**FZ2000 REVIEW: Still Top of the FZ Tree**

Started Aug 22, 2020 | User reviews
Stevie Boy Blue Senior Member • Posts: 1,611
**FZ2000 REVIEW: Still Top of the FZ Tree**
12

INTRODUCTION

Back in 2016, Panasonic released and billed the FZ2000 (FZ2500) as the ultimate Still/Video ‘Hybrid’, which, if it fully lived up to the label, equated to the very first ‘Bridge’ camera capable of truly great output in both motion and stills recording mediums. A tall order indeed, because until the appearance of this model, some degree of trade-off between still image quality and video could be expected in any Bridge camera made by any manufacturer. Largely, that remains the case with many such models today, but this review’s about a hybrid that even in 2020 still heads Panasonic’s current line-up of Bridge cameras despite the introduction of the more recent FZ1000 2.

As it’s been top of the company’s FZ tree for four years with no sign of a replacement, one may assume that the technology in the 2000 was way ahead of its time on release. To me, this makes sense because the camera shares the same internal processor as the highly lauded GH4, the main differences between them being the FZ2000’s fixed lens and 1-inch sensor compared to the GH4 ILC and M4/3rd spec. Ultimately, as I write this in August 2020, neither the GH4 nor FZ2000 are any less the cameras today than they were on release a few years ago. Hence maybe why this particular Bridge model still sells very well indeed.

AH, BUT IT’S SUPPOSED TO HAVE A SOFT LENS

If you’ll kindly excuse the pun, let’s clear that one up right away. In my experience, except for the odd issue that may arise from poor quality control during manufacture, perhaps on a Monday morning or Friday afternoon shift, I doubt that the FZ2000 is any more prone to being shipped with lens problems than any other camera made on Panasonic’s production line. Neither do I accept that Panasonic QC is as bad as some would have us believe and I’m therefore inclined to suspect soft lenses only rarely make it out of the factory.

I can only speak as I find. I’ve owned many of their cameras including the FZ20, 28 (2 of), 38, 50 (borrowed), 150, 200, 330 (2 of) and 80. Except for the latter, which I and many others found to render comparatively poorly detailed OOC Jpegs ‘at full 1200mm focal lengths’, I’ve rarely been critical of any Panasonic model I’ve ever had. I have also used many with tele-convertors attached that have more than doubled their native optical range and I still managed to avoid softness in most instances.

I’ve also recently used three different FZ2000s, all made in late 2019 according to EXIF data: these being one that I own, the display model I tried before buying a brand new one in an unopened box, plus another that I recommended to and then set up for a friend. I’d say that if either of the FZ2000s I’ve used thus far have soft lenses, I must have extra sharp eyes that totally belie my need to wear plus-one reading glasses.

My apologies for labouring the point. But in the FZ2000’s defence, it received a relatively poor introduction to the retail world, seemingly at the hands of DPR reviewers who always appear happy to test any new model at default settings. In DPR reviewers’ defence, they have a lot of models passing through for trial and no doubt individual reviews will be conducted on tight schedules and to strict deadlines. But I still feel more (or at least some) time could be spent tweaking things before writing any condemning verdict perhaps born of user error as much as anything else.

In some respects, Panasonic must also take some responsibility for setting default Jpeg Parameters in terms of noise reduction and sharpness at ‘0’ when crispness of image is rarely seen at this level – although from what I’ve seen, many FZ2000 users have happily settled for such defaults and are merrily shooting away to their hearts’ and eyes’ content.

Personally I tend to drop noise reduction and slightly increase sharpening to my own individual taste. To varying degrees, that applies to every FZ I have ever used because settings can render a look that can be mistaken for lens issues. Just goes to show that we’re all different. But please, unless there really is an issue of which I remain highly sceptical re the 2000’s lens, don’t let anyone fool you into thinking that, as has been suggested, FZ1000 Mk 1 or 2 image quality is any better than the flagship camera. It’s not – at least compared to the FZ1000 2 I recently trialled – and that I believe is what makes the FZ2000 so darned good as a stills shooter.

FEATURES

The Leica-branded lens has a bright F2.8 to F4.5 aperture and its 20x optical zoom goes from 24mm wide-angle to 480mm telephoto (in 3:2 AR). The lens is housed within a separate outer casing that, unlike any other FZ in the range, remains fully extended when powered on, enabling image shift to be suppressed by 80% when using zoom. The lens operates via a guide pole mechanism for high quality zoom and has step-less IRIS control. Smooth bokeh comes by way of a lens with 9 aperture blades. A real selling point for me, however, is the built-in ND filter, which can be selected manually or set to Auto (and Off) for use in either video or stills photography.

Unlimited 4K (CINEMA and UHD) video recording is available and the FZ2000 has the same video feature set as the GH4, albeit with the smaller 1inch CMOS sensor. If video’s your main priority, a V-Log upgrade is available for an additional £79, giving 12 stops of dynamic range.

The camera offers everything to video and stills photographers alike: including full manual controls, intelligent auto modes, rapid focus, raw editing, diffraction compensation, creative effects, Low-light AF, Starlight AF and loads more. 4K Photo means you can shoot at 30fps and then select your best shots. There are focus stacking and post focus options, too. Built-in Wi-Fi means you can remotely control the camera as well as transfer images to your preferred viewing device.

