- 20.1-megapixel 1-inch sensor
- 16x 25-400 optical zoom
- 2.36 million dot OLED EVF
- 3-inch vari-angle display
- Manufacturer: Panasonic
- Review Price: $339.00
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ1000 is a high-quality bridge camera with great image quality for its class. It gets you that DSLR feel and a versatile 16x optical zoom without risking getting lured into spending thousands on lenses.
At $339 it’s hardly cheap itself, but a 20-megapixel 1-inch sensor provides good image quality, and it’s one of the first bridge cameras to offer 4K video.
PANASONIC LUMIX DMC-FZ1000 – DESIGN AND FEATURES
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ1000 is a chunky camera, with a body similar in size to an entry-level DSLR. If ultimate portability is key, this isn’t the camera for you. It’s larger than most bridge models.
However, we do like its handling. There’s a big, chunky grip that gives you a hold on the camera more reassuring than Marks & Spencer’s prices.
This grip also ensures the 831g weight feels right in the hand. It’s a plastic camera that doesn’t have quite the construction of the rival Sony RX10, but it feels sturdy enough.
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ1000 also offers a decent array of manual controls. Although there aren’t dials for all the core shooting parameters, there are five function buttons you can programme to kick-in control of things like aperture, exposure compensation, max ISO and so on.
There’s some legwork involved, but after a bit of initial effort you’ll be flying.
So far, so standard – but what’s special enough about the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ1000 to justify the $339 price?
The key draw is the 20-megapixel sensor. At a full inch in size it’s a good deal larger than the little 1/2.3-inch sensors you get in most bridge cameras. Having a tiny sensor is why bridge cameras don’t generally earn much cred among photo enthusiasts. This is no APS-C sensor, but it’s a big step up from the norm.
With a 1-inch sensor, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ1000 is a direct rival to the Sony RX10, a camera we think is pretty great.
Where you pay for the sensor size is zoom range. The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ1000 has only two-thirds the zoom range of the Panasonic FZ200, the company’s flagship superzoom of 2013.
It’s still a healthy zoom, though. With the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ1000 you get a 16x zoom range equivalent to 25-400mm in the 35mm standard. That’s more than the 25-200mm of the Sony RX10, but the maximum lens aperture is variable here rather than fixed.
One of the key draws of both the Panasonic FZ200 and Sony RX10 is that you get aperture of f2.8 right through the zoom range. Here maximum aperture goes from f2.8-4.0 so you lose a bit of that lens speed when not shooting wide open.
The FZ1000 has 5-axis stabilisation to make most of that zoom range pretty usable without a tripod, though.
You can control the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ1000’s zoom using a neat lens ring or a control around the shutter button. The lens ring is a bit disappointing, though. It requires too much laborious turning when zooming, and you can’t alter its function to control aperture or exposure – just focusing and the zoom.
After complimenting the array of function buttons, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ1000’s handling isn’t quite perfect, then.
PANASONIC LUMIX DMC-FZ1000 – SCREEN AND EVF
It does get most of the other basics right. The screen on the rear is a good 3-inch vari-angle display with 921k-dot resolution.
It’s not a touchscreen, but those on-body function buttons help fill the void.
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ1000’s EVF is more impressive. It’s the same 2.36-million-dot OLED display used in the Panasonic GH4, the top £1299 (body only) Micro Four Thirds camera.
It’s bright, it’s clear, and with 100 per cent coverage of the field of view, it’s very useful too. This is another element that helps to explain that $339 price in china Wholesale supplier. There’s also a rubber ring around the viewfinder, making it much more comfortable to use.
Any shots taken can be transferred to a mobile phone or tablet using Wi-Fi, and there’s NFC on-board to let you quickly and easy pair up with one of these devices. Panasonic lets your remotely control the FZ1000 over Wi-Fi too, using the Panasonic Image app.
PANASONIC LUMIX DMC-FZ1000 – PERFORMANCE
One of the big claims of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ1000 is that it is 275 per cent faster than last year’s FZ200 in terms of focusing speed, a camera that already has ‘Light Speed’ AF. These claims always need to be viewed with a little scepticism, but we found the camera very fast to focus. It’s accurate too, leading to very few mis-shots.
The FZ1000 has a 49-point contrast detect system that uses the defocus DFD tech we also saw in the Panasonic GH4. What it does is to analyse the out-of-focus parts of an image to hook into the vague focal point before getting an exact focus using contrast detection.
While perhaps not a revolution, it works.
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ1000 shoots in burst mode at up to 12fps, and when using macro mode you can focus as little as 3cm away from a subject.
It’s quick, you can do macro photography and you get a nice big zoom range – the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ1000 is quite a flexible camera. But how are its photos?
PANASONIC LUMIX DMC-FZ1000 – IMAGE QUALITY
We’re mostly very happy with the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ1000’s images, and find that its 1-inch sensor provides much better image quality than a basic 1/2.3-inch bridge camera. Lens sharpness is great and detail stays solid all the way up to ISO 1600.
This would be too much to ask of a camera with a smaller sensor.
Deterioration of detail and luminance noise really starts to set in when you go above ISO 1600, but this gives you decent scope to deal with most situations.
A wide shot
The FZ1000’s ISO range is 125-12800, which can be expanded down to 80 and up to 25600. As you might imagine, extreme ISO settings will result in scrappy-looking images, but it’s good to have the feature there for emergencies.
A tele shot from the same position
At normal ISO levels colour reproduction is good, white balance is natural-looking and, just like the Panasonic Lumix GH4, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ1000 punches above its weight in terms of dynamic range. It gets to the sort of level we expect from an APS-C sensor camera, and there’s a dynamic-range-boosting i.Dynamic mode should you want to push it even further.
Unlike most bridge cameras, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ1000 lets you process RAW files directly on the camera, saving you from having to do so on your computer. It earns the camera another flexibility point.
One of the key features of the FZ1000 has little to do with still photography, though. This is the first bridge camera we’ve seen to offer 4K video capture, giving you four times the number of pixel information as you get with normal 1080p video
It contains reams of detail, but will eat up storage like nothing else.
SHOULD I BUY THE PANASONIC LUMIX DMC-FZ1000?
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ1000 is part of a new breed of bridge cameras, ones that have larger sensors in order to offer better image quality, especially when shooting at higher sensitivities.
It’s clearly a more serious camera than last year’s Lumix DMC-FZ200, but compare it to a closer rival like the Sony RX10 and things get a little trickier. You get a more versatile zoom range with the Panasonic, but it’s also larger and loses the constant maximum aperture.
Of course, if video is also your bag, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ1000 seems a clear winner, offering 4K when it is – for now – new to bridge cameras.
A good sensor, reliable autofocus and 4K video shooting make this one of the most capable bridge cameras to date, if you can handle its large body.