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Panasonic LUMIX LX / FZ Series
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Old August 8th, 2015, 06:05 AM   #1
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Using the Panasonic Lumix FZ1000

I thought it was time to start a new thread on the FZ1000 specifically to discuss using the camera, examples, queries, positives, negatives etc.

I have used Panasonic for years and already had a couple of FZ200s along with my 3 Panasonic video cams. I have never been a great fan of lens changing with video, coming from a long video camera background and enjoying working fast and light, so DSLRs for video have never been attractive to me even allowing for the great low light performance of the bigger sensors.

Having added photography to our wedding offerings a couple of years back, it seemed logical to go in the direction of a camera that can offer the possibility of video and photography for our joint packages rather than mixing our DSLR with the videocams which was slowing us down. Having experimented with the limits FZ200s in daylight conditions, the FZ1000 seemed to be the first camera that fitted our requirements for a fixed lens variable zoom camera that was light and adaptable plus affordable if it wasn't quite what we needed.

Fast auto focus was essential, with a manual override when required, the ability to manually adjust everything, but also the ability to instantly change to reliable fully automatic for sudden and unexpected events.The facility to also shoot stills while filming video would be a useful addition, and being able to lift stills from 4k and crop down 4k video was also something that really interested us.

I received delivery of my first FZ1000 a few weeks back as covered in another thread so what are the findings so far? I'll start a second post to explore my findings.

Roger
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Old August 8th, 2015, 07:12 AM   #2
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Re: Using the Panasonic Lumix FZ1000

For anyone using a high end DSLR, then the first think to notice is that the camera is much lighter, feels a bit plasticky and is not weather and dust sealed. For me, that is no problem at all, as my outdoor work is mainly weddings and if it is wet or dusty, they are going to dash inside pretty quickly. The camera casing is probably not going to stand up to dropping any sort of distance, but then I doubt that most modern cameras at any price with sophisticated electronics would fare much better even if the case survives.

The LCD screen is very sharp and clear and can be articulated to virtually any angle to cover every type of filming position, although in bright sunlight it will be difficult to see without some sort of hood, in common with most other LCD screens. The viewfinder is excellent and very sharp, but would benefit from a larger eyecup for bright sunlight, although I must say I haven't had a problem with it so far in sunlight.

The standard picture look seems to be very natural and I haven't needed to change it for the two weddings that I have used it at. There has been some criticism of the manual focus ring, but I have found it quite effective with an immediate centre zoom for focus as soon as it is moved, and blue fringe focus assist which is easy to see. I have found that I can use the manual focus quite slowly for fine tuning, although the auto focus has been so good I have barely needed to use manual.

Unfortunately, using the lens ring for zoom is hopeless in every video take I have tried. It's only practical use is for fast framing changes, with everything slower being very jerky. The other zoom control, is a little better, but a slight change in pressure on the lever gives an instant speed up or slow down and the speed seems to alter on it's own after a couple of seconds. It needs to be used with care and if you want a slow creeping zoom, forget it!

For me, the zoom is the only big downside to the camera and is something that I can live with. I love the many adjustments that you can make to customise the settings to your own requirements, including dynamic range, basic contrast and colour settings and all the things that are essential to finding your own levels and tweaks.

For my fast approach to video and stills, many of the auto assists are excellent, with superb 5 axis stabilisation and the intelligent auto which allows me to instantly select it and take a picture, knowing that the results will be very usable. I can increase or decrease the gain even while in full auto and then immediately switch back to my preset manual mode when I want to take a little more time. The telephoto is good, up to 24x with no noticeable artefacts but the aperture changes steadily from 2.8 to 4.0 as the telephoto increases. That's only really a problem in lower light, but not a major one, as ISO can be used up to 3200 before it starts to drop off, but gentle lighting is something I always have available for low light first dances etc.

