The first thing that you will notice about the new FZ1000 is that it is notably larger & heavier than your average bridge camera, but then this is most definitely not just your average bridge camera.

In design the camera is similar to a D-SLR with a large handgrip which even after hours of use allowed for balanced, comfortable use. The top control dials are quite chunky & feel positive in operation, in common with cameras of this design there are separate release buttons for stills & video although when switched to manual video mode from the main control dial either button has the same function. Zoom function can be operated either from a rocker switch forward of the shutter release button or from the large control ring around the lens assembly, this ring can also be used for manual focus.

The rear panel of the camera houses the 3” articulated screen, menu & function controls. The layout is uncluttered & often used functions can be accessed with one push of a button, there is also the option to customise individual buttons to a user’s preference.

The viewfinder is a joy to use, some electronic viewfinders lack detail & colour accuracy but this is one of the best I’ve seen. A sensor on the finder automatically flips the image from the main screen to the finder as you put your eye to it.

Focus is blisteringly fast & accurate & enough options to cover any situation, I usually opt for a single centre point focus & use the af lock & reframe if necessary rather than use multipoint or selecting one of the 49 af points, I find it faster overall but it’s nice to have the choice.

Compared to its smaller brother the FZ200 with 25-600mm & constant F2.8 max. aperture, the zoom range of 25-400mm & F2.8-4 on the FZ1000 at first glance looks like a step backwards but with its 1” image sensor the quality of the images speak for themselves. Low light or high speed shooting poses no problem for the FZ1000 with an ISO range of 80-25600 and even at the higher IOS’s noise is handled very well.

4K video recording is a big feature on the FZ1000 achieving 100mbs compared to 28mbs when shooting at 1080p so a lot of potential for the videographers out there, frame grabs of 8mb are possible using editing software. A couple of things to note when shooting in 4K, it’s quite memory hungry, an 8GB card will give you a little under 10 minutes recording & if you’re used to popping your SD card in to a smart TV a full HD tv won’t recognise the 4K file so you’ll need to connect the camera to the TV via HDMI & the camera will downscale the footage.

There is a useful tool available for your smartphone called the Panasonic image app. This allows control of the camera via your phone. Your phone can control still & video functions & gives you the option to download files from the camera. You can also use your phone to add GPS information to an image.

One minor niggle, until you get used to it it’s possible to inadvertently move the zoom ring, an option to disable the function would be nice.

Overall a fully featured camera combining simplicity when you want it and a wealth of options when you want to be a bit more creative.

The Panasonic LUMIX FZ1000 is available now from Ace Optics! 

Sample Images taken with the Panasonic Lumix FZ1000 (Click for full-resolution version):

Panasonic FZ1000 Sample Image: Race of Britain

Panasonic FZ1000 Sample Image: Race of Britain (2)

Panasonic FZ1000 Sample Image: Race of Britain (3)

Panasonic FZ1000 Sample Image: Race of Britain (4)

Panasonic FZ1000 Sample Image: Race of Britain (5)

Panasonic FZ1000 Sample Photo: Flowerbed   Panasonic FZ1000 Sample Image: Flowerbed & Pond

Panasonic FZ1000 Sample Image: Narrowboat & Bridge

Panasonic FZ1000 Sample Panoramic Image

Video Samples shot with the Panasonic Lumix FZ1000:

Unfortunately, Youtube does not support the playback of 50/60p content and has reduced these samples to 30 FPS.