TODO alt text

Panasonic Lumix FZ72 review

World's longest zoom range… but it does it deliver decent images?

Our Verdict

For

  • 60x zoom
  • Raw format shooting
  • Full manual control

Against

  • No Wi-Fi
  • No touchscreen
  • Low resolution, small EVF
Scores
Panasonic FZ72
Panasonic FZ72
Panasonic FZ72
Panasonic FZ72
Panasonic FZ72

The bridge camera market is one that is continuing to perform well, amid a general downturn in compact camera sales.

Bridge cameras fall into the compact camera area of the market, not because of their small overall size (far from it), but because of their relatively small sensor.

The FZ72's 16.1 million pixel High Sensitivity MOS sensor is 1/2.3 inches, the same size as found in many (premium compact) cameras. What makes bridge cameras such as the FZ72 stand out is of course their huge zoom ranges. The FZ72 takes that principle to the extreme, with its 60x zoom range making it the longest available on the market.

Other cameras in this area of the market, such as the Canon SX50 HS and Sony HX300 offer 50x optical zooms, which are pretty impressive but are left somewhat in the shade by the 20-1200mm equivalent the FZ72 is capable of. What's also impressive is the wide angle of 20mm, with most cameras like this offering 24 or 28mm starting point, perhaps giving the FZ72 the edge for landscape photographers.

Panasonic Lumix FZ72
The wide end of the zoom range is wider than many other cameras

At its widest point, the FZ72 offers the appealing f/2.8 maximum aperture, matching the Sony HX300, but beating the Canon HS50 which is only capable of f/3.5 at the widest point. The FZ72 has a slightly wider maximum aperture at its full 1200mm, offering f/5.9, compared with the Sony's f/6.3 and Canon's f/6.5.

Panasonic also has an FZ200, which features an f/2.8 constant aperture, but with only a 24x optical zoom ratio – that's worth a look if the idea of the maximum aperture appeals to you more than a long zoom ratio.

Intelligent Zoom and Intelligent Resolution are included to boost that 60x zoom even further up to an equivalent of 120x. A separate tele conversion lens is also available to boost the optics of the lens up to 102x.

Aimed at enthusiast photographers, the FZ72 is capable of shooting in raw format and has full manual control along with semi-automatic modes such as aperture priority and shutter priority. There are also digital filters, such as Expressive, Retro, Dynamic Monochrome and so on that you can choose from. Panoramic mode is also included.

Round the back

On the back of the camera is a three-inch LCD screen with approximately 460k dots, but Panasonic has decided not to make this fixed position device touch-sensitive. There is also an electronic viewfinder, which is 0.2 inches in size and 202k dots.

As you might expect, full HD video recording is available in 60i, 50i and 25p. A hotshoe is also included for adding accessories such as external flashguns, though an inbuilt flash is also included.

As of October 2013, the FZ72 is available at a price which is a touch more expensive than its nearest rivals, the Canon SX50 HS and the Sony HX300, but not enough to take it out of contention.

All of these cameras are available for around the same price as some beginner DSLRs such as the Nikon D3200 or Canon EOS 1100D. Although those cameras have much larger sensors, you'd need to shell out a hell of a lot of cash to get the same kind of zoom range from a DSLR lens, so this is aimed primarily at traveling photographers and those who want maximum flexibility without having to carry around heavy and expensive equipment.