So far I have been using the camera for backup video clips, but have taken over 1500 wedding stills and have started to use it for most of the main shots. I am pleased enough with the camera to now have a second one, which my wife Claire uses on her dual package shoots and when we are working together, She absolutely loves it and finds it really easy to get great stills, even finding the manual controls easy which is something she usually moans about and no lens changing ;-)

Tried some 4K viedeo and the clarity and sharpness is outstanding, but have found that my system is struggling a bit with it, so a new computer is now required. I am also very impressed with the stills that I can lift from the 4k footage from within the camera, which opens up some interesting new possibilities.

Shot a wedding yesterday with some video clips from the camera and dived in and took over 1000 stills under varying conditions and will try to upload some later.

Roger
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Old August 8th, 2015, 09:13 AM   #3
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Re: Using the Panasonic Lumix FZ1000

Awesome Roger! I was really hoping that Chris Hurd would have read our request on the forum plus an email from me and given us a category under Panasonic so we could post the technical stuff there but alas it doesn't look like it will happen even though the new FZ300 has hit the streets too.

I shoot our first wedding in the morning with just the two FZ1000's for video and I'm sticking to our two Nikons for stills at this stage as we do need a wide lens for group shots. So far test shots have been really good and I have done about 10 real estate shoots on the camera prior to this so it certainly works well. Now compared to my Sony's with APSC sensors the footage at 1080 P (to be fair and not use 4K) is way way sharper and the colours are pretty much perfect. Despite what people have said about the 20mp sensor and poor low light so far in dingy houses the footage even in low light has been good and where my Sony's that cost 4 times as much started to get noisy even at 3000iso these cameras produce a pretty good low light image at 6400 ISO ...The proof of the pudding will be at the reception tomorrow evening when I start hitting low light BUT I do have the option of putting a video light on the camera if I need one!!

I have left the A-Cam (ceremony and speeches) on APS focus (push the shutter to focus and it stays there as there is little or no movement and I have turned continuous focus in video mode off. On my handheld B-Cam I have the same setup but continuous focus is on so I can get the bride coming down the aisle and stay in focus ...we did do a rehearsal a few nights ago and it handles the autofocus quite well indeed. What I do like is if it has to do a refocus in auto it seems to apply a pleasing blur transition of about 1/2 second and actually looks quite professional ..I found no hunting at all ..once it focusses it stays there!

For this first wedding I'm not going to venture into the 4K realm (unless I get tempted..which might happen at the reception) and for now will shoot at 1080 but in MP4 mode as my NLE seems to render a lot quicker with MP4's compared to AVCHD files.

Will update after the wedding ..I'd like to see some of your footage too from the last shoot!!!

Chris
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Old August 8th, 2015, 09:19 AM   #4
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Re: Using the Panasonic Lumix FZ1000

Regarding the zoom ..I have two handles either side of the B-Camera and my right finger can reach the shutter button comfortably with this configuration. It can also reach the ring around the button used to zoom and I have found that a lot more precise to use for zoom so far ...I usually do a zoom as they sign the register so I'll try it out tomorrow too...the lens ring seems to have a dead spot on it and does nothing as you twist it and then it suddenly takes off ...the shutter button ring seems to be a lot less critical!!
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Old August 8th, 2015, 02:38 PM   #5
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Re: Using the Panasonic Lumix FZ1000

I've done the reverse to you Chris, concentrating on the stills with the FZ1000 and taking a few short hand held video clips in 1080p. My findings with the zoom are pretty much the same as yours and I will be interested to hear how you get on at the wedding.

Roger
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Old August 9th, 2015, 03:58 AM   #6
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Re: Using the Panasonic Lumix FZ1000

What are you using for support Roger - Frankenstein rig or monopod? I had a rig for my A7s but now I find I can be just as stable hand held providing I use the viewfinder and not the LCD monitor. For bride prep I use a monopod and for evening receptions - but that's mainly to save my back as it's a little heavy with the Tamron 24-70

The FZ1000 interests me as a camera for my other half who I leave for the last half hour of bride prep - needs to be foolproof in auto though, especially at dealing with backlight

Pete
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Old August 9th, 2015, 04:56 AM   #7
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Re: Using the Panasonic Lumix FZ1000

Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Rush View Post
What are you using for support Roger - Frankenstein rig or monopod? I had a rig for my A7s but now I find I can be just as stable hand held providing I use the viewfinder and not the LCD monitor. For bride prep I use a monopod and for evening receptions - but that's mainly to save my back as it's a little heavy with the Tamron 24-70

The FZ1000 interests me as a camera for my other half who I leave for the last half hour of bride prep - needs to be foolproof in auto though, especially at dealing with backlight

Pete
Hi Pete,

Claire and I both use a lightweight tripod, that we can instantly kick in the legs and use as a monopod, or even as a makeshift steadycam by retracting the legs and lightly holding it by the centre column. I also often use the FZ1000 handheld for almost all still shots and for quick video clips. The stabilisation is excellent and it also has a selectable artificial horizon to overlay if you want to be absolutely sure the camera is level. Great for handheld, but also with a tripod I often find that the spirit level says level, but the camera isn't quite, so I now use the AH all the time for levelling.

Must be a girl thing, Claire has a fantastic eye for framing and posing but has no interest at all in the mechanics of the camera. She loves the FZ1000 because she can use it in full auto but still use the thumb wheel to increase or reduce the gain if there is a backlight problem that the camera struggles with, although it is usually very good. Claire either uses the Auto or the Manual as she finds it very intuitive to rapidly change shutter, aperture, ISO and WB, She has also discovered the bracketing for preps shots where there are quickly changing scenes, so a 3 shot bracket of zero and +/- 1/3 gives her room to manoeuvre.

At the current prices Pete, I would go for it.

Roger
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Old August 9th, 2015, 05:38 AM   #8
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Re: Using the Panasonic Lumix FZ1000

Guys is it true you can't access the battery/card door with a QR plate on? That would be a bummer

I'm now looking at the RX10 - pretty much the same price and similar spec but constant 2.8 zoom - seems poor battery life for both these cams is an issue though.

Pete
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Old August 9th, 2015, 06:35 AM   #9
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Re: Using the Panasonic Lumix FZ1000

That is correct Pete, the battery is accessed through the bottom, but not a problem for me as I use a thumb wheel screw on my double plate, so only a few seconds to change the battery. Chris has also posted a pattern for a simple aluminium plate he made up to leave access to the battery door while still on the tripod.

The battery life is not as long as my bigger video cam batteries, but quite reasonable and much better if you are just using the viewfinder.

Roger
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Old August 9th, 2015, 07:05 AM   #10
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Re: Using the Panasonic Lumix FZ1000

Thought I would upload some quick stills from my Thursday wedding taken with the FZ1000 I usually quickly crop and process a few and downsize them to send to the couple the day after their wedding as a taster. They have all been reduced from about 5mb down to 1mb for ease of uploading.

090 taken by Claire at Preps, manual F3.8, 1/100, ISO 125, Auto WB low flash
172 taken by Claire at Preps, manual F3, 1/1600, ISO 125, Auto WB low flash
553 taken by Roger at Romantics outside, manual F3.8, 1/100, ISO 125, Auto WB PS vignette
519 taken by Roger at Romantics outside, manual F3.9, 1/100, ISO 125, Auto WB PS vignette

Can only get 4 in one upload.

Roger
Attached Thumbnails
Using the Panasonic Lumix FZ1000-p1000090small.jpg   Using the Panasonic Lumix FZ1000-p1000172small.jpg  

Using the Panasonic Lumix FZ1000-p1010553small.jpg   Using the Panasonic Lumix FZ1000-p1010519small.jpg  

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Old August 9th, 2015, 07:28 AM   #11
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Re: Using the Panasonic Lumix FZ1000

A few more under varying lighting mainly auto with tweaks

538 taken by Roger at Romantics, Auto, F3.6, 1/160, ISO 125, Auto WB, PS B&W
534 taken by Roger at Romantics, Auto, F3.7, 1/160, ISO 125, Auto WB, PS blur vignette
586 taken by Roger at Reception, manual, F3.6, 1/60, ISO 1600, Auto WB
891 taken by Roger at Sunset, auto, F3.2, -0.3 manual exposure bias, 1/80, ISO 125, Auto WB

