Is this the best bang for buck compact camera for video?
Released in March 2018, this point & shoot from Panasonic has been all but overshadowed by the subsequent release of the headline grabbing alternatives from Sony & Canon. But now sitting at around half the price of those alternatives, does the Panasonic TZ200/ZS200 represent the best bang for buck as a travel or vlog camera?
Coming in at around £600 New, the Panasonic TZ200 can also be found used for around £450. At that price it potentially represents the perfect option for new content creators or those video shooters looking to upgrade from capturing video on their phones.
It features a 1 Inch 20.1 MP Sensor that shoots 4K video at up to 30FPS & 1080p video at up to 120 FPS. Both video modes feature a pretty heavy crop 1.5x in 4k & 1.25x in 1080. Meaning in 4k the 24mm lens is a 36mm equivalent.
And speaking of the lens there’s an Almost 15X zoom range, from 24mm- to an incredible 360mm. That sits alongside it’s variable aperture of F/3.3 – F/6.4.
Alongside of this, we have the custom function buttons and lens dial control, decent 5 axis image stabilisation and pretty solid autofocus. But enough of the specs, lets jump straight in and look at the good bits of Panasonic TZ200.
To truly review this camera it has to be considered in it’s own place in the market. It won’t be delivering the quality of bigger Mirrorless or DSLR’s & even is lacking against some of the new premium point & shoots from the likes of Sony. But in reality the Sony RX100 vii is not in this bracket as it’s point is more than double the Panasonic ZS200/TZ200. This point & shoot, is very much about ease of use & connivence and for that it truly excels. Having this in your pocket to film with, over capturing vlog footage on your phone is a marked step-up in quality and functionality & for that price on the used market it represents great value to the new filmmaker or content creator.
Build Quality. Really is very good. It weighs a meaty 340g, which for a compact actually feels pretty weighty in hand. With that metal and plastic outer body & ergonomic hand grip it genuinely feels like a premium little camera and one that will likely stand the test of time.
Alongside the connivence & build quality you get some great features with this little compact, the customisable front dial & function buttons are really handy and awesome video features such as the 120fps Slow mo will be a welcome & surprise addition for a camera of this price point.
But with all that said, lets jump in and look at the bad bits of the Panasonic Lumix TZ200
First Up is the crop, and it’s a pretty heavy one. in 4k you’re looking 1.5X and even at 1080 there’s 1.25X crop, making the equivalent focal length 30mm at it’s widest. So selfie style vlogging will be slightly tougher with this.
And speaking of selfie styled vlogging, there’s no Flip out screen. In fact there’s no articulation at all to the screen, so it’s not just vlogging that suffers – any low or high shots will be done almost blind. It’s not an uncommon problem with cameras, even the new Blackmagic Pocket Cinema 4k doesn’t have any articulation to it’s monitor. But despite that illustrious company, it is certainly a problem when using this camera.
The very limited aperture range is slightly disappointing, being only between F/3.3 & F/6.4. Now obviously this was a trade of for having that huge 15X zoom, but it is disappointing not being able to take full advantage of the 1inch sensors’ potential DOF & low-light performance.
So in summary this camera definitely has some notable shortcomings and is certainly not going to win any awards for it’s video quality. But to judge it purely on those qualities is unfair, this represent an affordable & super convenient little camera, that in many respects is the perfect travel vlog camera & is definitely one of the best bang for bucks on the used market today.
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