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Andrew Reid

Panasonic FZ1000 review - the bargain 4K super-zoom

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Hey Andrew,

 

 

Thanks for you really nice review. I have only one question about your sample video clip. From 1:23 to 1:27 I can see some jelly shake or maybe rolling shutter effect. (As if the sensor line reading was visible so the image is moving slightly) Is this a common problem with this camera or not? What is your experience? Is this a deal breaker and a real issue? I think it's the same problem just like here: 

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I've got ready access to the FZ1000 and have used it a few times.  My take:

There are a lot of things to like - 4k, decent lens etc. Image stabilisation is superb. I never normally use autofocus, but the face detection on the FZ1000 was so good I ended up letting it do the legwork on that front with no errors at all. There are some drawbacks I've discovered for shooting video though:
1 - using the wifi link seems nice as your iPad turns into a director's monitor very easily BUT the screen on the camera switches off after 30 seconds of recording when wi-fi is on, so you end up having to use the iPad / phone to monitor - also, the iPad will display everything on the screen except the audio levels for some reason, so a fail on that front.
2 - Using a monitor via the HDMI works very well until you hit record and the monitor feed switches off (like the 5D used to), so no good there. However you can have a clean feed, so I think this camera would work very well with a ninja or similar.
3 - No headphone jack. Why??? Another reason to use a ninja.
4- I shot on Cinelike D and found it to be more noisy than I'd hoped. Not terrible, but not great. Back to Cinelike V for me.
5 - No ND as Andrew says - you could use vari NDs, but I'm not a fan of them as you have to unscrew them to get clear. I use Cokin adaptors, which work brilliantly with the FZ1000's fixed lens as you can leave the adaptor on the whole time, which allows you to drop in filters within 5 seconds and of course gives you lots of options for polarisers, grad NDs etc (and also gives you a little bit of flare protection).
6 - 1" sensor takes me back to old school ENG shooting a bit - it's harder to get shallow DoF but it can be done if you frame at the right focal length and separate your subject, etc.  That lens gets to F4 fairly quickly (around the 50mm mark if memory serves) so you'll never use it as your primary shot, but it's fantastic as a wide angle 2nd cam on an interview for instance.
 
All in all I'd say this is a really good semi-pro camera that can be used to get away with pro shoots if speed and simplicity are needed, but don't rig it up like other DSLRs - this is a camera that works best on it's own. I'll definitely pull it out for handheld GVs and the occasional vox pop. 

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I've got ready access to the FZ1000 and have used it a few times.  My take:

There are a lot of things to like - 4k, decent lens etc. Image stabilisation is superb. I never normally use autofocus, but the face detection on the FZ1000 was so good I ended up letting it do the legwork on that front with no errors at all. There are some drawbacks I've discovered for shooting video though:
1 - using the wifi link seems nice as your iPad turns into a director's monitor very easily BUT the screen on the camera switches off after 30 seconds of recording when wi-fi is on, so you end up having to use the iPad / phone to monitor - also, the iPad will display everything on the screen except the audio levels for some reason, so a fail on that front.
2 - Using a monitor via the HDMI works very well until you hit record and the monitor feed switches off (like the 5D used to), so no good there. However you can have a clean feed, so I think this camera would work very well with a ninja or similar.
3 - No headphone jack. Why??? Another reason to use a ninja.
4- I shot on Cinelike D and found it to be more noisy than I'd hoped. Not terrible, but not great. Back to Cinelike V for me.
5 - No ND as Andrew says - you could use vari NDs, but I'm not a fan of them as you have to unscrew them to get clear. I use Cokin adaptors, which work brilliantly with the FZ1000's fixed lens as you can leave the adaptor on the whole time, which allows you to drop in filters within 5 seconds and of course gives you lots of options for polarisers, grad NDs etc (and also gives you a little bit of flare protection).
6 - 1" sensor takes me back to old school ENG shooting a bit - it's harder to get shallow DoF but it can be done if you frame at the right focal length and separate your subject, etc.  That lens gets to F4 fairly quickly (around the 50mm mark if memory serves) so you'll never use it as your primary shot, but it's fantastic as a wide angle 2nd cam on an interview for instance.
 
