Are you in the market for a camera which is a good all-rounder? That being a camera with a quality built-in lens, loads of zoom ability, and a feature-packed unit, then the Panasonic LUMIX FZ1000 II could be a possible option. The camera is an incremental upgrade from the FZ1000, with lots more up-to-date features.
These bridge cameras cover a lot of bases and try to do each of them very well. So, let’s see if Panasonic has achieved this and what it has to offer.
Built around a very DSLR exterior with a chunky handgrip, those familiar with the original FZ1000 will find a similar unit with lots of upgrades. Connectivity has been increased with Bluetooth along with the standard Wi-Fi, a rear tilting touchscreen, a slight rearrangement of buttons and a few helpful features such as Zoom Compose Assist for telephoto shooting. 4K video has also been added, with a few other tasty elements including 12fps shooting and 4K Photo.
The whole camera is wrapped around a 20-megapixel one-inch sensor with a 16x optical zoom, which works out in the real world to be 25-400mm. Other basic specifications include a maximum aperture of f/2.8 to f/4-f/11, an ISO range of 125 to 12800, 4K video at 30p, and an overall weight of 810g.
As with all cameras with a built-in zoom lens, the lens retracts back into the body when you turn off the camera, like a retracting gun barrel. All the controls are logically laid out, with the top plate having mode dials and quick access buttons for the most common features.
A few of these buttons can be customized to your own liking. There are also function buttons and a ring around the lens barrel which can be customized to various settings, most obviously for extending the lens, but can also be used for things like exposure compensation.
The rear of the camera also has a plethora of buttons, with one of the most obvious being the function button no.8, which dictates if the electronic viewfinder is on or off. Happily, the electronic viewfinder will automatically switch off when your eye is at the viewfinder. The 3-inch rear touchscreen is also fully articulating, which will be very helpful for the video guys, but is also the main gateway to all of the functionality.
Overall, a solid set of features which should allow you to fine-tune all aspects of your images without too much headache. Let’s move on to see how the camera works in the real world.
The Panasonic LUMIX FZ1000 II in Use
The LUMIX FZ1000 II has the same sensor and lens combo as the original, which means as expected, the image quality is roughly the same. As long as the ISO levels are kept low, images are rendered with a good degree of contrast and saturation and are generally quite sharp. Noise reduction does start to kick in quite early, so it’s best to keep the ISO levels as low as possible.
Image quality is helped by the one-inch sensor and the fact that the lens does not zoom as much as some of its counterparts. However, there is still plenty of range, going from 25-400mm.
If the camera is set in full auto mode, the metering system does a good job of nailing the white balance and exposure, even under artificial light, but it’s always an idea to shoot in RAW format for the most leeway. Images do display anomalies such as chromatic aberration with high contrast areas, but these can be easily rectified in post-processing.
The lens is also quite adept at macro photography with a close focusing distance of 3cm. You’re not going to get super fine detail as you would with a high-end prime lens, but images come out perfectly adequate for this level of camera. The telephoto end of things does produce slightly softer images, but the help of the built-in image stabilization does a lot of the heavy lifting for keeping things sharp.
The 4K Photo feature is useful for shooting action where you can extract an eight-megapixel image. The resulting image is not as good as the 20-megapixel versions, but it’s adequate for online sharing and small prints. If you want to start using the flash then there are a few good view modes, which will help with the process. Things like Auto/Red-eye Reduction and Flash Synchro perform well and produce more natural images.
How Does It Compare?
Bridge cameras are nothing new, which means there is always a good selection on the market. One main player is Canon with its PowerShot SX70 HS. This sports a 65x zoom lens, which equates to an impressive 21-1365mm, 4K video, and Digic 8 processor. Image quality is comparable to the Panasonic with lots of built-in features. If you want that extra zoom range of ability, this could be the better option.
If ultimate zoom range is your thing, then the Kodak PIXPRO AZ901 with its 90x optical zoom lens is hard to beat. Just like the other two cameras, lots of features, good quality images, and a good all-rounder. However, the extra zoom range suffers from diffraction, but it’s there if you need it.
|Panasonic LUMIX FZ1000 II||Canon PowerShot SX70 HS|
|Video||4K 30p||4K 30p|
Although this upgrade keeps the same image sensor and lens, it’s packed full of additional useful features. Some of these are genuinely helpful, such as the Zoom Compose Assist function. Overall, the image quality is good if you keep the ISO levels low and you aren’t pixel peeping, the camera can handle a variety of situations and produce bright, highly contrasty images.
The Panasonic LUMIX FZ1000 II may not be worth the upgrade if you own the original, but as your first bridge camera, there’s a lot of appeal in the box. For anybody wanting a good lightweight all-rounder that provides high-quality images, then this camera could be worth shortlisting.