Basic Specifications
Full model name: Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ2500
Resolution: 20.10 Megapixels
Sensor size: 1 inch
(13.2mm x 8.8mm)
Lens: 20.00x zoom
(24-480mm eq.)
Viewfinder: EVF / LCD
Native ISO: 125 - 12,800
Extended ISO: 80 - 25,600
Shutter: 1/16000 - 60 seconds
Max Aperture: 2.8
Dimensions: 5.4 x 4.0 x 5.3 in.
(138 x 102 x 135 mm)
Weight: 34.1 oz (966 g)
includes batteries
Availability: 11/2016
Manufacturer: Panasonic
Full specs: Panasonic FZ2500 specifications
20.10
Megapixels
20.00x zoom 1 inch
size sensor
image of Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ2500
Front side of Panasonic FZ2500 digital camera Front side of Panasonic FZ2500 digital camera Front side of Panasonic FZ2500 digital camera Front side of Panasonic FZ2500 digital camera Front side of Panasonic FZ2500 digital camera

FZ2500 Summary

Combining a 20.1-megapixel sensor with a 24-480mm equivalent built-in zoom lens, the Panasonic FZ2500 offers solid imaging performance. The camera can also record 4K video at up to 30 frames per second and offers Panasonic's excellent 4K Photo features. This touchscreen-equipped camera proved enjoyable to use in the field. The result is a capable camera that excels in many important ways. The camera isn't inexpensive, but it stands up as a good value overall.

Pros

Rugged camera body with many physical controls; Generally excellent image quality & high ISO performance for its class; Versatile zoom lens; Fast and accurate autofocus; Unlimited 4K video recording; Fast full-res burst mode with generous buffers.

Cons

Continuous autofocus performance struggles at telephoto end; Slow buffer clearing (no UHS-II support); Lens produces soft corners at most focal lengths.

Price and availability

The Panasonic FZ2500 began shipping in the US market from December 2016. List price is around US$1,200, which is about US$400 more than was the FZ1000, but is still some $300 more affordable than the competing Sony RX10 III.

Imaging Resource rating

4.5 out of 5.0

Panasonic FZ2500 Review

by , Jeremy Gray, Zig Weidelich, and Dave Pardue
Preview originally posted: 09/19/2016
Last updated:

Updates:
11/08/2016: First Shots posted
12/15/2016: Field Test posted
02/23/2017: Performance test results posted
03/28/2017: Image Quality Comparison and Print Quality posted
03/29/2017: Review Conclusion posted

Update: The Panasonic FZ2500 was named our Best Enthusiast Zoom of 2016 in our annual Camera of the Year Awards.

Panasonic FZ2500  Review -- Product Image

In mid-2014, Panasonic launched an impressive rival to Sony's popular RX10 large-sensor, long-zoom camera. The Panasonic FZ1000 might have lacked the RX10's constant-aperture zoom lens, but in many ways the longer-zoomed FZ1000 bested its rival, despite a far lower pricetag. An exceptionally versatile camera sold at an aggressive price, we don't doubt that Panasonic sold the FZ1000 at a spectacular rate. Now, the Panasonic FZ2500 follows in the footsteps of that camera, and while the basic concept is similar, it boasts a wide range of significant upgrades throughout.

(We should note here that if you're not in the North American market, you may know the FZ2500 by a different name. It's known as the Panasonic FZ2000 in Europe, and the Panasonic FZH1 in Asian markets. So if you're considering an FZ2000 or FZH1, well -- the information in this review is applicable to the variant of the FZ2500 sold in your market, too.)

Same sensor resolution, but a lot of change in other areas

So what's new in the Panasonic FZ2500? Quite a bit; enough so that one could almost think of the new model as being a fixed-lens Panasonic GH4, but in a smaller body with a 1"-type sensor. We'll start off with one thing that's essentially unchanged, though. At the heart of the FZ2500 is a 20.1-megapixel, 1"-type CMOS image sensor which is much the same as that in the FZ1000, yielding the same resolution and ISO 125 to 12,800-equivalent range, expandable to encompass everything from ISO 80 to 25,600-equivalents.

