First of all let me point out what my criteria for a good urbex camera were (and are) when I picked this one:

  • Obviously the camera should make decent photos in dim and dark places.
  • I wanted a camera with a nice (but fixed) zoom lens. I don’t want to carry a heavy case of lenses around and exchange them for each shot.
  • It shouldn’t cost too much. Things can break, especially when you’re climbing in ruins.

Under these aspects, the Lumix DMC-FZ200 was my camera of choice. The 24x zoom is quite impressive for a camera like this, and the constant f/2.8 max aperture is produces quite nice photos in darkish places (check out the example photos). The price is more than acceptable as well - about 380 USD or 350 EUR for is a really fair price for this package.

So all in all I’m quite satisfied with the camera and the results. Of course I’m far from a professional photographer and I don’t even understand half of the options my camera has. I understand the basic concept of long exposure (because that’s what you need to make acceptable shots in dark places), but that’s about it. Professionals might facepalm now, but most of the time I use the “intelligent auto” mode, and I’m quite satisfied with the result to be honest. After all I just want to explore and take a bunch of nice photos, not spend hours in one spot finding the perfect settings for a single shot.

On the other hand it has of course all the functions more professional or artsy photographers would want. It can store your photos in RAW format for those who like to do lots of editing later on. It can make HDR photos out of the box (actually the “intelligent auto” mode does this automatically sometimes if it senses big light differences in background). For the playful people there a lots of instagram-like filters available. And of course it can also shoot pretty good HD videos.

So, in conclusion, if you’re like me and just want a good alround camera that simply makes good photos out of the box in somewhat difficult settings and without spending too much time fiddling with settings, the FZ200 might be for you. If you consider yourself a professional photographer, then you probably stopped reading long time ago.

Check Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ200 prices on Amazon. Look for cheap Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ200 on eBay.