Body & Design

The first thing you notice is that the FZ1000 is a big camera. A really big camera. Its combination of large sensor and long, fairly bright lens means it's nearer the size of a mid-range DSLR than a conventional superzoom compact. In fairness, the level of control it offers is closer to that of a mid-range DSLR than most superzooms.

The build quality is also similar to a mid-range DSLR - it's solid-enough-feeling plastic and nothing feels loose, but equally it doesn't exactly exude a 'premium product' feel. It's only obvious rival, the RX10 feels a little more dense and solidly put-together, but not necessarily in proportion to the price difference between the two cameras.

In your hand

The FZ1000's size means it has room for a substantial hand-grip - something unusual on superzoom cameras.

The FZ1000 is unusually comfortable to use for a superzoom camera. A lot of this comes down to the size of the handgrip, which allows you to get plenty of purchase on the camera.

Its weight and zoom range mean it isn't a camera to be held one-handed, of course, but with another hand cradling the lens, the FZ1000 can be held steady for video or long-range stills with relative ease.

Viewfinder and rear screen

The FZ1000 features a high-resolution OLED electronic viewfinder, whose 2,359k dots give a working resolution of 1024 x 768 pixels. Unlike the company's GX7, this doesn't appear to be a field-sequential panel, meaning it's free from the RGB 'tearing' that undermined that model's shooting experience (for some people).

The FZ1000's movie-shooting credentials are enhanced by its fully articulated VGA (640 x 480 pixel) rear LCD. Surprisingly, unlike the GH4, the panel isn't touch-sensitive - one of the few apparent concessions to keeping the camera's price down.

The rear screen features 921k dots, which should mean around 640 x 480 pixels. The electronic viewfinder uses the 4:3 aspect ratio, meaning it has black bars with shooting information at the top and bottom, if you're using the camera's native 3:2 proportions. The rear screen is 3:2, so all shooting information is overlaid on the image itself.

Top of camera

The top plate of the camera plays host both to a large mode dial and a drive mode dial - a rare and exotic thing beyond the realms of interchangeable lens cameras. Here you'll also find two of the five customizable Fn buttons on the FZ1000, plus a dedicated [REC] button. The [REC] button can be deactivated but not customized to do anything else.

Around the shutter button is a zoom control. This control is sensitive to how far you turn it: pulling it all the way in either direction engages the fastest zoom rate, but there are five speed steps available. Nestling on the left of the eyepiece is the flash release switch, with the hot shoe and built-in microphones above it.

Side by side

Here we show the size of the FZ1000, compared to its closest rival: the Sony DSC-RX10. We've also shot it placed next to one of the alternative product classes capable of offering similar capabilities - a mid-range DSLR with long zoom lens: in this case a Canon Rebel with 18-135mm lens.

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10 Canon EOS 700D/Rebel T5i + 18-135mm

The FZ1000 is a large camera, even when compared with its only real rival, the RX10. It's taller, wider and significantly deeper than the Sony, but this affords it the room for more control points, a bigger battery and a more substantial handgrip.

The body size is essentially a match for a mid-level DSLR but, through the use of a smaller sensor, the FZ1000's lens is able to be a lot smaller than the 18-135mm. Although the lens we're showing here has less reach than the Panasonic, most current superzooms such as the Nikon 18-300mm f/3.5-6.3, Sigma 18-250mm f/3.5-6.3 and Tamron 16-300mm f/3.5-6.3 are roughly the same length, meaning that a DSLR with similar zoom range would be around this size.