List of Features

  • 20mp 1inch MOS sensor
  • 20x optical zoom lens, 24-480mm equivalent, f/2.8-4.5 aperture
  • 5-axis Image Stabilisation
  • Built-in ND filter (1/4, 1/16, 1/64)
  • ISO80 (Low) to ISO25600 (extended)
  • 4K video / photo, unlimited recording
  • 3inch tilting vari-angle touch screen (1040K)
  • 0.74x OLED electronic viewfinder, 2360k dot OLED
  • 12fps continuous shooting (45 raw, 100+ JPEG)
  • 3cm macro
  • Aperture / Focus bracketing
  • Raw editing / clear retouch
  • New aperture filter / diffraction compensation
  • Lowlight AF / Starlight AF / DFD AF
  • Post focus / focus stacking

Video

  • 4K (3840x2160) video at 30/25/24/23.9fps
  • 36 - 720mm equivalent for 4K
  • 25 - 500mm equivalent for Full HD (OIS Off)
  • 27 - 540mm equivalent for Full HD (OIS On)
  • CINE (4096x2160) at 24fps
  • Full HD 200Mbps (ALL-I)
  • Full HD 100Mbps (IPB)
  • MOV, MP4 (AAC, LPCM), AVCHD progressive
  • Unlimited recording time
  • Dolly Zoom
  • Time code output /Rec/ Start stop
  • Mic / headphone sockets
  • HDMI 4:2:2 8bit (with simultaneous SD card reading) and 4:2:2 10bit HDMI output
  • Variable frame rate video (slow/fast motion)
  • Slow zoom (Fn1/Fn2)
  • 4K live cropping and HD cropping from 4K

HANDLING

The FZ2000 features an excellent handgrip, making this bridge camera as easy to hold as virtually any DSLR. It’s well built, too, with rubber grips creating a reassuring non-slip feel. Numerous controls on the left side of the zoom barrel make it easy to change settings, including the built-in ND filters, along with three customisable function buttons. In total, 7 function buttons are dotted around the camera and the lens features two control rings around the barrel which can also be customised.

Due to the larger than average superzoom-sized sensor, the lens is big too, and goes a considerable way to making up the total combined weight of around 1kg. There’s simply no denying that compared to the likes of the FZ330, the 2000’s one chunky lump of a camera that in comparison to smaller and lighter models takes a while to get used to. Overall, it took me about two weeks in total to fully adjust to and feel comfortable with the extra size and weight of the FZ2000 over my 330. But as I use the larger camera more and more, my appreciation of how well and comfortably it handles grows with every session.

The large Electronic Viewfinder (EVF) is exceptionally clear and pleasurable to use; it even seems to perfectly match the fully articulating rear touch-screen for colour reproduction. The EVF is eye-detection sensor operated, too, so the camera automatically switches on the viewfinder as you move it to your eye. All in all, the camera feels well-built, and side access to the memory card slot means you can change the card even when the camera’s mounted to a tripod. The same applies to the separate battery compartment, courtesy of the tripod mount having been placed exactly in the middle of the underside of the body. Very well done for that one, Panasonic!

As Panasonic users may have long since come to appreciate, the menus are well designed, with a clear layout and built-in help if required by anyone new to this particular brand of camera. Overall Panasonic camera menus are largely user-friendly and notoriously easy to master compared to other brands, and that’s another reason why I tend to stick with them.

BATTERY LIFE

I’ve seen many claims that Battery life averages out at 350 shots when using the EVF. I shoot mainly in medium continuous burst mode in full sized, fine (best) quality Jpeg setting and never get below 800 shots per charge in mild to warm weather conditions. I’ve yet to use the camera in cold weather, so cannot comment on fluctuations. Shooting RAW files will obviously mean you get fewer images per charge. Thus far I’ve only shot occasional 30 to 45 second clips of HD Video interspersed with my stills, but I don’t see why the FZ2000 couldn’t record HD continuously for at least two hours per charge just as my FZ330 does. Although I have 4K to hand, I’ve currently no interest in shooting at such high resolution when the FZ2000’s Full HD recording is so crisp and clear, easily the best I’ve seen thus far from any bridge camera. Overall, as the camera’s now been retailing for some time and is used by more and more buyers, recording time is regarded by many as at least good for video and still image shooting. Also note that in my experience, Panasonic batteries become spent more quickly on the first charge than they do three or four charges into their whole life cycle, which I find can be many years overall.

FZ2000 PERFORMANCE

Without doubt or exaggeration, the FZ2000 is the fastest camera of its type that I have ever used. If, like me, you own a FZ330 and appreciate how fast that little gem of a camera is, then you’d quickly come to appreciate the overall speed of the FZ2000. At around 0.1 of a second, focus is achieved from virtually the moment one squeezes the shutter button and overall is accurate around 95% of the time even at full 480mm telephoto. The 1.4ish seconds it takes from switch-on to first photo opportunity makes it a pretty nifty starter, too. Very impressive.

The FZ2000 can shoot up to 12fps when using the mechanical shutter for around 45 raw shots, or more than 200 JPEGs when using a fast memory card. 30fps is also achievable in the 4K Photo mode, but at a reduced image size of 8 megapixels.

As you zoom in, the brightest F2.8 aperture of the lens gives way to F4.0 at around 80mm equivalent. The camera gives good levels of detail throughout its focal range and purple fringing and chromatic aberration seem well controlled.

The OIS system in the FZ2000 stabilizes things exceptionally well; better than I’ve experienced with any smaller model I’ve owned.

STILL IMAGE QUALITY & ISO PERFORMANCE

As I’ve previously mentioned, I only shoot fine quality Jpegs, either at full size in 3.2 AR at 20 mp or slightly reduced at 4.3 AR at 17 mp. Overall, I find FZ2000 image quality to be excellent. Noise is controlled very well from base ISO to 800 and in some instances above this. But once we hit ISO 1600, noise becomes increasingly noticeable. Detail remains relatively good at 1600 but slopes off at 3200, as noise increases. Although FZ2000 ISO settings go much higher than this, I couldn’t possibly recommend using them to capture anything beyond the odd image where needs must.

VIDEO

As it caters pretty much entirely for the needs of professional videographers, the FZ2000 offers unlimited video recording in resolutions up to CINEMA 4K (4096x2160 at 24fps with a U 3 speed card).