All in all I'd say this is a really good semi-pro camera that can be used to get away with pro shoots if speed and simplicity are needed, but don't rig it up like other DSLRs - this is a camera that works best on it's own. I'll definitely pull it out for handheld GVs and the occasional vox pop. 

 

Will Panasonic's app on the iPad show the compositional grid lines? 

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Very timely indeed! I just got my Fz1000, and am enjoying it so far.

 

Image quality is as good as I had expected for the price. The cropping in 4k is not as bad as I had thought and the wide end is decent enough. Been testing the wifi capabilities as well, and the Panny app that connects to your phone makes for a terrific combo setup and usable for low profile monitoring.

 

But is anyone getting a noticable motor noise from the camera consistently? It's actually a bit distracting and I thought initally there was a problem with the camera.

 

Another issue I have is the flickering in zoom. Even when I set the aperture to 4.0 to get a consistent aperture, it still flickers when I zoom. Is there something in the menu that solves this? I know the Canon c100 had a function you could turn on that alleviated this problem, but I don't believe this type of feature is in any hybrid cameras.

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Hi Andrew

Great review on the fz1000. I'm considering it as a second camera as a kind of run and gun option.

At the moment I have a fz200 as my second camera and I find it to be really handy but it lacks some features that I'm hoping are on the fz1000.

Can you tell me if it is possible to manually focus while recording in slow motion? This was one thing that drove me crazy about the fz200 along with the inability to zoom while recording.

At the moment this is the only thing holding me back from making the purchase so if you could send on any info about this it would be great.

Thanks again for the info on the camera. Hopefully I'll have one soon myself.

John Lawlor

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Hi guys, I have this little cam as well. It is so easy to use ! And the results are really great (compared to my old sony a65...).

But I have just a question. What's the best ? Mp4 or AVCHD ? I am getting a little confused...

Thanks !

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Any thoughts on how this camera will perform when you do green screen work? Given that the lighting is ok and the subject in front of the green screen isn't really moving.

 

I'll do a test when I have the camera but was wondering if anyone has an opinion (perhaps even from experience)? 

 

I've had really bad experiences with green screens using a XF100 and my dear 600D and don't want to go through this again if the camera is definitely not capable of it. In that case, I was talked into using the green screen and didn't have any prior experience with setting it up. The hours and hours I spent in AE trying to pull a good key made me hate the green screen and I've banned it from being used for any other projects for that company. My hands are tied in terms of lighting and camera to a large extent due to budget (I know, ideal context for green screen work). 

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It is only me, or the camera has poor dynamic range?

If you would've been reading through the thread, you would've come across...

 

 

does have a bit less dynamic range (and you can dial everything to minus maximus and it's still nowhere near flat)

You can't expect the same performance as that out of a bigger sensor camera, but it's already significantly better than anything in the same category from Canon PowerShot, Nikon Coolpix, Sony Cybershot and what have you, what superzooms/bridge cameras concerned. So I wouldn't go and call it 'poor'. These kind of cameras have to compromise in some ways to enable for the crazy versatile focal range. Still though, if you know the limits and keep that in mind when shooting, you can certainly make it work and capture stunning imagery nontheless.

 

Hi guys, I have this little cam as well. It is so easy to use ! And the results are really great (compared to my old sony a65...).

But I have just a question. What's the best ? Mp4 or AVCHD ? I am getting a little confused...

Thanks !

MP4.

 

Any thoughts on how this camera will perform when you do green screen work? Given that the lighting is ok and the subject in front of the green screen isn't really moving.

 

I'll do a test when I have the camera but was wondering if anyone has an opinion (perhaps even from experience)? 

 

I've had really bad experiences with green screens using a XF100 and my dear 600D and don't want to go through this again if the camera is definitely not capable of it. In that case, I was talked into using the green screen and didn't have any prior experience with setting it up. The hours and hours I spent in AE trying to pull a good key made me hate the green screen and I've banned it from being used for any other projects for that company. My hands are tied in terms of lighting and camera to a large extent due to budget (I know, ideal context for green screen work). 

