Space Coast Air Show w/ the FZ2500

Started 5 months ago | Photos thread
K-Dub
OP K-Dub Regular Member • Posts: 426
Re: * Fabulous Series *

Stevie Boy Blue wrote:

K-Dub wrote:

Thanks for the compliment! In all my airshow visits, I rarely see any other bridge cameras. It's either those APSC/FF bodies and huge lenses or cellphones. I think I've seen one other Panny bridge, probably a FZ1000, and once a Sony RX10(?).

Honestly, I can't imagine carrying around a huge lens which is why I really like the bridge cameras. I do wish the 2500 had a bit more zoom, but wouldn't trade that for a smaller sensor. Every once in a while I do think about going m43 or APSC, but I'm just not willing to do that now. Hopefully, my 2500 lasts me quite a while.

Another long post from me here, but you’re very welcome to my compliments, Ken. I enjoy nothing more than praising good work but unfortunately see very few examples posted on this forum that warrant compliment instead of critique or simply no comment at all. Your efforts are by and large a pleasure to view, as you clearly know how to use your FZ2000 (2500).

Thank you very much for the compliment!

I appreciate your occasionally wishing that this model had a bit more focal length. From time to time, I find myself thinking the same thing, eventually countering the idea with the reality that more weight would also accompany the extra optical magnification. Although it may only add up to a few ounces, for me, the FZ2000’s already more than heavy enough at times.

Taking the Sony RX10 Mk4 as a 600mm alternative bridge, that model weighs in at 1095 g (2.41 lb / 38.62 oz) complete with battery compared to the 915 g (2.02 lb / 32.28 oz) of the FZ2000. Those extra 6+ ounces gave me one reason to reject the RX10 4 I trialled against the FZ2000 and FZ1000 2 before deciding which camera to purchase. In my experience, up to the FZ2000’s max 480mm optical reach and re OOC Jpegs, image quality between the Sony and Panasonic was largely indistinguishable in terms of sharpness and apparent resolution, the only notable difference being colour rendering between the two different manufactures.

Although I liked the Sony colours, no way was I going to shell out over £1000 more for an RX10 4 when the FZ2000 was up for a bargain £680. Looking at it logically, for me, there’s just no way on earth that even with Sony’s 120mm extra zoom (total 600mm), no way was that camera worth its, then, £1800 price tag, especially compared to the FZ2000’s revised RRP, which had dropped from the 2016 original of £1099 to less than £700 when I bought my first one back in 2019.

Current prices stand at £769 for the FZ2000, £729 for the FZ1000 2, and a whacking £1750 for the Sony RX10 4, as per UK manufacture websites. With absolutely no notable difference in still image quality between the FZ2000 and 1000 2 up to the 1000 2’s maximum 400mm optical reach, I went for the FZ2000’s 80mm longer range, its zoom on rails, built-in ND filters plus its reputation for producing excellent video. I was actually so impressed with the FZ2000 overall that I purchased a second copy for a double camera project I’m still to get around to shooting since it was shelved due to the pandemic.

For me, it came down to price and familiarity. I like the Sony RX10IV, but not the price. Plus, I was used to the Panny menus. I ended up choosing the 2500 over the 1000 due to the ND filters (which I've used at airshows when really sunny and using a slower shutter speed trying to get prop blur) and extra reach.

All in all, I can see why you’d consider M4/3rd options, too Ken. I’m already there myself. I have both a G100 and G90. To the G100, I’ve attached a 12-60 mm (24-120mm EFL) lens. To the G90, I’ve all but glued on the 14-140 mm (28-280mm EFL), both of which render very pleasing results indeed. I use the G100 primarily for landscape and street stuff, as the set-up is so light. The G90 doubles as a more robust, weather sealed option and the 14-140 makes for a great walk-around lens that’s also good for wildlife providing we can get close enough. The 20mp 4/3rd sensor does crop fairly well, too, so the extra optical reach illusion we can obtain with a little after-shooting butchery in Photoshop still gives acceptable results down to ¼ / 5mp portions, which just about doubles the EFL of the chosen lens. Not that I like cropping at all, but the option is there and stands up better under scrutiny than crops from 1/2.3’’ pinhead sensors like that found in the FZ300.