The area of the sensor used when recording video (crop factor) depends on whether we choose Full HD or 4K resolution. In Full HD with IS off, almost the full zoom range of 25-500mm equivalent is available. Switch to 4K, however, and the wide angle gives way to 36mm equivalent, representative of roughly a 1.44-1.5x crop.

Lens range for all modes as follows:

  • 25 - 500mm equivalent for Full HD: OIS Off
  • 27 - 540mm equivalent for Full HD: OIS On
  • 30 - 600mm equivalent for Full HD: OIS On with Level shot on
  • 36 - 720mm equivalent for 4K

MOV or MP4:

  • CINEMA 4K at 24fps (4096x2160: 100mbps)
  • 4K (UHD) at 30/25/24fps (3840x2160: 100mbps)
  • Full HD at 60/50/30/25/24 (up to 200mbps)

120fps at Full HD resolution is available for slow-motion with variable bit-rate option. Maximum ISO speed for video is ISO6400, although quality of results will taper off considerably at this setting.

Numerous video options include: Luminance level, Master pedestal level (31 steps), Synchro scan, SS/gain operation, Time code, Colour bars / 1khz test tone, Cinelike D / V gamma, V-Log L (with optional upgrade software key DMW-SFU1), Mic level, Zebra pattern and more. The FZ2000 can also output 10-bit 4:2:2 4K video via HDMI to an external recorder if you don't need to record to the internal SD card.

The 5-axis Hybrid Optical Image Stabilisation – which functions superbly – works in all video formats bar 4K, variable frame rate or for dolly zoom. For 4K video, standard optical image stabilisation only is available but still steadies the camera more than adequately in most cases. The lens is exceptionally smooth and quiet when zooming and the speed at which it functions is adjustable for slow to mid or fast. Very convenient.

VERDICT and RIVAL CAMERAS

Don’t get me wrong, excellent though I find the FZ2000 to be, it ain’t perfect and I would never have paid the original list price of £1099 for one any more than I’d shell out £1800 for a Sony RX10 mk 4 today, a camera I view as the FZ2000’s only serious rival but one that’s yet to see a reduction in RRP. The RX may well be good, but come on: £1800 for a model that’s been in production for three years!

I looked at and shot a few images with the Sony just before buying the FZ2000, but I know its menu system would have driven me crazy and my conscience would have taken a long-term hit due to the financial outlay, with the only advantages being 120mm more focal reach, Phase detection Autofocus, and debatably slightly improved still image quality. Although the RX uses the whole area of the sensor for video recording, the jury’s also out on whether the quality of the FZ2000 is in any way marred by its sensor crop. Bring out your magnifying glasses for any comparisons you might care to make on that score!

As much as I wish Panasonic would adopt PDAF as a replacement for, or as a hybrid to, their DFD AF technology, I just wasn’t prepared to pay over £1100 more than I could buy a FZ2000 for. Only readers can decide whether or not they feel as I do, but for as good as the Sony still image quality is, I just won’t shell out for one.

Some may consider the relatively new FZ1000 2 as part of the equation, but despite being three years older, the FZ2000 remains Panasonic’s flagship in the whole range. I also trialled the FZ1000 2 when viewing the 2000 and can appreciate why the older model still heads the FZ line-up. Those built-in ND filters and extra 80mm of zoom are real bonuses, save to mention its better video spec and no noticeable difference between sharpness of stills shot with either Panasonic camera.

All things considered. Imagine laying your hands on the most efficient, value-for-money photographic equivalent of a Swiss Army Knife that you could currently find in today’s market of 1inch sensor Bridge Cameras. For me, that describes the FZ2000 perfectly. Ultimately, this is a truly excellent camera. It doesn’t just shoot video exceptionally well; it really delivers on still image quality too.

Seriously, try finding a dedicated video camera that can take such superb stills as the FZ2000. Even rarer is the excellent stills camera that shoots utterly superb video. The FZ2000 fills all the shoes!

It’s not just a true jack of all trades; it is master of both still and video mediums. And as it can currently be bought for more than £400 below its original RRP of £1099, for all that it offers at less than £700, the FZ2000 simply has to be the bargain of 2020.

IMPRESSED BY:

Excellent OOC Jpeg still image quality up to ISO 1600

Superb Handling

Fast and largely accurate focussing

Superb quality HD Video with Dolly Zoom option

Adjustable zoom speed.

High quality viewfinder with eye sensor

Built-in ND filters

Good zoom range

Separate SD card and battery access even when mounted on a tripod.

Excellent build quality

Good battery life

DON'T LIKE:

Native 3.2 AR (I prefer 4.3)

No weather sealing

Slightly heavy and bulky compared to smaller sensor FZs.

OVERALL: Fabulous camera: amazing price. Job done.

Thanks for viewing.

PS: Please note that example images are pretty much as they appeared straight out of the camera but they’ve been re-sized for uploading purposes. Some may also have been cropped to varying degrees. I’ve included a few 100% crops of various ISO examples for the pixel peepers to view below. The first 40-odd images in my DPR gallery are from the FZ2000 and can be found here:

https://www.dpreview.com/galleries/1544194941

Cheers all...

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ2500 (Lumix DMC-FZ2000)
20 megapixels • 3 screen • 24 – 480 mm (20×)
Announced: Sep 19, 2016
Stevie Boy Blue's score
4.5
Average community score
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great
Landscapes / scenery
great
Portraits
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Low light (without flash)
good
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unrated
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= community average
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(unknown member) Regular Member • Posts: 403
Re: **FZ2000 REVIEW: Still Top of the FZ Tree**

That's a good review. The FZ2000 has impressive specs and a reasonable price tag, so it's all about the IQ. You've illustrated your review with lots of attractive pictures, but unfortunately all these pictures are compressed or crops. For me only full-size OOC jpegs are useful, I want to download them and examine them and compare them.

Anyway the budget's just gone on a TZ200, so an FZ2000 will have to wait.

