While I’m not a Lumix Luminary or Lumix Ambassador…

Lumix 300 1000 2500-2-KiminWNC

My friend Paula asked me to compare the superzoom bridge camera model  fz2500 to my fz1000 and fz300. Here in the USA, we call it the fz2500, while some list it as the fz2000. I’ve listed it here as the fz2500. Now since there are already sites like DP review that do strict scientific testing, I went out on my porch and handheld the three cameras for a real-world use test. I should’ve spent a little more time getting each photo straight, even if I was cold. I forgot to sync the time/date but they were all shot using each camera one right after the other. I did take two in each setting, used a guide overlay and attempted to select the same point of focus, then chose the clearest photo. Other than changing the names of the photos they were not edited in any way. It was a cloudy overcast day. Here is a link to the full size photos,  and here is a video mostly for operational sounds and lens extend.

It would’ve been nice if I’d had a sound meter but I found the fz300 to be the quietest and the fz2500 was just a tad louder. Sorry about my cat chirping in.

On the close up with me getting the lens as close as I could to the subject and it still fire on AF I like the fz300, then the fz1000 then the fz2500.

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I took the three aperture priority photos at full non-digital zoomed and cropped them as close as I could because I always wondered if you took a higher megapixel, larger sensor camera (fz1000 & fz2500) and cropped it to the size zoom you’d get on the fz300 does the smaller sensor with the longer zoom really gain you anything? I didn’t come away with what I’d expected. What do you think?

Ap priority cropped full nondig zoom-sm

As I started typing this I saw that there is a new camera available for preorder- the fz1000M2 or fz1000 II. It looks to be a new camera with what we amounts to just a tad more than what used to be offered with a firmware update. (I’m referring to what was added on the fz300 update). On Pany’s website, the hardware specs look about the same between the fz1000 and fz1000II other than the touchscreen.  I see the fz1000 II says the focusing technology is faster, and it offers a zoom assist (already had where it could put the zoom back where you used it last) and it has front and rear dial, that it will do post focus and focus stacking, a few new monochrome modes, and auto marking.  So most of the changes look like firmware or software, instead of hardware. If that’s true I’m going to be pretty disappointed it was not in a firmware update on the fz1000 like with the fz300 that added many of those features with an update from the firmware it shipped with.  Wonder if they moved the tripod threads over? Odd they’d stick a new camera between the fz1000 and fz2500 instead of just updating the fz2500. Especially since you can buy the fz2500 for $999 and the new fz1000M2 will sell for just $100 less w.o the extra zoom or built-in ND filters. I don’t really see the market here? Why would you not pay $100 for the fz2500 or $$400 less for the fz1000? I also still find it annoying odd that they list these bridge cameras as point + shoot on their own website. Isn’t about time to have a superzoom bridge camera tab?

When I compared the fz1000 and fz2500 on paper only, these were my thoughts.
https://kimberlyhmaxwell.wordpress.com/2017/09/19/new-bag-and-new-a-new-fz2500/

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Around February 2019 the
The fz300 sells for around $400
The fz1000 sells for around $500
The fz2500 sells for around $1000.
The fz1000 II will sell for around $900. which seems too close to the fz2500 IMO.

I read the fz2500  has a softer lens than the fz1000, had a noisy shutter and loud zoom and was a bit on the heavy side. I didn’t think the shutter or zoom was just a little louder than the fz1000, except on pano where I really heard a difference. In my test, I thought it did the best in low light and the fz1000 had the least amount of background blur in aperture priority at full nondigital zoom, but then again it did offer the least zoom. I didn’t hold it for an extended time but as picky as I am on camera weight, just picking up one then the other, I don’t feel the extra 3 ounces. I also didn’t notice a big difference in the clarity or crispness on the LCD.  I didn’t compare the viewfinder, as it’s adjustable by the diopter so unless I got them set the same that wouldn’t have been a fair test.

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I noticed the fz1000 viewfinder glass looks to be recessed a little more than in the fz2500I did notice our LCD colors looked completely different. I read where someone said the lens was mediocre on the Lumix bridge cameras. I disagree. I’ve been happy with every Leica lens since I started with Panasonic’s fz100.

The fz1000 lacks the post focus feature that’s on the fz2500 and fz300.
The fz2500 offers in-camera focus stacking and I don’t think my two do, but I can review the mp4 file it takes when you choose post focus, and create still by viewing what is in focus with focus peaking and just stack them myself in Photoshop. I do prefer to save my stills while in camera as it’s faster to just look at the focus peaking in review.

