Introduction

All product pictures by Dan Bracaglia

The Panasonic FZ1000 II is a 20-megapixel long-zoom bridge digital camera geared toward fans. With snappy efficiency and a shiny, far-reaching 16x optical zoom lens, it provides plenty of versatility in a reasonably compact, travel-friendly bundle. And for bonus factors, it might additionally file 4K video.

Key specs:

  • 20.1-megapixel, 1″-type BSI CMOS sensor
  • ISO vary of 125-12,800, expandable to 80-25,600
  • Leica-branded 16x optical zoom lens, 25-400mm equal with a shiny F2.8-Four most aperture
  • 5-axis picture stabilization
  • 49-point autofocus with face/eye detection
  • Shoots constantly at 12 frames per second with out autofocus, 7 fps with steady AF, or 30 fps in ‘4K Photograph’ mode
  • Excessive-resolution OLED digital viewfinder and tilt/swivel touchscreen LCD
  • Able to UHD 4K/30p or Full HD 1080/60p video
  • Battery rated for 440 pictures per cost on LCD or 290 pictures via viewfinder (CIPA)

The Panasonic FZ1000 II is obtainable at an MSRP of $899.99 USD. Road costs on the time of writing are within the area of $800 USD.

Having 400mm of attain on faucet offers you loads of alternatives to seize the small print in addition to the general image. Out-of-camera JPEG.
ISO 200 | 1/125 sec | F4 | 400mm equiv.

What’s it?

The FZ1000 II goals to offer a one-size-fits-all answer yielding tons of versatility and wonderful picture high quality, however with out the majority and problem of an interchangeable-lens digital camera and lenses. And with no cumbersome digital camera bag full of additional lenses, the concept is that you can get the shot in virtually any capturing scenario.

As a superb all-rounder, it is a strong choice for the household documentarian

From a beneficiant 25mm-equivalent wide-angle all the way in which to 400mm-equivalent telephoto – and whether or not capturing distant topics or macros from as shut as one inch or 2.5cm (on the widest finish of the lens) – the FZ1000 II’s shiny F2.8-Four stabilized lens caters to all method of topics and capturing types. And because it’s paired to a swift and comparatively massive 1″-type picture sensor, you possibly can count on good burst efficiency and good picture high quality, even in low mild.

The Panasonic FZ1000 II’s mixture of versatility and portability make it a fantastic alternative for journey, nature and informal sports activities photographers. As a superb all-rounder, it is also a strong choice for the household photographer or documentarian. It has comparatively few rivals, with the closest of those being its predecessors and Sony’s common RX10-series, though they differ in some essential methods.

Panasonic’s up to date JPEG engine churns out very nice colours and fairly good element – plus, 400mm of attain ensures you some topic separation (in any other case often known as bokeh-liciousness) even on a 1″-type sensor. Out-of-camera JPEG.
ISO 160 | 1/60 sec | F4 | 400mm equiv.

Panasonic FZ1000 II in contrast

Panasonic FZ1000 II Sony RX10 IV Sony RX10 III Panasonic FZ2500 Panasonic
FZ1000
MSRP (at launch) $899 $1699 $1499 $1199 $899
Sensor 20MP 1″-type BSI- CMOS 20MP 1″-type stacked CMOS 20MP 1″-type stacked CMOS 20MP 1″-type BSI-CMOS 20MP 1″-type BSI-CMOS
Lens (35mm equal) 25-400mm F2.8-4 24-600mm F2.4-4 24-600mm F2.4-4 24-480mm F2.8-4.5 25-400mm F2.8-4
Constructed-in ND filter No No No Sure No
AF system Distinction detect Section detect Distinction detect Distinction detect Distinction detect
LCD 3″ 1.24M-dot totally articulating 3″ 1.23M-dot tilting 3″ 1.23M-dot tilting 3″ 1.04M-dot totally articulating 3″ 921k-dot totally articulating
Touchscreen Sure Sure No Sure No
Burst price (with AF) 7 fps 24 fps 5 fps 7 fps 7 fps
Video 4K/30p, cropped 4K/30p 4K/30p 4K/30p, cropped 4K/30p, cropped
Wi-Fi Sure, with NFC and Bluetooth Sure, with NFC and Bluetooth Sure, with NFC Sure Sure
Battery life (CIPA) 440 pictures 400 pictures 420 pictures 350 pictures 360 pictures
Dimensions 136 x 97 x 132 mm 133 x 94 x 145mm 133 x 94 x 127mm 138 x 102 x 135 mm 137 x 99 x 131mm
Weight 808 g 1095 g 1051 g 915 g 831 g

In comparison with its predecessor, the FZ1000 II is a largely related digital camera with some worthwhile management and dealing with enhancements, a extra beneficiant buffer and a way more enticing menu system.

