Digital Photography Review reports: [edited]
Panasonic has announced the Lumix DMC-FZ70, a 16.1MP compact superzoom with a 60x optical zoom. Spanning the equivalent of 20-1200mm it's the largest zoom lens available in a consumer compact. The FZ70's zoom lens has a maximum aperture range of F2.8-5.9, and the camera introduces a new 1/2.3-inch CMOS sensor capable of 1080/60i video.
Side-by-side with the FZ60, the size difference in the lens is immediately obvious. The FZ70's optics are much larger, as expected, making the camera's overall footprint notably increased.
The camera hits a competitive price point at $399, and it seems that some concessions were made in build quality to hit that number. The camera is encased in a composite plastic that feels slightly cheap, especially on the bottom panel. There's a nice deep handgrip though, and the command dial on the back panel makes it easy to change exposure settings quickly.
There's no use resisting the temptation to immediately zoom in to 1200mm equivalent once the FZ70's in hand, so we turned the camera to the streets far beyond and below the office. Zooming to the full telephoto end of the range is done in less than four seconds and the action of the lens is smooth. Using the FZ70 to its full telephoto potential revealed people on the streets below that we hadn't been able to spot with the naked eye. Once focused on these distant subjects, we were able to track them without much difficulty.
Image stabilization is aggressive at the long end of the zoom, and it needs to be. At 1200mm equiv. there's no chance of hand-holding and getting a clear shot, unassisted. The stabilization system fights minor camera shake effectively, shifting to a new subject relatively smoothly when panning across a scene.