OP Stevie Boy Blue Senior Member • Posts: 1,611
Re: **FZ2000 REVIEW: Still Top of the FZ Tree**
1

Thank you for the response.

Alas for you and all other pixel peeping viewers, the 100% crops will have to suffice as examples of FZ2000 image quality for this review. I live out in the sticks here in the UK, and my internet connection is too slow to upload full sized photos, and I’d be reluctant to do so anyway.

Besides, I believe that the examples I’ve posted are on a par with and in some cases larger than the average size of files we see uploaded here on DPR forums. Also, I see no problem with sharing reduced resolution images for viewing on laptops, PCs and TV screens, bearing in mind that if the originals were not of good, sharp quality to begin with, smaller versions would look worse than those in my review.

I appreciate that some folks love to examine things at pixel level and at high magnification, but standard screens as mentioned above don’t allow this to be done effectively because they simply don’t harbour the resolution required. Most resolve just 1080p, and my examples are more than adequate for that and will also respond well to 4K up-scaling on a large TV. They actually look very good on my 55 inch job!

Ultimately, if you really cannot gauge how good FZ2000 Jpeg image quality is from my efforts here because you have a larger resolution screen than most, you could always look up full sized examples posted in other reviews, many of which will be found with a Google search.

Then again, assuming you have as good a relationship with your local Panasonic dealer as I have with mine, you could do as I did and have the dealer lend you a display model for a day before you buy. I appreciate I’m lucky in this respect, but I’d guess other vendors would happily take full cash payment as a deposit, knowing that if you don’t return with or break the camera, they’ve lost nothing.

Admittedly, my guy limited me to shooting a maximum of 200 stills, but with good planning, that’s an ample number to work out whether photos are good or bad when you store everything on and download from your own SD card. If you don’t like what you see on your own screen, you simply return the display model and the vendor hands over the cash he took once he’s satisfied the agreement or camera hasn’t been abused. If on the other you’re as impressed as I was, you happily walk out of the shop with a brand new FZ2000 in a sealed box and everyone’s happy.

Regardless of whether you do or don’t end up buying a FZ2000, or whether you find any full sized examples to download from another website, I wish you all the best with the TZ200, which I don’t doubt will render some fine quality images for you too. Please be sure to share some of ‘em with us in the Panasonic forum.

Thanks again for the post, much appreciated.

Kind regards and happy shooting…

dbelling Contributing Member • Posts: 722
Re: **FZ2000 REVIEW: Still Top of the FZ Tree**
2

I owned a FZ2500 (FZ2000) a couple of years ago. I agree with you that it is a very good camera. When I bought it I tested it against a Sony RX10 iv and thaought that the FZ was equal in IQ and better in many other ways. I finally sold it because it has no weather sealing, which I needed for some of the trips I was planning. I bought a G9 and am very happy with it, but of course there is no lens that covers the same range. The Oly 12-200 is close on range, but very sub-par on IQ, so I am getting rid of that as well. Anyway, I agree that the FZ2500 is a very good camera, and if it wasn't for the weather sealing issue I would still have one.

Regards, Dave

OP Stevie Boy Blue Senior Member • Posts: 1,611
Re: **FZ2000 REVIEW: Still Top of the FZ Tree**
1

Thank you for the post and interesting feedback, Dave.

To be honest, as I own the FZ330, I’ve really come to appreciate the weather sealing aspect of that little gem of a camera. So much so that when out with the non-protected FZ2000, it truly pains me that I again have to switch it off as the first few droplets of rain hit the camera.

I’m even more irked by the fact that unlike smaller FZ’s I’ve used that were not sealed, the 2000 is too bulky to slip inside the front of my coat. So to cover showers that may appear out of the blue, I must now carry the protective bag in which I store the camera when not in use.

Come on Panasonic! You weather seal the FZ330 which has never retailed above £499 and can now be bought for around £350, but you miss out this invaluable process on a camera that you first sold for £1099 and which, four years on, currently costs anywhere from around £690 to £899. Sorry, but that’s simply unforgivable. The FZ2000 is the flagship of the current range. If ever you upgrade the model, please ensure users don’t have to cut their photography sessions prematurely short because any new camera isn’t weather sealed. I get that the sealing isn’t fool proof and is only limited to common sense usage, but it’s a valuable asset and no doubt a selling point for the FZ330.

Ultimately Dave, it appears you bought the FZ2500 when it was possibly at its most expensive, so you’ve every right to be more disappointed by the absence of weather sealing than me. As I mentioned in the review, I’d never have paid anywhere near the original RRP. I got mine for £688, brand new in a sealed box. To me, over £400 off represented an irresistible bargain even minus the weather sealing. Ultimately, I weighed up the cost against the fact that I rarely venture out to take photos with any camera when black cloud and rain are certain to ruin most of the day. I’m generally a fine weather only photographer, and I always have the FZ330 on which I can rely for the inclement stuff.

Ultimately, I wouldn’t blame anyone for not buying the FZ2000 just because Panasonic overlooked or just couldn’t be bothered to weather seal it. But one thing I do know for sure, this camera sells extremely well here in the UK; so much so that anyone wishing to obtain one currently will find it’s almost impossible to locate a FZ2000 anywhere in the country. Stocks dwindled very rapidly during the last two months, and possibly due to Covid-19 delays on production, Panasonic are now quoting mid-November before new batches of the camera arrive via shipment. Having monitored the situation closely with the intention of writing this review, I was surprised to note just how popular the FZ2000 has become four years after its release. Every retailer to whom I spoke confirmed the camera’s a huge seller and the list of names hoping to purchase new units on arrival is growing daily. Many are currently per-ordering. It really is surprising what we can learn by conducting some appropriate research. And, of course, the FZ1000 and 1000 2 are also popular cameras, as it happens, neither of which are weather sealed. Long live the FZ330!

