AWESOME ZOOM, poor low light action shots, no focus ring, FAST FPS, Great bargain at $300
Reviewed in the United States on 30 June 2018
The zoom is truly awesome in this. No SLR lens can compare. It's great for birdwatching, zooming in on a face in the crowd, wildlife shots, and even just cool stuff that's a long way away.
4k video is great. I'm a Canon SLR person and they don't have 4k in the low or mid-range for an SLR, so that's why I got this and it is great.
Fast FPS. The camera can take 4k video, which is 8mp at 30fps. It claims it will do it in 4k Burst mode, which really means it takes a 4k video and will show you frame by frame and let you select ones to make photos. Horrible to do on the camera's screen, I wound up getting software that would do it on my PC and just pulling all the images out. Which you can do from any video, so this is an ineffective feature (at least for me). I wanted something that would create 30 images/second, which I could go through on a real screen and post quickly. As this feature is why I chose the Lumix over a Nikon, I'm a little annoyed at their implementation.
Low light conditions for moving subjects are awful. To the point that you will have low light issues in places you didn't realize were low light, and there is no "action" choice on the selector. The F2.8 for the lens in wide isn't matched by a very sensitive sensor, or it's not automatically upping the sensitivity as needed. I have a ton of blurry shots of my kids because of this. I've played with the light levels and it is cludgey at best, completely ineffective at worst. I've hit a sweet spot a couple of times by setting it to 1/60th of a second, but it still has issues (and my kids aren't that fast). This is an AMAZING outdoor daytime camera, but for kids in a bounce house it doesn't work for me.
No Focus Ring, so obstructed zoom is hit or miss. Generally, zoom and autofocus are fantastic and FAST. This means that taking a picture of wildlife that is partially obstructed by a branch means that you may get a fantastic shot of a leaf instead of the Pileated Woodpecker you were trying for. Also, since the aperture only goes to F-8, there's a limit to how much depth you can get so that crystal clear leaf may only be 6 inches closer than the woodpecker, but, oh well.
Very limited options on the selection wheel. They've got the fab 5 (auto, P, A, S, M), then Expressive (for filters), Portrait, Panoramic, C? (maybe custom, but defaults to 1080p/60fps), and then Video (for adjusting settings in video mode)
My last complaint is the smallest, the features (like C above) are poorly explained on screen (aperture is only "A", which isn't useful to noobs), which means that Panasonic style features are not understandable to people with more experience. I accidentally turned on the feature of take 3 shots and merge them which doesn't work for kids moving (but would be great for landscape shots). Missed 1/2 of my kids' Karate class trying to fix it instead of taking pictures.
Overall, this is an AWESOME camera if you are taking zoomed pictures or videos in sunlight, or of non-moving subjects. The autofocusing on a leaf can be annoying, but survivable. The wifi, etc. is nice but not particularly useful for me. I have tested it and it'd be great to put on a monopod and use your phone to selection shots in a crowd. And for $300, no SLR can compare on value. However, once Canon comes out with the T8i, if the 4k is good, I'll likely put this on craigslist. Because of the crappy low light, I still use my Canon T4i if I'm going somewhere like the Baltimore Aquarium or Natural History Museum with my boys, and this camera should have put my T4i to bed.
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