Panasonic Lumix FZ1000 Review

 
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Panasonic FZ1000 Image Quality Comparison

Below are crops from our laboratory Still Life target comparing the Panasonic FZ1000 against the Sony RX10 at base ISO as well as at ISO 1600 and 3200. Although we were told we could share full-res images from our pre-production FZ1000, it has early 0.3 firmware, so we decided to just do a brief comparison at this time in case image quality is tweaked for the full production firmware.

NOTE: These images are best quality JPEGs straight out of the camera, at default settings including noise reduction and using the camera's actual base ISO (not extended ISO settings).

Panasonic FZ1000 versus Sony RX10 at Base ISO

Panasonic FZ1000 at ISO 125
Sony RX10 at ISO 125

The battle of the 1-inch-sensor long-zoom cameras! Both cameras show an impressive amount of fine detail at base ISO, with both the Panasonic and Sony displaying excellent, crisp detail in the mosaic crop. Even at base ISO (these images are shot with default noise reduction enabled), you can still make out some noise reduction processing ever-so-slightly in the shadow areas. The biggest difference is in the difficult fabric swatches, with the edge leaning to the Panasonic FZ1000. The Sony pops the contrast more, but if you look very closely, you can see some of the very fine, diagonal thread detail in the FZ1000's rendering of the red swatch, that the RX10 doesn't pick up. The contrast of that swatch in real life is probably somewhere between what the two cameras are showing us here. Both cameras, again, do great here, but the Panasonic displays just a bit more fabric detail compared to the Sony. The pink fabric is also a very close comparison, but the Panasonic looks a little more natural.

 

Panasonic FZ1000 versus Sony RX10 at ISO 1600

Panasonic FZ1000 at ISO 1600
Sony RX10 at ISO 1600

At ISO 1600, both do very well here for this class of camera, with relatively low noise and a fair amount of fine detail. While both show signs of noise reduction processing, the Panasonic's is a bit more aggressive, but does a great job at removing noise and grain, especially in the shadows. Both cameras, again, do well with fine detail, as seen in the mosaic crop. Once again, the Sony's contrast pops the image more, but the Panasonic doesn't thicken the lens in the mosaic pattern the way the RX10 does. The big difference at ISO 1600 is in the fabric swatches, with the Sony taking the prize there. The Sony RX10 show at least some of the leaf pattern in the red fabric, while the Panasonic FZ1000 looks quite smeary and smudged.



Panasonic FZ1000 versus Sony RX10 at ISO 3200

Panasonic FZ1000 at ISO 3200
Sony RX10 at ISO 3200

At ISO 3200, both cameras struggle with the balance between fine detail and noise. The Sony shows more luminance noise in the background shadows than the Panasonic, though you can see some odd darker specs and splotchiness in the Panasonic's image as well. Both cameras can still produce decent fine detail at this ISO, however, as seen in the mosaic crops, the Panasonic just edges out the Sony. Finally, unlike at ISO 1600, both cameras now struggle significantly to produce detail in the fabric swatches, particularly the red-leaf fabric. Different from the background, the Sony's rendering of the red swatch shows less luminance noise than the FZ1000, despit the latter's heavy noise-reduction processing.



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Note: For details, test results, and analysis of the many tests done with this camera, please click on the tabs at the beginning of the review or below.

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