Panasonic FZ2500 Review -- Product Image

A further-reaching lens is achieved with more exotic glass

But where the FZ1000 placed that sensor behind a 16x optical zoom lens, the Panasonic FZ2500 boasts a brand-new, significantly further-reaching 20x optical zoom. Offering everything from a very generous 24mm-equivalent wide angle to a powerful 480mm-equivalent telephoto, it's a rather more versatile optic than that in the FZ1000, although it does still trail the 25x optical zoom of the Sony RX10 III in terms of telephoto reach. Sony's lens is also a little brighter, with a maximum aperture of f/2.4 to f/4 across the zoom range, where the FZ2500 has an f/2.8-4.5 maximum aperture, and the FZ1000 was an f/2.8-4.0 lens.

In extending the reach of its new lens, Panasonic revised the optical formula significantly, adding one more element for a total of 16 elements in 11 groups. Of these, there is now one ultra-high refractive index lens element and a total of five aspheric lenses. That's one more than in the FZ1000, although the total number of aspheric surfaces remains unchanged at eight.

We found the FZ2500's new lens performs well near the center of the frame across the zoom range, but corners can be soft even stopped down, especially at the wide end. Chromatic aberration can also be an issue with high-contrast subjects, particularly at the telephoto end. See our Optics page for lens test results.

Panasonic FZ2500 Review -- Product Image

The FZ1000 lacked an ND filter; the FZ2500 makes up for that with two!

One of the few shortcomings of the original Panasonic FZ1000 compared to its rivals was the lack of a built-in neutral density filter, a point we raised in our review of the camera. Not so the FZ2500, which sports not one but two ND filters built-in -- and better still, these can be combined for an even stronger neutral density effect!

Between the duo of filters, you can opt for a two-stop, four-stop or a combined six-stop ND effect. For stills and videos alike, that means you can shoot wide-open for reduced depth of field in bright light, or opt for a slower shutter speed. The latter is particularly useful for video capture, where a shutter speed that's too fast can lead to choppy, unattractive-looking movies.

Brand-new aperture design for better bokeh & more versatile video capture

At the same time, Panasonic has also switched from a seven-bladed aperture to a nine-bladed one, a change that will help the FZ2500 capture more attractive, better-rounded bokeh in out-of-focus image areas. And not just that, either. Panasonic has simultaneously changed to a galvanometer type actuator as the drive mechanism for the lens' iris, a change which allows entirely stepless aperture control. That means the aperture can be varied during video capture without unsightly sudden shifts in the exposure level or depth of field.

Panasonic FZ2500 Review -- Product Image

Steadier, more attractive zooming during video capture, too

Once extended on powerup, the new lens also has an inner-zooming design. Coupled with a switch to moving the lens on rails and cams rather than cams alone, that change has allowed Panasonic to keep the camera's center of gravity steadier, and to reduce blur and image shifting while zooming.

And a new coreless zoom drive motor allows the lens to zoom smoothly even at a slow speed, a change which the Panasonic FZ2500 takes advantage of with a slow zoom function that will gradually and steadily zoom in or out for as long as 30 seconds while filming, lending a subtle sense of motion and more visual interest to your shots.

Panasonic FZ2500 Review -- Product Image
Illustration courtesy of Panasonic USA.

The lens has 67mm filter threads and the camera comes with a lens hood that can be stored on the lens by installing it backwards when not in use. A lens cap with tether string is also included.

Only a little bit bigger, and still lighter than its Sony rival

Impressively, despite this laundry-list of changes in its new, further-reaching lens, the Panasonic FZ2500 has only grown just ever so fractionally compared to its sibling. Width and height have increased by just a few hundredths of an inch, and depth by about 0.15 inches. Compared to the Sony RX10 III, the FZ2500 is just a couple of tenths larger in all dimensions.

At the same time, weight has risen by around 16% since the FZ1000. The Panasonic FZ2500 weighs about 2.1 pounds, loaded and ready to shoot. And while, yes, its heavier than its sibling, the FZ2500 is still about 12% lighter than the Sony RX10 III, so the increase in weight is certainly not unreasonable.

Panasonic FZ2500 Review -- Product Image

An updated, roomier viewfinder

Like the FZ1000 before it, the Panasonic FZ2500 features a built-in electronic viewfinder. Resolution is unchanged from the earlier camera, at a generous 2,360,000 dots. 35mm-equivalent magnification has increased from 0.7x to 0.74x, though, so the finder feels a little roomier and more generously-proportioned.

