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

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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

Panasonic FZ2500 Review -- Gallery Image
176mm (480mm equivalent), f/4.5, 1/125s, ISO 800.
This image has been modified. Click for full-size image.

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.

Panasonic FZ2500 Review -- Gallery Image
128.3mm (350mm equivalent), f/4.5, 1/400s, ISO 160.
This image has been modified. Click for full-size image.

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.

Exposure and white balance results for the FZ2500 were impressive, typically showing accurate color and exposure metering even in harsh lighting conditions, however auto white balance tended to be on the warm side. As for resolving power, the camera delivered around 2,500 lines of strong detail, which resulted in slightly soft images with good detail and some visible sharpening artifacts. You can bring out additional detail with good RAW processing, however.

Compared to its predecessor, the FZ1000, the FZ2500 offers similar image quality, which is to say that images are good, showing a clean, crisp image with pleasing contrast and colors. Compared to the Canon G3X and Sony RX10 III, the Panasonic compares very favorably, yielding better images than both competitors at higher ISOs. The difference at base ISO is less apparent, and the Sony does perform better with our lab's red-leaf fabric, which always poses a serious challenge to cameras.

Panasonic FZ2500 Review -- Gallery Image
176mm (480mm equivalent), f/4.5, 1/400s, ISO 2000.
This image has been cropped. Click for full-size image.

When considering the Panasonic FZ2500 in our print quality analysis, the FZ2500 performs as well as we would expect for a 1"-type sensor camera. A 24 x 36 inch print looks great at base ISO, and you could even get away with a 30 x 40 print if it were viewed from a distance, as this size does test the limits of the sensor. Up through ISO 1600, you can expect good print quality with acceptable detail at sizes as large as 11 x 14, and 8 x 10 prints work up to ISO 3200. At these higher ISOs, noise and softening become much more noticeable, and ISO 6400 and 12,800 will require reasonably small print sizes, while ISO 25,600 is not usable at all.

Built-in lens offers 20x optical zoom but comes up short in the corners

Compared to the FZ1000, the FZ2500 offers more zoom range. The Panasonic FZ2500 has a 24-480mm equivalent lens (8.8 - 176mm actual focal length) for a 20x optical zoom overall, compared to the 16x zoom of the FZ1000. The FZ2500's aperture range is f/2.8-4.5, which is quite fast at the wide end and not bad at the telephoto end.

The lens has a new optical design, including one more element than the FZ1000's lens, and there is also a new aperture mechanism that uses nine blades compared to the seven blades of its predecessor. The FZ2500 has been engineered with bokeh in mind and the camera produces a very pleasing out of focus area.

Panasonic FZ2500 Review -- Gallery Image
176mm (480mm equivalent), f/4.5, 1/320s, ISO 125.
100% crop of a JPEG image. The FZ2500 produces sharp, detailed JPEG images even at its 480mm equivalent focal length.
Click for full-size image.

The 20x zoom lens showed good far-field performance, although it does have very high geometric distortion when viewing uncorrected RAW images at wide angle. The camera applies a considerable amount of in-camera correction for distortion and chromatic aberration.

When considering sharpness, the lens is generally quite sharp in the center across the focal length range, but it exhibits significant corner softness, particularly at the two extremes focal lengths. Vignetting occurs at 24mm equivalent, but it's not a noticeable issue at longer focal lengths.

Autofocus: DFD-powered contrast detect AF system offers mostly good results

Relying on a contrast-detect autofocus system, the FZ2500 is surprisingly quick to autofocus. The camera uses Panasonic's Depth from Defocus (DFD) technology, and it worked well in the field, especially when photographing still or slow-moving subjects. Autofocus speeds are very fast at wide angle and pretty quick at telephoto, although we did find that the FZ2500 had a slight tendency to hunt for focus at the long end of the lens. When shooting moving subjects, autofocus performance remained generally good, although the camera's subject tracking autofocus didn't lock on quickly with fast-moving subjects. The primary takeaway is that focus speeds are good across the entire focal length range. We also found that the camera's autofocus performed well in low light.

