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Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ330 review

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

Panasonic FZ330

I found the Panasonic FZ330 a thoroughly enjoyable camera to use. It feels good to hold and handle, its menu system is intuitive, and its superb viewfinder and vari-angle touchscreen allow you to use the camera comfortably in all kinds of light. Autofocus is snappy and responsive in almost every mode, and the 25-600mm f/2.8 zoom lens gives impressive results across its range.

The camera packs in so many features, and so many different ways of working, that beginners in particular may feel a little overawed. However, the intelligent auto mode works very well, giving the more cautious user a great fallback option.

Given the relatively small 1/2.3-inch sensor that's typical of this kind of bridge camera the image quality is surprisingly high, and much of the credit must go to the excellent Leica lens. However, I couldn't help wishing the sensor was just a little larger, in particular when using higher sensitivities.

The FZ330 performs well in all areas, and offers more than enough functionality for most users, with the 4K video and three 4K burst modes for action stills a real bonus. It's a definite step up from the FZ200 and, while it may lack the 1-inch sensor and resultant image quality of the Canon G3 X and Sony RX10 II, it comes at a much lower price. Unlike the G3 X its f/2.8 maximum aperture is constant throughout the zoom range, and it has much greater reach than the RX10 II.

The FZ330 looks to be very good value for money, particularly when you consider the excellent inbuilt viewfinder and constant f/2.8 aperture. Whether FZ200 owners will feel the need to upgrade depends on how swayed they are by the FZ330's new features, while the smaller sensor size may deter those hoping to print reasonably large; but for those wanting a versatile and feature-rich compact camera, the FZ330 ticks many boxes.

We liked

This is a bridge camera that appears to lack nothing. Its lens is class-leading and image quality, for a small sensor, is excellent. JPEG files look great quality straight out of camera, particularly at lower sensitivities, while raw shooting is available for those who want maximum quality and editing flexibility.

We disliked

Image quality isn't up there with the 1-inch sensor mega-zoom bridge cameras, and high ISO performance, while decent, also falls behind some of the competition. Dynamic range is also a little limited, with highlights being lost relatively quickly and shadows becoming noisy at higher sensitivities.

Final verdict

The FZ330 is an intuitive and fun camera to use, is packed with features and boasts an excellent f/2.8 zoom lens with incredible reach; the bright, high-resolution viewfinder and vari-angle touchscreen add to its ease of use. Image quality is excellent, given the sensor size, even if it doesn't match that of more expensive 1-inch sensor rivals – the inclusion of a larger sensor might just have made this camera irresistible.