Panasonic Lumix FZ200 : A mini GH4?

Panasonic Lumix FZ2000 : Geared more towards video than stills

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ2000 Review Image

Online review site has completed a detailed review of Panasonic’s new high-end bridge / superzoom the Panasonic FZ2000 and their conclusions and test results are food for thought for the new camera appears to be definately aimed more towards video than still capture.

FZ2000 at a glance

  • 20MP 1″-type BSI-CMOS sensor
  • 24-480mm equiv. F2.8-4.5 lens
  • Depth from Defocus AF
  • Large 2.36M dot electronic viewfinder
  • Fully articulating 3″ 1.04M dot Touch LCD screen
  • Built-in variable ND filter
  • 4K video capture (DCI/UHD)
  • 10-bit, 4:2:2 output over HDMI

Heres a snippet of DPreviews conclusions:

Pro’s

  • Good image quality, especially in Raw
  • Very well-built body with large grip
  • Impressive continuous AF and subject tracking performance
  • Internal zoom lens allows for smooth and quiet focusing
  • Excellent 4K video quality
  • Numerous video capture controls
  • Built-in variable ND filter
  • Large electronic viewfinder
  • Numerous customizable controls, both physical and on-screen
  • Well-implemented touch functionality
  • Support for V-Log L gamma
  • 10-bit 4:2:2 output over HDMI
  • Handy Focus Stacking and Post Focus features
  • External battery charger included

Con’s

  • Image quality hampered by mediocre lens
  • Heavy noise reduction in JPEGs
  • Yellows have greenish tint which affects skin tones
  • Substantial 1.4x crop in 4K eliminates wide-angle capability and affects low light performance
  • Basic Auto ISO functionality
  • On the bulky side
  • LCD cannot fully rotate when left-side I/O ports are in use
  • Battery life could be better
  • No support for USB charging
Conclusion
“The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ2500/FZ2000 is a well-designed enthusiast bridge camera focused on video, and it offers capture tools that you won’t find on any other camera in its class. 4K video quality is excellent, though there’s a substantial crop factor, essentially knocking out the wide end of the lens. Still image quality is decent, though it’s hampered by a so-so lens and JPEG engine that could use a tune-up. If you’re a videophile then it’s a top choice. If not, there are cheaper options out there”.
My Take:
Once again a review site has concluded that the FZ2000’s lens cannot compete with the one found in Sony’s expensive rival the RX10 III. This show just what an excellent job Sony has done with the optic in its top-end superzoom.
Up until reading Dprveiews review I’d have chosen the FZ2000 as my prefered bridge / superzoom but now am not so sure.
And that’s the stark choice potential buyers of a high-end superzoom face.
If you want the best superzoom / bridge camera on the market its the Sony RX10 III period , it offers superior image quality over its rivals but you’ll pay for that class.
However if video is your thing the Panasonic Lumix FZ2000 is the way to go.
But if value for money is your thing then as Dpreview has correctly pointed out the Panasonic Lumix FZ1000 is still available and its lens is optically superior to the newer FZ model, plus its now a fair bit cheaper.
So on the face of it you either wait a little longer save the pennies and get the Sony RX10 III or get the bargin that is the Panasonic FZ1000.
This leaves the FZ2000 a bit stuck in the middle until you consider that in many ways, video feature wise its a bit of a mini GH4?
Mark Baynham ( January 2017)

Sony RX10 Mark III reviewed

Sony CyberSot RX10 Mk 3: As good as a bridge camera gets… BUT

Sony RX10 III Review Image

The Sony RX10 Mark III is a high-end DSLR esq bridge / super-zoom camera equipped with a 20 Mp 1-Inch  sensor, 4k video, and an impressive high quality 25x / 24-600mm zoom.

The “older” mark 2 RX10 remains on sale whilst the “newer” camera retains many identical features ie the 1 inch stacked sensor with super-slow-motion video, 14fps continuous shooting,  2.3 million dot 0.7x electronic viewfinder and 3- inch 1.3 million dot rear screen that for some unfathomable reason remains a non touch-screen type.

In reality its the RX10 III’s lens that really sets it apart from its predecessor, with a three-fold increase over the 200mm telephoto coverage of the earlier RX10 Mark I and II. The maximum aperture is also a little brighter at the wide angle setting – f2.4 compared with f2.8 on the earlier models, but the big increase in telephoto focual length means the Mk III no longer enjoys a constant f2.8 focal ratio and the lens closes to f4.4, at the long-end. The lens gains a third control ring (handy) but for some strange reason loses the built-in ND filter of earlier versions.

This new RX10 version retains the Mk 2’s robust weather resistant build, but gains one hell of a significant price hike in the process making it by far the most expensive bridge / super-zoom on the market.

