The Panasonic FZ1000 - Seriously fast and a real alternative to a DSLR.

First off let me say yet again what a wonderful camera the FZ1000 is. And it's so fast to use it's unreal. It starts up really quickly and I can get a shot from a turned off camera in about a second. Obviously to do this the AF has also to be incredibly quick and it is.

Yesterday I was finishing off my photographic 'essay' of the Mawddach Estuary cycle path in North Wales and I wanted to get some pictures of cyclists using it. So I set the camera to shoot 4K video, took some footage of them passing by and then selected various frames to convert into stills. The image quality is terrific at 4K and you can toggle through the footage frame by frame and pick whatever you want. You can save one frame or as many as you want. 

Cycling back after this I thought just how useful this is for all forms of photography. Portrait sessions, Fashion shoots, Sports, Weddings etc. would all benefit from this and I was thinking how much quieter and less intrusive this would be than a huge DSLR shooting bursts on a motordrive. Because the bigger and noisier the camera, the more you affect what you are photographing. The silence and speed of the FZ1000 is a real advantage for any kind of work that requires some 'discretion'.

And yes I really do think the FZ1000 is a serious and credible alternative in many professional situations. The only times it wouldn't work that well is in low light, but then it is better than you might imagine and of course perfectly acceptable for web use, newspapers and small sizes in magazines. 

Now I'm really not naive enough to imagine that all kinds of professional photographers will rush out to buy one of these and dump their Canons and Nikons, because as I've often written 'Photo Pro's' are a conservative bunch who are very reluctant to change and anyway think that their monster camera / lens combinations give them some kind of credibility. At least the ones who don't feel secure in their choices of gear do. But photographers who want to get 'inside' their subject, take some time to document it and want to do that as quietly and unobtrusively as possible will see the possibilities. 

Sure some use camera phones these days, but no camera phone on the market or liable to appear on the market for some time to come, has the versatility and speed of the FZ1000. That huge zoom range is incredible and lets me take pictures that I couldn't before. Of course this means that the camera isn't small, though it is incredibly light. But the point is that it is an all-in-one solution and for any outdoor work you really wouldn't need anything else for the majority of situations. 

I really can't heap enough praise on this camera and it really is something of a marvel. As you will be aware I immediately sold all my m4/3 gear when I got this as I could see that I just wouldn't be using it any more. And I've written before about how Panasonic might just be digging a hole for lots of their other products. Because the image quality of the FZ1000 is remarkably close to what cameras like the GX7 and GH3 can produce, with a larger file size and a smaller sensor. And in terms of AF speed, I've not used anything quicker. And the much promoted (By Sony) a6000 AF speed isn't any faster than this. 

As I indicated in a previous post, this is way out ahead in terms of my Soundimageplus camera (and lens) of the year award. (Not that that means anything at all!!)  because it's simply astoundingly good. I wouldn't have the slightest hesitation in taking this along for any professional job for either stills and/or video. And I wouldn't have the slightest doubt that the camera could perform brilliantly in virtually any situation I could take it into. The fact that it's a lens integrated non interchangeable lens system makes this even more remarkable and that 'bridge camera' tag is just ridiculous and does it a serious disservice. If this is a 'bridge camera' then my Leica T is a compact point and shoot. 

It does show how meaningless these definitions are, but unfortunately once they get established there is no going back. So the FZ1000 will always be regarded as somehow inferior to Mirrorless ITLC's etc. The fact that it's not and can leave most of them trailing in it's wake in terms of performance is neither here nor there. I can only suggest that if you are interested in a remarkably versatile, high speed, high performance camera that is light and (relatively) inexpensive, then do try and get your hands on one to see just what it can do. I suspect you will not be disappointed. 

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