Review: The Panasonic FZ1000 II combines versatility and value
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Our test scene is designed to simulate a variety of textures, colors and detail types you'll encounter in the real world. It also has two illumination modes to see the effect of different lighting conditions.
With an identical sensor and lens between the FZ1000 II and its predecessor, any difference we see in JPEG will mostly come down to updated image processing. The sharpening has been tuned to hold on tobetter than . The difference in default is noticeable as well, with punchier yellows and reds in particular that will lend photos a bit more warmth. At , the Panasonics show less noise than the Sony but hold onto much .
In Raw, the Sony looks to have a touchthan the Panasonics, most likely due to its excellent lens, though lens variation sample-to-sample is always a danger with this type of camera. At , the Sony shows quite a bit more noise than the Panasonics, which does serve to highlight just how good that camera's JPEG engine really is. But it also means that if you're a JPEG shooter, it's worth switching to Raw mode on the FZ1000 II to get best results.
Here we'll look at what's called ISO Invariance. Basically, we're examining to what degree raising the ISO value of a camera decreases noise relative to shooting at a lower ISO value and brighting a Raw file in post-processing.
On the FZ1000 II, there's effectively no noise penalty to shooting an image at ISO 100 and brightening it later, versus shooting natively at ISO 1600.
This matters because with every stop you raise your ISO value, your highlights will clip to white one stop earlier. So by shooting at a lower ISO and brighting your image later, you won't suffer any significant noise penalty, but you'll save a lot of information in the highlight regions of your images.
The FZ1000 II has the same lens as the FZ1000, which we've shot against peers with comparable focal length ranges. Compared to the much more expensive class-leader, the RX10 III (and RX10 IV), the FZ1000 II is competitive, but falls behind particularly at the shorter focal lengths. At the wide end the FZ1000 is softer both in theand the . Center sharpness at 100mm equivalent is , with the RX10 III pulling ahead in . At 400mm the RX10 III is , but corner and edge performance is a wash between the two, with our copy of the Panasonic weaker on the , but sharper on the . Overall, the RX10 III/IV are optically superior, but the Panasonic puts in a good performance given its price.
The FZ1000 II lens is, albeit a bit better as well as on the . It's worth noting that the FZ1000 II has a brighter maximum aperture as you zoom in, but the G3X has more reach: extending to 600mm equivalent.
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