Panasonic Lumix FZ2500 / FZ2000 review

Launched back in 2016, this venerable bridge camera is still a good buy if you need a big built-in zoom. Philippa Grafton tested it out

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ2500
(Image: © Panasonic)

Digital Camera World Verdict

This is is a sizable camera, once it is turned on at the lens is extended - but in return you get a bridge camera with a very useful 20x zoom lens, that allows you to get detailed close-ups of birds, wildlife and the moon. The camera when launched was essentially a minor update on its predecessor - but today is one of the few cameras of its type available, and it is increasingly look like a well-price camera for those wanting a compact with a large telephoto lens built in.

Pros

  • +

    Big 24-480mm built-in zoom

  • +

    Image stabilization

  • +

    Rugged feel that feels stable in the hand

  • +

    Built-in ND filters

  • +

    Mic & headphone sockets

Cons

  • -

    Small Type 1 (12.7 x 9.5mm) sensor

  • -

    Colors lack real punch and images lack contrast

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When Panasonic launched the Z1000 premium bridge camera back in 2014, it provided a near­ perfect specification - an ultra-wide zoom range from a fast lens, a quality processor, 4K video capture, and quality results. Just two years later the FZ2000 was announced. new and improved for one very specific market: videographers. Aimed very clearly at filmmakers, what exactly is it about this release that makes it so appealing? 

Well, for starters. the zoom range has increased on both sides from 25-400mm to 24-480mm. The payoff here is that the aperture too has expanded on the narrower side to f/2.8-4.5 from f/2.8-4. The body itself has had a slight redesign to accommodate for on-the-fly shooters. and a host of new features provide more shooting freedom and creativity. 

Specifications

Sensor: 20.1 megapixels 1-type MOS

Sensitivity range: ISO80 to ISO25600

Video: 4K maximum resolution

Lens: 20x optical, 24-480mm equivalent, f/2.8-4.5 

Monitor: 3-inch, 1,040k dot TFT LCD 

Viewfinder: 2,360k dot EVF

Battery life: Maximum 350 shots if using LCD, or around 270 images if using the EVF

Dimensions: 138x102 x135mm 

Weight: 915g  

Handling

(Image credit: Future)

In fact, Panasonic has claimed that the FZ2000 offers the improvements and additions that videographers have been waiting for, both in terms of build and the camera's feature set. Panasonic has taken into account gripes that users of the FZ1000 had with the location of the memory card slot - which was frustratingly placed on the underside of the body rendered inaccessible as soon as the camera is mounted to a tripod or gimbal - and has sensibly relocated it to the right-hand side of the body, making it much easier to access on the go. 

Similarly, the FZ2000 features half a dozen customizable buttons. with three on the lens. Another feature that'll have keen videographers reaching for their chequebooks is the inclusion of not only a mic input, but also a headphone jack. Usually unheard of on all but the most premium of cameras, its inclusion on the FZ2000 really hammers home this camera's target audience. 

Features

Like many other compact camera rivals, the FZ2000 features 4K video capture. It's not much of a novelty anymore, but those that shoot video will be pleased to hear that this offering doesn't limit 4K capture to 29 minutes and 59 seconds. Similarly, the addition of three built-in ND filters (1/64, 1/16, 1/4 and AUTO) provides immediate creative opportunities, though if you want something a little more unique, you can add a 67mm screw-on filter to the front of the lens. 

The slightly larger-ranged lens now features internal focusing. so the front element doesn't expand any further during zooming. On paper, the variable aperture of f/2.8-4.5 sounds excellent given the zoom range. but in reality it's a bit of a disappointment as this wide aperture drops off quickly. However, even at the extreme zoom, quality of results are still pleasing, while the five-axis stabilization ensures that hand shakes don't affect the image too much. 

Sample images

(Image credit: Digital Photographer magazine)

Images are generally well exposed. but the colours lack any real punch and contrast isn't great  (Image credit: Digital Photographer magazine)

Verdict

There are six customisable buttons on the body, including three on the lens  (Image credit: Future)

Ultimately the FZ2000 has been enhanced for videographers, and there are plenty of new and improved features that would make this a worthy upgrade for video shooters. For Photographers? Not so much - the FZ1000 zoom and quality throughout the range has long been praised by its users. so there's not necessarily much to be gained by upgrading. 

See our guides on the best cameras for wildlife photography and the best cameras for sports photography

(Image credit: Future)

(Image credit: Future)

(Image credit: Future)

(Image credit: Future)

(Image credit: Future)

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