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You would not be alone in your confusion if, because mirrorless and DSLR cameras appear to be taking the lion’s share of the market for cameras, you were asking what place a bridge camera holds in this highly competitive environment. However, they do have a distinctive selling point.
Bridge cameras are distinguished from other formats by providing a solid zoom lens simultaneously capturing images at wide-angle and extremely telephoto focal lengths. Additionally, because the lens is not detachable, there is no need to carry additional lenses or expose the sensor to dust while switching them out.
It is a small and lightweight all-in-one camera capable of shooting practically any subject you point at. At its current price point, it is also one of the best cheap cameras available and follows a succession of attractive and feature-packed bridge cameras from Panasonic. The Panasonic Lumix FZ80 (known as the FZ82 outside of the US) follows a series of beautiful and feature-packed bridge cameras from Panasonic.
Panasonic Lumix FZ80 Features
The FZ80 / FZ82 fits in 60x optical zoom, giving an extensive focal range of 20-1200mm. This makes it ideal for cramming a lot of content into the frame or zooming in on your subject.
The FZ80 / FZ82 utilizes an 18.1MP 1/2.3-inch chip, which in actual terms, is the same size as that found in many entry-level compact cameras. This is in contrast to some of the much higher-priced bridge cameras we’ve seen recently, such as the FZ2000 / FZ2500, which has a big 1-inch sensor.
However, what sets this apart from a tiny camera is its vast zoom range and the settings reminiscent of those on a DSLR. This is in addition to the capability of shooting 4K videos and stills, which we will discuss in more detail later.
In consideration of the smaller size of the sensor itself, the resolution has been purposefully maintained lower than 20 megapixels, which will assist in lowering the amount of noise produced while shooting at higher ISO settings.
Since the ISO range has been kept within a narrow but usable range, running from ISO80-3200, you will almost certainly need to use the built-in optical image stabilization in low-light conditions. Alternatively, you can mount the camera on a tripod for longer exposures and slower shutter speeds.
Compared to other cameras, this one has a somewhat sluggish start-up time, with a delay of around one second between turning the camera on and off. Of course, it’s hardly the end of the world, but when many cameras provide start-up speeds measured in fractions of a second, it would surely be nice to have this option here.
Panasonic Lumix FZ80 Build Quality
Even though the Panasonic Lumix FZ80/FZ82 weighs 616 grams when combined with the battery and SD card, the camera has a remarkably light feel when held in hand.
This is because of the ergonomic design, which is not different from an entry-level DSLR and boasts a pleasant grip and a thumb plate on the rear. The reason for this is that the camera is well-balanced. If you only gave the camera a momentary glance, you may think it was a DSLR.
You’ll find the well-known mode dial on the top of the camera. It provides instant access to the shooting modes that are the most frequently employed, such as manual, aperture priority, shutter priority, program, Intelligent Auto, Creative Video, C (Custom), Panorama Shot, Scene Guide, Creative Control, and video.
The number of buttons, in general, has been kept to a minimum, and they have all been well-labeled, making it easy for you to navigate the interface as your abilities improve. The photography modes, Multi-Exposure, Time Lapse Shot, and Stop Motion Animation, are all accessible through the menu system.
Once the desired file format and quality have been set, you could quite easily stay out of the menu for some time, taking advantage of the various direct access buttons on the camera body to access the most commonly used settings. The menu system is similarly well laid out and easy to navigate.
Panasonic Lumix FZ80 Autofocus
When you press the shutter button halfway down on the FZ80 or FZ82, the autofocus is lightning-fast and nearly instantaneously latches onto the subjects you’re photographing. And if you shoot with the lens set to 20 millimeters, you may take advantage of a minimum focus distance of 1 centimeter while AF Macro is engaged. However, when the magnification is increased, the minimum focus distance also grows, reaching 1.5 meters at 1200 millimeters.
It would be wonderful to focus at a closer distance with longer focal lengths. Still, this behavior is typical of telephoto lenses, so it shouldn’t surprise anyone.
Focus modes include Face/Eye Detection, Tracking, which will identify and track moving subjects in the frame; 49-area auto selection, Custom Multi, which allows you to set an AF point pattern in the desired area and save custom settings; 1-area single point, and Pinpoint, which shows a zoomed area around the pinpoint area selected. Pinpoint also offers a magnified area around the chosen pinpoint area. Pinpoint also delivers a magnified area around the pinpoint area set.
An option also allows you to autofocus and lock the focus in that setting. This model is known as the Manual focus mode. However, it is not a manual focus. You are unfamiliar with it because you do not turn a focus ring; instead, it will come in handy when the guide has to be locked on a particular portion of the frame.