The sister mannequin Panasonic FZ2500, in the meantime, is a more sensible choice for film shooters with a fair longer-zooming, albeit slower lens with separate focus and zoom rings and, crucially, a two-stop impartial density filter inbuilt. The FZ2500 additionally features log capturing, higher high quality HDMI-out options and the choice for wider Cinema 4K seize for higher-end customers. Nonetheless, its lens underperformed in our testing. For $100 much less, the FZ1000 II has noticeably higher battery life, is a contact lighter and has Bluetooth connectivity for quicker pairing to obtain photographs to your good gadget.

Full-frame equal most apertures throughout respective zoom ranges for the FZ1000 II and its nearest friends. Smaller numbers are higher.

As for Sony’s Cyber-shot RX10-series, each the RX10 III and RX10 IV are considerably costlier than the Panasonic FZ1000 II however they’ve longer zooms that are brighter than the FZ1000 II at their broad ends. Optically, they’re superior general with sharper outcomes on the broad and telephoto ends and usually extra constant across-the-frame high quality (dig deeper with our bridge digital camera lens shootout on web page 2). They’re additionally smaller and supply higher video high quality with extra video seize instruments and options, too. Maybe most importantly, the RX10 IV comes with on-sensor section detection autofocus and much increased burst charges; the FZ1000 II’s autofocus is nice for normal use, however its efficiency and modest burst speeds aren’t a match for the Sony for sports activities and motion.

In the event you’re after one thing extra compact and might stay with out the brilliant most aperture, you might also need to think about the much more compact Panasonic ZS200 / TZ200, ZS100 / TZ100 or Sony RX100 VI or VII as a substitute. Lastly, when you’re after essentially the most zoom you will get, you would possibly have a look at the likes of Nikon’s P950 or P1000, which offer you insane attain however make the most of smaller sensors, and subsequently outright picture high quality will not match what the FZ1000 II is able to.

Whereas the FZ1000 II’s lens is not fairly a match sharpness-wise for Sony’s RX10 III and IV, it does get you a superb quantity of element all through the zoom vary. Out-of-camera JPEG.
ISO 125 | 1/400 sec | F4 | 300mm equiv.

What’s new?

Though it sports activities a brand new, modestly-restyled physique with a number of new or redesigned controls, the Panasonic FZ1000 II is essentially the identical digital camera as its predecessor when it comes to its imaging pipeline. The sensor dimension and determination are unchanged, and so too is the lens which sits afront that sensor, in all respects however one: its aperture iris can now cease all the way down to F11 throughout the zoom vary, the place that in its predecessor was restricted to F8.

As an alternative of being a model new digital camera from the bottom up, it is a honing of an already-impressive one. On the surface, Panasonic has added a brand new entrance management dial, in addition to three new perform buttons on the left of the lens, which substitute the FZ1000’s lens ring and stabilization switches.

The bottommost button defaults to a brand new ‘zoom compose help’ perform which racks the zoom in direction of wide-angle whereas the button is pressed that will help you relocate your topic, then zooms again in as quickly as you let go. That is useful, however could be much more so if the lens zoomed slightly quicker, because it takes about 3.5 seconds to traverse the complete vary in each instructions.

Round again, the viewfinder now has barely increased magnification, and the lean/swivel show is identical decision as earlier than however makes use of a brand new panel that needs to be brighter and extra environment friendly. However neither change is critical sufficient that you just’d discover with out evaluating each cameras side-by-side.

What you’ll discover, nonetheless, is that the LCD is now a touch-screen, and the menu system is each higher organized and extra fashionable wanting. And fashionable niceties like Bluetooth connectivity and in-camera USB charging have been added to the spec sheet.

Out-of-camera JPEG.
ISO 125 | 1/60 sec | F8 | 400mm equiv.

The remaining modifications are all on the software program facet. There are two new black and white picture types we have seen on different latest Panasonic cameras – L.Monochrome and L.Monochrome D – and new focus and aperture bracketing capabilities as nicely.

Panasonic has additionally prolonged its ‘4K Photograph’ modes, which seize or generate photographs from brief video clips. In-camera ‘post-focus’ permits you to choose the place you need the aircraft of focus to be after the picture has been taken, and focus-stacking will work in-camera to stack a number of planes of focus in order that, notably with macro work, all is in correct focus. There are additionally 30-frame pre-burst capabilities, in addition to auto marking and sequence composition capabilities, the fundamentals of which we cowl right here.

