Reviewer Kelly Lynch takes a look at the Panasonic Lumix FZ1000 and says the camera is ideally suited to enthusiast photographers who want something more serious than a point-and-shoot, with lots of options, and ultra-high-definition video. Find out how she came to this conclusion:
Panasonic’s Lumix FZ1000 is an interesting take on the bridge camera, offering a mixed bag of goodies for those wanting options in both still photography and video. It inherits the traditional bulky shape, size, and comfortable ergonomics of a DSLR but with a fixed 25–400mm (16x optical) Leica lens. It has image stabilization, and its widest aperture is f/2.8 to f/4 as the lens extends.
The one-inch Live MOS sensor is designed to be energy efficient and to allow more light in, with less noise. There is also a small built-in flash and a hot shoe, a three-inch monitor which pulls out from the back of the camera and rotates nicely, and a viewfinder that is lit by a bright OLED when activated.
The camera rear has a multitude of buttons, while the top sports two easy-to-operate dials and a zoom lever. Many of the functions can be accessed directly on the camera body and via a quick menu-access button, but some items — like spot metering and enabling flash — need to be activated through the main menu, which at times is frustrating to navigate.
The FZ1000 boasts many features enthusiasts are going to love. It’s capable of shooting at up to 12fps, and there are six different autofocus options — one has up to 49 focus points, another customized focus points. In silent mode, the camera operates very quietly, as you would hope, and the 125–12,800 ISO range can be expanded up to 25,600. It has Intelligent Auto Plus, which allows users to set brightness and colour tone, and there’s also high dynamic range and depth-from-defocus control (which helps blur a background) and built-in Wi-Fi connectivity with near field communication (NFC) capabilities.
Under various conditions and settings, the images I shot came out looking good, although those taken at wide angle looked slightly better than those shot at 400mm. I was pleased with the results in low light, and the camera does a good job on autofocus. I also like that when manually focusing, a box in the screen’s centre magnifies the subject, so I can be sure I have it sharp before pressing the shutter button.
One of the camera’s most impressive features is its ultra-high-definition 4K video ability, with four times the picture resolution of full-high-definition 1080p. The result is fine detail resolved well, which is appreciable when you look at the detail in someone’s hair, for example. There are lots of options in video mode and you can take control of aperture and shutter, but, unfortunately, the transition between aperture stops is not smooth. The camera has a 3.5mm input for an external microphone but doesn’t have built-in neutral density filters.
This camera’s direct competition is the Sony RX10. However, although they share many similar qualities, the RX10 has half the focal range, no 4K video, and is more expensive. The price of the FZ1000, its multitude of still camera options, as well as impressive video offerings, gives it an edge in the market.