By the way, you added some interesting stuff re the Sony RX10 4, which is the only camera I’d presently regard as a serious alternative to the FZ2000. Despite the absence of weather sealing, this particular FZ is one fantastic camera.

Thanks again for your input, much appreciated.

Good luck with whatever gear you may purchase next.

Kind regards and happy shooting to ya...

dbelling Contributing Member • Posts: 722
Re: **FZ2000 REVIEW: Still Top of the FZ Tree**
1

Stevie Boy Blue wrote:

Thank you for the post and interesting feedback, Dave.

To be honest, as I own the FZ330, I’ve really come to appreciate the weather sealing aspect of that little gem of a camera. So much so that when out with the non-protected FZ2000, it truly pains me that I again have to switch it off as the first few droplets of rain hit the camera.

I’m even more irked by the fact that unlike smaller FZ’s I’ve used that were not sealed, the 2000 is too bulky to slip inside the front of my coat. So to cover showers that may appear out of the blue, I must now carry the protective bag in which I store the camera when not in use.

Come on Panasonic! You weather seal the FZ330 which has never retailed above £499 and can now be bought for around £350, but you miss out this invaluable process on a camera that you first sold for £1099 and which, four years on, currently costs anywhere from around £690 to £899. Sorry, but that’s simply unforgivable. The FZ2000 is the flagship of the current range. If ever you upgrade the model, please ensure users don’t have to cut their photography sessions prematurely short because any new camera isn’t weather sealed. I get that the sealing isn’t fool proof and is only limited to common sense usage, but it’s a valuable asset and no doubt a selling point for the FZ330.

Ultimately Dave, it appears you bought the FZ2500 when it was possibly at its most expensive, so you’ve every right to be more disappointed by the absence of weather sealing than me. As I mentioned in the review, I’d never have paid anywhere near the original RRP. I got mine for £688, brand new in a sealed box. To me, over £400 off represented an irresistible bargain even minus the weather sealing. Ultimately, I weighed up the cost against the fact that I rarely venture out to take photos with any camera when black cloud and rain are certain to ruin most of the day. I’m generally a fine weather only photographer, and I always have the FZ330 on which I can rely for the inclement stuff.

Ultimately, I wouldn’t blame anyone for not buying the FZ2000 just because Panasonic overlooked or just couldn’t be bothered to weather seal it. But one thing I do know for sure, this camera sells extremely well here in the UK; so much so that anyone wishing to obtain one currently will find it’s almost impossible to locate a FZ2000 anywhere in the country. Stocks dwindled very rapidly during the last two months, and possibly due to Covid-19 delays on production, Panasonic are now quoting mid-November before new batches of the camera arrive via shipment. Having monitored the situation closely with the intention of writing this review, I was surprised to note just how popular the FZ2000 has become four years after its release. Every retailer to whom I spoke confirmed the camera’s a huge seller and the list of names hoping to purchase new units on arrival is growing daily. Many are currently per-ordering. It really is surprising what we can learn by conducting some appropriate research. And, of course, the FZ1000 and 1000 2 are also popular cameras, as it happens, neither of which are weather sealed. Long live the FZ330!

By the way, you added some interesting stuff re the Sony RX10 4, which is the only camera I’d presently regard as a serious alternative to the FZ2000. Despite the absence of weather sealing, this particular FZ is one fantastic camera.

Thanks again for your input, much appreciated.

Good luck with whatever gear you may purchase next.

Kind regards and happy shooting to ya...

Thanks Stevie Boy Blue. Yes, I bought the FZ2500 less than a year after it was released, so I probably did pay full price, although I can't remember the exact amount. When that camera was announced I thought that there must be a mistake because it did not list weather sealing. After all, the FZ300 had weather sealing and it was introduced some time before the FZ2500, and it was a much less expensive camera. The FZ1000 did not have weather sealing, but it was introduced prior to the FZ300, so a bit more understandable (although the FZ1000 ii also is without weather sealing which is not at all understandable). If Panasonic ever introduces a sucessor to the FZ2500 and it has weather sealing I will be right there with my credit card.

Regards, Dave

OP Stevie Boy Blue Senior Member • Posts: 1,611
Re: **FZ2000 REVIEW: Still Top of the FZ Tree**
1

Thanks Dave. I fully get why you’d quickly buy any upgrade to the FZ2000 that had weather sealing.

The more I use this fantastic camera, the more it grows on me, and I have to admit that if such a weather protected version was announced tomorrow, I’d be keen to buy it too. Not because I don’t love the FZ2000 as is; more because for me a weather-sealed upgrade would represent the ultimate one-tool package for my current photographic requirements.

Cheers and all the best…

dbelling Contributing Member • Posts: 722
Re: **FZ2000 REVIEW: Still Top of the FZ Tree**
1

Stevie Boy Blue wrote:

Thanks Dave. I fully get why you’d quickly buy any upgrade to the FZ2000 that had weather sealing.

The more I use this fantastic camera, the more it grows on me, and I have to admit that if such a weather protected version was announced tomorrow, I’d be keen to buy it too. Not because I don’t love the FZ2000 as is; more because for me a weather-sealed upgrade would represent the ultimate one-tool package for my current photographic requirements.

Cheers and all the best…

Thanks, I fully agree. Excellent camera, but I used mine mainly for traveling, and for the placed I go I need a camera with some basic weather sealing.

Regards, Dave

BGriffin23 Forum Member • Posts: 64
Re: **FZ2000 REVIEW: Still Top of the FZ Tree**

Paragraph 4 mentions the OP using tele-converters...on a bridge camera? Huh? Am I misreading this?

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OP Stevie Boy Blue Senior Member • Posts: 1,611
Re: **FZ2000 REVIEW: Still Top of the FZ Tree**
4

You read it correctly. Although Panasonic didn’t design the FZ2000 to take a screw-on adapter applied TC, previous FZs with smaller sensors could be facilitated with extra magnification.

