A clear summer's day in Stockholm, Sweden is the perfect place to test out a versatile, speedy new superzoom camera. Those lovely blonde-haired socialist Volvo-lovers didn't know what hit them as we took the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ100 and its enormous 24x zoom out for a spin.
The FZ100 packs a 14-megapixel CMOS sensor for incredibly fast shooting, plus a monster 24x superzoom for versatile snapping. That's an impressive focal length of 25-600mm.
The top right of the camera sports a burst mode button, and there a range of super-fast options to get your teeth into. The FZ100 fires 11 frames per second at full resolution -- it offers tracking autofocus up to 5fps or maxes out at 60fps of 2.8-megapixel snaps. For super slo-mo video, you can shoot up to 220fps at QVGA resolution.
Other modes include manual, program, and shutter and aperture priority. There are two customisable modes to quickly access your saved settings.
The big red button is a dedicated movie button to shoot high-definition video in AVCHD format. You can manually alter aperture and shutter by flipping the mode wheel to movie mode.
The camera boasts a stereo mic in front of the hotshoe, atop the pop-up flash. The hotshoe supports an optional microphone or the usual range of flash options.
We love camcorder-style flip-out screens. This flip-out 76mm (3-inch) LCD packs a crystal clear 360,000-pixel resolution and is delightfully versatile as we use the monster zoom.
If you prefer a viewfinder, simply fold the screen way and squint into the 202,000-dot electronic viewfinder.
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ100 arrives this side of the North Sea later this year. In the meantime, read our full review.