On bulb the fz1000 and the fz2500 say up to about 120 seconds, the fz300 at 60sec

All 3, The fz300, fz1000 and fz2500 can take 4k video and can extract photos from 4k photo mode at 8mp. The fz300 & fz2500 offers 4k burst.

fz300   JPG 4:3 r AFS 60fps at SH 3M, 12fps at H 6FPS at M 8MP and 2 FPS at L  12mp
fz1000 JPG 4:3 r AFS 50fps at SH 4.5M, 12fps at H 7FPS at M 9MP and 2 FPS at L  17.5mp
fz2500 JPG 4:3 r AFS 50fps at SH 4.5M, 12fps at H 12FPS at M 9MP and 2 FPS at L  17.5mp

Paula and I played with them for a bit but then I borrowed it for a day to actually compare shots and settings to see the quality and the 80mm difference in zoom. Here are some of the things I was looking at.

On time and ready to shoot I read it the fz2500 was slow. We must be talking seconds. I did notice on the lantern shots, that I had to half-press a few times for it to focus.
The max aperture at full jpg and raw full zoom vary with all but the fz300. The fz300 would take a photo the closest to an object on AFS. The other two I had to back away for AFS to work, what I would’ve thought was more than 3 cm. They will fire the shutter on MF close.
Picture quality at as close as I can get to the same settings
On bulb the fz1000 and the fz2500 say up to about 120 seconds, the fz300 at 60sec
Pano mode on all three cameras looks to still show banding and the fz2500 is definitely has the loudest sound while capturing a pano. Oddly enough the fz300 and fz2500 have a pano icon on the top dial that they didn’t put on the fz1000.
Chromatic aberration seems to be the strongest on the smaller sensor fz300.

I couldn’t really compare the battery life accurately because of the different ages of the batteries, it wouldn’t have been a fair test but the fz2500 is said by the CIPA standards to a few shots less. I always buy an extra genuine Panasonic battery. I also don’t really go on vacations so using the plug-in battery charger is not a problem for me, but I can see where the ability to use charge via the USB would be nice if that was offered. I also couldn’t compare screw on filters because the mm size varies between each camera (52/62/72), but the fz2500 does come with a built-in ND/neutral density filter which is nice, and would’ve been even nicer had I not bought filters for every size I’ve ever owned already.

fz300  691 g (1.52 lb / 24.37 oz)  132 x 92 x 117 mm (5.2 x 3.62 x 4.61″) shots 380
fz1000 831 g (1.83 lb / 29.31 oz)  137 x 99 x 131 mm (5.39 x 3.9 x 5.16″) shots 360
fz2500 915 g (2.02 lb / 32.28 oz)138 x 102 x 135 mm (5.42 x 4.01 x 5.3″) shots 350

Max resolution is the same on the fz1000 and fz2500 at 20 mp 5472 x 3648, both higher with their 1″ (13.2 x 8.8 mm) sensor over the smaller 1/2.3″ (6.17 x 4.55 mm) sensor and 12mp of the 4000×3000 max res fz300.  The sensor size is a pretty big deal for me. I’m really surprised they didn’t up the sensor size on the fx2500. Now, it does say the fz2500 has a 20.0 MP BSI (Back Side Illuminated)-CMOS sensor over the fz1000 just CMOS which is supposed to be more sensitive to light and less noise.

The lens hood on the fz2500 is just weird and bulky and I’m not quite sure how it keeps light from hitting the lens?

All 3 shoot s RGB but the fz2500 also offers a higher color depth and dynamic range with Adobe RGB

The ISO is the same 125-12800 (expands to 80-25600) on the fz1000 and fz2500 over the fz300’s 100-6400. Now, because of the noise, I have my two cameras set to not exceed an amount less than what it says it will shoot.

On Image Stabilization the fz300 and fz2500 both have Hybrid 5-axis available in movie mode, whereas the Fz1000 has 5-axis.