Panasonic Lumix FZ80 Performance
The rapid contrast-detect autofocus system of the Panasonic Lumix FZ80/FZ82, which we have already discussed, is the crown gem of these cameras. Panasonic claims that this system can lock onto targets in as little as 0.09 seconds, which indeed is quick.
The FZ80 and FZ82 can shoot at up to 10 frames per second, but they can only do so in single-shot autofocus mode; in continuous autofocus mode, it can manage six frames per second, which is a good figure; however, continuous autofocus is more likely to be used for moving subjects, and this is where a higher frame rate is more beneficial.
If you are using the rear LCD, you can anticipate a fully charged battery to last for 330 shots, but if you use the electronic viewfinder (EVF), this number lowers to 240. The battery life of a camera like this one, which has a motorized zoom, an electronic viewfinder (EVF), and an LCD, can vary depending on several circumstances. These factors include the amount of zooming in and out you do, as well as the settings and functions you use.
Panasonic Lumix FZ80 Image Quality
Image quality will be a problem for any bridge camera compared to other cameras with larger sensors. Unfortunately, this is just how it is going to be. Even at ISO100, the noise will be present due to the camera’s tiny sensor, and the Panasonic FZ80 and FZ82 are not an exception to this rule.
In an ideal environment, you wouldn’t want to shoot at an ISO higher than 800, as even at this level, sharp subject edges and detail begin to degrade; in an emergency, ISO1600 could be sufficient, but ISO3200 is rather noisy.
Panasonic Lumix FZ80 Specs
|4896 x 3672
|Image ratio w h
|Sensor photo detectors
|1/2.3″ (6.17 x 4.55 mm)
|Auto, 80-3200 (expands to 6400)
|Boosted ISO (maximum)
|White balance presets
|Custom white balance
|Yes (4 slots)
|Focal length (Equiv.)
|Contrast Detect (sensor)Multi-areaCenterSelective single-pointTrackingSingleContinuousTouchFace DetectionLive View.
|Normal focus range
|30 cm (11.81″)
|Macro focus range
|1 cm (0.39″)
|Number of focus points
|Minimum shutter speed
|Maximum shutter speed
|Maximum shutter speed (electronic)
|Manual exposure mode
|14.10 m (at Auto ISO)
|Auto, Auto/Red-eye Reduction, Forced Off, Forced On, Forced On/Red-eye Reduction, Slow Sync, Slow Sync/Red-eye Reduction, 1st Curtain Sync, 2nd Curtain Sync
|Yes (2 or 10 secs, three images x 10 secs)
|±5 (at 1/3 EV steps)
|±3 (3, 5, 7 frames at 1/3 EV, 2/3 EV, 1 EV steps)
|3840 x 2160 @ 30p / 100 Mbps, MP4, H.264, AAC1920 x 1080 @ 60p / 28 Mbps, MP4, H.264, AAC1920 x 1080 @ 60p / 28 Mbps, AVCHD, MTS, H.264, Dolby Digital1920 x 1080 @ 60i / 24 Mbps, AVCHD, MTS, H.264, Dolby Digital1920 x 1080 @ 60i / 17 Mbps, AVCHD, MTS, H.264, Dolby Digital1920 x 1080 @ 30p / 20 Mbps, MP4, H.264, AAC1280 x 720 @ 30p / 10 Mbps, MP4, H.264, AAC
|USB 2.0 (480 Mbit/sec)
|Yes (via smartphone)
|Battery Life (CIPA)
|Weight (inc. batteries)
|616 g (1.36 lb / 21.73 oz)
|130 x 94 x 119 mm (5.12 x 3.7 x 4.69″)
Panasonic Lumix FZ80 Verdict
The Panasonic Lumix FZ80 / FZ82 differentiates itself from interchangeable-lens cameras by providing all of the controls necessary for all types of photography, in addition to a lens with a focal range of 20-1200mm. This zoom range alone is enough to convince amateur photographers to choose the FZ80 / FZ82 for use at home, on days out, or during vacations.
Even those who haven’t spent their whole lives working professionally behind a camera should be able to use new features like 4K stills that make it simpler to seize fleeting moments and put them within their reach. Because the camera is so simple to operate and the menus are straightforward and in no way frightening, it is an excellent choice for inexperienced users.
The most significant drawbacks are the low magnification of the electronic viewfinder (EVF) and the absence of an eye sensor that would automatically enable the camera to switch between Live View on the LCD and the EVF. However, even though there is a lot of noise when using the camera’s maximum ISO level, it shouldn’t be too much of a problem for the photographers who will be using this camera.