Initially, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ1000 looks nearly the same as Sony’s Cyber-shot DSC-RX10 large sensor, long zoom camera, but there’s a precedent within the business’s own range. It has been eight years because the FZ50 was introduced, so we can not imagine too many persons are still waiting, however in some respects it seems Panasonic has finally created an upgraded for that much-missed model. As a whole, the FZ1000 can almost be observed as a synthesis between your two cameras.

Just like the RX10, the FZ1000 includes a 20MP 1″-type MOS sensor (and the suspicion should be that it is a Sony chip), but, instead of the Sony’s 24-200mm equivalent zoom range, the Panasonic reaches from 25 to 400mm equivalent. To avoid the whole lot becoming enormous, the FZ1000’s lens is slower compared to the Sony’s: its maximum aperture rapidly drops from F2.8 towards F4.0 as you zoom in, but there are lots of men and women who’ll accept that reduction in return for the excess range.

In spirit, though, the large sensor, long zoom and articulated screen can’t help but recall the FZ50, which offered an identical zoom and aperture range, despite having a much smaller 1/1.8″-type sensor. The FZ1000 is a similarly sized camera however the eight years of technological development that underpin it mean it’s in a position to offer drastically higher resolution regarding its viewfinder, rear screen, pixel count and video output. Panasonic has been pushing the superzoom sector with famous brands its frequent F2.8 DMC-FZ200, however the return to a more substantial sensor format and a comparatively bright lens is exciting.

When the RX10 premiered, it stood alone as an expensive but hugely flexible camera that seemed equally designed for stills and video shooting: the best travel camera, perhaps. The launch of the FZ1000 brings both cameras into focus, making clear that camera makers believe there exists a niche for cameras that do somewhat of everything in one (albeit sizable) package. The huge difference between your two cameras, though, is price: the FZ1000’s $899.99 / £749.99 launch price is just about a third less than the Sony’s was.

Because the FZ1000’s launch, Sony US has reduced the list price of the RX10 to $999 and, because it has been on the market for some time, it’s available quite a distance below list price in Europe. This reduces but doesn’t abolish the gap in cost between your two cameras, and it will be interesting to see what street price the Panasonic settles to, after a couple of months.

Its utilization of an easy readout sensor and the four-core Venus processor means the FZ1000 becomes among the first sub-$1000 cameras to fully capture 4K video. Anyone wanting footage they are able to show immediately could have the decision of shooting 1080p movies at 60, 30 or 24 fps (50, 25 and 24 in PAL countries). The video capability is supported by the inclusion of focus peaking, zebra exposure warnings, center point marker and ‘Cinema-like’ gamma profiles.

Key Features:
20.1 megapixel 1″-type MOS sensor
25-400mm equiv. F2.8-4 Leica lens
5-axis ‘Power OIS’ stabilization
XGA OLED electronic viewfinder with 2.36M dots
3-inch fully-articulated LCD with 920K dots
4K (3840×2160) video at 30p, 100Mbps MP4
1080p at up to 60p, 28Mbps (MP4 or AVCHD)
120fps quarter-speed 1080p
3.5mm microphone socket
Clean HDMI output
Zebra pattern and focus peaking
Wi-Fi with NFC
360 shots per charge (CIPA standard)
It is not only the Venus processor that the FZ1000 shares with the GH4, in addition, it features a lot of its customizable control points. These aren’t quite so numerous as on its interchangeable lens cousin, because of the insufficient touchscreen, but they’re still pretty welcome on a ‘compact’ camera. The FZ1000 offers the sort of hard-point controls, such as for example an AF drive mode switch and AEL button, that rarely make an appearance below the enthusiast interchangeable lens camera level.

The FZ1000 also gains the GH4’s ‘DFD focusing’ – a way of identifying roughly what lengths it requires to refocus, predicated on a knowledge of the characteristics of the lens in out-of-focus regions. This aims to play the same basic role of on-sensor phase detection: a means of assessing the length the camera must focus on, in order that it could rush the lens to near that time before using contrast-detection to determine perfect focus.

The camera also features an in-camera Raw conversion option, that is a very welcome addition, permitting you to tweak a variety of image parameters after you have taken a go, applying different noise reduction and Photo Styles or making adjustments to brightness or the highlight and shadow response.

The lens
What does this mean in real life, though? Check out the same aperture comparison chart below:

Exactly like ‘equivalent focal length,’ equivalent apertures permit you to compare lens behavior side-by-side across cameras with different sensor sizes, by firmly taking sensor size into consideration. The same aperture figure provides clear notion of how two lenses compare regarding depth-of-field. In addition, it gives a concept of low-light performance, because it also describes just how much light is available over the sensor’s area. However, dissimilarities in sensor performance mean this may only be utilized as a guide, instead of an absolute measure.

The FZ1000’s maximum aperture drops off rapidly, once you commence to zoom, and by around 150mm equivalent, it’s a complete stop slower compared to the Sony RX10. However, this still leaves it half of a stop faster compared to the likes of the Olympus Stylus 1. Moreover, the FZ1000’s lens then continues to an extremely impressive 400mm equivalent focal length.

The only other method of attaining this degree of reach with an effectively brighter aperture will be an APS-C DSLR with a superzoom just like the Sigma 18-250mm f/3.5-6.3 DC Macro OS HSM or Tamron 16-300mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC PZD Macro (most closely represented by the Nikon 18-200mm proven here) – a combo which will be considerably larger, though could be had for similar levels of money.