I don’t get excited about every new camera that comes out, especially when it comes to fixed-lens cameras. The LUMIX FZ1000 was definitely an exception. The stand out feature of the FZ1000 is that it captures 4k video. The idea of a camera with a 20mp 1″ sensor with a 25-400mm f2.8-f4 lens was immediately interesting to me as a camera I could use while I’m traveling with my family or when I’m teaching a class or workshop.

I was able to borrow an FZ1000 to use during my recent workshop in North Carolina. When I’m trying a new machine I just use it as I would any other camera. I assume that the camera will do what I need t too and I push it until I find it’s breaking point. With fixed lens cameras that breaking point is usually related to image sharpness or detail. I’m so used to the touch screen on the LUMIX MFT cameras that a non-touchscreen camera usually drives me crazy as well.

To make a long story really short: the LUMIX FZ1000 blew me away! I spent a day of scouting before the workshop and the first half of the workshop using the FZ1000 exclusively. The flexibility of the 25-400mm Leica lens and the unbelievably sharp and detailed images had me laughing out loud on several occasions. I’m sure my assistant got tired of hearing me say, “I can’t believe I got that shot with this camera!”

Naturally the video quality from the FZ1000 is incredible. Some folks are complaining that the FZ1000 only captures 4k video at 30p, so if you have to have 24p you might need to jump up to a GH4.

Here are a few things that stood out to me while using the FZ1000.

  • The O.I.S (Optical Image Stabilizer) in the lens is very good. I had no trouble getting sharp shots at handheld at 400mm, and that is not always an easy feat. Some of the video clips I captured with the lens zoomed all the way out are a testament to the effectiveness of the O.I.S.
  • The menus are very similar (if not identical) to my daily-driver LUMIX GH4. That made using the camera very easy and intuitive. Focus settings, Wi-Fi, time-lapse settings, etc were right where I expected them to be.
  • On the subject of comparison to the GH4: the FZ1000 hast the same DFD focus technology as the GH4. In my experience I found the FZ1000 to be just as fast to focus as the GH4, and that is really saying something.
  • You can either zoom the lens with the toggle switch around the shutter button, or by turning the ring on the lens barrel. It is nice to zoom the lens like you’re used to with a traditional camera lens. I did find that the toggle switch is able to zoom more quickly than the lens ring.
  • The EVF is very nice. I believe it is the same resolution as the LUMIX GX7. It is large, clear and easy to use. Unlike the LUMIX FZ200 it does have an eye sensor to activate the EVF.
  • I haven’t seen the flash sync speed of the FZ1000 mentioned anywhere. I suppose because of the video capability of the camera, but the flash specs are impressive. I discovered that the x-sync speed in RC (remote control) mode is 1/3200sec. That means you can drive three groups of speedlights from the camera while shooting at shutter speeds up to 1/3200sec! I can’t wait to try the FZ1000 for shooting hummingbirds with multiple speedlights.

There are only a few things that jumped out at me that would make the FZ1000 even better.

  • Touch screen! I admit that I’m totally spoiled by my touch screen LUMIX cameras. It makes the camera so much easier to use.
  • Weather sealed body. The FZ1000 is the perfect camera for someone who is into hiking, kayaking, etc because of its flexibility and high quality. If it was weather sealed it would be the ultimate “outdoor” camera.
  • The tripod socket is not on the lens axis. I’m sure there is a logical engineering reason for this, but it makes using the FZ1000 on a tripod a bit more tricky.

I received more questions and comments about the photos I posted from the FZ1000 than I did when the GH4 came out. I think a lot of folks are excited about this camera, and I can see why. If you THINK you would like the FZ1000, you’ll LOVE it. If it doesn’t seem like something you need you should probably check it out anyway. You might be surprised!