Note below is the set-up I used to use with a Raynox 2.2X TC added to either my old FZ28, 38 or 150. Note also that unlike with a DSLR where the conversion fits between the sensor and the lens, Bridge camera extensions can only be applied via an adapter tube. This will be obvious to some, but not others, unfortunately. Hence illustration.

I’ve also included a couple of shots taken with the inherent optical zoom doubled by the TC, as seen in the text in the woodpecker shot.

As I say, though, the FZ2000 isn’t designed for such an adaptation, which to me at least is a shame really.

In 35mm equiv terms, this was shot at over 1000 mm, double the optical zoom reach with the TC.

Cheers...

Joe Rito
Joe Rito Junior Member • Posts: 42
Fz2500 soft images

SBB, I honestly think you are just a more skillful photographer and image processor than most! I truly appreciate this review and did weigh its merits heavily, given your many writings on the FZ’s found on this site. But I must say, when reviewing countless images on both FLICKR and 500px, the preponderance of images appear either quite soft or overly sharpened. Its honestly hard to find, clean, crisp images from this camera, the FZ2500. I think YOU could get a nice image using a strip of film and a Coke bottle, but it seems many struggle to overcome the apparently soft lens on this camera.

While I’m new to FZ and my experience limited, I think better images come from the FZ1000 and possibly the FZ300. Both have a large body of work available for viewing on the web. I personally had to pass on the FZ2500, not simply because of several reviews stating the lens was suspect, but because the body of available images seem inferior.

I’m not as qualified as you are to review the FZ line, just sharing the results from my research before I purchased the 1000 a few weeks ago. I do appreciate your thorough and balanced reviews, thank you.

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OP Stevie Boy Blue Senior Member • Posts: 1,611
Re: Fz2500 soft images
3

Thanks, Joe.

Some more very kind and flattering words from you there, but I’m not sure you’re correct to assume I could shoot with almost anything. I just about get by with my FZs, as many others on here appear to do.

By the way, I don’t post process enhancements into many of my images at all, unless I’m preparing them for printing, and not always in all cases even then. As I’ve not printed any of the examples shown in this review, rest assured that except for resizing for uploading purposes, and some cropping, they’re all pretty much as they popped out of the FZ2000 in Jpeg format. I don’t shoot RAW. Never have, and quite probably never will because I don’t need to.

Whilst I respect your opinion re the soft images you’ve seen from the FZ2500 (2000) compared to the 1000 (or 1000 2), I tend to disagree based on the fact that I have used all three cameras and noted no obvious differences in OOC Jpeg image quality between them.

At default settings, which is where an alarming number of folks appear to leave their FZs set nowadays, neither of the three cameras are performing optimally, which also applies to the FZ300, another camera that churns out some of the softest results I’ve ever seen from any FZ I’ve ever owned minus appropriate in-camera tweaks. I’d even go so far as to say that if left at default, images from the FZ300 can and often do look dreadful and to the extent that anyone could mistake them for images generated by a far more inferior camera than the 300 is when set up optimally. And of course, optimally is a subjective affair because we all like our images produced to individual taste. Hence why I never reveal the exact settings I eventually settle on, as they simply won’t appeal to all users.

Don’t get me wrong, I often like to assist people as best I can in many areas of FZ use. But I very strongly disagree with the idea that anyone in search of a shortcut to success should automatically be granted access to settings that may have taken me many sessions over many months of trial and error to achieve. It’s arguably dead easy for anyone to obtain any camera, then rack up to any appropriate forum and ask those whose photos look most appealing to them for the specific settings they used. Quite likely, those most eager to share will have had settings passed down to them by someone else fishing in the pool of collective knowledge.

As I’m sure you and many others will appreciate and know only too well, good images come by way of the photographer as much as they do from the equipment used in the most appropriate conditions at the time of shooting. So many individual factors combine to form the whole equation. And it’s my view that it should be enough for most who would ask to simply know that tweaks to the likes of noise reduction and sharpening settings can be of benefit without full specifics being revealed. Moreover, by conducting their very own experiments, they’re likely to feel far more rewarded for their efforts of trial and error. Arguably there’s no better and more fulfilling way to learn pretty much anything.

It’s not so much that I have any closely guarded secrets in terms of setting up any particular camera; more that I really want all readers to find their own way having been pointed in a direction that leads to potential improvements. Bottom line, gradually increase in-camera sharpening and drop noise reduction settings to taste in your favourite fine Jpeg picture mode and you’ll be well on the way to taking photos that look much better than defaults will yield. Any fine tuning to these and potentially contrast, saturation and auto white balance settings can also be performed entirely to personal taste.

Moving away from the picture settings, with the FZ2000, it’s worth factoring in that we have 80mm more focal length over the 1000 (2), 480mm compared to 400mm and a widest aperture setting of F4.5 compared to F4 at full telephoto. From the off, I accounted for the possibility that the sharpest results attainable with the FZ2000 may come by way of stopping down from F4.5. I appreciate that 80mm extra may not appear to be that much of a difference, but in the word of wildlife photography it’s a significant advantage.

Long story made shorter. If you revisit flickr or wherever and note the aperture setting and focal length of soft-looking FZ2500 shots via exif data, I’m guessing that most will indicate F4.5 at 176 (480mm equiv). Where any subject fills the frame, note the central part (main focus point) will be sharp. Any softness evident in the image will gradually extend to the edges as other parts of the subject fall gradually away (either in front of or behind) from the focus plane. As the extra 80mm effectively makes depth of field slightly shallower than we would see with the FZ1000 at 400mm at F4, the FZ2000 example may look slightly softer by comparison. (By the way, I’m writing this more for the benefit of those who know little about DOF. I’m in no way preaching to all, including your good self.)