The FZ1000 II’s JPEG engine offers fairly nicely with high-dynamic-range scenes, however processing the Uncooked information is your greatest wager to actually maximize picture high quality. Out-of-camera JPEG.
ISO 125 | 1/80 sec | F3.8 | 25mm equiv.

What stands out concerning the digital camera?

I have been an enormous fan of large-sensor, long-zoom cameras ever since I reviewed the primary within the class, the Sony Cyber-shot RX10, again in 2013. And after I adopted that up with a evaluation of the unique FZ1000, I known as it an ‘exceptionally enjoyable digital camera to shoot with’, and stated that whereas the then-flagship Sony RX10 had a lot to suggest it, together with its superior lens and video high quality and instruments, I would personally select the Panasonic of the 2 if spending my very own hard-earned money.

After a protracted five-plus 12 months wait, I am thrilled to have lastly gotten hands-on with the Panasonic FZ1000 II, and doubly so to report that it addresses a few key considerations I had with its predecessor. Uncooked buffer depth and battery life have been each areas the place I felt Panasonic wanted to revisit its design, and it did simply that.

In comparison with its predecessor, the FZ1000 II doubles the burst depth when capturing in Uncooked format. And battery life has additionally improved, with a CIPA score of 440 pictures on a cost when utilizing the rear display screen, up from 360 pictures on the FZ1000.

Whereas the distinction of this picture evokes a sure temper, you could be shocked at simply how a lot element lurks within the shadows when you course of out the Uncooked file. Out-of-camera JPEG
ISO 125 | 1/80 sec | F3.8 | 59mm equiv.

Sadly, you may nonetheless pay a steep penalty when you favor the digital viewfinder, as battery life plunges to only 290 frames, down simply fractionally from the 300 body life reported for the FZ1000. Principally, when you’re primarily utilizing the rear display screen, you need to be capable to get via two-ish days of photo-focused endeavors. In the event you choose the viewfinder, it is extra round a day and a half. In the event you’re a eager photographer, we would suggest retaining an additional battery shut at hand.

That stated, I am thrilled to see USB charging added to the FZ1000 II. It makes plenty of sense {that a} digital camera geared toward serving to you to journey mild ought to free you from the standalone charger, so you possibly can pack even lighter and share chargers you are possible already carrying for different gadgets.

It is a bit of a disgrace that the arrival of USB charging is accompanied by the elimination of the standalone charger from the product bundle, although. If you wish to cost a second battery whereas capturing, you may now have to finances an additional $30 for the Panasonic DE-A79B charger.

The FZ1000 II does a good job of balancing noise discount with element retention, however you could need to tweak the noise discount settings or shoot Uncooked for greatest outcomes. Out-of-camera JPEG.
ISO 1600 | 1/60 sec | F3.3 | 51mm equiv.

In-hand, it is a very snug digital camera, even with my larger-than-average palms. It is received a good heft to it, about the identical as an entry-level DSLR with package lens hooked up, however it’s well-balanced and would not really feel unduly heavy, particularly given the far-reaching, shiny zoom lens.

The brand new entrance management dial is a welcome addition that makes publicity changes faster. And the three new perform buttons on the left of the lens, which substitute the FZ1000’s lens ring and stabilization switches, give a constructive click on when pressed, and are very simple to find by contact as long as you are not carrying gloves. (However could be near-impossible to really feel when you have been.)

Actually, my solely criticism concerning the FZ1000 II’s controls is that you may’t zoom and autofocus on the identical time. With fast-paced motion like sports activities, I discovered this habits generally value me pictures. Fortunately, in most different conditions it is not a priority.

One other factor I would wish to see modified is the placement of the steel tripod mount, which sits nicely to at least one facet of the lens’ optical axis. That is not one of the best location for capturing tripod-mounted panoramas, and it is also very near the battery/storage compartment door, which means that when you use a tripod plate you may possible have to take away it each time you alter the battery or reminiscence card.

Lastly, the FZ1000 II comes with no claims of weather-sealing in anyway. For such a flexible journey digital camera that you just’re more likely to have with you in quite a lot of conditions, it would be a welcome function. However beefed-up sealing would improve value: the most recent cameras in Sony’s RX10-series do supply claims (however no score) of weather-sealing, and they’re costlier.

The FZ1000 II’s lens has an efficient picture stabilizer built-in, however no impartial density filter. Good factor now you can stop-down to F11 for daylight pans. Out-of-camera JPEG.
ISO 125 | 1/60 sec | F11 | 65mm equiv.

As for the on-screen person interface, I am an enormous fan of the FZ1000 II’s overhauled menu system. It is a lot cleaner, extra fashionable and fewer disorienting than the unique FZ1000, and now now suits eight gadgets per web page, as a substitute of six, and you’ll faucet on any particular person merchandise on every display screen to regulate it instantly. There’s additionally a brand new My Menu function the place it can save you your personal favorites. Though its fundamental construction is broadly just like earlier than, it feels extra like a night-and-day change from the outdated menu, and I like it!