Tech Specs

Product TypeBridge Camera
Battery Size SupportedProprietary Battery Size
Green CompliantYes
Maximum Video Resolution1920 x 1080
Effective Camera Resolution16.1 Megapixel
GPSNo
USBYes
HDMIYes
PictBridgeYes
Product FamilyLumix
HD Movie ModeYes
Memory Card SupportedSecure Digital (SD) Card, Secure Digital Extended Capacity (SDXC), Secure Digital High Capacity (SDHC) Card
Image StabilizationOptical
Optical Zoom60x
Digital Zoom5x
Brand NamePanasonic
FeaturesFace Detection, Live View, Continuous Shooting Mode, Orientation Sensor
Screen Size7.6 cm (3")
Video FormatsMP4, AVCHD
Viewfinder TypeElectronic
Weight (Approximate)562 g
Green Compliance Certificate/AuthorityREACH
Flash Memory Capacity200 MB
Minimum Focus Distance10 mm
Maximum Image Resolution4608 x 3456
Maximum Frame Rate50 fps
Number of Batteries Supported1
Battery Built-inNo
Battery RechargeableYes
Battery IncludedYes
Display Screen TypeLCD
Image Sensor TypeMOS
Total Camera Resolution16.8 Megapixel
Height97 mm
Width130.3 mm
Depth118.1 mm
Autofocus Points23
Focal Length3.58 mm to 215 mm
Image FormatsJPEG, MPO, RAW
Focus ModesAuto, Manual
ManufacturerPanasonic
Product ModelDMC-FZ72
Product NameDMC-FZ72 Digital Camera
Product LineLumix
Aspect Ratio16:9
Manufacturer Part NumberDMC-FZ72EBK
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.panasonic.co.uk
Marketing Information

20mm Ultra Wide Angle Lens with Super Telephoto 60x Optical Zoom

A 20mm ultra wide-angle 60x optical zoom lens (35mm camera equivalent: 20-1200mm) makes it possible to capture dynamic landscape and wild animals distant away. The 20mm ultra wide-angle lens captures approx.140% wider angle of view compared with a 24mm angle of view. The Intelligent Zoom extends the zoom ratio up to 120x equiv. with minimum deterioration of image quality. The zoom ratio can further be extended when combined Intelligent Zoom with a Tele Conversion Lens DMW-LT55 (sold separately) which captures the cratered surface of the moon.

The POWER O.I.S. (Optical Image Stabilizer) effectively suppresses hand-shake vibration. The angular width that the DMC-FZ72 can compensate is more than 200% wider than the predecessor DMC-FZ62 at the tele-end, which realizes handheld 1200mm super telephoto shooting. In addition, the 60x optical zoom with POWER O.I.S. is available in video recording, too. The Active Mode is equipped with DMC-FZ72 that encourages active video recording at wide angle such as shooting while walking without causing deterioration of image quality.

The DMC-FZ72 records 1920 x 1080 full-HD video in AVCHD/MP4. The sound quality is improved thanks to the newly developed Wind Shield Zoom Microphone that minimizes wind noise by approx. 70% compared with the DMC-FZ62. Externally, the special sealed structure prevents wind from hitting the microphone directly and the draft structure suppresses retention of air internally. With a substantial increase in volume by approx. 50%, the microphone boasts better S/N ratio to suppress noise in quiet circumstances to catch the target sound.

The 16.1-megapixel High Sensitivity MOS sensor is newly integrated in DMC-FZ72. Together with the Venus Engine, it elevates the response, sensitivity and image quality even to the higher level. Integrating the high speed digital signal output technology, the DMC-FZ72 shoot 9 fps* in 16.1-megapixel resolution with mechanical shutter and 5 fps with continuous AF. It also contributes to the Light Speed AF. Together with the quick start-up time, the DMC-FZ72 never misses the most fleeting shooting opportunities. * Max. 3 images.

The DMC-FZ72 is equipped with 0.2-inch EVF (Electronic Viewfinder). Thanks to the increased frame rate from 30 fps to max. 60 fps, image lag is also minimized making it suitable for shooting fast-moving subject under strong sunlight. The 3.0-inch 460,000-dot Intelligent LCD with AR Coating and wide viewing angle assures comfortable monitoring in severe shooting position in various conditions of circumstance. With its P/A/S/M mode, you can enjoy creative shooting expressing their intention not only in photo but also in video.

Battery Life400 Shot
Package Contents
  • DMC-FZ72 Digital Camera
  • Battery Pack
  • Battery Charger
  • USB Cable
  • Shoulder Strap
  • Software CD-ROM
  • Lens Cap
  • Lens Cap String
Display Resolution460000000 Pixel
Limited Warranty1 Year
Built-in DevicesMicrophone, Speaker