My main point is that if you look at the aperture to focal length settings in my FZ2000 examples in the OP, you’ll see that few are shot at F4.5. That’s because I suspected the sweet spot of the lens would show in smaller apertures, just as applies with the FZ1000, despite that many shoot with that camera wide open. Overall, in my experience, the lens of the FZ1000 (2) and FZ2000 perform at their sharpest at around F5.6 and F6.3 respectively with both cameras set to full zoom. Where both focal lengths overlap at 400mm and under, both the FZ1000 and 2000 perform identically with matching apertures. Even accounting for the slight loss of light that comes by way of the FZ2000’s extra reach, 80mm more focal length represents a considerable advantage over the 1000 for wildlife and, to reiterate, image quality is indistinguishable between either of the 3 camera mentioned above up to 400mm focal length. The fact that the FZ1000 (2) maxes out at 400mm means it cannot be compared to the FZ2000 beyond that range, which to me makes the FZ2000 the better option, save to mention the far smoother and superior video capabilities of the larger camera.

As I say, by all means hunt down any FZ2000 photos you still view as soft and you’ll likely find they were shot wide open at 480mm and/or with in-camera image adjustment parameters set at default. Overall, I know of no FZ camera that performs at its best straight out of the box or at full zoom with lens wide open, despite the fact that so many buyers, and apparently some reviewers, may expect them to. Even more amazing to me is that so many people who buy these cameras just don’t know how to bring the best out of ‘em, and to me that’s a great shame. So much for all those Intelligent Auto and P-mode shooters who may never experience anywhere near the full potential of what these models truly afford. Each to his or her own methods of shooting and all that.

When push comes to shove, for my requirements of a camera, I rate the FZ2000 so highly above the 1000 (2) that I now own two of ‘em, as I do the FZ330, which to me is also a better camera than the FZ1000 mk 1. Again, each to their own.

But I appreciate that not everyone will agree with me, especially as the FZ2000’s reputation for yielding soft results (which it most certainly doesn’t for me) was so widely bandied around by early reviewers daft enough to shoot it wide open and leave settings as they are out-of-the-box. Oh well, as they say, can’t win ‘em all, and I do appreciate that the time some reviewers can spend on each product can be limited by publishing deadlines. In an ideal world, we’d all be able to donate a month or two to play around with every camera we own or use before giving our proper verdict on it. And of course, if we’re expressing views on a camera we’ve never even used at all, we could be wrongly influencing people in pretty much the same way as we may have been wrongly influenced by someone else.

Me, I always speak as I find. If I rate something I’ve used as rubbish or brilliant, I’ll tell it exactly as I see it. Conversely, if I’ve yet to use a specific camera or whatever myself, I try not to form any preconceptions before I have done. Admittedly my scepticism towards the potential that the FZ2000 lens was soft had been raised years before I used a copy purely due to a huge price reduction. Fortunately I was very pleasantly surprised to learn than by and large the opinions of anyone who claims FZ2000 results are anything but sharp and clear overall are inaccurate at the very least. As I state in the review, I’ve used three different FZ2000s in a short space of time, none of which produced soft images when appropriately set away from defaults and with the most appropriate aperture for the shot, much as applies with the FZ1000 (2) and any other FZ I’ve ever used or owned since 2004.

Thank you again for the input.

Cheers and all the best…

Joe Rito
Joe Rito Junior Member • Posts: 42
Re: Fz2500 soft images

Thanks Stevie, you make two interesting points that should be factored in: 1) the impact of default settings, and 2) whether or not the aperture was set at the sweet spot for the image.  Thanks for the feedback- more for me to ponder!

Best, Joe

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Anders_K Contributing Member • Posts: 896
Re: Fz2500 soft images
1

Joe Rito wrote:

Thanks Stevie, you make two interesting points that should be factored in: 1) the impact of default settings, and 2) whether or not the aperture was set at the sweet spot for the image. Thanks for the feedback- more for me to ponder!

Best, Joe

For instance, if you limit your ISO to below 1600 you can minimize NR in order to get sharper ooc jpegs. Panasonic's default NR setting is rather high.

XVOYAGERX
XVOYAGERX Senior Member • Posts: 1,781
Re: Fz2500 soft images
1

Stevie, Imaging resource made the FZ2500/000 their SUPER-ZOOM OF THE YEAR. An interesting fact is that dpreviews studio test shots use very low shutter speeds for the FZ2000 (1/50), too low in my opinion to exclude other factors like shutter shock, floor vibrations etc. The Sony RX10III was tested at higher speeds. Make of that what you will regarding the `daft soft-lens issue`!!

-- hide signature --

Allan.

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OP Stevie Boy Blue Senior Member • Posts: 1,611
Re: Fz2500 soft images
2

Thanks for the input, Alan.

I wasn’t aware of the difference in shutter speeds used by DPR in both the FZ2000 and Sony RX10 Mk3 testing, but I agree that could be a reason why significant differences applied in relation to results from both cameras.

I note that Jeff Keller and Dale Baskin jointly conducted the review of the FZ2000, with Carey Rose, Samual Spencer and Rishi Sanyal all inputting to the Sony RX version. Although I have neither the time nor inclination to seek out who shot the most example images from both cameras with potentially inappropriate/influential shutter speeds, at least imaging resource redressed the balance of possible error brought about by DPR. It’s amazing to think how one website can slate a particular camera while another praises it so highly as to award it a best in any annual category.

Don’t get me wrong, I really like and often appreciate DPR as a whole and, up until only recently, I’ve been sceptical of members who claim brand bias exists towards certain manufacturers, with Sony being amongst the supposed favourites to receive higher marks in reviews. I’m still not convinced that’s true, but I was amazed to see the Panasonic G100 blogging camera receive this site’s worst camera of the year award. Although I don’t want to labour the point because it’s off topic, I lost a great deal of respect for those who reviewed the G100 and labelled it so poor on behalf of the site.

To quote Jordan Drake: “In short, we’re not sure who we would recommend the G100 to, and that makes it our worst camera of 2020.”

