Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ1000 Review

July 3, 2014 | Mark Goldstein | |

Image Quality

All of the sample images in this review were taken using the 20 megapixel Fine JPEG setting, which gives an average image size of around 9Mb.

Bright and clear colours are the name of the game with any Panasonic camera and the FZ1000 doesn’t disappoint in that respect. Although occasionally images taken at the telephoto end of the zoom lost their razor sharpness we were still able to achieve perfectly acceptable results handheld, which is where this camera really triumphs. OK, so it’s not the longest lens reach on the planet in this age of 50x and 60x ‘super zoom’ bridge models, but the combination of lens, sensor and resolution feels harmonious and uncompromised. Detail is maintained into the corners of the frame at maximum wide-angle and without a noticeable fish eye effect, which is a further plus.

One odd thing though; we were disappointed to find that when shooting on the widest possible setting with the FZ1000 that, with the lens hood attached, we experienced a ‘vignetting’ effect due to us catching the extremities of the lens hood in shot – so that is something to be aware/beware of.

Rather more pleasingly we were impressed with results at the higher echelons of the FZ1000’s ISO sensitivity settings – and with the lens hood removed! Arguably shots right up until the maximum ISO12800 setting are usable in our opinion, even if detail is noticeably tailing off above ISO6400. Still a respectable showing that undoubtedly comes down to a bright/fast lens and a large-ish sensor not over-burdened with pixels. Although not top quality obviously, also usable is the still image that you’re able to extract from a 4K video feed. Wildlife photographers who want to capture an animal’s movement on video but be able to select a particular frame to produce a still now have the ability to do so, again without compromise. In all, the FZ1000 feels like the ‘go to’ camera.

Noise

There are 8 ISO settings available on the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ1000. Here are some 100% crops which show the noise levels for each ISO setting.

ISO 125 (100% Crop)

ISO 200 (100% Crop)

iso125.jpg iso200.jpg
   

ISO 400 (100% Crop)

ISO 800 (100% Crop)

iso400.jpg iso800.jpg
   

ISO 1600 (100% Crop)

ISO 3200 (100% Crop)

iso1600.jpg iso3200.jpg
   

ISO 6400 (100% Crop)

ISO 12800 (100% Crop)

iso6400.jpg iso12800.jpg

Focal Range

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ1000's 16x zoom lens provides a focal length of 25-400mm in 35mm terms, as demonstrated below.

25mm

400mm

focal_range1.jpg focal_range2.jpg

Sharpening

Here are two 100% crops which have been Saved as Web - Quality 50 in Photoshop. The right-hand image has had some sharpening applied in Photoshop. The out-of-the camera images are a little soft at the default sharpening setting. You can change the in-camera sharpening level if you don't like the default look.

Original (100% Crop)

Sharpened (100% Crop)

sharpen1.jpg sharpen1a.jpg
   
sharpen2.jpg sharpen2a.jpg

Chromatic Aberrations

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ1000 handled chromatic aberrations excellently during the review. There's some slight purple fringing between areas of high contrast, but it's only noticeable on close inspection, as shown in the examples below.

Chromatic Aberrations 1 (100% Crop)

Chromatic Aberrations 2 (100% Crop)

chromatic1.jpg chromatic2.jpg

Macro

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ1000 offers a Macro setting that allows you to focus on a subject that is 3cm away from the camera when the lens is set to wide-angle. The first image shows how close you can get to the subject (in this case a compact flash card). The second image is a 100% crop.

Macro

Macro (100% Crop)

macro1.jpg macro1a.jpg

Flash

The flash settings on the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ1000 are Auto, Auto/Red-eye Reduction, Forced On, Slow Sync./Red-eye Reduction, Forced Off, and Flash Synchro. These shots of a white coloured wall were taken at a distance of 1.5m.

Flash Off - Wide Angle (25mm)

Flash On - Wide Angle (25mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64
   

Flash Off - Telephoto (400mm)

Flash On - Telephoto (400mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64

And here are a couple of portrait shots. As you can see, neither the Forced On setting or the Auto/Red-eye Reduction option caused any amount of red-eye.

Forced On

Forced On (100% Crop)
flash_on.jpg flash_on1.jpg
   

Auto/Red-eye Reduction

Auto/Red-eye Reduction (100% Crop)

flash_redeye.jpg flash_redeye1.jpg

Night

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ1000's maximum shutter speed is 120 seconds in the Bulb shooting mode, which is great news if you're seriously interested in night photography. The shot below was taken using a shutter speed of 1/4 second at ISO 1600.

Night

Night (100% Crop)

night1.jpg night1a.jpg