Panasonic Lumix DCFZ80 Review: A All-Purpose Camera With ValueWe reviewed the Panasonic Lumix DCFZ80. It's a superzoom camera with great photo and video quality.

Panasonic Lumix DC-FZ80

Panasonic Lumix DC-FZ80

/ Andy Zahn

We like this
  • Great image quality

  • Excellent video quality

  • Impressive touchscreen

  • Great value

The Things We Hate
  • Cheap exterior

  • Fixed screen

  • No microphone port

  • Poor viewfinder

Although the Panasonic Lumix DCFZ80 may look and feel cheap, it produces excellent images and videos. The camera is a great value for money.

The Panasonic Lumix DCFZ80 was purchased by us so that our expert reviewer could fully test it and evaluate it. Continue reading to see our complete product review.

For budget-minded photographers, the Panasonic Lumix DCFZ80 is a great value. The Panasonic Lumix DC-FZ80 is a powerful camera with a 60x optical zoom and 18 megapixels. It also offers 4K video at a very affordable price.

The DC-FZ80 was put to the test by us to find out how it performs and if its affordability quest is too narrow.

Panasonic Lumix DC-FZ80
/ Andy Zahn

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Design: Plastic is not enough plastic

It is odd to think about how many kinds of plastic there are—there are plastics so solid and robust that they may be mistaken for metal or glass, and then there are the plastics of which the Panasonic Lumix DC-FZ80 is composed. The materials that were used to build this camera are deeply unsettling. It certainly looks cheap for its price.

The DC-FZ80 is light and weighs almost nothing. It's not noticeable around the neck and is one of the most compact superzoom cameras. We never felt overburdened by it, and it makes a great travel camera for this reason—ideal for backpacking adventures where every pound matters.

Panasonic Lumix DC-FZ80
/ Andy Zahn

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Installation Process: Simple to Get Started

There's nothing complicated about setting up the DC-FZ80—the touch screen makes setting the time, date, and language extremely easy. Although the charging cable included in the package is quite short, the battery can be charged up within a matter of hours.

Although we were able to set up the camera quickly, it was a steep learning curve. Panasonic packed many features into the DCFZ80. The more complex functions will require a lot of reference to the manual, as well as a bit of trial-and-error to learn.

We found that the manuals and feature guides included in cameras and other devices are far more detailed than those included on their own. The touchscreen also makes it easy to navigate through the complex menu system.

Panasonic Lumix DC-FZ80
/ Andy Zahn

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Modes and Controls: An engrossing assortment

Although they are serviceable, the controls feel good and work well. However, there is a slight cheapness to their operation. The usual controls include the mode dial, record, zoom, shutter, and control buttons. The inclusion of a power button rather than a button made it easier to turn the camera on and off accidentally.

You will also find two buttons on the top of your camera. These may be a little confusing at first. The first selects 4K mode and the second sets Post Focus, a Panasonic exclusive feature.

There are many uses for 4K photography mode. The 4K photo mode captures almost exactly 4K video but in a series 8MP frames at 30fps. These individual frames can be selected.

You can select to either record for a specific time or continuously record until the shutter button presses a second. Or, you may choose to only record one second before it is clicked. It's quite an interesting option, as we could reliably capture quick action since we didn’t need to wait for the shutter button to be pressed.

This camera is a great deal for what it can capture in terms of image quality.

However, 4K mode has one drawback: the images aren't very high-resolution. This is a good tradeoff for those who really need to capture a fast-moving image.

Post Focus is an unusual mode that has a lot to offer. This mode automatically captures many focus points. You can adjust your focus once you have taken the shot. However, in practice this was a little annoying.

You can also have your camera create a stack image that has everything in focus. This is particularly useful when you are shooting close up subjects.

You can choose from Auto, Program and Shutter Priority modes. You can also create preset settings, scenes, filters, and a panorama mode.

Filters can be used to create effects like fisheye and toy camera. Although these filters can provide amusement, we did not find any of them to produce pleasing results. The camera's inability to handle these effects immediately means that you will need to shoot while the screen is constantly moving.

The scene options are both more versatile and varied. There are 24 possible settings for different quality and utility. However, they are more novelty than useful, just like the filters.

Viewfinder and Screen: Not much, but lots to touch

It is very small and doesn't have an articulated display. The FZ80K LCD screen measures 1.4 million dots. It is touch-enabled, however, so it compensates for that. We are grateful that the touchscreen controls work well and feel intuitive.

