The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ1000 is the first bridge camera to deliver the new ultra HD 4K video format thanks to the inclusion of an impressive 1in, 20.1MP CMOS sensor. Read our Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ1000 review
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ1000 review – Image quality
Image: The FZ1000’s large sensor and reasonably fast lens are good for low-light work
With its 1in (13.2×8.8mm), 20.1-million-pixel MOS sensor, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ1000 is clearly ahead of the competition compared to most other high-end bridge cameras. As we would expect, it delivers high-resolution images with excellent low-light performance as a result of the larger sensor area. Overall, its image quality is very close to the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10, which uses a very similar sensor.
The FZ1000 shows increased dynamic range and reduced levels of noise compared to bridge cameras with standard-sized (1/2.3in) image sensors, and its results are comparable to many DSLRs. Noise levels at sensitivities up to ISO 1600 are perfectly tolerable, and around 2EV better than those of other bridge cameras.
The measured image resolution is at the high end of what you could expect from a 20.1-million-pixel sensor, and the well-controlled noise enables excellent resolution at higher ISO settings.
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ1000 is a substantial bridge camera, with a sharp zoom lens that complements the quality and resolution of the images produced by its larger sensor. Any cameras capable of clearly bettering this model would have to sport larger four thirds or APS-C-sized sensors, and interchangeable lenses.
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ1000 review – Resolution
The FZ1000 resolved around 3000 lp/ph at ISO 80 on our test chart, which is excellent. The images were shot at a focal length equivalent to 50mm on a full-frame DSLR, and at f/4 which is the best-performing aperture for the lens. At ISO 1600, the resolution is still high at 2600 lp/ph and is testament to the camera’s well-controlled noise levels. At higher sensitivities, image noise reduces the sharpness achievable, with 2200-2000 lp/ph a more realistic figure.
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ1000 review – Dynamic range
The 1in sensor with its larger photosites produces great results for the FZ1000. At ISO 80, the peak dynamic range is 12.6EV, and it’s still performing well at ISO 1600 with a range of 9.5EV. This is comparable to many DSLRs we’ve tested with APS-C sensors and means the camera should be capable of recording good detail in a variety of lighting conditions, capturing a wide range of tones in shadow areas, particularly from raw files.
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ1000 review – Colour
This 3D graph compares the colour shift from the reference colour to the photographed chart, with the higher the peak the greater the shift from the original colour. In the default JPEG colour setting, colours are well rendered across the range, with red, blue and purple slightly enhanced. Test images display good natural colour rendition with average contrast in standard JPEG mode, and it’s possible to fine-tune contrast sharpness and saturation to suit your taste within the Photo Style Menu.
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ1000 review – Noise
Both raw and JPEG images of our diorama scene are taken at the full range of ISO sensitivity settings. The camera is placed in its default setting for JPEG images. Raw images are sharpened and noise reduction applied, to strike the best balance between resolution and noise.
The images above have a resolution of 300ppi and are shown at 100% magnification, reflecting a full-resolution print size. As can be seen, it is possible to produce smooth, good-quality images from raw files up to ISO 1600, and the JPEG files with in-camera processing are comparable with noise patterns slightly more visible. At ISO 6400 the raw files have less luminance noise in the shadow areas. I would be very happy to shoot raw and JPEG images using the full range from ISO 80-1600, and then use the ISO 3200-12,800 and extended ISO 25,600 settings as an emergency shot-grabbing measure when light levels are limited.
The grey-card images shown above are JPEG files shot with the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ1000’s default noise reduction and colour settings applied. The 300ppi images are shown at 100% magnification to reflect the noise that would be experienced when printing an image at maximum size. The results show that the FZ1000 has acceptable, well-controlled luminance noise up to ISO 1600. Luminance noise is more apparent at ISO 3200, but by ISO 6400, both colour and luminance noise are beginning to kick in. The ISO 12,800 and ISO 25,600 settings are significantly worse, but could be usable at a pinch if absolutely necessary.