MarkusPix, however, clearly knows how to gain the most from the G100, as can be seen here. If you like to be entertained, ensure you watch both videos. The guy’s a bit quirky, but he’s obviously a mine of knowledge and shoots very well:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=35KV31_CT5I

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oBp5dMnAJ9M

All in all, this is probably what happens pretty often when a camera finds the right hands (Markus) as opposed to the wrong ones (Jordan).

Trouble is, after receiving such a bad review as Jordan’s, it’s clear by the mass readers’ comments which follow that the final verdict has been swallowed by the majority, most of whom will go on to avoid a model that may well suit them down to the ground if only they ignored the guy who awards it ‘worst camera of 2020.’

As I say, I don’t want to labour on any other camera than the FZ2000 here, but based on the information DPR occasionally publishes in its reviews and opinions sections, we could be forgiven for ensuring we buy pretty much any Panasonic model they don’t like.

Certainly when it comes to the FZ2000, as I’ve stated twice already on this thread, I’ve used three different units of the same model in a short period of time. None of ‘em produced soft images. On the contrary, by far the huge majority of output from the FZ2000 is sharp as a tack. Still, no matter what I say, there will still be countless folks that were so negatively influenced by DPR’s original review that they refuse to take a chance on what, in my opinion and experience, is a largely fantastic camera.

Sadly, that will be their loss!

Thanks again.

Cheers…

BGriffin23 Forum Member • Posts: 64
Re: Fz2500 soft images

Stevie Boy Blue wrote:

Trouble is, after receiving such a bad review as Jordan’s, it’s clear by the mass readers’ comments which follow that the final verdict has been swallowed by the majority, most of whom will go on to avoid a model that may well suit them down to the ground if only they ignored the guy who awards it ‘worst camera of 2020.’

Just makes it more affordable. Have you seen the eBay price for a G100 vs. say the G95/90 or GX9 (its nearest kin)? Steal territory! Buy one before the hoi poloi figure out what's up!

SBB: Do you personally have any experience with the G100?

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XVOYAGERX
XVOYAGERX Senior Member • Posts: 1,781
Re: Fz2500 soft images

Hi again Stevie, thanks for your reply.

In my opinion the fz2500/2000 had to be talked down, the reason was: it was "too good" and to me the best bridge camera out there, (i still believe it is) i know the RX10 IV is good, but to each their own, ok i admit i am a very big fan of Panasonic products, i have often wondered why Panasonic never reacted to any, if not all of these allegations made about the daft soft lens fiasco (as that is what i like to call it) regarding the fz2500/2000? could it be that most new owners were/still are entirely satisfied with their copies of it? and that there have never been complaints made regarding this "Gigantic Issue" to Panasonic? it really seemed strange, many Websites and UTube reviewers give, and gave the camera a very high rating, though some played follow the leader, and did not!!

I do not deny there has been, and still are, some faulty copies out there, but it must be remembered that this can be the case with other manufacturers products, not just Panasonic, but quite honestly, many folks seemed brainwashed in to thinking `EVERY` fz2500/2000 had a soft-lens problem, I had seen some of the fz2500/2000 complainers comparison shots (fz1000-fz2500/2000) and their settings were wayyyyyy off, but there was no telling some of them and it was a case of sending it back with the usual words: "I will just keep my trusty old fz1000, blah, blah, blah!! if they could not set up the fz2500/2000 how did they set up their fz1000? to me the soft lens fiasco was beginning to become a psychological issue, lol,    nearly every time there was a complaint about an fz2500/2000 cam having a lens problem it just kept pushing this soft lens myth forwards and forwards, perhaps if most of them (not all) were to read their instruction manual and set the camera up properly and practise how to use it, then they might have got on better, most people who own the new camera seem to be happy with it, there are many positive and some negative reviews on the Internet and UTube available to read, watch, and learn the in and outs of this great camera, as I said, I `do not` deny there was a lens problem with some, but on all of them? Cmon!! show me proof, I loved my FZ1000, at the time in 2014 after I purchased it, I was so darned impressed with it, that within 3 weeks I sold all my Canon gear EOS 60D, Lenses, Canon Camcorder etc, and "never" looked back, I would never demean the FZ1000 in any way, and it really holds its value even to this day, indeed, I saw some sell second-hand on E-Bay for nearly new prices, (honest) and no-doubt it will be deemed one of Panasonics Classics, i stated in a forum one night that i was selling my fz1000, next day someone had contacted me, offered me a substantial sum that i could not refuse, and it was sold that day, (incredible but true) if my FZ1000 had anything missing, for me, it was a touchscreen and built-in ND Filters, these 2 items alone I had always wanted/missed on my FZ1000, also I am more Video orientated, the 4K Video that the fz1000 output was just stunning, the new Touchscreen, built-in ND Filters/photography features and Video features/improvements alone on the Fz2000 did it for me, I "had" to have it, I loved my new FZ2000 and hoped that it would it deem me good, just like my FZ1000 did for over 2 years, and it most certainly did, i compared lens sharpness time and time again between my fz1000 and fz2000 having near identical images and settings side by side, and try as i might, could not detect any differences in sharpness between them at all, no sign of a soft lens problem either, i only sold my fz2000 not because of a daft soft lens problem, but because i could never afford the price of a GH5 with even more incredible video features, to conclude: When I've heard of  some-cameras-only problem before, the answer has usually been that people are forgetting the effect of lens performance or just didn't RTM, many people like to blame hardware instead of themselves: also, the Internet can speed up the transmission of bad news, even when it can be false, and the decline of print media and its replacement with sites that are much sloppier about verifying rumours (for example: the famous daft soft-lens fiasco) before passing them on, only added to this, it was in my opinion: `i`m the Pied Piper, follow me!!              Happy snapping/videoing my friend!!

Allan   👍😎

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