On-line review site Cameralabs conducted a full and detailed review of the Sony RX10 III and here’s some quotes and thoughts:

From Cameralabs:

” The biggest competition for the RX10 III is the less expensive Lumix FZ2000 / FZ2500. It’s similar in very many respects to the RX10 III, with a 20 Megapixel 1 inch sensor, a slightly bigger electronic viewfinder with the same resolution as the RX10 III, a 3 inch fully articulated touch-screen and a broadly comparable (but not the same) range of video modes with 4K 25p plus Cinema 4K at the top.

But if you’re having trouble deciding between these two models there’s also loads to differentiate them, starting with their respective lenses. The Sony has a 25x zoom starting at the same 24mm wide angle as the FZ2000 / FZ2500, but extending a bit further to 600mm equivalent compared with 480mm. It’ll get you just that bit closer in to distant subjects. The Sony lens is also a little bit brighter at f2.4-4 compared with f2.8-4.5 on the Lumix.

One other important difference is that the Lumix FZ2000 / FZ2500 lens now incorporates a pair of neutral density filters allowing you to reduce the amount of light it transmits by up to 64x in 2 stop increments. Interestingly, though the earlier RX10 II had a built-in 3x ND filter it’s been dropped on the latest Mark III. One thing in the RX10 III’s favour though is that its lens has a smallest aperture setting of f16 compared with f8 on the FZ2000 / FZ2500, what’s more, the Sony lens has a dedicated aperture ring which can be configured for stepped or smooth operation.

The screens are the same size and similar resolution, but the RX10 III’s screen can only tilt up or downwards whereas the FZ2000 / FZ2500’s panel is side hinged and can face in any direction including forwards which can be invaluable for video recording. More importantly, the Lumix FZ2000 / FZ2500’s screen is now touch sensitive, allowing setting of the AF area with a tap, silent control of movie exposure and much more.

Both models provide full PASM exposure control for movie recording, and exposure can be adjusted silently during recording using the FZ2000 / FZ2500’s touch-screen (which can also be used to adjust focus) or with the RX10 III’s stepless aperture ring. The new zoom buttons and the internal structure of the FZ2000 / FZ2500’s zoom provide better control of zooming for slower, smoother, and steadier results.

Both models are fairly evenly matched for continuous shooting speeds using their mechanical shutters, but the FZ2000 / FZ2500 cleverly exploits its sensor to deliver 4K photo modes offering not just 30fps continuous shooting at 8 Megapixel resolution, but post-focus and focus stacking modes.

Both models feature built-in Wifi and the Sony also has NFC so you can tap it with an NFC-equipped android phone for a quick connection. Other than that both offer quite similar Wifi features in terms of remote control and image transfer, though you can extend the RX10’s capabilities with downloadable apps. Battery life is significantly better on the RX10 III and you can charge the RX10 III battery in the camera over USB. Both camera’s offer a high degree of customisation, but the FZ2000 / FZ2500’s touch screen gives it and edge with programmable touch buttons in addition to the physical ones.

Depending on where you shop, the Sony RX10 III is around 30 percent more expensive than the Lumix FZ2000 / FZ2500. For many people that will be enough to swing it in the FZ2000 / FZ2500’s favour, given that these two models are closely matched in many respects and the Lumix FZ2000 / FZ2500 is ahead in some areas, namely a wider selection of movie modes, fully articulated touch screen, slightly bigger viewfinder, better continuous shooting and better zoom control on the lens. The thing that pulls you back to the RX10 III is the lens, not just the longer range but the quality which outperformed the Lumix FZ2000 / FZ2500 in my tests. The Sony is also officially weather-sealed and supports more professional audio connectivity accessories.

Sony-RX10-III-01

My Take:

Cameralabs have summed it up perfectly. The Sony RX10 III’s lens is optically superior ‘to that on the Panasonic FZ2000 and its body is weather sealed but in other respects (ie fully articulated touch screen, bigger viewfinder and more varied video features) the FZ2000 has the upper hand and in the process also happens to be a fair bit CHEAPER.

Sure the RX10 III’s new lens should in theory deliver slightly superior image quality over the FZ2000 but in the real world the differences are not hugely significant althought from what I’ve seen they do exist.

Personally I’d be hard put to justify the outlay for a RX10- III, yes its the best bridge camera / super-zoom on the market but the Panasonic FZ2000 is 80% of the RX10 III for a fair bit less cash.

If the RX10 III’s rear screen was a fully articulated touch screen and if it re-aquired a ND filter I think I’d fully recommend the RXD10 III even at its current retail price. But for the time being I’d suggest the Panasonic FZ2000 is the more pragmatic purchase.

