Panasonic Lumix FZ1000, First Impressions - November 26th, 2014

10:04 PM

I was toying around with an all-around camera that can replace pretty much every single camera I own, and the Panasonic FZ1000 fits the bill pretty well.  Honestly, even though I've had it for fewer than 8 hours, I think if I weren't addicted to buying camera gear just for the sake of buying camera gear, this camera really would satisfy 85+% of my photographic needs.

9.12mm, f2.8, 1/100, ISO 125
 The camera has A LOT of customizations.  I pretty much ran out of stuff to put onto the buttons!  That's never happened before.  Everything is in pretty logical places.  The grip is pretty beefy, the viewfinder is pretty amazing (no lag, clear, bright).  The fipping screen is not a touch screen, but that's probably for the better.  There are direct access to focusing modes, drive mode, ISO, white balance, exposure compensation, and those just the built-in buttons.  Overall, I really like the ergonomics. Although, it does feel a tiny bit hollow.  But hey, it's a 25-400mm equivalent, f2.8-4.0 super zoom!  Check out the wide and telephoto shots:

9.12mm, f5.6, 1/250 ISO 125
146mm, f5.6, 1/160 ISO 125
Yes, you can even get pretty decent moon pics with this camera!

The image quality is quite good, for a 1 inch, I guess semi-large sensor camera.  The jpegs gave me a surprising amount of leeway when I was messing with them in Lightroom 4 (All of the pictures I am going to post are straight out of camera jpegs though).  High ISO gets to barely acceptable at 3200, which is fairly respectable.  You notice a drop in sharpness and an increase in noise.

35.42mm, f3.8, 1/250 ISO 3200
But most of the other ISOs are perfectly acceptable, to me anyway, even 1250 and 1600.
50.69mm, f5.0, 1/30, ISO 80
9.12mm, f2.8, 1/60, ISO 1250
12.9mm, f4.0, 1/30, ISO 1600
I know, compared to the Sony RX10, which this camera basically copied/improved upon, this is lacking the built-in ND filter.  But since the base ISO is 80, you can still do decently long exposures:
9.12mm, f8.0, 1.3, ISO 80
The lens is "sharp enough."  It is not as sharp as a really good lens for an interchangable system, but you can't really expect it to be.

146mm, f4.0, 1/125, ISO 640
9.12mm, f4.0, 1/60, ISO 125
Depth of field (and bokeh to a certain extent) are not strengths of smaller-sensor cameras, but you can still "blur things out" if you know what you're doing.  The bokeh is ok (light sources are pretty circular, no jarring jaggeds, etc.).
9.12mm, f2.8, 1/60, ISO 250

9.12mm, f2.8, 1/60, ISO 200
9.12mm, f2.8, 1/60, ISO 400
The last two pics were taken with macro mode on.  You can almost put the object right in front of the lens, which is pretty impressive.  Too bad you have to manually switch between the two modes though.

I know some people don't like the Panasonic colors, but I found them to be fairly accurate and true-to-life.  I was using the "standard" picture mode.
9.12mm, f2.8, 1/1000, ISO 125
9.12mm, f2.8, 1/60, ISO 1600
9.12mm, f2.8, 1/60, ISO 1000
9.12mm, f4.5, 1/60, ISO 200
The focusing employs the same "trick" the GH4 uses, where the camera will use how blurred the out of focus area is to help it determine the focus.  In good light, it is really really quick!  I haven't had too much experience with tracking yet though.  In low light, it does slow down quite a bit.  I wouldn't call it bad, but I guess it's more like the jury is still out.  Here's a panning shot I tried to get:
9.12mm, f2.8, 1/60, ISO 320
I will update if I come up with any revelations.  Oh, and I almost forgot!  Here is a 4k video (from 3 clips) from the FZ1000.  Sorry, I am not much of a film/video person...but I tried to show the wide and telephoto with the moon in the middle of the vid. =)

Note: The crop factor is 25mm/9.12mm = 2.74, so multiply the listed focal lengths by 2.74 if you want a 35mm equivalent.

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