A massive achievement at a reasonable price in a small package
The Panasonic Lumix Fz1000 has helped launched a revolution. Now, more than a year old, this camera still offers the best bang for the buck. So far, it's only real competition is the newly released Sony RX10 II but it is also significantly more expensive and has a lesser zoom. Really, the Fz1000 is in a class of its own when addressing the super zoom-style camera.
The Fz1000 is a mirrorless camera, which is the new wave of DSLR-style cameras. The quality of this technology has rapidly improved and will likely one soon day surpass the short-lived regime of the Digital SLRs offered by industry kings Canon and Nikon. Sony has already started the battle on the professional and consumer level going head-to-head with the CaNikon and Panasonic has been looking to corner the market in affordable and diverse cameras appealing to both photographers and filmmakers.
For Photographers: While the Fz1000 offers formidable auto functions, it is a complicated camera. It has the ability to shoot continuously at 12 frames per second and its autofocus is rather impressive as well. This camera takes advantage of face recognition technology allowing a user to register faces -- this is particularly useful for event photographers such as wedding photographers who want to ensure the camera focuses on someone in particular first (a bride or groom). The lens on this camera is a very nice quality fixed lens with a 16x zoom. What does this mean to the non-expert? The lens is non-removable, but it covers a lot of ground. For traditional 35mm photographers, the lens is equivalent to a 25-400mm lens. It offers a wide angle with the 25mm and a powerful telephoto on the 400mm extreme.
For Videographers: The Fz1000 offers a lot of options. It is one of the highest quality cameras in this price range. It can shoot 4K ultra high definition (UHD) video at 30fps or 24fps (with a firmware upgrade). It also has the ability to shoot slow motion in full HD at 120fps. The greatest downside I have found, is the recording limit on video files. The camera will stop recording after 29 minutes. It doesn't break up the files and continue recording, it simply stops. Additionally, the autofocus in movie mode does need to be closely monitored as it jumps around quite a bit moving in and out of focus if there is a lot of movement.
Real World Scenarios: I have had the opportunity to use this camera extensively as both a video camera and a pure photography camera. I have documented multiple events on the video side including weddings and fashion shows. Additionally, I have used it extensively for photography at a variety of events such as weddings, fashion shows; as well as pure photography, shooting landscapes, waves and a variety of other images.
Slow Motion Test
In Conclusion: This is a fantastic travel camera, or secondary camera. I wouldn't use it as a primary camera for events, but it is a powerful camera for B-roll and secondary footage. It could be used as a primary video camera potentially for documentary shooters and in well-planned on-location settings. If you are traveling or only want to take one camera with you, the Fz1000 offers a lot of power in a small package.
By Brian Barsuglia
An unboxing and sample footage: