Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ330 review

Panasonic builds on the success of the FZ200 with the faster, 4K-enabled FZ330

Panasonic FZ330

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The Panasonic FZ330 is a fair bit larger than the FZ200, measuring 131.6 x 91.5 x 117.1mm (5.2 x 3.6 x 4.6 inches). It's also close to 20% heavier, at just over 690g or 1.5lbs including battery and SD card. It's certainly not something to slip into your coat pocket but, when you consider the features and functionality that are packed in, neither the size nor the weight are unreasonable. It's also dust- and splash-proof.

Overall the camera feels well made, if obviously plastic. Its textured, slightly rubberised coating is comfortable to hold and the deep front grip is nicely moulded. I found the ergonomics very good, with my index finger easily able to access the shutter button and zoom lever, as well as the various top plate controls.

The top mode dial feels a little insubstantial, but its textured side surface makes it easy to use and it's quite stiff in use, so there's no danger of switching modes by mistake. The on/off lever below this is also reassuringly firm in use. The camera starts up quickly, with the lens extending slightly.

Panasonic FZ330 review

The FZ330's vari-angle touchscreen makes it easy to compose shots and adjust settings in all kinds of situations.

The control dial at the rear of the top plate is similar in feel to the mode dial; this isn't quite as smooth in use as similar dials on some other cameras, but I found it well positioned for my thumb when changing aperture and shutter speeds.

The zoom lever is easy to operate; it's a little noisy, and initially it felt a bit jerky too, although once I got used to it I found that I was able to zoom in and out in small and precise increments. The pop-up flash feels solid, and opens and shuts with a reassuring click.

There's no multi-function lens ring on the FZ330. A second zoom lever is located on the side of the lens, although I found this much less convenient to use than the top lever. A macro button and a small manual focus dial are also located on the lens – I was pleasantly surprised at how easy the dial was to operate when focusing manually.

The rear of the camera boasts an impressive 3-inch, 1,040,000-dot vari-angle touchscreen. Another improvement is the 1,440,000-dot OLED electronic viewfinder, with 0.7x magnification and an eye sensor for automatic switching between viewfinder and LCD.

I wear glasses, but I still found the viewfinder clear and bright, and a pleasure to use – having it is a huge bonus when you're shooting in bright, sunny conditions. That said, the vari-angle screen gives you plenty of options when you don't want to use the viewfinder – I found that I could almost always manipulate it so that I could see the screen pretty clearly, even in difficult conditions.

Panasonic FZ330 review

The layout of the top and rear controls is neat and simple, placing everything within easy reach of your finger or thumb.

Panasonic's touchscreen technology also works beautifully, giving you quick access to many useful features including the quick menu. The ability to change the focus point via the screen while looking through the viewfinder is a very welcome feature, and it's quick and easy to do so. The screen housing is also reassuringly solid.

Four partially recessed buttons (two of which are customisable) are handily placed around the screen, and an AF selector switch and AE/lock button are situated just to the right of the viewfinder. The AF selector switch was easily adjustable with my thumb, even when looking through the viewfinder.

The four-way function switch to the right of the screen was a little awkward in use, but again it's probably something you'd get used to. Having a quick menu button with customisable settings is a very welcome feature.