When Panasonic launched the FZ1000, its 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, in 2016, the FZ2500 (called the FZ2000 in Europe) was announced – new and improved for one very specific market: videographers. Aimed very clearly at filmmakers, what exactly is it about this bridge camera 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.
In fact, Panasonic has claimed that the FZ2500 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 Steadicam and has sensibly relocated it to the right-hand side of the body. making it much easier to access on the go.
Similarly, the FZ2500 features half a dozen customizable buttons, with three on the lens. Another feature that'll have keen videographers reaching for their checkbooks is the inclusion of not only a mic input. But also a headphone jack, which is usually unheard of on all but the most premium of cameras. its inclusion on the FZ2000 really hammers home this camera's target audience.
Sensor: 20.1 megapixel
Sensitivity range: Automatic, ISO 80-25600
Lens: 20x optical zoom, 24-480mm f/2.8-4.5 equivalent
Monitor: Flip-out 3-inch LCD
Viewfinder: 2,360k dot EVF
Battery life: Up to 350 shots
Like many other recent releases 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, the quality of results are still pleasing, while the five-axis stabilization ensures that hand shake doesn't affect the image too much.
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's zoom and quality throughout the range has long been praised by its users. so there's not necessarily much to be gained by upgrading.