New Vanlife Camera: Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ200

Over the Christmas period, my trusty Canon DSLR finally gave up the ghost, and refused to switch on after 8 years of perfect service. It wasn't a top of the range Canon, it didn't even do video, but it had served me well in my business, and trips away both here and abroad.

I hadn't really planned on using some Christmas money to buy a new camera, but a good quality camera is needed in my line of work. Also, with the VanLife Blog and YouTube channel, a camera capable of taking video has now become a must.

Now I spent the best part of 2 days researching what cameras might be worth buying for both photos and videos. Many of the cameras I looked at were well over budget, and this is because I wanted a set of specific features. They were:

  • 1080p/60 - Must be able to film 1080p video at 60 frames per second
  • Flip out screen - so I can view what I am filming when speaking to the camera
  • External Mic Socket - I have an external mic for the GoPro, that I want to use on any future camera
  • Hotshoe - to take directional mics or video lights
  • Compact - so its easy to handle when out and about

After many hours of searching around, it looked like I was going to have to spend more money than I wanted to. But then popped up the Panasonic Lumix FZ200 - a bridge camera which got some good reviews for photos, and awesome reviews for its video capability.

Here's the camera I bought:

Panasonic Lumix DMC FZ200 Camera Lens CCD Image Sensor Replacement Repair Part Buy now on Ebay
Panasonic Lumix DMC FZ200 Camera Lens CCD Image Sensor Replacement Repair Part - £221.28
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So I went on YouTube and found a load of instructional videos showing exactly what this camera could do. It has Leica lenses, which allow for 24x optical zoom at F2.8 throughout its entire focal range. The 35mm equivalent zoom is 25mm to 600mm - and this would cover everything I needed! So while watching what the camera could do on YouTube, I soon realised it would be the one to go for.

So now it came down to price - it was just shy of £300 at the local Currys store, but they had a Christmas offer of 10% off - which brought it down to £270. Further more, Panasonic were offering £30 cashback after purchase, which brought the final price down to £240. Well within budget.

Now I realise I am kinda taking a step backwards from a full Canon DSLR to a Panasonic bridge camera, but since I bought the Canon in 2008 my needs have have changed. I now shoot a lot more video than still photos, and I am a lot more mobile now than when I used to have a fixed place of work. Having a full DSLR with interchangeable lenses to lug around everywhere with me had become a bit of a problem, especially when out bouldering or hiking on Dartmoor. A single unit covering all focal lengths is a welcome relief!

So my camera and video equipment list now looks like this:

  • GoPro Hero 3+ - Super wide angle for the active shots and walk/talk videos
  • Panasonic Lumix FZ200 - For planned shots, where full control and zoom is needed
  • 1080p Phone Camera - for unplanned, spontaneous shots when out and about

Further to this, I have an external mic that can be used with the GoPro and the new Panasonic, as this really helps with crisp audio in the videos. So now with this set up, I should have every eventuality covered.

So as we head into the new year, I am really excited to see what this new camera can bring to my videos on the VanLife Blog YouTube channel. If you haven't already done so, please consider subscribing to the channel, as things could get interesting as I learn more about this new camera! Happy new year everyone!

Panasonic LUMIX DMC FZ200 12MP 24x Super Zoom Compact Camera F28 NEW opn
Panasonic LUMIX DMC FZ200 12MP 24x Super Zoom Compact Camera F28 NEW opn
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Panasonic LUMIX DMC FZ200 Digital Camera Black
Panasonic LUMIX DMC FZ200 Digital Camera Black
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