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3 Responses to “ FZ1000 on safari – a very overdue conclusion… the good, the bad and the ugly”

  1. David says:

    Hi Conchscooter

    Thanks for your comment. Some interesting observations. I feel it is only fair to respond to your remarks. Perhaps this will be of help to others.

    Firstly, I wouldn’t call my article a “review” – if it were, I would have posted it in my reviews section. Rather, it is the final post in a series of diary-style reports on how useful we found the camera as a substitute for a DSLR on a wildlife safari. It’s a report on what happened, not an opinion piece. Make of that what you will but you won’t get the full picture without reading the whole series. If you want a review style conclusion, I can oblige. Overall, my feelings about the FZ1000 are that it is a very good general purpose camera and for many people it is all they would need. However, it has drawbacks for the particular circumstances of safari conditions that people should consider carefully.

    Secondly, I feel that calling the issue with the camera remembering an inconvenient setting “absurd” (I assume you mean the criticism is absurd) is harsh and doesn’t reflect the very real difficulty the problem caused my partner. She is not a photographer, she is a painter who also uses a camera. I set the camera up for her after we spent 11 months experimenting, not a “couple of minutes”, but I didn’t accompany her – once she went out, she was on her own. We still don’t know how it happened, but it looks like the unfortunate setting got saved at some unknown point by accident. Whether this before the trip or during, we just don’t know. The point here is that it proved impossible for her, her friend and all the group of experienced photographers she went with to diagnose the issue in the field. The camera is flexible but complex and in some ways unintuitive. I can easily imagine that many inexperienced photographers would also struggle figuring out what had happened. To be fair to the camera, the same usability issues also afflict most other cameras. Manufacturers love features but they give little attention to usability, unfortunately. And to be fair to myself as the author, I was the first to hold my hand up and point out the problem was user error in my article.

    The problem with lens freezing after being knocked is not a problem we experienced prior to the trip. Certainly in normal everyday use, I think it is unlikely to happen. It’s has never happened when I’ve used the camera. However, a safari is a specialised event. A dozen people squeezed into the back of ancient landrovers, packed like sardines. Driving over dirt tracks and off road. All clutching camera gear, being bounced around, jolted and shaken. The gear was being knocked about constantly. Power operated lenses are not made for that, they have sensors to detect lens obstruction and shut the camera down to protect the lens motor. In this case, the sensitivity of the sensor was too high for safari conditions. Based on her experience, I would now think twice about using a camera with a motor powered lens in rough conditions, especially where you need instant responsiveness from your camera and can’t afford to have it constantly freezing. Manual zoom is better here, I think. I think if you’d experienced the same issue, you would agree, too 🙂

  2. Conchscooter says:

    I find the critique of the FZ1000 to be more a user error than camera shortcomings list. The lense is slow to zoom compared to manual zooms but it was when you and I bought it and that is the nature of a 400mm zoom. Faster than changing a lense for sure! However did you turn on zoom resume in the menu?I don’t use that feature because when I carry my FZ1000 on a neck strap turned off I can turn it on at my waist and bring the viewfinder to my eye and the camera is ready to go with the zoom atmy finger tip. Your criticism of the camera “… went to a default exposure setting that was wrong (badly underexposed) and required resetting before the camera was usable” is absurd; forgive me but the joy and irrtation of digital photography is the total customization not available to us in the film era (which i do not miss one bit). Therefore to take advantage of a camera with seven customization screens and five function buttons will take more thna a couple of minutes. The FZ1000 is every bit as customizable as any Panasonic ILC camera and but it does require the user to study and learn and understand. Or sticking to the P setting and learn to dial exposure compensation and be done. Ai cuts the zoom down too much for distance shooting. I think it is a lot to ask that dials on the camera be visible at night as though it really were a $3,000 ILC body.

    The delicacy in use I have not found with mine though I struggle to envision what level of rough and tumble safari you took to cause your camera but not yourself some jumbled insides. I have taken it everywhere, indeed I have fallen on it on the trail and i am a well nourished American so imagine that; and I have used it in the rain, on the water and just about anywhere you might drag a camera or green eggs and ham.
    Nobody pays me for my pictures so I take photos for myself of course and as the saying goes you pays your money and you takes your choice. $500 for an all in one with stabilization, customization, zoom and a voracious appetite for batteries in a 1.8 pound package seems a bit hard done by in this review.

  3. lepewhi says:

    Some very nice captures. Someday I’ll get the opportunity to visit. Shooting with a camera is wonderful, preserving the beauty of the other animals we share the earth with. With a gun, it just seems like senseless murder. When will people learn this? Thanks for showing how beautiful these animals are. I’m glad you are enjoying your camera.