I am an enormous fan of the FZ1000 II’s output as nicely. Simply as with its predecessor, I discovered white steadiness and metering to be correct the vast majority of the time, and shade was additionally a pleasant steadiness between accuracy and the punchier look shoppers are likely to favor. Out-of-the-box, JPEGs will look extra detailed and have extra pleasing shade than the older mannequin, although Uncooked efficiency is actually unchanged. In the event you’re pushing the best ISO values the digital camera is able to, think about switching to Uncooked as a substitute of simply capturing JPEG – we’ll have a look at this in additional depth with our studio scene on the next web page.

JPEGs will look extra detailed and have extra pleasing shade than the older mannequin

For an in-depth have a look at the lens efficiency vs. its friends, leap to our lens shoot-out on web page 2 right here. Total autofocus efficiency is greater than sufficient, with the FZ1000 II fast to lock focus precisely in all however essentially the most tough circumstances, and never retaining me ready as I rattled off burst of pictures round my adopted residence of Knoxville, Tennessee. The phase-detection autofocus system of Sony’s RX10 IV is much simpler for motion, however I discovered the quick contrast-detection autofocus on the FZ1000 to be quick sufficient for many topics.

The FZ1000 II makes use of Panasonic’s ‘Depth-from-Defocus’ distinction detection autofocus system. It’s totally fast and really correct, particularly in single AF (AFS), and works nicely for quite a lot of topics. Eye and face detect typically work nicely, however they need to be manually enabled individually from the digital camera’s topic monitoring mode. Sadly, whilst you can count on a reasonably good hit-rate in steady AF (AFC), the picture will wobble out and in of focus whereas doing so, and also you would possibly discover this distracting.

Aperture comparability: F8 vs. F11
ISO 125 | 1/5 sec @ F8 (left) vs. 0.Four sec @ F11 (proper) | 400mm equiv.

I am additionally glad to see the minimal aperture has been prolonged throughout the board, if solely as a result of it expands your choices considerably. (The FZ1000 had an unusually abbreviated decrease restrict of simply F8, which has been prolonged to F11 for the FZ1000 II.)

As you possibly can see in my hooked up samples, the distinction in depth of subject if you cease down that little additional is not game-changing, although, and it comes on the expense of slight however noticeable softness throughout the whole picture as a consequence of diffraction. (Diffraction limiting is already kicking in by round F4.5.)

Photograph Kinds: Normal (prime) vs. L-Monochrome (backside left) and L-Monochrome D (backside proper)
ISO 125 | half of,500 sec @ F2.8 | 400mm equiv.

I discovered a few of the new artistic choices – particularly focus bracketing, and the 4K Photograph put up focus / focus stacking options – to be plenty of enjoyable. There are undoubtedly some limits to remember with the latter past its decrease eight-megapixel decision, nonetheless.

Firstly, you are restricted to pretty excessive shutter speeds when utilizing 4K Photograph, which implies ample mild is required if the outcomes aren’t to develop into too noisy. And secondly, greater than slightly topic or digital camera movement will simply trigger rendering points when photographs are stacked in-camera. I discovered that loading the 4K Photograph video frames and stacking them in Photoshop can often repair these considerations, although, so it is not possible as a consequence of rolling shutter however is maybe a limitation of the digital camera’s processing.

Conclusion

As I stated on the outset of this evaluation, I used to be already an enormous fan of the unique Panasonic FZ1000. And that is simply as true of the FZ1000 II. I believe it is fairly exceptional what Panasonic has managed to pack in, at lower than half the value of the Sony Cyber-shot RX10 IV. Heck, even the four-year outdated RX10 III nonetheless prices a full $500 greater than the FZ1000 II.

And in equity to Sony, the FZ1000 II is certainly much less digital camera in some respects, particularly in relation to high-speed burst seize, autofocus and film recording capabilities. Its lens can also be not as sharp or as constant, albeit nonetheless nice for many functions. In the event you’re aiming to {photograph} motion with any regularity, Sony’s RX10 IV is a greater wager regardless of the additional value as a consequence of its phase-detection AF system. If hardcore video is extra your factor, you may undoubtedly need to think about the FZ2500 or RX10 III / IV due to extra superior video options and higher high quality.

However when you aren’t an enormous video or peak-action shooter and need essentially the most bang for the buck, the Panasonic FZ1000 II is completely price an in depth look, simply as its predecessor was some 5 years in the past.

Scoring

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