The zoom and focal length vary, as does the max aperture for a faster lens at full telephoto zoom and digital zoom & Min. focus. I’ve always thought the fz300 with it’s fixed 2.8 at 600mm, was an overlooked contender as a replacement for the fz200. The fz300 does have a weather sealed body, an advantage over the other two.
fz300   25–600 mm 24x max aperture F2.8       Digital zoom 4x   Min focus 1cm
fz1000 25–400 mm 16x max aperture F2.8-4    Digital zoom 4x   Min focus 3cm
fz2500 24–480 mm 20x max aperture F2.8-4.5 Digital zoom 2x   Min focus 3cm

All 3 have manual focus but the focus rings on the fz1000 and fz2500 are far superior to the wheel on the fz300. I read that the fz2500 has a smoother operation than the fz1000, and it does. I would’ve never known to pay attention to this thought because I use the toggle at my index finger for zoom and the wheel for focus so I’ve never noticed the fz1000 being jerky. The fz2500 is indeed smoother if you compare zooming with the ring. The fz2500 has a separate zoom and focus ring instead of the toggle and one ring. The barrel on the fz2500 doesn’t extend externally when zooming after the intail zoom it does when you turn it on.

The fully articulated screens are a must for me, but they do have differences here.
fz300   screen dots 1,040,000 Touch yes Viewfinder mag  0.7× and res 1,440,000
fz1000 screen dots    921,000 Touch  no Viewfinder mag  0.7× and res 2,359,000
fz2500 screen dots 1,040,000 Touch yes Viewfinder mag  0.74× and res 2,360,000

The scene modes are the same I think or at least really close.

Flash range is the most on the fz1000 and all 3 have a hot shoe.
fz300 8.80 m (at Auto ISO) fz1000 13.50 m (at Auto ISO) fz2500 13.20 m (at Auto ISO)

The fz300 nor the fz100o have WB bracketing. I read on one site where it says it does. I use RAW so I never really looked but it’s not in the manual or the menu that I see.
The fz300 offers a 3 stop exposure compensation, while the other two offer 5 stops.

The fz2500 offers an additional H.264 format over the MPEG-4 and AVCHD of the other two and you can do focus pulling with it in video. Although I think I read you can do that in video on the others. I wanted to do focus pulling with firework photos and my two won’t do that. They’ve also removed the 30-minute time limit. I don’t do much with videography so most anything will do for me for that. The fz2500 also offers a headphone port. They say all 3 are wireless. I’ve never been able to get that to work on my two models on the computer, so I didn’t even try on the fz2500. I do use the phone app though to control the fz1000. The fz1000 and fz2500 both let you control the camera with a smartphone app while my fz300 will not.

The tripod thread is in a better place on the fz300 and fz2500 than on the fz1000! On the fz1000 I have to take off the QR plate to change the battery or get to my SD card.

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So for the verdict. I concentrated mostly on still photos over video.

If I was going to rent one for a trip I’d go with the fz2500. If I was buying one new without already owning one, I probably go with the fz1000 at half the price of the fz2500. I don’t see double the price in advantages.

For me, already owning the fz300 and the fz1000 with all sorts of filters and the manuals I had printed and spiral bound, plus already have learned where the settings are, I won’t be spending the money to upgrade to the fz2500 or fz1000II until the price comes down a lot or I may skip a model and wait for what comes next.

I hope Panasonic offers the fz1000 uses a firmware update that includes post focus, and if they do that, I might sell my fz300. I still like the peace of mind with the weather sealed body especially when I’m rock hopping and crossing water, and the smaller size and longer zoom of the fz300. For most of my waterfall photography, unless I’m specifically going for birding, I’m taking the fz1000 for more landscape photos and like the larger sensor for that.

Now, one thing with all the Lumix cameras I’ve owned starting with the fz100 back around 2010, they are VERY menu use heavy. I think if you were coming from a DSLR you’d have to spend some time getting all the settings how you want them, because on all of them if you set one thing one way, it may disable a feature you want to use somewhere else. I prefer bridge cameras with PASM modes for several reasons. I like the lighter weight. I like not having to carry or change lenses to shoot from macro to the mountains far in the distance.

I’m curious to see what the fz2500 successor will bring. They seem to release a model update about every two years.

Now don’t think I’m a diehard Panasonic Lumix bridge fan just because I’ve had four in a row. #LumixLounge

I take the time to look at what else is offered every time I upgrade and what works the best for me and how I like to shoot. Form, function, quality, price… they all play a part. Now Panny —if you’re reading this I’d be happy to test and review for gear… just saying.

If you don’t mind the smaller sensor or lack of fully articulated screen there is the Panasonic 24-720mm 30x DC-ZS80, also a few to compare to are the Sony Cyber-shot DSC RX10 III or IV, Nikon CoolPix P1000, Leica V-Lux, and Canon Powershot G3 to consider.

For my photography gear review, or specifically, Lumix camera reviews just choose that tag from the first home page.

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