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Panasonic FZ 72 mini-review (1 Viewer)

bartolli

Well-known member
I recently bought a Panasonic FZ 72 (also known as FZ 70 elsewhere?) to replace my old FZ 28 which I used with the 1.7x teleconverter (now up for sale on an auction site!). A lot of my comments below are therefore comparisons with my old FZ 28.

My main reason for upgrading was to spend some birthday money and to try to get better low-light performance at the higher end zooms. I figured a camera that can zoom to 1200mm focal length without a converter would be better than one that zooms to 826mm with a tc. Not surprisingly, this is very much the case!

My general way of taking photos is to use aperture priority; viewfinder (not LCD screen); burst-mode 5 shots; start at 200 ISO; + use a monopod if appropriate. I adjust the aperture to get a decent shutter speed and then up the ISO if needs be.

Firstly, I noticed that the FZ28's little joystick has gone. Shame, because this was very handy for quickly changing ISO setting + focus/exposure modes. The FZ 72 has a quick menu button at the bottom of the back which enables you to do the same thing but I find the location not as convenient. The ISO can be changed by one button press, so is ok.

The FZ 72 has a separate shutter release button for recording videos, a strange idea I thought, but it does enable you to record videos without switching to video mode, so turns out to be quite useful.

There is a thumbwheel on the top of the back which, when in aperture or shutter priority mode, enables rapid change of aperture or shutter speed. This wheel also doubles up, so that when you push it in, you can change other settings depending on what mode the camera is in. In aperture priority mode (which I generally always use) this activates the over or under exposure control, which is very good cos you can see the result in the viewfinder before you shoot. With the FZ 28 you had to guess!

There is a focus button on the top of the camera which enables you to change the size of the AF area, again nice and handy.

Battery life appears quite impressive, I have not had any "ooh er, battery's getting low" moments with this camera, even though I have been out 2 days in succession without charging. I would point out though that I very rarely use the LCD screen so I turn it off, preferring to hold the camera firmly against my face and use the viewfinder. I'm quite happy with the viewfinder on this camera.

Minor point: the little door to the hdmi/usb slots doesn't open/close as positively on this camera, the hinges have been redesigned and I don't like them!

When I first tried photographing birds in flight with the FZ 72, I struggled. Partly because I found the camera's auto focus kept "hunting" in and out, which made it virtually impossible to track the bird in shot. The biggest reason however, appears to have been my technique, and after a lot of practice (and finding the appropriate zoom level and AF area) then its not so bad. I spent a happy hour or two at Cemlyn bay practising on wind-assisted sandwich terns, with moderate success but plenty of room my improvement!

I've been fairly impressed with the performance at full zoom, I'm getting a lot more "keepers" than with my old set-up. Admittedly, we have been very lucky with wonderful sunshine the last few weeks, but even in shade I'm finding the shutter speed at the higher zooms is much more conducive to non-blurry shots without having to bump the ISO too much.

I think the attached puffins at South Stack are probably a good challenge for any of these type of cameras. I had the camera at full zoom, on a monopod, leaning against a wall, pointing well down to the cliff opposite. No processing, just resized for this board.

The wind-assisted sandwich terns were hand-held, point+shoot and hope for the best. No processing, just resized for this board.

The singing sedge warbler was taken on a monopod and full zoom. No processing, just resized for this board

I'm happy so far, and looking forward to improving my shots with this camera. I just wish someone would produce a superzoom camera with a BIG sensor!

The latest 3 videos on my you-tube channel were taken with this camera. I think the one of the South Stack seabird colony really shows off the zoom capability (but not my cinematography skills!)
 

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njlarsen

Gallery Moderator
Opus Editor
Supporter
Barbados
Bartolli, thanks for sharing. Technique-vice, the puffin picture seems like the white is slightly overexposed, otherwise it is a good shot!

There is a bigger sensor superzoom in the fz1000, but its reach is not quite as impressive as yours.

Niels
 

bartolli

Well-known member
Ta niels, you're right about the exposure. I need to remember to underexpose slightly with white birds!
I noticed the fz 1000, but I decided to go for the longer reach.
Hopefully, the 1000 will open the floodgates + in a yr or 2 there might be a shedload of big sensor superzooms to choose from.
 

Swissboy

Sempach, Switzerland
Supporter
Switzerland
.............+ in a yr or 2 there might be a shedload of big sensor superzooms to choose from.

But we have to remember that this would also mean bigger cameras. Particularly if we want that extra reach.

I just saw my friend's FZ-7 again some days ago, and I could not believe how tiny it is compared to my present FZ-150. And he is still using the camera intensively as his only one. No birds, though, just landscapes and close-ups.

He was the one who convinced me about the FZ model line. But I have since gone from my FZ-8 through the FZ-28 and the FZ-38 to the FZ-150. Always having accepted stepwise slight increases in size. And the FZ-200 might well be coming for me around Christmas. Unless Panasonic announces another FZ successor that continues the compact route.
 
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bartolli

Well-known member
Hi Robert
Personally I don't think I would mind the extra size/weight.
Looking at some specs:
Fz200: 125mm x 87 x 110, wt 588g
Fz72: 130 x 97 x 118, 640g (weighed my own!)
Fz1000: 137 x 99 x 131, 831g

So, roughly similar size but weight up on the large sensor model?

Nick

Ps: my avatar species is a sontaran, never seen one in the flesh fortunately.
 

Swissboy

Sempach, Switzerland
Supporter
Switzerland
...........Looking at some specs:
Fz200: 125mm x 87 x 110, wt 588g
Fz72: 130 x 97 x 118, 640g (weighed my own!)
Fz1000: 137 x 99 x 131, 831g

So, roughly similar size but weight up on the large sensor model?

...........

"Roughly similar" but always just a bit more. And that's what I mean, compare the cameras over several such "steps", and it really adds up.

My FZ-8 - which I still have, but have not used for quite a while - weighs only 332g.
And the dimensions are 114 mm (not counting the lugs) x 71.5 x 90.5
 

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