General impressions about the FZ300
It is a question of lenses and circuitry: in most situations, a pocket digital camera will take better pictures than the best smartphone, a compact camera even better pictures, and a professional camera the best ones. A minimum of scrutiny suffices to show the difference in picture quality.
The FZ300 is a compact camera, a recent model belonging to the very appealing family variously named as “superzoom/compact/prosumer”. These true marvels of modern technology seat comfortably between the significant weight and cost of professional/semi-pro interchangeable lens photography equipment, and the lightweight pocket cameras with their small lenses.
Panasonic's full specs for the FZ300 can be read online. With its 20 buttons (this includes slides and levers) and 4 rotating dials, this is no point-and-shoot camera. It is instead the ideal equipment for the advanced amateur and also for the travelling photographer: it is also an excellent learning tool for the beginner wishing to advance in his/her grasp of photography techniques.
There are many 2015-2016 online reviews extolling the remarkable virtues of this camera, some qualifying it as the best in its class. Please find our opinions in our Comparisons webpage. Some of the FZ300 features are outstanding, for example:
- The quality of the Leica lens.
- The white-balance correction features.
- The incredible close-up performance (see our Close-Ups webpage).
- The refined manual focus features.
- The excellent battery performance.
- The customisation of buttons (see our Customisation webpage).
- The flipping and revolving screen.
- The diverse touch-screen functionalities.
- The small but powerful flash.
- The eye-sensor that switches automatically between the viewfinder and the monitor screen.
- The reversible lens hood, which saves space in the case/bag.
- The possibility of remote-controlling most of the camera functionality using any smartphone.
I have only a few relatively minor complaints, and I just hope that some future “firmware update” may fix these software bugs:
(1) When you “Set the White Balance manually” (see the last paragraph of our Exposure Features webpage) the camera makes a shutter noise: this bug is annoying but harmless, as no picture is actually taken by the camera.
(2) Occasionally a “dedicated external flash” fails to sync: please see our External Flash webpage for more details.
(3) If you use the camera continuously for several hours, or else if you touch the zoom lens, the camera sometimes produces onscreen the message “Please turn camera off and then on again” (which according to the Advanced Manual, p. 335, means that “The lens is not working correctly”). Just shut down and restart and within a few seconds the camera is again fully operational. It also happened (only once since I got the FZ300 over a year ago) that the camera "froze": not even the shut-down lever worked! I just removed the battery and after the Status Indicator lamp went off I reinserted it. Problem resolved.
(4) The "Bulb" exposure speed is limited to a maximum of 64 seconds, after which the shutter will automatically close, even if you keep the shutter button (or else the remote control button) pressed. In practice, you can instead use any of the fixed shutter slow speeds:
1", 1.3", 1.6", 2", 2.5", 3.2", 4", 5", 6", 8", 10", 13", 15", 20", 25", 30", 40", 50" and 60". Minutes-long exposures are impossible with this camera. (This has been reported by other users. I have tried all the possibilities, including shooting in RAW mode, to no avail.)
Having been a pro in my youth and a keen amateur photographer ever since, I am happy to produce this website just to share my experiences with this magnificent camera, and I will keep these pages updated as I progress in its use and understanding. I mostly write about my own personal use: accordingly I apologise if I will hardly mention features I am not particularly interested in, such as taking pictures in RAW mode and 4K photography. I am not too much into movie making either, but I have included a few hints on sound recording and movie editing in the Sound Recording webpage.
I will be pleased to receive by email your comments on the FZ300 and this website. Or else you can post them in the DPREVIEW's Panasonic Compact Camera Talk or any other online discussion forum, and notify me by email.
I wish you all the best in using the FZ300!
Claudio “Cloudy” Di Veroli
Bray (Ireland) and Lucca (Italy)
“Mirror, mirror, on the wall,...”