The higher-res monitor now doubles as a touch-screen control device

On its rear deck, the Panasonic FZ2500 still sports a side-mounted, tilt/swivel LCD monitor, just as did its predecessor. We far prefer this articulation mechanism to the more commonplace tilt-only screens found on rival cameras, as it is more versatile, allowing framing from awkward angles not just for shots in landscape orientation, but also for portrait-orientation shots, as well.

Although the articulation type hasn't changed, and the Panasonic FZ2500's LCD monitor still has the same 3.0-inch diagonal size, the display itself is a new one. Resolution has increased just slightly to 1,040,000 dots, and there's a new touch-screen overlay. That means the screen itself can serve as an input device, making light work of things like selecting a subject on which to autofocus.

Panasonic FZ2500 Review -- Product Image

Panasonic courts videographers with much more capable movie capture

With its Lumix GH4, Panasonic put a lot of effort into attracting videographers to its Micro Four Thirds interchangeable-lens camera system. Now, the company is doing the same with its 1"-sensored, fixed-lens cameras with the Panasonic FZ2500. There are a whole raft of changes in this area, and together they should make for a much more attractive proposition if video is a primary focus for you.

We've already mentioned the new lens, with its smoother-zooming design, stepless aperture and selection of neutral density options. On top of that, Panasonic has also added a new 3.5mm headphone jack on which to monitor audio levels, and upgraded the FZ2500 to allow 4K video capture at up to 30 frames per second, where its predecessor topped out at 25 fps capture in 4K resolution.

Panasonic LUMIX DMC-FZ2500 Video Shooting Features

That's far from all, though. For one thing, you can now choose between UHD 4K (3,840 x 2,160 pixels) or DCI 4K (4,096 x 2,160 pixels) capture, although if you opt for the latter, your movies will be limited to the DCI 4K-prescribed capture rate of 24 frames per second.

Also, where the FZ1000 could only output eight-bit 4:2:2 video on its HDMI port for external recording, the FZ2500 now allows 10-bit 4:2:2 output via HDMI. And unlike the FZ1000, which didn't allow internal recording and 4:2:2 HDMI output at the same time, the FZ2500 will now allow eight-bit 4:2:2 output to an external recorder while simultaneously recording video to the camera's own memory card. Nor will disconnecting the HDMI port cause capture to cease, as it did in the FZ1000.

Panasonic FZ2500 Review -- Product Image

Additionally, the FZ2500 now allows unlimited video recording for as long as storage space and battery remain, where the FZ1000 was limited to just 29 minutes and 59 seconds of video per clip. At the Full HD (1,920 x 1,080 pixels) resolution, it also allows high-quality 100Mbps IPB or 200Mbps All-I capture. And you can opt for either an MP4 or MOV container for your videos, where the FZ1000 provided only MP4 output.

And there's plenty else besides. Rec Run / Free Run timecode are supported in the FZ2500, and as well as the FZ1000's zebra pattern and center marker functions, the new model can also allow you to adjust the photo style (Cinelike D / V, Hue and V-Log L), select one of three luminance levels (16-255, 16-235 or 0-255), or output color bars and an audio test tone. (V-log L support requires an optional upgrade key which is sold separately for about US$99.)

Panasonic LUMIX DMC-FZ2500 (VFR / Quick & Slow / Dolly Zoom)

Throw in a wide range of quick- and slow-motion capture options (Full HD from 2 to 120 fps), plus the aforementioned slow zoom function which can gradually rack the zoom for 10, 20 or 30-second periods, not to mention a dolly zoom function and more, and it's clear that there's plenty here to tempt the keen videographer.

And plenty of smaller changes, besides

Of course, we've only called out the key points here but there are plenty of other changes besides, not least of which are the post-focus and focus stacking functions seen in other recent Panasonic cameras. See our in-depth Field Test for more details as well as real-world photo and sample videos.

Panasonic FZ2500 Review -- Product Image

Often, new features come accompanied by those which have simultaneously vanished, but there's not too much evidence of that in the FZ2500. The most obvious omission was the subtraction of NFC from the feature list, a change that will only be noticed by Android users, since Apple has never allowed third-parties to make use of NFC in the first place. If you're using Android, initial pairing of your phone and camera may be slightly more complex, but the important bit -- the 2.4GHz Wi-Fi wireless networking connectivity -- remains intact.

