This PANASONIC LUMIX FZ 100 is a jolly nice bit of kit, with an excellent quality Leica lens. I bought it fairly recently and I am delighted with it, for all sorts of reasons.
SO ....WHY DID I CHOOSE IT?
I use a camera for taking reference photos more than any other reason, tho I have used it for family and tour photos. Anyway, as a painter primarily, my needs are:
1. It needs to be lightweight. My painting/sketching kit is heavy enough, without adding the burden of a heavy camera and extra lenses.
2. It needs a good zoom lens, so that I can choose my composition - near, far, in between. And the lens needs to be built in, not a separate piece of kit, so this camera, which is called a "Bridge" camera - sits between a pocket camera, and a single lens reflex posh job. No need to change lenses....this one has a built-in 24 TIMES OPTICAL ZOOM - quite amazing. For those of you familiar with old-style slr film cameras, this is the equivalent of a 25-600. Just think of the size of the lens you would have had to carry around to get that much zoom! Also, there is the added issue of dust and grit getting into the camera if you change lenses frequently, and as I sometimes go out and about with pastels which are chalky, dusty things, there would be a large risk involved in changing lenses, just as there would be on a beach. Imagine dropping your camera while changing lenses on a beach! Aaargh! Bye Bye camera. Also, I cannot be bothered with the fag of fiddling around with lenses - I like to point and shoot.
3. I do sometimes like to photograph individual figures or groups of people from a distance when I am out and about, to capture the shape accurately, but I really prefer to be discreet about it. Pointing a camera very obviously at someone can cause offence in certain situations - on the beach, for example, or in a cafe, and even in some countries were photos are believed to capture the person's spirit as well as their image. So I like the LCD panel at the back to be large and, importantly, it needs to be one which swings out and tilts. Then, I can point the camera in one direction while I face another!!! I can even have the camera on my lap, and be looking down at my lap...and the lcd panel... when I take a photo.
4. I like ease of use. Although the camera can be used manually, with all the control in your hands via all the knobs and wheels, I like to leave the camera to do the job, and Panasonic's superb "Intelligent Auto" setting suits me just fine. The camera simply chooses the most appropriate combination of settings for the current situation. The 6 available scene modes are Macro, Portrait, Scenery, Night Portrait, Night Scenery and Sunset, so obviously not all situations are covered by Intelligent Auto Mode, but for me, it does work for virtually every situation. It makes it possible for everyone, even an inexperienced photographer, to easily take well-exposed, sharp pictures of people, scenery and close-ups by simply pointing and shooting the camera.
The autofocus is extremely fast and reliable, with very good low light performance, focusing just as quickly in twilight as in full daylight. It has a very bright and well-focused AF assist lamp with a range of about four metres, and focuses with this very quickly even in total darkness.
I could go on and on, but these are my main reasons for choosing this camera.
For a really comprehensive review, you can look at this page:
Here are a few examples of the camera in use. This first photo was taken without using the zoom. Take a look at the group of trees at the back of the garden. There is a fat round bush there at the base of the tall fir tree, which is sitting in front of a distant garden pond.