Panasonic Lumix FZ1000 All-in-One Camera
The Panasonic Lumix FZ1000 is Panasonic’s newest release into the world of digital photography. The FZ1000 is what’s referred to as a Bridge Camera, a term used to describe the gap that exists between the all-in-one point and shoot and the more sophisticated interchangeable lens cameras like the GH4. I’m typically not a fan of these so called “Bridge Cameras” since they don’t allow you to change the lenses, they typically have very small, digital sensors (generally the larger the sensor the better the quality of the images produced), they’re often cheaply constructed, and old habits die hard.
The old habits die hard part is simply my long-held belief that any camera you can’t change lenses on can’t be all that interesting. But, I have to say, before this camera was even introduced, I’ve had a change of heart regarding these all-in-one type cameras. I wrote a short introduction to the Olympus Stylus SP-EE a few months ago which is a camera in the “Bridge” category. I personally don’t see myself using a Bridge Camera for serious work, but I’ve come to understand and appreciate why many people who want to simplify could see these cameras as a reasonable option. My mind began to change with my introduction to the Sony RX10, a Bridge Camera by Sony. The RX10 is a model I’ve started seeing some of our NE Explorers using. The concept behind an all-in-one Bridge Camera is to give the photographer one camera and one zoom lens that handles virtually all photographic situations.
They typically come with a substantially wide to long telephoto. Some, like the Olympus Stylus SP-EE, with a telephoto range of 1200mm, are exceptionally powerful. That’s impressive but it comes at a cost of image quality. The hard to believe telephoto capabilities of these cameras is accomplished by cropping the sensor. In other words, they use a smaller sensor to make the image the lens is projecting look bigger. The subject is still the same size, it just looks closer/larger because it was recorded on a smaller sensor. It’s kind of hard to explain but think of a small row boat on a little pond in your back yard. That row boat doesn’t look all that small in a tiny pond. Now put the same row boat on Lake Superior, where I grew up, and it suddenly looks like a very small boat. The analogy is, the smaller pond is the equivalent to a smaller sensor and the boat looks big. Lake Superior is a much, much larger sensor, and the boat looks tiny. Not sure that analogy will work for everybody, but it will have to do for now. I’ll keep thinking about how to make this more clear for future discussions.
What Panasonic and Sony have now given us are Bridge Cameras with much larger 1-inch sensors. With larger sensors, the telephoto range is reduced but the picture quality is improved dramatically. Larger sensors typically equal better image quality. In the case of the Panasonic FZ1000, this new camera even shoots 4K video, something the Sony can’t do. Panasonic is driving this 4K video horse like a mad jockey shooting for the Tripple Crown. The first race they won is the GH4 that records video onboard the camera without any external recording devise. Now the FZ1000 does the same and there is a rumor that the soon to be released Panasonic Lumix LX8 will also have 4K video as an option. If the LX8 rumor is true, Panasonic will have an amazing lineup of cameras from point and shoot to interchangeable DSLR’s, all capable of 4K video, that no other company has.
Many still photographers, who have no interest in shooting video, have lamented about their lack of a need for 4K video. To dismiss 4K video in the Lumix products in general and the GH4 in particular, is very short sited and here’s why. Without all the technology that drives 4K video, we wouldn’t have half the still camera the GH4 has become. Why? It’s all related to the extra computing power the 4K video capture requires. When 4K is not in use, the camera’s computing power then becomes available for still photo capture, auto focus, RAW image processing, etc. Forget the 4K video if you choose and be thrilled with the fact we now have a mirrorless camera that competes with some of the finest DSLRs. The GH4 isn’t quite up to the standards of the Nikon D4 but at less than 1/3 the cost, I can live with that for many of my professional assignments.
The cost of 4K video is becoming negligible and like it or to, video in still cameras is here to stay. Whether an advanced aperture or a buddy professional video on any camera will always be an option on anything considered serious. Many young photographers ask me for advice on becoming a professional photographer and my number one response is, “don’t think of yourself as a still photographer anymore. It’s not an option if you are planning to make a living. You need to think of yourself as a multimedia artist”. One last comment on 4K video and how it’s going to be a benefit to still photographers – just yesterday, I had a discussion with the Lumix Professional liaison, Tom Curley. Tom explained an amazing feature that’s part of the new Lumix FZ1000. Apparently, after capturing a 4K video clip, you have the option to scrub through the clip on the camera’s LCD, pick just the right frame, hit a button, and save that individual video frame as an 8 megapixel sill jpeg that’s added to the cameras card. All of this done while the clip is still in the camera. Simply amazing!
For further reading about the FZ100 follow the links below: