The Panasonic FZ80 has a similar design to its predecessor, the FZ70. It’s an SLR-style superzoom camera that offers a massive 60x optical zoom range, which means it’s not a compact camera. The dimensions of the FZ80 are about 5.1 x 3.7 x 4.7 inches (130 x 94 x 119 millimeters), and it weighs 616 grams with card and battery, which is only slightly shorter and slightly heavier than its predecessor. Overall, the controls on the Panasonic FZ80 are quite good, and the touchscreen operation works well. The shutter release feels good and the zoom toggle switch around the shutter release works well. The FZ80 only has one command dial, but it’s pressable, which allows you to quickly switch functions. For example, in manual exposure mode, you can switch between controlling shutter speed and aperture by simply clicking the dial. You can also press it to switch to exposure compensation in aperture priority mode or shutter priority mode, etc. The built-in electronic viewfinder is a 0.2-inch color LCD with 1,166k dots and about 100% coverage. The 35mm-equivalent magnification of the EVF is only 0.46x – still useful, but small, as is common for this class of camera. There is no built-in eye sensor. To switch between the EVF and rear display, you have to press a button to the right of the EVF, which is annoying if you want to shoot through the EVF and view images on the rear display. The FZ80 uses an 18.1-megapixel CMOS sensor, an “upgrade” over the 16.1-megapixel sensor on the previous model. The sensor is a small 1/2.3-inch chip, which makes such a large zoom possible at this size and price point. It’s debatable whether the FZ80’s new image sensor and Venus Engine processor will result in a significant improvement in image quality over the FZ70, as both cameras produce mediocre images at base ISO and marginal images at higher ISOs, but the FZ80 seems to resolve slightly more detail than its predecessor.

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