panasonic, fz330, bridge, camera, digital, consumer, review, reviews, 600mm, zoom
Panasonic DMC-FZ330

The new trend for long-range super zoom Bridge camera tech continues with this keenly-priced, 12-megapixel travel option from Panasonic. And it’s a cracker. Let’s first take a look at the lens; it’s a Leica with an SLR equivalent focal range of 26mm to 600mm. Yes, it’s 300mm short of the Nikon P900 reviewed below but let me tell you that 600mm is plenty enough range for pretty much any eventuality. But there’s more… Where the Nikon’s aperture changes as you zoom in (at its furthest it hits f6.5), this beauty remains at a bright f2.8 all the way through; and that’s phenomenal for a camera in this price range.

 

The weatherproof FZ330 uses a small 1/2.3 sensor so it won’t ever compete with a standard consumer DSLR’s APS-C sensor if printing is your thing. But seeing few people ever print images these days, it’ll produce shots perfectly good enough for any 27-inch computer monitor or HD TV. And the images this thing produces are outstanding, with crisp detail and a lovely rich colour tone. The FZ330 comes with the usual gamut of special effects, manual overrides and scene selections, along with high-quality, pin-sharp 4K video and even 4K photo, which is great for action shots. To use it, simply sift though a ream of 4K video and select which still image you want to use. But there’s more…

 

You may have heard of the Lytro Light Field camera which allows the user to change the focus in an image after having already taken it. For instance, say you’ve taken a snap of a chess set. With the Lytro you can apply sharpness to any one piece. Well this Panasonic has a similar system and it’s called Post Focus. Using the rear touch screen, simply tap on the foreground or background of an image you’ve taken and the subject springs into crisp focus. We haven’t a clue how it works but it’s bloody brilliant.

 

Device Squad hasn’t tried the new, more expensive Sony RX10 III yet (it also has a 600mm zoom and a much larger one-inch sensor) so for the time being the FZ330 can be considered the best value do-it-all travel camera on the market. It’ll zoom to a huge distance and focus on the wings of a bee from just a few centimetres away. And all in one tidy DSLR-sized package. Top value.

£499, panasonic.com/uk