Panasonic FZ2500 Review -- Gallery Image
8.8mm (24mm equivalent), f/5.6, 1/5s, ISO 125.
I used +0.67 exposure compensation for this image. Besides shooting snowy scenes, I very rarely needed exposure compensation. Importantly, the FZ2500 was consistent with its metering. I could have even used a full stop of exposure compensation for this particular scene.
This image has been modified. Click for full-size image.

It is worth pointing out how well the touchscreen works when autofocusing. You can tap on the subject when using subject tracking, but you can also easily move a single AF point around the frame, even when using the viewfinder. This is a great feature and it helps set the Panasonic FZ2500 apart from the stiff competition the Sony RX10 series presents.

Overall, the Panasonic FZ2500 offers fast, accurate autofocus performance in a wide array of situations across the entire focal length range. The contrast-detect system is surprisingly quick and worked very well during our testing.

Panasonic FZ2500 Review -- Gallery Image
176mm (480mm equivalent), f/4.5, 1/800s, ISO 125.
This image has been cropped. Click for full-size image.
Performance: Mostly great performance with only minor drawbacks

The Panasonic FZ2500 offers very good performance overall for its class. Both startup and autofocus times proved to be quick. Despite relying only on contrast-detect autofocus, as we noted above, the FZ2500 offers excellent single-shot autofocus speeds. Full-autofocus shutter lag was very impressive as well, being only 0.103 second at wide angle and 0.098 second at full telephoto, which is faster than many DSLR cameras.

For continuous shooting, the FZ2500 is a speedy camera. It cycles single shots quickly, but its continuous high shooting speed is particularly impressive. When recording large/fine JPEG images, the camera topped-out in our lab at 11.36 frames per second for 100 total frames. Shooting RAW images decreased speed only slightly to 10.63fps, but the buffer depth dipped dramatically to 35 total frames. Buffer clearing times were somewhat slow at 13 and 21 seconds for JPEG and RAW, respectively. Shooting RAW and JPEG maintains the RAW shooting speeds and nearly the same buffer, but buffer clearing time does increase to 32 seconds, which is slow.

It is worth noting that if you want to use continuous autofocus, the fastest possible continuous shooting speed is 7fps. While slower than the fastest shooting speed, that's still excellent for the camera's class.

Overall performance is very impressive. With the exception of buffer clearing times, which are sluggish, the camera is fast across the board and offers very good to excellent performance for its class.

Panasonic FZ2500 Review -- Gallery Image
168.8mm (460mm equivalent), f/4.5, 1/60s, ISO 1600.
This image has been cropped. Click for full-size image.

Panasonic FZ2500 video: 4K quality is excellent, offers lots of video features

Like many recent Panasonic cameras, the FZ2500 can record 4K video, but that's not all the tricks it has up its sleeve. In many ways, the FZ2500 is a similar to the Panasonic GH4 in terms of video features. Compared to its predecessor, the FZ2500 now includes a headphone jack, 30fps 4K UHD video recording (versus just 25fps), a DCI 4K (4096 x 2160) recording option, 10-bit 4:2:2 output via HDMI (compared to 8-bit), simultaneous 8-bit internal and external recording, unlimited video recording duration, 200MBps All-I capture and more.

Video quality itself is impressive. 4K video is sharp, especially at lower ISO settings. You can record video up to ISO 6400, which remains usable for many applications, but is noticeably softer and noisier than video recorded at lower ISOs.

On the topic of the zoom, the equivalent focal length range changes to 36-720mm when recording 4K UHD video due to the crop factor. The zooming action itself proved to be very smooth thanks to the unique camcorder-inspired design of the FZ2500's zoom lens. When zooming from wide to the maximum focal length, the image barely shifts and remains steady. In addition to smooth zooming, handheld video recording is feasible thanks to good image stabilization.

4K video doesn't provide all the fun, however, as Full HD video comes with its own set of interesting features. You can switch between slow or quick motion video during recording, utilize a digital dolly zoom, use 4K Live Cropping and more.

One of the few downsides we found with the FZ2500 and recording video was slow autofocus performance at telephoto focal lengths. Panasonic's DFD autofocus technology worked mostly well for still images, but the camera tends to hunt at longer focal lengths, which can be distracting during video recording.

The FZ2500 is a very capable multimedia camera. The FZ2500's exhaustive list of video features and overall video performance is impressive, if not more so when considering the FZ2500's price and its in-class competition.

