Sometimes people do stupid things. You do, I do, it doesn’t matter how clever we are or feel, when it’s time to get stupid, we invariably manage to do so.
Can you remember the last time you did something incredibly stupid? I can. It was three hours ago when I managed to accidentally delete all images made yesterday and this morning. Cool, huh? Well, they were not that good to begin with and I made some more while on my way to the train. Here’s one of them, displayed for yesterday’s post.
Let’s get back to my current review or field test or whatever we want to call it. Let’s talk about the Panasonic FZ-150 and its user interface.
As you certainly know, my current main camera is the Panasonic DMC-LX5. I own a Nikon D300 DSLR as well, but have found the LX5 to be of sufficient quality while at the same time unbeatable when it comes to size, weight and sheer convenience.
The FZ-150 is bigger than the LX5 and smaller than a small DSLR. It does not feel as solid as the LX5, more plastic, less metal, but it is undeniably a current Panasonic top compact model. If you know the LX5, you won’t need a manual to use and configure the FZ-150. This is a good thing as there was practically no learning curve. That’s very similar to what happened when I moved from the Nikon D200 to the D300. Some small details are different, some buttons are in other places, but in general you won’t miss any major feature. The camera has a very different look but largely the same feel.
Among superzoom camera the FZ-150 has one of the fastest lenses, especially at the long end, and that alone would have warranted my interest. Additionally it has almost all the major features that I look for. It can shoot in the same aspect ratios as the LX5 (“Never again a camera that can’t shoot square!”), and although there is no explicit switch on the lens barrel, I could program the function button to bring up the aspect ratio menu. Not perfect but convenient enough.
A big plus over the LX5 is the tilt / swivel screen on the back. I’ve often said that I consider this essential. It is nice to have it indeed and it opens new possibilities for pictures that can’t easily be taken with cameras without such a screen. Admittedly I didn’t take any such picture yet, but I can remember situations where I missed a shot with the LX5 or the D300.
The electronic viewfinder is basically the same uninspiring affair as the one that I bought for the LX5. Low resolution, disappointing when compared to Olympus’ VF-2 and utterly destroyed by Sony’s new EVF in the A65/A77/NEX-7, but if you leave the comparisons aside, it absolutely does its job. I really would have appreciated an eye sensor though. Switching between rear LCD and EVF by means of a button is inconvenient and unnecessary.
My verdict regarding the user interface is largely positive. The camera has the major features that I need and it is so similar to the LX5, that switching between the two does not make you fumble all the time. It’s similar as in other camera families, for instance Nikon DSLRs, and if I had the choice between the FZ-150 and and another superzoom with the same features, I suppose I would decide for the familiarity with the FZ-150’s interface.