On my way to the coffee shop in Lincoln I passed by the (Silver Street) LCE store to see if anything interesting was in the second hand section. I also look to see if they have anything new that I haven’t seen before and noticed that they had the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ1000 in the window and now for sale.
After hearing a lot of god feedback from the few people on the internet about the camera I just had to have a go. As always I find the staff at the LCE stores very accommodating and they let me have a quick go. This is my thoughts after only five minutes of using the camera.
My first impression is that they weren’t kidding when they said it was larger than the average bridge camera (slightly bigger than even Sony’s Cybershot RX10); however it wasn’t that big. Once I was handed the camera I was surprised about how light it was, the camera looks heavy but is very light, something that I always relish.
The controls are very similar to the Lumix G series (ILC) interchangeable lens cameras and anyone who is used to the GH or G series bodies will feel right at home with the camera. Both the rear LCD and viewfinder were excellent, clear and lag free; I would wager that this could be the best EVF that Panasonic make – it’s that good. The rear screen is fully articulated just like the G/GH cameras and the only omission is that there is no touch screen :(.
Now onto the lens. Wow! This is monstrous and has an unusually large diameter (62mm filter thread) and this is to give you the same field of view of a 25mm to 400mm (in 35mm terms) lens range for the massive 1″ sensor. I only used the zoom/focus ring on the body and it can take some time to get from one focal length to the other but the quality of what I was seeing on either the EVF or the rear screen never deteriorated.
I also tried using the focus/zoom ring to manually focus the camera. There is a potential gotcha here though; the FZ1000 is adorned with many physical switches to change the switch the various features that the camera has and although this is usually for the good Panasonic may have a problem here. I changed the position of the switch on the lens barrel from Zoom to Focus and then tried to manually focus the camera – and found that it didn’t work. Half-pressing the shutter would focus the camera – strange. The problem is that the focus mode of the camera is still in single-shot AF, controlled by a focus mode selector switch on the rear of the body (just like a GH series camera). Once I moved this into the “MF” mode the manual focus ring worked as expected. If you want manually focus you need to activate both controls, they aren’t linked – unfortunately this is something that cannot be fixed in firmware as they are both physical switches.
Let’s hope that the next revision has a third position for the Zoom/Focus switch on the lens barrel called AUTO and then via a menu feature (which can enable/disable the auto) you can hvae it so that on auto the ring controls zoom and when the camera is switched to MF it switches it so that it controls focus (you still have the zoom rocker that surrounds the shutter release button).
Overall I was really impressed by the camera and it’s hard to believe that this also shoots 4K video, all this for only £750 makes is the bargain of the year.
If I hadn’t have already bought the GX7 and extra lens I would have probably gone for this instead – the costs are very similar. That’s how good it is. I see this as a game changer and most photographers could get this and not want for anything, next time I get the question about which DSLR should I buy I will ask them to consider one of these instead – it would certinaly do most of what I want.
One of my favourite bloggers is a guy called David Taylor-Hughes who’s “SoundImagePlus” site is a daily read, had posted is thoughts about the camera (he has purchased one) and I agree with what he says. In fact he’s now got rid of his MFT (Micro-Four Thirds) cameras and lenses as this camera has replaced what the MFT cameras did for him. I recommend that you pop over to his site and read what he has to say here. He’s even posted a quick YouTube video of footage from the camera too.
I do see one of these in my future but probably not until next year though, my next major purchase is going to have to be a new computer I think.