Build Quality: A bit bulky, but the FZ2500 handles well

The Panasonic FZ2500 is by no means a small camera, which makes perfect sense considering its zoom capabilities and DSLR-style body. In total, the camera weighs 34.1 ounces (966 grams) with the battery and a memory card inserted. This is fairly heavy, but the deep grip helps make the FZ2500 easy and comfortable to hold nonetheless. The camera is also well-balanced with the lens, partially because when you power the camera on, the lens becomes fully extended and doesn't change length while zooming.

Panasonic FZ2500 Review:  -- Product Image

The large 3-inch touchscreen display on the rear of the FZ2500 is one of its best features. We were very impressed with its tilt swivel mechanism and the touchscreen functionality. The earlier FZ1000 doesn't employ a touchscreen nor does the FZ2500's primary competitor, the newest Sony RX10, so this feature helps set the camera apart in the user experience department. The FZ2500's electronic viewfinder offers a bit more magnification than the FZ1000's EVF, 0.74x versus 0.70x 35mm equivalent. The resolution remains the same at 2.36 million dots, which helps the FZ2500's EVF offer a nice, sharp image. The 0.39-inch XGA OLED EVF worked well in the field, but the rubber cup around the viewfinder didn't do a great job keeping ambient light out when looking through the viewfinder.

There are lots of buttons on the FZ2500, including three function buttons on the lens barrel itself. There are also two command dials as well as more function buttons, a dedicated movie record button and more. Overall, it's a nice camera body that feels comfortable to hold and is easy to operate, with all the physical controls you need for adjusting important settings on the fly.

Panasonic FZ2500 Review:  -- Product Image

Review Summary: The FZ2500 offers something for everyone with great imaging and video performance

The Panasonic FZ2500 is an excellent enthusiast long-zoom camera that offers great performance across the board and a good, versatile zoom lens. Image quality from the 20-megapixel sensor is impressive, and the camera offers very good 4K video plus a number of advanced video recording features. This all-in-one camera is a powerful multimedia camera for users seeking out a high-zoom camera. It's no wonder, then, that it earned the top spot as our pick for Best Enthusiast Zoom of 2016 in our annual Camera of the Year Awards as well as a solid Dave's Pick.

Panasonic FZ2500 Review -- Gallery Image
8.8mm (24mm equivalent), f/5.0, 1/100s, ISO 125.
This image has been modified. Click for full-size image.

Pros & Cons

  • Versatile 24-480mm eq. f/2.8-4.5 20x zoom with good though not great optical performance
  • Balance, smooth zooming mechanism
  • Stepless 9-bladed aperture
  • Two built-in ND filters
  • Generally excellent image quality and high ISO performance for its class; much better than typical long-zooms
  • Fast power-up for a long-zoom
  • Very fast single-shot autofocus speeds
  • Very low shutter lag
  • Excellent single-shot cycle times
  • Fast full-res burst mode (10.6-11.4 fps) with generous buffers
  • Excellent image stabilization
  • 4K video quality is very good
  • DCI 4K video capture at 24p and UHD 4K at 30p
  • No time limit for video recording
  • 10-bit 4:2:2 output via HDMI (8-bit 4:2:2 when recording internally)
  • Many advanced video recording (Cinelike D/V photo styles, luminance level adjust, timecode, zebras)
  • V-Log L Photo Style is available, though it's a paid upgrade
  • Useful 4K Photo modes, including Post Focus and Focus Stacking features
  • External mic and headphone jacks
  • Excellent viewfinder coverage accuracy
  • Tilt/swivel touchscreen display works very well
  • Built-in Wi-Fi
  • Good physical controls
  • Lens produces soft corners at most focal lengths, even stopped down
  • Maximum aperture falls off to f/4.5 already at about 250mm eq.
  • Chromatic aberration can be an issue
  • High uncorrected distortion at wide angle (not uncommon)
  • Sluggish buffer clearing, with no UHS-II support
  • Some competitors offer better zoom range and/or faster apertures
  • Continuous AF can be sluggish, especially at full telephoto and on fast-moving subjects
  • NFC connectivity is absent


 

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

 



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