The Panasonic FZ150 superzoom has been our top-ranked fixed-lens camera since we reviewed it last October, hanging on against top-notch contenders like the Sony HX100V and the Canon S100. The Fujifilm X-S1 out-specs the FZ150 with a longer zoom, a larger sensor, and a hardier build, as well as a heftier price tag. How do they stack up?
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The X-S1 and FZ150 both take very good photos by fixed-lens standards. Our test results fall in favor of the FZ150, and we think that most users will prefer the its crisp, accurate performance.
The Fuji X-S1’s sensor is about 50 percent bigger than the chip in the Panasonic FZ150, which should translate to cleaner, more detailed photos with a broader dynamic range. The X-S1 does handle lighting nuances better than any superzoom we’ve seen; bright skies don’t blow out as often, and more details get picked up from shadowy areas (though it does suffer from the white orb syndrome).
But the FZ150 produces sharper, crisper photos in most situations, particularly at the telephoto end of the focal range. At small sizes on a computer screen, the differences aren’t so obvious, but they stand out more as the viewing size increases.
Winner: Panasonic FZ150
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Design and Handling
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The FZ150 handles well, but the X-S1 handles like a dream. It’s about the size of a DSLR, which makes the grip much larger and more comfortable. There are tons of direct-access keys, all of them laid out comfortably. The manual twist-barrel zoom control is fantastic—as smooth as butter. And the X-S1’s electronic viewfinder is much crisper than what we’ve seen on any other superzoom.
In Panasonic’s favor, the FZ150 does have a fully articulating LCD, and it’s a smaller, lighter camera, but still too big to fit into any pocket. But there’s really no contest here: The X-S1 wins.
Winner: Fujifilm X-S1
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With very good image quality and a higher-quality build than its competitors, the Fuji X-S1 seems like it should be the obvious winner. If money isn't a factor, then we think it is.
But at $800, the X-S1 doesn’t offer enough advantages over the $500 FZ150 to make it a worthwhile purchase for most buyers. The X-S1’s high price relegates it to niche status. The FZ150 takes crisper shots and costs less, so we’d steer most potential superzoom buyers in its direction.
Winner: FZ150 8 times out of 10; X-S1 if price is not a factor
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