Steve's Conclusion

Steve's SnapShot

  • 20.1-Megapixel Imaging Sensor
  • 3.0-Inch Adjustable LCD Screen
  • 12x Optical zoom lens: 25-400mm (35mm equivalent)
  • 5-Axis O.I.S.
  • Dedicated Video Record Button
  • iAuto mode
  • 4K and Full 1080p HD video recording
  • Art Filters
  • In-Camera HDR
  • WiFi
  • Audio Input
  • HDMI Output
  • SD/SDHC/SDXC memory card compatible
  • Rechargeable Li-Ion battery
Pros
  • iAuto shooting mode is accurate and easy in all situations allowing anyone to use the camera
  • Image quality is excellent in all shooting modes
  • Dedicated Video Capture Button is always ready to record
  • 12x optical zoom lens (35mm equivalent of 25-400mm) is very versatile
  • 5-axis image stabilization allows you to shoot stills and video with ease while on the move
  • Nice, Bright 3.0--inch LCD can be adjusted to just about any angle
  • Electronic Viewfinder is sharp, clear and shows a live-view preview of your images before you capture them
  • Excellent shooting performance
  • Good Battery Life is only shooting with the EVF
  • Hot Shoe allows for the addition of both flash and audio accessories
Cons
  • The body could use a second control dial for adjusting shooting settings
  • Battery life is very short when using the convenience features on the camera like WiFi.
  • On the more expensive end for a point-n-shoot camera
  • Larger than most ILCs (some may like this)
Timing Test Results
  • Power up to first image captured = 0.9 seconds
  • Shutter lag when prefocused = less than 1/10 of a second
  • Shutter lag with autofocus = approx. 1/10 to 2/10 of a second
  • Shot to shot delay wo/flash = 0.42 seconds
  • Shot to shot delay w/flash = 0.76 seconds
  • High Speed Burst = 12fps (Max 12 images when shooting RAW+JPEG)
  • All of our tests were completed using a SanDisk Extreme Pro UHS-1 8GB SDHC memory card, Program Mode, ISO Auto, Flash off and all other settings at the factory defaults.
Bottom Line
The Panasonic Lumix FZ1000 is a versatile and more than capable alternative to a dSLR or ILC. Fantastic image quality and performance will draw you in, while a great set of features and creative shooting modes will keep you trying new things. The camera also features powerful video capabilities including 4K video capture!
Pick This Up If...
You are looking for outstanding image quality and performance but not sure if you want to deal with multiple lenses. It is also a great choice for aspiring photographers that are also interested in video production.
With the Panasonic Lumix FZ1000, Panasonic has taken the convenience of a mega-zoom point-n-shoot digicam and combined it with the quality and performance of a dSLR/ILC. It sports a large 1-inch 20.1-megapixel imaging sensor, 25-400mm f/2.8-4.0 Leica zoom lens, light speed AF system and an amazing 5-axis optical image stabilization system that allows for amazingly crisp images in all lighting situations and shooting conditions. Along with the 20-megapxiel images, this camera is capable of capturing 1080p and 4K videos at the push of a button. A hot shoe allows for a variety of external attachments, including an external flash unit or powered external microphone for increased audio quality for your home movies. Let's not forget about the great convenience features like iAuto shooting, scene and art shooting modes and built-in WiFi; all which make the camera more fun to use and share your images from anywhere.

This compact mega-zoom digital camera gives you the feel and handling similar to a compact dSLR or ILC with the convenience of a huge built-in zoom lens. Designed for users with some photography experience, the body of the camera is covered with useful controls, allowing you to adjust for all shooting situations quickly and easily. Its iAuto mode, on the other hand, allows anyone to pick it up and capture great images. The camera's built-in WiFi also provides some easy-to-use features that can be very fun, starting with the convenient QR scan to connect your smart device. This makes it very easy to connect to the camera. Once connected, you have the ability to view and transfer the images from the camera to your device for easy sharing. Your device can also act as a remote for the camera, letting you step away and giving you more creative freedom as well as a great new way to capture "selfies".

Panasonic provided the FZ1000 with two great ways to compose and view your images. First up is a 3.0-inch, 921k-dot adjustable LCD screen. This is great for point-n-shoot style photography, giving you a high resolution preview of what the camera will capture. The screen can be turned and tilted to just about any angle to reduce glare or allow you to compose from odd or difficult angles. Your other option for composing your images is the electronic viewfinder, sporting over 2.3-million dots of resolution. It gives a crystal clear view of the image plus shows you a real-time preview of what you will capture. You will also see all of the shooting information exactly the way you would see it on the LCD screen, giving you the best of both worlds. The EVF also features an eye-level sensor, allowing the camera to automatically switch between the LCD and EVF when the camera is put up to your eye.