Should be ok, although I haven't tried with the FZ1000 in particular. I worked with the 600D, in my opinion, it can get rather soft and mushy, not the easiest to key. My guess is, the somewhat cleaner cut FZ1000 footage should be easier to work with 'cause the edges are better defined, if that makes sense? Remember though, when green screening it is of outmost importance to light your background well and evenly. If you don't have that down, then any camera/footage will give you a hard time keying. Lighting doesn't have to be all that expensive. With green screen work you do not even need anything fancy either, you're planning to filter it out, not show it, anyways. And get your subject well away from the backdrop, light them separately. There are tons of good videos on this on the internet on this matter, you don't have to reinvent the wheel. But I'd say, do focus on lighting, else it's gonna be lost effort anyways, don't expect changing cameras to make much of a difference.

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I recently bought this camera over a GH4 because of being able to just pick it up and shoot with one hand as I often do when on vacation, and being able to hand it to anyone else to take my pic without having to explain "you have to turn the lens barrel to zoom".

 

I do wish it had "defocus" filter in 4K mode, and that is was not just an apperature/shutter adjustment.  It should use the camera's focusing technology to create the effect as a filter.

 

A live vid/audio out would be very nice, too, but at least there is mic in w/ audio levels.

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Great review, kind of summed up all the bits and bobs I have been reading elsewhere for months. I had my heart set on this fun camera but it is not available in Thailand, so went another (temporary) direction. I fear in 6 months there will be a new kid on the block or saving up for the NX1 will be the better choice.

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I think I've found my next budget all-n-one for backpacking & motorcycle travel. Wanted something with decent zoom, 4k video, decent stills, good stabilization, flip out screen, focus peaking, external mic jack, in one package. For under $1k I think for me this one is a no brainer.

Do you have to have the fastest, most expensive SD cards for 4k?

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I think I've found my next budget all-n-one for backpacking & motorcycle travel. Wanted something with decent zoom, 4k video, decent stills, good stabilization, flip out screen, focus peaking, external mic jack, in one package. For under $1k I think for me this one is a no brainer.

Do you have to have the fastest, most expensive SD cards for 4k?

 

Not really, Transcend 64GB u3 is like $33 and does 4k no problem

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I haven't had the best of experiences with Transcend, Kingston and co. and since forever sticking to SanDisk, because they've yet to let me down.

I'm still using the SanDisk Extreme Pro SDXC 64GB UHS-I 95MB/s memory cards I got back in the day shooting on my hacked GH2. They're good for just about anything.

If I were to try something else... probably I'd go with Samsungs new cards, the EVO looks nice for regular stuff and the PRO-line looks nice for more demanding situations.

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I've had pretty decent luck in the past with most of the budget cards, ie. Kingston, Transcend, PNY, etc. And $30 for 64GB isn't nearly as expensive as I thought it'd be. 

 

Looks like I'll need at least one spare battery. Looks like there's a plethora of spare batteries that'll work for the FZ1000. Is there one that's the most bang for the buck? Or, are most of them very similar with regard to max capacity?

 

​Also, I recall downloading some of Andrew's initial GH4 4k video samples and my current system was able to handle editing them just fine. At long as it's short I imagine. If I can handle those first sample GH4k clips Andrew posted, would it stand to reason I could also handle the FZ1000's mp4 and AVCHD clips as well?

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Also, I'm curious about Andrew's footage with this camera. The promo footage by Panasonic looks incredible, as does the slow-mo stuff with the guy and his mountain bike. But most of the sample clips out there look like standard family video camera footage and hard to get a handle on what the camera could do. 

 

I was ready to buy this camera based on the Panasonic footage and the slo-mo bike stuff... but Andrew's footage gives me a little pause. The shooting is fine, but the look is sort of dingy looking. Sort of an antiquated look that looks coffee-stained, contrasty, blown highlights, not much shadow detail. Same for his sample clips comparing it to the NX1.

 

Not bad, but doesn't look anywhere near as great as the Pana footage or slo-mo bike footage... or a couple other samples on YouTube. Is this just because of the way Andrew has his set up? Or his own aesthetic grading choices? Or, does the FZ1000 really look like that?