Mark Baynham ( Janauary 2017)

Sigma 12-24mm f4 DG “Art”

Sigma 12-24mm f4 DG “Art” : Performance & value for money

Amateur Photographer (AP) Magazine has review the Sigma 12-24mm f4 DG HSM “Art” zoom designed to work with full frame DSLR’s. So has Sigma got another priceless piece of “art” on its hands?

Well the article is very detailed but the conclusion simply. Yet again a Sigma “art” lens delivers in spades and at a price that puts the big names to shame, Its worth a read if your in the market for a full frame wide angle zoom.

From AP Magazine:

“This lens has created a bit of a buzz among landscape, architectural and interior photographers, and all for good reason. Yes its heavy and may not hold the title of being the world’s widest rectilinear zoom lens like the Canon EF 11-24mm f4L USM, but it does have many of the features of its closest rival, for a lot less money.

Its yet another superb addition to Sigma’s Art line-up”

January 2017

Canon EOS M5 Reviewed by AP Magazine

Canon EOS M5 : Still a C+ / B- effort 

Amateur Photographer (AP) Magazine has published a full technical review of Canon’s latest attempt at a mirrorless CSC, the Canon EOS M5. So has Canon finally cracked itv and produced a truly credible mirrorless model? Well sort. Common sense indicates that the likes of Sony, Olympus and Panasonic have little to fear.

From AP Magazine:

“With the EOS M5, Canon has finally made the kind of mirorless model that users have been asking for. With its built-in electronic viewfinder and plentiful set of controls, it should appeal strongly to enthusiasts, while its Dual-Pixel autofocus works remarkably well even with old EF-mount SLR lenses.

But while there’s a great deal to like about the EOS M5, in some way it does feel rather behind the times.

Indeed the huge problem for the EOS M5 is its price, and this makes it difficult to rate.

But right now, £1049 body-only is simply too much to pay in this competative sector. However if the price were to drop closer to £800 in the future, then the EOS M5 would be a much more serious contender”

My Take:

At the moment the likes of the Fujifilm X-T10, the Panasonic G80, Sony Alpha 6300 and Olympus OM-D E10 II are far, far better options over the hugely over-priced Canon EOS M5. Besides Canon has still failed to produce truly high performing EF-M lenses to complement the camera and “M” system generally I reckon the company are simply playing mind games with the Canon faithful. Maybe they have something really special up their sleeve but somehow I am not so sure?

Mark Baynham (January 2017)

Panasonic GX800 Review

Panasonic Lumix DC-GX800 Review thumbnail

From Photography Blog UK:

“If you’re looking for something to act as a step up from your mobile phone camera, something like the Panasonic Lumix DC-GX800 would make an excellent choice. It’s nicely small so you won’t feel like you’re having to lug around a huge camera with you all the time, but the improvement to your images will still be very noticeable – even if you just stick with the kit lens at first. 

The GX800 is very user friendly, with just the right mix of dials and buttons so as to be easy to operate without overwhelming those new to the system. Being able to use the screen to set the AF point, flick through images and make changes to settings also makes the transition from a mobile phone to a “proper” camera all the easier. 

Panasonic has said that the GF and GM lines will no longer continue in a bid to simplify the line-up and make it easier for consumers to understand. That makes a lot of sense, and you can now join the GX range, picking one from the three currently available (GX800, GX80 and GX8) to suit your needs and preference. 

On the other hand, if you were a fan of the tiny GM series, which still managed to fit in a small viewfinder, you may lament the lack of one for the GX800 – as well as the lack of option to add one externally. That said, if you are moving up from a mobile phone, or possibly compact camera, the likelihood is that you won’t particularly miss this way of composing. And if you do, take a look at the excellent GX80 – Panasonic’s idea to provide different cameras at different levels is exactly for reasons such as this. 

The GX800 is also currently the cheapest of the three GX line models available. While that makes it the cheapest of Panasonic’s “current” compact system cameras, it’s still a reasonably hefty investment, especially for a first-time option. It’s likely that pricing will drop over the next few weeks though. If you’re on a stricter budget, you are likely to still be able to pick up some of Panasonic’s older cameras, especially in the GF line – which are still worth a look – at a lower price. 

Image quality is great in a variety of different situations – just stay away from the very top end of the ISO settings if you can help it. The kit lens is a good lens to get you started, but the flexibility to buy others if you want to is something you don’t get with premium compact cameras, and is appealing for those who think they might get a bit more serious down the line. The rating for image quality is based on using the Panasonic GX800 with the kit lens – you can get even more from the camera’s excellent sensor if you invest in additional, higher quality optics”. 

January 2017