Performance from the FZ1000 is outstanding. The camera is able to capture its first image after being turned on in less than 1 second and has virtually no shutter lag when the AF system has already focused. Allowing the AF system to work lets the camera capture its images in just 1/10 to 2/10 of a second, depending on the zoom and lighting conditions. In single shot mode, the camera has a shot to shot delay of less than ½ second and only goes up slightly to 0.76 seconds when using the built-in flash. For burst shooting the camera features several speeds, maxing out in our tests at 12fps for a full-sized image. When shooting with RAW+JPG, the camera hit its limit at 12 images, but was able to capture a lot more in JPG only mode. All of our tests were completed using a SanDisk Extreme Pro UHS-1 8GB SDHC memory card, Program Mode, ISO Auto, Flash off and all other settings at the factory defaults.

Our outdoor images show us excellent overall image quality with sharp focus, excellent exposure and vivid colors. All of the fine details in the image are sharp and very easy to see. Aberrations and other flaws have been controlled very well, only leaving us with a little noise in the shadow areas of our images. Assisting with the composition of our images is the 16x optical zoom lens with a 35mm equivalent of 25-400mm and a maximum aperture of f/2.8-4.0. This lens handles low-light situations very well, increasing image quality and reducing the need for the on-board flash unit. The lens is also supported by the 5-axis optical image stabilization system, which allows you to shoot still images and video handheld while on the move.

Looking at our indoor image samples it is easier to see the overall image quality. Our samples show the same outstanding image quality, detail and color that was shown in our outdoor images. All the way up to ISO 800, the images show minimal noise and amazing detail. ISO 3200 is where the noise really starts to show through, softening the image and blurring out some of the fine details. After that the images start to get blotchy and color dulls. As with almost all cameras, the higher ISO settings on the FZ1000 should be left alone unless you have no other choice. Assisting with your low-light shooting, Panasonic has included a pop-up flash unit. The flash did an excellent job at close range to accurately light the scene and maintain accurate color as well. This flash is not very powerful and does best when kept as close to subject as possible. The camera's hot shoe allows for an external flash unit to added to increase flash power.

The FZ1000's face detection software goes above and beyond with its ability to not only detect and follow faces with ease, but once it has detected the primary face, it will also key in on the closest eye of the subject. This pinpoints the focus on the eye and assures the best possible portrait image. The fantastic results can be seen in our portrait sample. Excellent exposure and a pin-sharp face really make our subject stand out. The built-in flash assisted with this image without creating any redness in the eyes or blowing out the subject. It also left the background with a natural look and color instead of being much darker, which is something we would normally see from a built-in flash unit.

To help with your creative shooting, Panasonic has included a number of artistic shooting modes. These modes have been designed to give your images specific effects or looks that are normally very difficult to acquire naturally with the camera or have to be done on a computer. With the FZ1000 you just need to choose the look that you want for your images, and the camera will do the rest for you. Outside of the art filters, the camera can also capture burst images for auto bracketing and in-camera HDR shooting. The camera even has the ability to capture macro images as close as 3cm from the lens, allowing you to get really close to your subjects, no matter how small they are. Our samples page includes several samples of these are filters and other creative shooting modes.

As one of the first point-n-shoot cameras on the market to offer 4K video recording, the FZ1000 is definitely a step ahead of the competition. Adding this to Panasonic's already terrific video recording capabilities and controls makes this camera a must for any aspiring videographer or anyone else looking to take full advantage of their 4K HDTV with their home movies. Offering recording in both MPEG4 and AVCHD, you have plenty of options for compression and quality. The 4K video is only available in MPEG4. All of our videos at all resolutions playback very well and provide excellent video quality. Thanks to the 5-axis O.I.S, it is easy to capture handheld video with smooth and steady movements, even when walking. Audio is recorded on the camera's built-in stereo microphone. Like all other built-in mics, this is very sensitive and will pick up all of the sounds surrounding the camera, which will leave you with more background noise than you bargained for. We highly recommend one of the external microphones available from Panasonic that attach right to the hot shoe of the camera, if audio quality is important to you.

Powering the FZ1000 is a 7.2V, 1200mAh rechargeable Li-Ion battery. Panasonic claims that this is enough to allow the camera to capture up to 360 images on a single charge. During our tests we were not able to reach this number, only capturing approx. 150 images and a couple videos. While completing our tests, though, we were also viewing these images and videos as well as testing the WiFi capabilities, which is a much bigger drain on the battery than just shooting with the EVF. Either way, we recommend that you purchase a spare battery to keep charged and on hand at all times. Also included with the camera is a portable charging unit that allows you to keep your battery charged and ready as long as you have an electrical outlet.

Bottom Line - The Panasonic Lumix FZ1000 is a powerful and versatile point-n-shoot camera that provides amazing performance and better than expected image quality. The large 1-inch 20-megapixel imaging sensor, low-light lens and awesome optical image stabilization all combine to increase the cameras ability to capture light and keep the images sharp in all lighting conditions. It also features some fantastic video capabilities and the ability to capture 4K video, which not many digicams have at this point in time. This is a great camera for anyone looking for an ILC or entry-level dSLR without the hassle of buying and changing lenses for every situation. With a MSRP of US $899.99, this a viable option for an all-in-one camera with some of the best image quality you will find in its class.


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