Loads of performance, just like its predecessor

So too does the impressive performance of the earlier camera. Like the FZ1000 before it, the Panasonic FZ2500 is capable of shooting at seven frames per second with autofocus active between frames, or as fast as 12 fps with focus locked from the first frame. (In the lab, we clocked the FZ2500 at about 11.4 fps for best quality JPEGs and at about 10.6 fps for RAW files while the FZ1000 "only" managed 9.5 fps for JPEGs and about 9 fps for RAW frames.) Buffer depths are significantly improved over the FZ1000, but buffer clearing can still be sluggish as there is no UHS-II card support. See our Performance page for details.

Slightly reduced battery life

Perhaps not surprisingly, given that it uses the same battery type as its predecessor but sports a longer-zooming lens, battery life has reduced just slightly. (The standard CIPA battery life test requires frequent racking of the entire zoom range, and since the FZ2500 has a longer zoom lens, that means more time and power spent racking the lens between shots, after all.) The change isn't terribly significant, though, with the FZ2500 said to be good for 350 shots on its LCD panel, or 270 shots on the electronic viewfinder. That's just 10 frames less on the LCD monitor, or 30 fewer with the EVF.

Panasonic FZ2500 Review -- Product Image

Pricing and availability

The Panasonic FZ2500 began shipping in the US market from December 2016. List price is around US$1,200, which is about US$400 more than was the FZ1000, but is still some $300 more affordable than the competing Sony RX10 III.

Panasonic FZ2500 Field Test

High-zoom camera is a great blend of performance and features

by Jeremy Gray |

Panasonic FZ2500 field test photoIntroduction
The Panasonic FZ2500 is an all-in-one enthusiast zoom camera that offers a 20x optical zoom and a 20.1-megapixel 1-inch type sensor. While the still imaging features are strong, the FZ2500 also offers a lot for videographers, including 4K video recording and a smooth, camcorder-inspired zooming lens. Compared to its predecessor, the FZ1000, the FZ2500 makes several key improvements to the camera body, lens and overall performance. How good is this camera? Read on to find out.

FZ2500 body is comfortable with excellent touchscreen display
Given its high-zoom capabilities, it's unsurprising that the FZ2500 is a large camera. It has a DSLR-style camera body, measuring about 5.4 x 4.0 x 5.3 inches (138 x 102 x 135 millimeters) and weighing in at 34.1 ounces (966 grams) with battery and memory card. The body has a good, deep contoured grip that helps the FZ2500 feel nice in my hands.

Panasonic FZ2500 Image Quality Comparison

See how the Panasonic FZ2500's IQ stacks up to other enthusiast all-in-ones

by Zig Weidelich |

Panasonic FZ2500 image qualityHere we present crops from our laboratory Still Life target comparing the Panasonic FZ2500's image quality to its shorter-zoom sibling, the FZ1000, as well as to its nearest 1"-sensor rivals, the Canon G3X, Sony RX10 III and Sony RX10 II. We've also included the Panasonic FZ300 as an example of a smaller-sensored camera based on a 1/2.3" sensor, to illustrate the advantages of the larger 1"-type sensor the FZ2500 and others in this group have.

NOTE: These images are from 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). All cameras in this comparison have fixed zoom lenses. Clicking any crop will take you to a carrier page where you can click once again to access the full resolution image as delivered straight from the camera. For those interested in working with the RAW files involved: click these links to visit each camera's respective sample image thumbnail page...

Panasonic FZ2500 Conclusion

All-in-one enthusiast zoom captures great photos and 4K videos

by Jeremy Gray |

The Panasonic FZ2500 is the company's newest enthusiast-grade all-in-one zoom camera, and it offers a wider and longer lens than its predecessor plus a bevy of attractive video features. The camera utilizes a 20.1-megapixel sensor paired to a 24-480mm equivalent lens that produces good overall imaging performance. The 4K-capable camera includes numerous advanced video features borrowed from the Panasonic GH4 and offers 4K Photo (8-megapixel JPEG images) recording at 30 frames per second.

Is the Panasonic FZ2500 a worthy follow-up to the FZ1000 and a great option for photographers looking for an all-in-one enthusiast zoom camera? Read on for our final word.

