Panasonic FZ1000 Optics


Lens Test Results

Zoom
A 16x zoom, with very good performance overall.

25mm eq. @ f/8 53mm eq. @ f/8
400mm eq. @ f/8

The Panasonic FZ1000 is equipped with a 9.1-146mm lens, offering an optical zoom ratio of 16x, translating to a 35mm-equivalent focal range of about 25-400mm. The lens is very fast (bright) for its type, with a maximum aperture ranging from f/2.8 at wide angle to f/4.0 at telephoto, which is excellent for low-light shooting and provides reduced depth-of-field for better subject isolation. As is often the case with fast, compact lenses though, maximum aperture does fall-off rather quickly as you zoom, already reaching f/4 at around 170mm equivalent. The following table reflects the maximum and minimum apertures as reported by the camera at various focal lengths:

Focal length (mm eq.)
25
26
30
35
47
58
71
107
170
Max. aperture
f/2.8
f/2.9
f/3.0
f/3.1
f/3.3
f/3.5
f/3.7
f/3.9
f/4.0
Min. aperture
f/8 at all focal lengths

Far-field performance is good at both full wide angle and telephoto at f/8 as shown above, with good sharpness and contrast across the frame, low chromatic aberration (like most cameras, the FZ1000 suppresses it) and only minor flare from very bright highlights at full wide angle. Performance at 53mm equivalent is even better with very good sharpness and contrast across the frame. (Note that f/8 is not optimal for a 20MP 1"-type sensor, causing a touch of softness due to diffraction, so we'll retake these at a wider aperture when we get the chance. Still, these shots are useful to illustrate optical zoom range.)

See below for lab results on macro performance, geometric distortion, corner softness, etc.

Macro
About average minimum coverage area, with very good detail. Flash had trouble at minimum focus distance.

Macro, f/8 Macro with Flash

The Panasonic FZ1000 captured an average sized minimum area measuring 2.74 x 1.83 inches (70 x 46 millimeters). Sharpness over much of the frame is pretty good, but corners show quite a bit of softness even at its smallest aperture of f/8 (most lenses show some softening in the corners at macro distances), and there's also some noticeable vignetting in extreme corners. Exposure with the flash is very uneven with the top portion of the frame severely overexposed, while the lens cast a shadow from the bottom keeping the rest of the frame reasonably well exposed. You'll likely want to use external lighting for the closest FZ1000 macro shots.

Geometric Distortion
Very low distortion in camera JPEGs, but very high in uncorrected RAW files at wide angle.

Camera JPEGs
Barrel distortion at wide angle is about 0.3%
Barrel distortion at telephoto is less than 0.1%
Uncorrected RAW
Barrel distortion at wide angle is about 3.6%
Barrel distortion at telephoto is less than 0.1%

Thanks to in-camera distortion correction, there's low geometric distortion in the FZ1000's JPEG files at wide angle. At full wide angle, we measured just over 0.3% barrel distortion which is pretty low and not very noticeable. At full telephoto, distortion was very low, at just under 0.1% barrel distortion. This is the tendency for the lens to bend straight lines outward (like a barrel -- usually at wide-angle) or inward (like a pincushion -- usually at telephoto).

To see how much correction is taking place in the camera, we converted RAW files from the above shots with RawDigger, which does not correct for distortion. As you can see at wide angle, barrel distortion is very high, at about 3.6%, while telephoto shows about the same very low distortion as JPEGs.

This is not unusual, though. We expect to see fairly significant distortion in uncorrected RAW files in fast, compact lenses allowing lens designers greater flexibility in optimizing center sharpness and other aberrations, as well as in reducing cost, size, and weight. The downside is that the distortion correction contributes additional blurring to the corners of the frame where pixels are "stretched" during correction and where lenses are usually already a bit soft. Note that most RAW converters are capable of applying distortion correction automatically, as specified by the manufacturer.

Chromatic Aberration and Corner Sharpness
Moderately low to very low chromatic aberration in JPEGs. The lens produces some soft corners wide-open at telephoto though corner sharpness improves stopped-down.

Aperture: maximum
Wide at f/2.8: Lower right
C.A.: Moderately low
Softness: Slightly soft
Wide at f/2.8: Center
C.A.: Very low
Softness: Very sharp
Tele at f/4.0: Upper left
C.A.: Low
Softness: Soft
Tele at f/4.0: Center
C.A.: Very low
Softness: Sharp

Chromatic Aberration. Thanks to in-camera chromatic aberration suppression, there's moderately low CA in the corners at wide angle in JPEGs, and CA is quite low at full telephoto. As expected, though, uncorrected RAW files (see below) show much more CA than seen in the JPEG crops above.

Corner Softness. Wide-open at full wide angle, the FZ1000's lens shows remarkable performance in the corners with just a bit of softness, despite the strong distortion correction. However at full telephoto, the lens shows some de-centering with the left corners quite soft, and the softness extends about a third of the way into the frame. The top-right corner is however fairly sharp, though the bottom-right isn't as sharp.

Vignetting. There's some minor vignetting (corner shading) but only at wide angle, as shown by how much darker the corner crop is compared to the center. It amounts to less than 1/4 EV, though, so quite minor.

Aperture: f/4 (W) and f/6.3 (T)
Wide at f/4: Lower right
C.A.: Low
Softness: Slightly soft
Wide at f/4: Center
C.A.: Very low
Softness: Very sharp
Tele at f/6.3: Upper left
C.A.: Low
Softness: Slightly soft
Tele at f/6.3: Center
C.A.: Very low
Softness: Sharp

Stopped Down: Stopping down a click or two (in this case to f/4 at wide angle and f/6.3 at telephoto) improved corner sharpness and contrast slightly at wide angle but dramatically at telephoto, however corners were still not as sharp as the center. Stopping down further at telephoto only made very marginal additional gains in the corners, however the rest of the frame started to become slightly softer due to diffraction, so you'll likely want to avoid apertures smaller than f/6.3 unless you need the additional depth of field or run out of shutter speed.

Chromatic Aberration Correction

In-camera JPEG Uncorrected RAW
Wide (f/2.8): Upper left
CA: Low
Wide (f/2.8): Upper left
CA: Moderately high
Tele (f/4.0): Upper left
CA: Low
Tele: (f/4.0): Upper left
CA: Moderately high

As you can see in the crops from uncorrected RAW images on the right (taken from RW2 files converted with RawDigger), the FZ1000's lens produces moderately high and bright lateral chromatic aberration at both maximum wide angle and full telephoto. But the FZ1000's processor does a great job suppressing CA in camera JPEGs (crops on the left). Note that most RAW converters should also automatically suppress CA when converting the FZ1000's RW2 files.

Overall, very good performance from the FZ1000's lens when considering its zoom ratio and how fast (bright) it is.

Viewfinder Test Results

Coverage
Very good accuracy from the LCD monitor and electronic viewfinder.

Click to see FZ1000hVFAWL.JPG Click to see FZ1000hVFAWO.JPG
Wide, LCD
Wide, EVF

The Panasonic FZ1000's LCD monitor and EVF both provide just a touch over 100% coverage. This is very good performance, especially considering the amount of geometric distortion correction taking place at wide angle, though accurate framing at full telephoto can be tricky.

 

The images above were taken from our standardized test shots. For a collection of more pictorial photos, see our Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ1000 Photo Gallery .



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