it is the first compact camera with full-range f/2.8 aperture at 600mm.
The 24x super optical zoom on the LUMIX FZ200 is a LEICA DC VARIO-ELMARIT 25mm ultra-wide angle lens, which is the equivalent of 25–600mm in 35mm format. Select the Intelligent Zoom mode and the 24x becomes 48x. The FZ200 is also built with Intelligent Resolution technology that makes the necessary adjustments, so there is no loss of picture quality at the equivalent of 1,200mm.
There were 2 real customer reviews of the LUMIX FZ200, all giving it a 4 star rating. If you would like to read these reviews you can do so here.
It wouldn’t make much sense to give the Panasonic LUMIX FZ200 such a super-zoom lens unless the rest of the camera’s features were equally outstanding.
The camera’s 12.1-MP High Sensitivity MOS sensor is new for this model. Combined with the LSI Venus Engine image processor, the sensor delivers high speed and excellent image quality. Imagine shooting at 12 fps in the burst mode and recording all those images in full resolution. The LUMIX FZ200’s sensor/image processor is also able to drive a High-Speed Video function that records action subjects at 120 fps (NTSC/HD) or 240 fps (NTSC/VGA).
To benefit fully from such an enormous focal length range to 600mm at the telephoto end, Panasonic gave the LUMIX FZ200 its POWER Optical Image Stabilizer. When you’re racked to an object or subject at a great distance, you need a stabilization system that will compensate for hand movement or camera vibration.
Another feature that allows the LUMIX FZ200 to throw its weight around the travel camera arena is an advanced electronic viewfinder with a 1,312,000-dot resolution and a 100% field of view. The LCD display is a large 3-inch screen with 460,000-dot resolution and wide-angle viewing to share your images and video instantly with the group. Whenever you’re enjoying your vacation or travel to new places, you want to see it all through your camera, so you can bring home the very best images.
Panasonic has packed the LUMIX FZ200 with many video recording features that simply weren’t even considered for most compact cameras just a few years ago. This camera shoots 1080/60p in AVCHD Progressive (MPEG-4) and MP4 formats. Both the full range of the optical zoom and the image stabilization system are fully functional during video capture. Audio is the one capability that has advanced the most on cameras of this type. The LUMIX FZ200 features a stereo zoom microphone with a noise reduction system and Auto Wind Cut to lessen any ambient noise caused by wind. Additional video modes make it possible to shoot actively at wide angle, add special effects and lock onto subjects/objects in motion.
The Panasonic LUMIX FZ200 has plenty of automatic features, but digital photographers who are serious about improving their skills can use this camera as a teaching tool when the manual control mode is selected.
In addition, the FZ200 is filled with many creative options, including various filters (Soft Focus, Star Filter, etc.), compositional styles (Vivid, Portrait, etc.) and Intelligent Auto capabilities (Face Recognition, Handheld Night Shot, etc.)
At the time of this PhotographyTalk preview of the Panasonic LUMIX FZ200, its price and release date had not yet been announced.