Panasonic FZ300 / FZ330 vs FZ1000 vs Sony RX10 II vs Canon SX60 HS

February 3, 2016

Panasonic Lumix FZ300 superzoom camera on grungy yellow background

In this article, I’ll compare the Panasonic FZ300 / FZ330 superzoom versus, Panasonic FZ1000 (large-sensor f/2.8 fixed-aperture, weatherproofed superzoom), Sony RX10 II (large-sensor superzoom) versus the Canon SX60 HS, Canon’s praiseworthy ultrazoom. It personally was interested to see how well the 1/2.3″ ultrazoom is compared against those other cameras.

Panasonic FZ300

I really like what the FZ300 has to offer. It’s among those cameras that you can clearly see that the pros outweigh its cons. It’s really an amazing all-around great performer. I mostly love it for its weather-sealing, F2.8 lens, 4K video recording, DFD AF, large high-res OLED EVF, Free-angle display, Leica optics and 5-axis Hybrid O.I.S., which offers 5-axis optical stabilization and a tilt correction that helps maintain the image’s horizontal line when the camera is tilted. When shooting videos, the camera will enter to an Active Mode, which uses a digital stabilization to minimize camera shake blurring when walking and shooting at the same time.

Panasonic FZ300 camera top view

It also has great 4K photo modes, including 4K burst, 4K Burst S/S (Start and Stop), and 4K Pre-burst that starts rendering one second before and after you press the shutter button.

The FZ300 / FZ330 also has in-camera RAW processing (including shooting in multi aspect ratio in RAW image format), in-camera panorama mode, high-speed videos (slo-mo), Wi-Fi wireless capability, 12 fps burst (focus locked in the first frame) and macro shooting as close as 1cm. It has an excellent ergonomic design. with very nice hand grip and lots of buttons and dials which make it very easy to quickly operate the camera. There are three (Fn1/Fn2/Fn3) custom function buttons, Focus Mode lever, and motorized zoom lever. One the side of the lens barrel you have an AF Macro/Focus button, which you can use to toggle between three different Macro modes and if your camera is set to manual focus, you can use it to manual focus.

The camera is equipped with a wide selection of advanced shooting functions but also employs an excellent iA shooting mode for beginners or for those who prefer to let the camera set the settings which it think is best for a particular scene based on its scene recognition system.
Unlike many other superzoom cameras with contrast-detect AF system, the one in the FZ300 is much more advanced. It utilizes Panasonic’s well-regarded Light Speed autofocus system that can focus at approx. 0.09 seconds due to the DFD technology that Panasonic has developed. It’s still a contrast-detect AF system, but much faster than the conventional one.

Before we continue, I recommend watching this excellent Panasonic Lumix FZ300 review by Camerahoarders YouTube user:

As you can clearly tell, image quality is great and the built-in IS is super effective – impressive!

The camera is very responsive and image quality is excellent considering the sensor size, even ISO3200 is very useful. The Leica lens is super sharp and handles chromatic aberrations amazingly well. Other features include an Intelligent Dynamic Range (4 options: Off, Low, Standard, High), built-in HDR which combines three frames into a single high dynamic range image (up to +3EV), Multiple Exposure shot (two or three overlayed images), Photo Style and Creative Control effects, two panorama shooting options, standard and wide, quad processor image engine, Focus peaking and Zebra stripes (makes it easier to manual focus and offers easier exposure control), 3-inch free-angle touch panel, Wireless IR flash remote control support and compatibility with some useful accessories, including the Lumix DMW-FL580L external flash and DMW-MS2 stereo/shotgun external microphone.

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ300 / FZ300 is a truly impressive multimedia machine, designed as an excellent DSLR alternative and one that can compete well against any other superzoom camera and even offer very good competition against the large-sensor superzooms. It’s a very versatile camera that might answer many if not all of the enthusiast photographer, depends on your particular needs.

In the box Panasonic kindly added a detachable lens hood and a clip-on lens cap.

The Panasonic Lumix FZ300 isn’t cheap. To enjoy all these goodies you’ll have to say goodbye to around $500 (price as of the time of writing via amazon.com, rounded up).

The only thing that bothered me was the small 1/2.3-inch sensor, but the image quality was very good and the high-ISO performance was good as well. With a f/2.8 aperture, you’ll find that you’ll use high ISO less often, and it’s a compromise that you need to make in order to enjoy that fast fixed-aperture in a superzoom camera; I think it’s worth it!

FZ300 vs FZ1000 vs RX10 II vs SX60

If you are an enthusiast photographer like me, I’m pretty sure that you are very impressed with the FZ300 / FZ330. I’ve been shooting with a DSLR for a long time, but I have to admit that the most interesting features I see in these type of cameras, like the FZ300 and not in the entry-level / mid-range DSLRs. If you already decided that you prefer a camera with a built-in lens, not an interchangeable lens one, this comparison is for you.

OK, now it’s time to move on and get a more detailed view of each camera key features and see how those four cameras stack up against each other. Here’s you’ll learn the advantages and disadvantages of each camera versus its peer, so let’s begin.

FZ300, FZ1000, RX10 II and SX60 HS camera size comparison

FZ300, FZ1000, RX10 II and SX60 HS camera size comparison (via camerasize.com

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Conclusion

So how well the Panasonic Lumix FZ300 / FZ330 is holding against the other three?  Well, first of all, it can match the image quality and high ISO performance of the 1-inch cameras, the FZ1000 and RX10 II, but we expected this. The image quality is still very good and better than the SX60 HS in my observation (I’ve checked using imaging resource comparometer tool). Low-light performance isn’t biggest strength, but other than this it has a lot to offer.

It has the second longest zoom lens among the three and share the F2.8 fixed aperture with the RX10 II. This means that you’ll find yourself in less need to shoot at higher ISO sensitivities. It’s the only cameras with a touchscreen, which I assume that some of you will find it more convenient to use (At least if you are used shooting with your smartphone). It doesn’t have the highest-resolution EVF, but it’s better than the SX60 HS for sure.

The FZ300 has very good video feature, but it isn’t at the same class as the RX10 II. I think that most of you will be fine shooting videos with the FZ300, unless you really need and will take advantage of what the RX10 II has to offer (e.g. headphone jack, XAVC S codec, 1000fps slow motion video, etc.).

I think that things are getting clearer when you add the price into the equation. The RX10 II is considerably more expensive than the other cameras. The last time I checked it cost around $1300, while the FZ300 costs around $500 – that’s a huge difference. So if you compile the features with the price, you can clearly see what makes the Panasonic Lumix FZ300 such an attractive camera, especially compared to the SX60 that costs only $50 less.

I think that as a whole, the FZ1000 offers much better value than the RX10 II, but I know that many of you might have second thoughts because of its 1/2.3″ sensor. If that’s the case, the FZ1000 might be your best bet. It’s larger than all of the three, but not by a large margin. It has a large sensor, superb image quality, good zoom range and great selection of advanced features.

The SX60 HS is still a very popular camera, but in my opinion, the FZ300 is the better camera among the two,  unless you are sold with the SX60 HS huge zoom and 21mm wide-angle, I would go with the FZ300.  If I had to choose one, I would have chosen the FZ1000, it’s an excellent superzoom camera to take for a vacation and an amazing all-around camera for any enthusiast photographer.

So which one you prefer? – Share your opinion in the comment section below, and thanks for reading.

 



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