Showdown time – How does the FZ1000 image quality stand up against interchangeable lens cameras?
I purchased the FZ1000 to test whether it can stand in for a DSLR or mirrorless camera for shooting wildlife photography on safari. Can it cut the mustard or does the weight saving and versatility of the bridge camera mean poor image quality?
Test 1 comparison: FZ1000 vs Lumix G7 (m4/3) fitted with Nikon 200mm f/4 AIS lens
The G7 is a m4/3 camera. To match magnification with a full frame camera needs a lens with a focal length half of that of the full frame. The FZ1000 maxes out at an equivalent of 400mm in full frame terms. That means a 200mm lens on the G7. The maximum aperture of the FZ1000 is f/4 at full zoom. I have a 200mm f/4 lens that can be adapted to the G7, the venerable Nikon AIS. This is a well respected, top pro workhorse of its day.
I put both cameras on my carbon fibre tripod and shot some (boring) test shots from my front and back gardens. The Nikon lens is manual focus, so I focused with the help of viewfinder magnification and focus peaking. DOF is quite shallow at these magnifications, even on relatively small sensor cameras like these, so I was very careful checking focus. I used the 10 sec self timer to remove any camera wobble and the e-shutter on the G7 to avoid shutter shock.
How did the FZ1000 stand up against the larger sensor G7?
Pretty well is the short answer.
I shot in raw and processed in Lightroom and I played around with contrast, clarity and sharpening to get the crispest shots I could to reveal any hidden detail. I used a lot more sharpening that I would normally to get at all the detail for the purposes of this test. This made the test images crunchier than normal, so don’t judge tonality and smoothness using these.
Using the Lightroom A-B tool at 100%, I couldn’t see any advantage to the G7 in detail, sharpness, noise or anything else across most of the frame. Basically, they were very comparable in quality. The 1″ sensor in the Fz1000 stood up to the bigger m4/3 sensor very well.
One difference is the FZ1000 lens is not so consistent across the frame as the full frame lens on the G7. That is hardly surprising as the G7 sensor is only using the centre region of the Nikon lens’ optical circle. If you absolutely must have critical sharpness across the frame right into the extreme corners, then be warned that at 400mm equivalent wide open, you’ll see some softening and slight blurring in the extreme corners at 100% from the FZ1000 lens. The Nikon 200mm does better here. But given the typical usage of the 400mm focal length, this isn’t relevant for me.
Boring test images
100% crops (1:1)
Shooting wide open at 400mm equivalent focal length from a tripod yields images from the two camera that are so similar any differences are negligible across most of the frame. The FZ1000 corners are softer but for most extreme telephoto shots the corners will irrelevant. The things that made the real difference in this test is accurate focusing and no camera movement – sometimes that is not easy to do, even from a tripod.
I want to do a comparison with a APS-C DSLR (this afterall is the real purpose of this diary, to assess the feasibility of replacing a DSLR with the FZ1000 for safari photography). For that I need either a higher resolution Nikon mount camera, another camera that can be adapted to Nikon lenses or a completely different body or lens because at the moment I only have a 6MP DSLR that will fit the big Sigma lens.
One to ponder for the next installment!
Index to FZ1000 articles
- Panasonic Lumix FZ1000 diary: FZ1000 on safari – a very overdue conclusion… the good, the bad and the ugly
- Panasonic Lumix FZ1000 diary: Image quality @400mm wide open vs Fuji X-E1 (APS-C)
- Panasonic Lumix FZ1000 diary: Image quality @400mm wide open vs G7
- Taking the Panasonic Lumix FZ1000 for a walk in the park (Beckenham Place Park)
- Panasonic Lumix FZ1000 handling part 2: shooting at 300mm (equivalent) vs G7 plus 45-150mm
- Panasonic Lumix FZ1000 handling test
- Panasonic Lumix FZ1000 set up – Part 2
- Panasonic Lumix FZ1000 – first stab at set up
- Panasonic Lumix FZ1000 Day 1 – First impressions
- Panasonic Lumix FZ1000 1″ type sensor superzoom bridge camera now £428