Another story is the viewfinder. The 1.17 million-dot LCD's size is small and unreliable. It must be activated by a button, not a proximity sensor. Its poor quality meant that we rarely used it.

Panasonic Lumix DC-FZ80
/ Andy Zahn

Autofocus (Unimpressive but effective at tracking)

The FZ80K was able to track subjects with excellent accuracy, despite having trouble focusing sometimes (especially when low-light is not available).

The camera would automatically track a subject once it had locked on it. It could even follow us around while we moved backwards and forwards, and the subject was going in opposite directions. It was even more impressive in its ability to stay on its subject no matter how it moved within the frame.

Panasonic Lumix DC-FZ80
/ Andy Zahn

Quality Photo: Higher than You'd Expect

Many budget cameras produce poor images. This is a problem. The FZ80K is a different camera. The FZ80K is a superzoom camera that rivals it in RAW/JPEG image quality.

It doesn't do well in low lighting, which is not a strength of point-and shoot cameras. Although image stabilization is helpful, it doesn't do enough to offset the poor high ISO performance of this camera. It can reach ISO 6400, however, we recommend that you keep your ISO settings below 800 to get good results.

The FX80K can be quite striking in good lighting. This camera also excels at superzoom photography.

Panasonic Lumix DC-FZ80
/ Andy Zahn

Video Quality - Performing beyond its pay grade

The FZ80K, like photos, is a rare camera that can capture high quality images. The FZ80K can capture up to 4K video at 30fps. Also, the 4K footage is sharp and detailed at all resolutions. You don't get many options when it comes to video—it only shoots at 30 or 60fps, and the higher framerate is only available at 1080p resolution and below.

The lack of an audio port is a major flaw. The FZ80K is not recommended for vlogging cameras due to its lack of a microphone port.

When it comes to inexpensive cameras, the FZ80K stands out.

The FZ80K's video quality is exceptional. With the stop-motion and timelapse features included, it would make a great camera to record video without sound.

It excelled in capturing wildlife and natural scenes, making it ideal for travel video. Traveling requires you to reduce the gear that you have and you might avoid using an external microphone.

Panasonic Lumix DC-FZ80
/ Andy Zahn

Software: WiFi-Connected

Wirelessly connects the FZ80K to your smartphone via WiFi using Panasonic's app. The app is useful in transferring photos to edit or sharing them while on the road.

Great Value

Although the MSRP for FX80K is $399, most shops sell it at around $100 less. The FX80K is a great deal for its image quality and long zoom range.

Of course, this low price does come with tradeoffs in terms of build quality—this is not a particularly ergonomic camera to use, and a lot of corners have been cut. The camera is a great budget choice because it performs where it counts.

Panasonic LUMIX DC-FZ80 vs. Canon Powershot SX70

Our testing has shown that the Canon Powershot SX70 camera is better than the FZ80K. The FZ80K's FZ80K is lightyears behind the SX70 in terms of build quality, ergonomics, control system, menu system and autofocus. The MSRP for the SX70 is $549. It does not come with a touchscreen and has lower image quality than FZ80K. Comparing the two, it turns out that the FZ80K can produce slightly better quality photos and videos than its counterpart, the SX70.

The SX70 will produce better results than FZ80K, but it is more reliable in all other aspects. While the SX70 is certainly worth it, the FZ80K will still provide excellent image quality.

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Final Verdict

This is a powerful, small camera for a very affordable price.

Although the Panasonic LUMIX DCFZ80's design is a bit dated and confusing, its touchscreen interface and excellent image quality makes it a worthy competitor to more expensive models. There is no better deal than this.

Specifications

  • Lumix DCFZ80 Product No.
  • Panasonic Product Brand
  • SKU 885170310919885170310919
  • Prices from $399.00
  • Weighing 1.35 pounds
  • Product dimensions 4.7x5.1x3.7in
  • Sensor 1/2.3’ MOS, 18.1MP
  • High Quality Recordings up to 3849x2160p: 30 FPS
  • Zoom range 60x 20mm-1200mm (35mm equivalent)
  • Sensitivity 80-6400
  • Screen 3inch, 1.4-million dot LCD Touchscreen
  • Viewfinder 1.17 million-dot LCD
  • Ports Micro HDMI and USB
  • Wireless connectivity options
  • 1-year warranty