Upgrading from FZ200: Another FZ300-or-FZ1000 thread

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gkreth Veteran Member • Posts: 3,121
Upgrading from FZ200: Another FZ300-or-FZ1000 thread

Hi! I'm hoping for some input on what camera to buy: An FZ1000, or an FZ300.

My apologies up front for what I know is a VERY long post.

I currently own an FZ200; I use it when I don't feel like taking my Pentax K3 and multiple lenses, e.g., a for family vacations.

I also use the FZ200 as secondary camera to my Pentax, e.g., if I'm shooting my son's high school band: I'll usually use a dual-camera strap with the FZ200 on my left side, and the K3 with a 70-200 f/2.8 on my right side.

In this configuration I will usually shoot with the K3, unless I need something wider than 70mm (105mm equiv) or longer than 200mm (350mm equiv); then I will use the FZ200. (I do like the dual-strap system for this; I can quickly drop one camera and pick the other one up; no lens changing needed.)

Also, I tended to shoot video with the FZ200, and not the K3, although I am not entirely sure why. The greater DOF range with the smaller sensor of the FZ200 may be part of the reason. I guess the flip-out LCD also makes shooting video while holding the camera up high is easier than it would be with the Pentax. I don't do a lot of video, but I will do more of it in the fall; I recently bought a video shot-mic to mount to the hot-shoe, and I want to experiment more with band videos in addition to the stills I currently take.

I chose the FZ200 because of the constant f/2.8; for night football games (where I shoot the marching band), that f/2.8 is important. Even so, I usually have to shoot at ISO 800, which is ... okay ... on the FZ200. But honestly, I prefer the results from my Pentax K3, even when I have it cranked up to 6400. (Not surprising, I know, based on the difference of the sensor sizes.)

So, I have recently decided to upgrade the FZ200; the question is, upgrade to WHAT?

I will be buying a used camera, probably off eBay. (I have bought many cameras and lenses off eBay, so I'm very comfortable with the idea of getting used equipment.)

The FZ1000 is currently selling for $350 to $400.
The FZ300 is currently selling for $300 to $350.
So, there is about a $50 difference in price.

Note that I am NOT interested in the FZ2000; it is simply too new (and therefore, too expensive) for me to consider at this point.

The major factors (for me) in this are the following:

