Performance is a definite strongpoint for the FZ150. During the entire time I used the camera, I never was conscious of any delay, either in general operations, using the menus or while shooting. Everything worked the way you’d expect it to – not something you can say about all cameras. The camera took about two seconds to start up, which is somewhat quicker than most Point and Shoot cameras. However, the FZ150 really shines in its consistently quick shot-to-shot speed. No matter what shooting conditions I encountered, the camera was able to take successive pictures as fast as I could press the shutter. Using the flash slowed things down to about 2 seconds, which is still relatively quick.
The camera’s performance tables set out below confirm what I suspected. Compared to three of the top ultrazooms available, the Nikon P500, the Fuji HS20EXR and the Canon SX40 HS, the FZ150 ties for first in the category of shutter lag when pre-focused (0.01 second) comes out way ahead in shutter lag when not pre-focused (0.15 seconds), and has the fastest continuous shooting speed (12 frames per second). These are among the best scores I’ve seen for a point-and-shoot camera.
Shutter Lag (press-to-capture, pre-focused)
|Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ150||0.01|
|Nikon Coolpix P500||0.01|
|Fujifilm FinePix HS20 EXR||0.01|
|Canon PowerShot SX40||0.02|
AF Acquisition (press-to-capture, no pre-focus)
|Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ150||0.15|
|Nikon Coolpix P500||0.30|
|Fujifilm FinePix HS20 EXR||0.33|
|Canon PowerShot SX40||0.46|
|Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ150||12||12.5 fps|
|Nikon Coolpix P500||5||10.0 fps|
|Fujifilm FinePix HS20 EXR||8||4.1 fps|
|Canon PowerShot SX40||∞||2.3 fps|
*Note: Continuous shooting framerates are based on the camera’s fastest full-resolution JPEG continuous shooting mode, using the fastest media type available (300x CF, SDHC, etc.). “Frames” notes the number of captures recorded per burst before the camera stops/slows to clear the buffer.
I had little problem finding and locking focus even in dim light and when the long end of the zoom is used, which usually makes focusing more difficult.
Panasonic has equipped the FZ150 with an excellent lithium-ion battery. During my use of the camera I sometimes took 200 shots and videos in a day and never noticed any lost bars on the battery icon. Panasonic claims that battery life is 410 shots, which is probably accurate.
The FZ150 uses a high quality Leica lens with a nano surface coating. The lens has a very wide range from 25mm through 600mm (35mm film camera equivalent). I noticed very little distortion overall. Chromatic aberration (colored fringing) was rarely present, even in high contrast situations, such as a tree branch against a light sky.
The lens had consistently good sharpness, with perhaps a slight drop-off towards the corners. Vignetting was not a problem. I did not find any appreciable barrel distortion at extreme wide angle or pin cushion distortion at extreme zoom.