Typical image quality for a 1"-type sensor with solid all-around performance
The FZ2500 uses a 20.1-megapixel 1-inch type CMOS sensor, which is a similar sensor to that found in its predecessor and many other cameras these days. This sensor delivers good results for the FZ2500 and works well for its size. The camera produces detailed JPEG images at default settings with vibrant, saturated colors. The camera shoots RAW files as well, providing additional flexibility for exposure, sharpness and noise characteristics.

 

In the Box

The Panasonic FZ2500 retail package contains the following items:

  • Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ2500 digital camera
  • DMW-BLC12B 7.2V 1200mAh lithium-ion battery pack
  • Battery charger
  • Lens cap
  • Lens cap string
  • Lens hood
  • Shoulder strap
  • Hot shoe cover
  • USB cable
  • One-year limited warranty

 

Recommended Accessories

  • Large capacity SDHC/SDXC memory card. We recommend at least 32GB capacity, with a minimum UHS Speed Class 3 rating for recording 4K video.
  • Extra DMW-BLC12B battery pack for extended outings (~US$55)
  • Camera case

 

Similar to the FZ2500 but smaller lighter larger sensor cheaper But ...
loading
No cameras match your search criteria(s)
   

$1195.00

20.1 MP

Also has viewfinder

7% smaller

16x zoom (25% less)

FZ2500 vs V-LUX (Typ 114)

$754.98 (54% less)

20.1 MP

Also has viewfinder

7% smaller

16x zoom (25% less)

FZ2500 vs FZ1000

$849.00 (37% less)

20.2 MP

Lacks viewfinder

90% smaller

25x zoom (20% more)

FZ2500 vs G3X

$1164.67

20.2 MP

Also has viewfinder

63% smaller

8.33x zoom (140% less)

FZ2500 vs RX10 II

$1331.33 (13% more)

20.1 MP

Also has viewfinder

19% smaller

25x zoom (20% more)

FZ2500 vs RX10 III

$1698.00 (31% more)

20.1 MP

Also has viewfinder

19% smaller

25x zoom (20% more)

FZ2500 vs RX10 IV

$798.00 (46% less)

20.2 MP

Also has viewfinder

63% smaller

8.33x zoom (140% less)

FZ2500 vs RX10

$497.99 (134% less)

12.1 MP (66% less)

Also has viewfinder

34% smaller

24x zoom (17% more)

FZ2500 vs FZ300

$414.67 (181% less)

20.4 MP

Also has viewfinder

52% smaller

5x zoom (60% more)

FZ2500 vs HX400V

$624.98 (86% less)

16.1 MP (25% less)

Also has viewfinder

Similar size

83x zoom (76% more)

FZ2500 vs P900

$397.99 (192% less)

18.1 MP (11% less)

Also has viewfinder

29% smaller

6x zoom (67% more)

FZ2500 vs FZ80

$497.99 (134% less)

16.3 MP (23% less)

Also has viewfinder

32% smaller

6x zoom (67% more)

FZ2500 vs WB2200F

$359.98 (223% less)

12.1 MP (66% less)

Also has viewfinder

58% smaller

24x zoom (17% more)

FZ2500 vs FZ200

$443.39 (162% less)

16 MP (26% less)

Also has viewfinder

84% smaller

52x zoom (62% more)

FZ2500 vs XG-1

$297.99 (290% less)

16.1 MP (25% less)

Also has viewfinder

27% smaller

6x zoom (67% more)

FZ2500 vs FZ70

$353.21 (229% less)

16.2 MP (24% less)

Also has viewfinder

83% smaller

35x zoom (43% more)

FZ2500 vs WB1100F

$256.95 (353% less)

16.1 MP (25% less)

Lacks viewfinder

121% smaller

4x zoom (50% more)

FZ2500 vs B500

$549.00 (112% less)

12 MP (68% less)

Also has viewfinder

231% smaller

10.7x zoom (87% less)

FZ2500 vs Stylus 1s

$446.95 (160% less)

20.2 MP

Also has viewfinder

67% smaller

6x zoom (67% more)

FZ2500 vs B700

$449.00 (159% less)

16.1 MP (25% less)

Also has viewfinder

40% smaller

65x zoom (69% more)

FZ2500 vs SX60

Suggestion for improvement? Head over here.


Enter this month to win:

1 $300 Adorama Gift Certificate

2 $200 Adorama Gift Certificate

3 $100 Adorama Gift Certificate