  1. The FZ200 struggles even at ISO 800. The FZ300 has the same sensor, but supposedly the processing is a little better. (Note that I shoot JPEG, and will continue to do so. I've read the RAW-vs-JPEG arguments for years, have tried shooting RAW, and have concluded that JPEG just works better for me and my work-flow.)
    _
    Obviously, the larger sensor on the FZ1000 will be a plus. I do know that, the lens drops to f/4 fairly quickly, and I will be required to use a higher ISO. But from what I have seen, ISO 1600 on the FZ1000 is still much better than ISO 800 on the FZ300.
    _
  2. The FZ200 zoom via toggle switch is too slow; well, not slow, but difficult for me to time correctly. It starts off too slow, but then suddenly zooms really, really fast, often causing me to I overshoot, and then I have to re-zoom back to get what I want. I have tried the zoom via the switch on the side of the lens, but that doesn't work any better for me.
    _
    I noticed that the FZ300 also has a zoom toggle switch on the side of the lens, as well as a new, additional AF rolling knob. That's nice to not have to switch between zoom and AF for the lens toggle, the way I currently have do with the FZ200, but it's not a deal breaker; honestly, the older I get, the more I rely on AF, so switching the side lever to AF mode was something I rarely do.
    _
    I'm not sure yet about the zoom ring on the FZ1000, although I did used to shoot a Panasonic FZ30, and I did like electro-zoom ring on that camera.
    _
  3. The FZ200's 600mm max focal length: This obviously is much better than the max 400mm available on the FZ1000. But, I noticed last fall when I edited pictures from my FZ200 shot at 600mm, I generally did not like them.
    _
    Note that I am specifically talking about shooting in low light at night (high school stadium lighting) at subjects very far away (e.g., the rear drum major or the drum line on the other side of the field during a half-time show). But that was about the only time that I used the FZ200 at 600mm. I'm wondering if I will miss the 401-600mm range if I were to get the FZ1000 instead of the FZ300.
    _
    Also, I did buy the Pentax 60-250 f/4 zoom a few months ago. It's slower than my 70-200 f/2.8, but it reaches a little further, and zooms back a little wider. I have mostly used it to shoot my son's Ultimate Frisbee tournaments, and so far I have been happy with it. I'm not sure if/how it will affect my two-camera setup this fall. I do plan to use it at the games while there is still sunlight, and probably switch back to the 70-200 f/2.8 when we are using stadium lighting only.
    _
  4. The FZ200's 12MP sensor. I admit it: When shooting fast action stuff, I don't always frame well. (By "fast action," I mean: The marching band doesn't move fast per se, but I am moving fast, trying to take as many pictures of as many students as I can during what is really quite a brief performance.)
    _
    I crop/re-compose quite a lot in post-processing, often zooming in and cropping out half of what the sensor recorded. In that respect, I'm always happier with the 24MP of my Pentax than I am with the 12MP of my FZ200. Of course, maybe that's because of the larger pixels on the Pentax sensor.
    _
    When I post photos for the band and band parents, I've standardized on 2000x1333-pixel images; that's slightly bigger than standard 1920 x 1080 screens that most people use when viewing the pictures online, and could also make a good 4x6-inch print if they wanted to do so.
    _
    The 1MP 6016x4000-pixel image from the K3 gives me up to 4016 horizontal pixels of cropping. (Of course, I normally don't need to crop THAT many pixels from each image; if I had to guess, I would say I normally crop out about 25% of what is on the sensor. After cropping and re-composing, I resize to 2000 pixels horizontally.)
    _
    The 12MP 4000x3000-pixel image from the FZ200 (and FZ300) would let me crop to 50%, normally more than enough. But I'm kinda drawn to the 20MP 5472x3648-pixel image size of the FZ1000, maybe because it's so much closer to the size of my K3. I dunno; that's probably not a deal-breaker. 12MP is still a lot to have. (My first digital camera, the Olympus C-2100UZ, had a 2.1MP 1600x1200-pixel sensor. LOL!)
    _
  5. The FZ200 video: Actually, I like the FZ200 video fine. It shoots 1080p, but honestly, I usually shoot at 720p, mostly to keep the file sizes reasonable. (Parents watching on their phones a video of their kids playing the school fight song after a touchdown don't really care if the video is in 720p or 1080p.)
    Although I do plan to get more into video this fall, I don't think I will need 4K video anytime soon. So, I suspect the FZ300 would do just as well as the FZ1000 in this regard.
    _
    I did plan to play around with slo-mo this year; I could see how some of the marching band activities and antics would be fun to see in slo-mo. I've read that the FZ300 does 240 FPS slo-mo and that the FZ1000 only does 120 FPS slo-mo. But I have looked at a few 120-vs-240 comparison videos, and I think 120 FPS is good enough for me. (Since I have never done ANY slo-mo, just having the option now will be a fun thing to play around with.)

Well, that's it. Again, my apologies for the VERY long post. But I wanted to be complete with what I have been thinking about as I weigh my options.

If it seems like I have already decided on the FZ1000, well, that's kinda true. I guess I keep thinking that the FZ300 is just not a large enough step up from the FZ200. The FZ1000 seems like a much bigger step up, especially since it will cost only about $50 more.

But, I am still very open to others thoughts and opinions, especially if they have first-hand experience with all three cameras (FZ200, FZ300, FZ1000). Maybe you know something I don't, or uncovered something in your experiences that I have not yet thought about.

I realize that no camera can do everything, and that each camera has it's strengths, which is why I wanted to focus on how I plan to use my next camera most of the time.

Thanks in advance for your thoughts, ideas, and opinions!

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Greg

Panasonic FZ1000 Panasonic FZ2500 Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ200 Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ300
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