FIRST LOOK: Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ1000
[Advanced Compact Fixed Lens]
Panasonic has been steadily increasing the size of the sensors in its FZ long zoom cameras and the recently-announced Lumix DMC-FZ1000 represents a big step up from the 1/2.3-inch type (6.17 x 4.55 mm) chip in last year’s FZ70 to a 1-inch type sensor measuring 13.2 x 8.8 mm. Sensor resolution has increased from 16 to 20 megapixels and the new camera’s video capabilities have also been boosted from Full HD (1920 x 1080 pixels) to 4K (3840 x 2160 pixels).
Styled like a DSLR and much the same size but with a fixed lens and smaller sensor, it provides a convenient package that appeals to people who want an all-in-one camera. The new camera presents the first real challenge to the Sony RX10, another long-zoom camera with a fixed lens and 1-inch type sensor.
The top panel of the FZ1000 with the lens in the wide (25mm) position. (Source: Panasonic.)
Cameras in Panasonic’s FZ series have always been popular with travellers, partly because of their relatively long zoom range but also because their lenses are usually faster than those attached to smaller-bodied digicams. Both features can be found in the FZ1000, which sports a fast, Leica-branded DC Vario-Elmarit lens with a 16x optical zoom range (25-400mm in 35mm format) and maximum apertures ranging from f/2.8 at the wide position to f/4 with the tele.
In use, we found the FZ1000 to be a pretty good camera for street photography, despite its relatively large size. Photographers who don’t draw attention to themselves will find passers-by tend to ignore them and the camera’s performance and versatility offer potential for nice-looking shots. (Some examples are provided in the Samples section.)
Support for 4K video recording is another reason people may buy this camera. Even if you don’t have a 4K TV set, the ability to record movies with 3840 x 2160-pixel resolution allows you to extract 8-megapixel frames from the clips and produce acceptable A4-sized print, should you wish. The camera also supports normal 1920 x 1080-pixel video recording with progressive and interlaced scanning and a choice between 50 and 25 frames/second, which is ideal for playback on widescreen HD TV sets.