They say the best camera is the one you have with you. These days, that is almost always our smartphone, which has become the go-to camera for capturing priceless family moments. With that in mind, there’s still something to be said for a “real” camera. I took the Panasonic Lumix FZ80 for a test with my family.
The FZ80 has the look of a professional SLR camera without all the bulk. It’s not a pocket camera, but it also won’t require a separate camera bag. You’ll notice the buttons and shape resemble what many would consider a pro camera, but I promise you, it’s easier to use than you think. Auto mode is your friend until you find the desire to learn about the other options.
The biggest feature of the FZ80 is the insane zoom. Sure, your phone has a “zoom” but don’t confuse that with a real zoom. If your kid is in the outfield at a baseball game, you’ll be able to get a crystal clear headshot from the first base line. It is that good. It zooms 60x what you see with your eye. Always look for “optical” zoom—what most of our phones provide is a “digital” zoom. Optical zoom uses lenses and still gives you a crisp 18MP snapshot no matter how far you zoom in. It just looks different and makes for those crisp, frameable pictures. Digital zoom does nothing more than cropping your actual photo.
The other standout feature of the FZ80 is the crystal clear 4K video recording. Sure, your phone can record video, but in my testing, you simply can’t get the same quality, zoom, and options that you’ll get with a camera like the Lumix FZ80.
Overall, if you’re looking to step up your family photo game I think the FZ80 is an awesome option and a deal for $300. Frameable pictures and saveable 4K video can take your photography to the next level.