Roger
Attached Thumbnails
Using the Panasonic Lumix FZ1000-p1010538small.jpg   Using the Panasonic Lumix FZ1000-p1010534small.jpg  

Using the Panasonic Lumix FZ1000-p1010586small.jpg   Using the Panasonic Lumix FZ1000-p1010891small.jpg  

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Old August 9th, 2015, 07:59 AM   #12
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Re: Using the Panasonic Lumix FZ1000

Beautiful Roger, well done!
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Old August 9th, 2015, 08:59 AM   #13
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Re: Using the Panasonic Lumix FZ1000

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Originally Posted by Anthony McErlean View Post
Beautiful Roger, well done!
Thanks Anthony, although I didn't post them looking for praise, in fact I think they are the first work I have ever posted here. I posted them because I felt that the FZ1000 is capable of giving professional photographic results in many instances, and most of the discussion in the forum about it has been related to the video aspects of the camera.

I intend to use it for both and so far see it as a real boon with our joint video and photo packages. It doesn't have the build quality of high end DSLRs, and the low light isn't as good as a full frame DSLR, but for 95% of what I do it copes very well. For the price of one DSLR lens, I already have two FZ1000s and if something even better comes out next year, I can upgrade without worrying about having forked out thousands for a camera and lenses that in most cases would out perform the work I would use it for.

Roger
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Old August 9th, 2015, 09:35 AM   #14
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Re: Using the Panasonic Lumix FZ1000

There is an awful lot to be said for having a fixed zoom lens. I used to spend way to much time obsessing about lenses & changing them. I no longer film weddings & had sold all my Canon DSLR gear but we have just recently bought a Sony AX100 for my wife to use for a project you has embarked on The AX100 is a great little video camera. I used to love my old Sony A1 HDV camcorder which was about the same size. I have been blown away with 4K video. It will definitely be the next big thing. It's like watching moving photographs or looking through a window & that's on my 30" 2560x1600 monitor so goodness only knows how much better it will look on a proper 4K screen.

All of the above is a long-winded introduction to the fact that I was so pleased to try my wife's AX100 that I have now bough a Sony RX10m2. It's the same 1" size chip as the AX100 & the FZ1000 & I have been so pleased with using it for both stills & video. Continuous AF is as good as a proper traditional video camera. The stills are great simply using Auto-everything. The High Frame Rate super slow motion video cannot be found on any camera at this price.

If I were filming weddings again then I would use a couple of RX10m2 & an AX100. I am sure that a couple of FZ1000s plus either an AX100 or Panasonic equivalent could be equally good.

The FZ1000 is of course half the price of the RX10m2. It lacks the constant F/2.8 aperture but does have a 25-400mm equivalent zoom versus the 24-200mm on the Sony. The Sony has click less aperture plus ND filter plus HFR & probably some other stuff to justify the price but if buying multiple cameras the price of the Panasonic is amazingly attractive.
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Old August 9th, 2015, 10:22 AM   #15
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Re: Using the Panasonic Lumix FZ1000

Hi Nigel,

I think that the Sony and the Panasonic will appeal to the same market, and both have slight advantages and disadvantages over the other. Not enough to make either necessarily better and it will probably be more about those who prefer Sony and those who prefer Panasonic.

So far, I haven't found any real downside to moving over to the FZ1000 and it seems to be lightening the work load considerably. I prefer it for my still photography for the speed and convenience and in most wedding scenarios I don't feel I am losing out on quality. I think one of the things that may stop many using either camera at a more professional level, is the amount of money that has been spent by them over the years building their equipment up, camera body, lenses, filters, adapters etc.

I did work with one photographer recently who had two full frame Nikon dslrs with him but did virtually all the photos with what I think was a Nikon bridge camera, although I have forgotten which one. He said it was so much more convenient and enable him to get quick shots that he would have otherwise missed. He said he still took the big Nikons as they made him look more professional.

Roger
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