Ultimately, in terms of the 1-inch sensor found in the FZ2000, there’s far less to choose between overall image quality attainable with M4/3rd. Up to ISO 1600 in fair to very good light, one would have to examine very closely indeed examples shot side by side on either my G90 or G100 compared to my FZ2000 to see any improvement worthy of note. In fact, the FZ2000 absolutely astounds me from a still image quality perspective; such is the excellence of that lens and sensor combo. It’s pretty much only in dimmer light and when shooting above ISO 1000 that the 1inch sensor noticeably falls away and noise takes too firm a hold.

I look at it this way. With the FZ2000, I have 480mm available to me for mid to long-range wildlife shots, which I never conduct in anything but reasonably good to very good light. With a max aperture of F4.5, I can readily photograph all of my subjects under ISO 400. Even if I wish to increase DOF with, say, F6.3 and slightly smaller apertures, I rarely shoot above ISO 800 and still maintain amply fast shutter speeds relevant to subjects. Image quality from my FZ2000 is generally excellent under the parameters outlined and virtually indistinguishable from M4/3.

I could choose to buy a 100-300mm (200-600mm EFL) lens for my G90. That would cost me an extra £500ish on top of the £600 I’ve already spent on the camera body and the extra £600 I’ve spent on the 14-140 lens. In reality, with the 100-300mm, I’d gain just 120mm at the long end and lose the difference between 200 and 24mm at the wider end compared to my FZ2000. To achieve wider focal lengths with my M4/3 gear, I’d have to swap my lens, by which time the photo opportunity that arose at the wider angle may have passed me by. Such is the convenience of my wonderful and superbly sharp and ‘very-nearly-as-good-as-M4/3’ FZ2000.

As I still wouldn’t shoot my wildlife subjects under anything but good light, I’d be paying an extra £500 for an extra £120 mm when it costs me nothing at all but some thought on how I can get slightly closer to my subjects if needs must, and which I already like to do anyway. The same goes for the Sony RX10 4. I really wouldn’t gain anything I don’t already have in the FZ2000 except for PDAF, which I rate more highly than DFD AF. As for the next potential step up on the M4/3 ladder, that would be the 100-400mm lens (200-800mm EFL), which just happens to cost £1150 and weighs over 2lbs all by itself. No thanks. As already implied, a total weight of just over 2lbs of lens and body combined, aka the FZ2000 or G90 with 14-140mm, is my absolute limit these days.

Bottom line, I’m fine using my FZ2000 for wildlife and occasionally much more including video, and my M4/3 gear as and when required. Truth is, whoever first coined the phrase ‘photography is about compromise’ was absolutely right: What we gain from using one format or type of camera/lens, we may lose from choosing another. Ultimately, we make a choice based on what suits our shooting styles, genres and our bank balance, and if we’re mainly happy with results from what we use then that is all that matters.

Yeah, I basically agree with you about all that. I could carry around more and heavier equipment, but do I really want to? Nope. Maybe I will at some point decide that I definitely want "more" for airshows, but I'm not there yet.

Keep having fun with your FZ2500, Ken. If you’re really concerned about how much longer it may or may not last, I guess you could always buy a second one. In my opinion, the camera represents one heck of a great purchase for its current price tag.

As for folks using smart phones at your shows? Really? Have phone cameras come on so much that they can compete in terms of zoom with the likes of ILCs and higher end bridge cameras these days? Or are phone users still relying on heavy cropping to get them closer to subjects like flying aircraft?

Yep, phones. A lot of them. I "think" they're taking video and not really trying to capture individual pictures (I may be wrong). Or just taking a snapshot of all the Thunderbirds/Blue Angels/other planes.

If the former, I may have to update from my brick of an old mobile to one of these super-duper new Samsung thingies. Oh no, yet more expense.

I have a crappy, old, cheap Samsung phone that is used to text, call, and surf the internet while away from home. All those fancy phones probably cost more than my 2500 and will probably be replaced much quicker than the 2500.

Cheers and all the best...

 K-Dub's gear list:K-Dub's gear list
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ200 Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS6 Panasonic FZ2500 GoPro Hero8 Black
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