Many people use their smartphone cameras for their social media and casual photos. After all, smartphone photography is convenient. However, when you’re ready to shoot some serious photos, you might want to turn to a digital camera that offers more features and better image quality.
Though every smartphone has a camera these days, dedicated digital cameras with more extensive capabilities are far from extinct. Lumix cameras, in particular offer a wide range of features and are available in a very broad price range.
Panasonic has long been a trusted name in consumer electronics, and their Lumix camera line is an excellent choice for those who want more functionality than a camera phone. The best Lumix cameras from Panasonic are definitely worth considering, and you’re sure to find one that fits your budget.
If you’re ready to buy a Lumix camera, check out our top recommendations in the product list above. Continue reading our shopping guide to find out more about Lumix cameras in general.
Types of Lumix cameras
Lumix is the brand name for all of Panasonic’s digital cameras. Below are the two primary types of digital cameras you’ll encounter when shopping for Lumix cameras, as well as some of the features you can expect.
The lens is built into the body of a fixed lens camera. You can’t swap out one lens for another, but that doesn’t mean all fixed lens cameras are the same. Different Lumix fixed lens cameras offer different features.
Zoom lens: You’ll find a zoom lens on nearly all Lumix fixed lens cameras, so you can shoot clear photos of distant objects. This means the lens can record images at a range of focal lengths, from 3x or 5x to an impressive telephoto capability of 60x.
Waterproof: Some Lumix fixed lens cameras can be used underwater. These cameras also offer “tough” capabilities, meaning they can be used in cold weather or survive a fall of several feet. They don’t typically record the best images of the line, but they’re great for tough shooting conditions.
High-quality images: You will find Lumix fixed lens cameras with larger-than-average image sensors that yield great image quality. Some Lumix fixed lens cameras have a one-inch image sensor, which outperforms smaller image sensors. Lumix waterproof cameras usually have a small one-half- to three-inch image sensor, for example.
High-quality video: Panasonic recently introduced some Lumix fixed lens cameras that are able to record video at 4K resolution, about four times the resolution of HD video. Panasonic has done a great job of introducing 4K video capabilities in many different cameras.
Panasonic also manufactures mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras (ILC) under the Lumix brand name. These advanced cameras make use of different lenses to give them various features and capabilities.
A mirrorless camera shares some characteristics with digital single-lens reflex (DSLR) cameras, but they are not the same. The DSLR borrows its design from the days of film cameras, using a mirror to block light from the image sensor until you press the shutter button. The mirror projects the image up to the optical viewfinder. Panasonic does not offer any Lumix DSLR cameras. .
A mirrorless ILC camera either uses an electronic viewfinder, or you frame the scene using the large LCD screen on the back of the camera. Without the mirror mechanism inside the camera, mirrorless ILCs are smaller and thinner than DSLR cameras.
Lumix mirrorless cameras contain a large image sensor, meaning the image quality is better than that of most fixed lens Lumix cameras. Almost all newer Lumix mirrorless ILCs can shoot 4K video, too.
Did you know?
Lumix digital cameras are great at recording video. Many newer models have 4K video recording capability.
Lenses for Lumix cameras
Some Lumix mirrorless ILCs ship with a basic lens, called a kit lens, included, so you can begin shooting photos immediately. If you buy just the camera body alone, you’ll save some money up front, but you’ll have to purchase a lens separately, so factor that into the price of your camera. Besides Panasonic, there are a few different manufacturers, such as Olympus, that make lenses that are compatible with the Micro Four Thirds mount on Lumix mirrorless cameras.
“A Lumix fixed lens camera gives you optical zoom and digital zoom capabilities. Optical zoom is the more important measurement. Digital zoom results in lower-quality images.”
Panasonic Lumix camera prices
Panasonic uses the Lumix brand name for a few different styles of camera that come in a wide range of prices, from $200 to $2,500.
Inexpensive: Most Lumix cameras that cost less than $200 are very simple fixed lens cameras with small image sensors. Panasonic offers some waterproof cameras for less than $200, too. Some of these inexpensive Lumix cameras are older-generation and close-out models.
Mid-Range: Lumix cameras in the $200 to $500 price range are generally fixed lens models. Some have big zoom lenses or advanced waterproof capabilities. You also may find an older, close-out mirrorless ILC in this price range.
Expensive: You’ll find most basic Lumix mirrorless ILC bodies in the $500 to $600 price range, while the high-end models cost anywhere from $1,000 to $2,500. You can also find some fixed lens cameras in this price range. These models usually have large zoom lenses, large image sensors, and/or 4K video recording.
- Additional lenses range in price from $100 to $1,000. Lenses that produce sharper images and have more telescopic capabilities will cost more.
Q. What advantages do mirrorless cameras have over DSLRs?
A. Mirrorless ILCs (such as some Lumix cameras) are a bit smaller and thinner than DSLR cameras. This makes it easier to carry the mirrorless models and often makes them more stylish. Mirrorless cameras tend to cost a little less than DSLR cameras with similar features. However, this price difference today is not as great as it once was.
Q. What does “Micro Four Thirds” mean?
A. Panasonic Lumix mirrorless cameras all make use of the Micro Four Thirds lens mount. This means that any lens that is compatible with the Micro Four Thirds format will work with Lumix mirrorless cameras. Panasonic and Olympus jointly developed and released the Micro Four Thirds format in 2008.
Q. Do Lumix cameras have viewfinders?
A. Some Lumix cameras have viewfinders and some don’t. As a general rule, fixed lens Lumix cameras don’t have a viewfinder, which means you have to frame the scene using the LCD screen on the back of the camera. Some mirrorless Lumix cameras do offer a viewfinder, either built in or as an add-on that you attach to the hot shoe. This type of viewfinder is electronic, which means the window is actually a tiny LCD screen.
Q. How important are megapixels in a Lumix camera?
A. Megapixels measure the number of pixels that make up your digital photograph. This is also called the resolution. Lumix cameras have anywhere from roughly 12 megapixels to 20 megapixels of resolution. Cameras with higher resolution create better-quality photos. However, don’t forget about the size of the image sensor when comparing Lumix cameras. Larger image sensors give you a big edge in image quality, even more so than the number of megapixels.