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Editor’s note: We’re adding something new to our camera reviews. Along with images of the FZ100 camera, we’re including a series of photos shot by the camera.

From the box to your hand to snapping away with the Lumix FZ100, the latest feature-laden compact superzoom from Panasonic, you get the impression you’re handling a camera that means business.

The FZ100 is packed with some tried and true Lumix functionality, like its Power OIS optical image stabilization, a new Motion Deblur feature, face detection, a 24x optical zoom, an 11 frame-per-second burst rate even in RAW, an articulating LCD and scads more. Lumix’s Intelligent Auto processes and pumps out reliably exposed, nicely saturated, almost always true-to-color images — just so long as they’re shot at ISO400 or below. The industry has been preening its feathers over supposed sensor improvements, more ISO latitude and better image quality, but sadly, in spite of a really smart feature set and functionality, the images out of the FZ100 still suffer when pushed beyond ISO400.

On the motion-picture side, it offers many flavors of video. It’d take a whole paragraph to list them, but the top end is Full 1080i HD at 30 fps in AVCHD, which is fantastic for viewing on the big screen. You can also shoot in Motion JPEG format, less technically wieldy and more appropriate for sharing on the web or making simple edits. The 24x zoom range of the FZ100 adds a lot of versatility, as well. However, the upgraded stereo microphone atop the body picks up the sound of the zoom’s motor.

Panasonic has done a pretty good job of fitting the FZ100 to your hand. The controls at the top of the body are easy to identify and operate and the Mode Dial’s indents are snappy enough to prevent accidental changes. The back of the camera becomes a bit of a challenge for those with medium-sized fingers and beyond. Making room for the hinge and housing of the articulated LCD takes some real estate away from the function buttons. That means they have to be smaller and are a tad tough to operate.

WIRED Mode wheel has very distinct indents so the camera doesn’t accidentally switch modes. Li-Ion battery rather than AAs. Stereo microphone. Nimble RAW shooting.

TIRED Poor image quality above ISO400. Electronic viewfinder is a throwaway afterthought. Expensive.

Photos by Jackson Lynch for Wired.com

Editor’s addendum: The photo and text that were originally posted here were from an earlier article reviewing a Panasonic G10. This text and the accompanying images correctly reviews and reflects the FZ100.


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Lumix DMC-FZ100 Black Digital Camera (14.1 Megapixel - 4.50 mm-108 mm - 3" LCD - 24x Optical Zoom - Optical - 4320 x 3240 Image - 1920 x 1080 Video - Motion JPEG - HDMI - PictBridge) prices from PriceGrabber.com
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