 

Anyone have any other sample clips that they're impressed with?

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I've had pretty decent luck in the past with most of the budget cards, ie. Kingston, Transcend, PNY, etc. And $30 for 64GB isn't nearly as expensive as I thought it'd be. 

 

Looks like I'll need at least one spare battery. Looks like there's a plethora of spare batteries that'll work for the FZ1000. Is there one that's the most bang for the buck? Or, are most of them very similar with regard to max capacity?

 

​Also, I recall downloading some of Andrew's initial GH4 4k video samples and my current system was able to handle editing them just fine. At long as it's short I imagine. If I can handle those first sample GH4k clips Andrew posted, would it stand to reason I could also handle the FZ1000's mp4 and AVCHD clips as well?

Yeah, I know I shouldn't let some bad experiences years ago effect present day that much, but you know the saying 'fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me', it's kind of hard to give something a second chance, if there's something out there that hasn't disappointed me yet and suits me well. But, technology advances, it gets harder to get it wrong, companies change strategies and production, maybe just give Transcend another go. I have to admit, their pricing is very aggressive and people seem to really digg their cards.

 

For batteries I'm lately using everything by Patona (German brand). They have some great quality batteries which I feel I can actually trust. Had gotten some ultra cheap ones directly from China a few years ago that could've fried my GH2. Glad that didn't happen, but I'm paying a little more attention now. Although there's also a voice telling me 'well, you've spent so much on this camera and these lenses and now you're going to take risks with third party batteries to save a couple of bucks, really?'. Just go on Amazon and check the reviews and don't go with anything brandless or priced too inexpensive.

 

If you can handle GH4 files, you should have no problem with anything the FZ1000 throws at ya.

 

 

Also, I'm curious about Andrew's footage with this camera. The promo footage by Panasonic looks incredible, as does the slow-mo stuff with the guy and his mountain bike. But most of the sample clips out there look like standard family video camera footage and hard to get a handle on what the camera could do. 

 

I was ready to buy this camera based on the Panasonic footage and the slo-mo bike stuff... but Andrew's footage gives me a little pause. The shooting is fine, but the look is sort of dingy looking. Sort of an antiquated look that looks coffee-stained, contrasty, blown highlights, not much shadow detail. Same for his sample clips comparing it to the NX1.

 

Not bad, but doesn't look anywhere near as great as the Pana footage or slo-mo bike footage... or a couple other samples on YouTube. Is this just because of the way Andrew has his set up? Or his own aesthetic grading choices? Or, does the FZ1000 really look like that?

 

Anyone have any other sample clips that they're impressed with?

Don't forget, Panasonic has a crazy budget for promo footage. So it's shot during the most favorable conditions ever, with the best equipment ever, run by professionals that know how to get most out of the camera (and how to edit it). So obviously you're gonna get a bit of a difference between that and actual user shot footage.

 

But putting that aside, you have to realize that there's a 1" sensor inside. It doesn't give you the level of gradability of a GH4, A7S S-LOG, 5DmkIII RAW, BMPCC RAW or anything. So when you start pushing it, it falls apart a bit quicker. As I mentioned earlier, it hasn't got the best dynamic range in the world. I mean, it works well and the image out of the FZ1000 can be really pleasing, AS LONG as you know its limits and work within those. Although I love Andrew's video, it's shot very well and captured some cool moments, personally I'm not really a fan of the picked 90's kind of looking colors and think the contrast is a bit too harsh to be applied to FZ1000-footage. That's a matter of taste in capturing and grading I guess. I've actually been using the FZ1000 more for stills than video lately. I find the increased megapixelcount allows for very detailed capture and the range is just nuts! You can zoom in on anything which is tons of fun for flexible framing and compositions, you'd normally wouldn't quite be able to get. Maybe I can find some clips though. Most video I shot with it was when I just had it and went to Hong Kong. You see, to me this is my travel cam. As I have the GH4 for example as well, so when I'm not really on-the-go, I'd love that one and bring a tripod, some hand picked lenses etc. . Shouldn't stop you from getting the FZ1000 as an allround cam though. It's a fine cam and everything that has been said in the review is absolutely true. This is a great powertool to have.

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