I don’t know how it happened, but no one from ProVideo Coalition has covered the quite compelling Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ2500 worldcam camera/camcorder until now. I am quite amazed at how many unexpected features it includes for about US$998 including its permanent zoom lens. In fact, I believe it includes some I have never seen at this price point. Ahead I’ll cover those details, followed by video reviews from some colleagues.
Because of its permanently attached zoom lens, the DMC-FZ2500 (Amazon — B&H) is not for those who are looking for interchangeable lens capability. However, I know many producers who purchased a camcorder with removable lens capability, and never bought a different lens, so they wasted that feature anyway. Here are all of the DMC-FZ2500’s unexpected features for under US$1000:
- Freedom to choose among ≈23.976 and exact 24.000 fps. See my 2017 article When exact 24 fps beats 23.976… and when it doesn’t (illustrated above).
- Can shoot in either type of 4K, including 4K UHD (3840×2160) 16:9 for television and 4K DCI (4096×2160) for cinema, in addition to 1080p (1920×1080) and even 720p (1280x720p), although this last 720p is unusually limited in its matching framerate.
- For super slow motion, allows shooting up to 120 fps in 1080p, which achieves a dramatic and organic 5x slow motion when shooting for an exact 24.000 fps recording. (Presumably, when it is desired to record at ≈23.976p one could shoot at ≈119.88 fps to achieve the same 5x organic slow motion effect, but I have not been able to confirm this yet.)
- Completely worldcam (see my Why we should only use worldcams), including ≈23.976, exact 24, exact 25, ≈29.97, 50 and ≈59.94 fps (not counting the slow motion framerate indicated above). The last two values mentioned (50 and 59.94 fps) are only for 1080p, surprisingly not for 720p, at least according to the manual I downloaded. The 720p spatial resolution is also limited in bit rate to 10 Mb/ps.
- Capability to display and choose the desired shutter speed in degrees (i.e. the coveted 180 degree shutter speed).
- Freedom to display the gain in dB or in ISO.
- Freedom to record video files in MP4 or MOV (the QuickTime wrapper) with a bit rate of up to 200 Mb/s (megabits per second) ALL-Intra, or up to 100 MB/s in long GOP, in addition to the demonic AVCHD format (which I deplore for many reasons).
- Option to output live HDMI to either 4:2:2 8-bit (including internal recording) or 4:2:2 10-bit (disabling the internal recording) for recording on an external recorder.
- Unbalanced stereo microphone input via 3.5 mm TRS jack.
- Stereo headphone jack for live monitoring and playback via 3.5 mm TRS jack.
- Switchable audio limiter (via menu).
- V-LOG L is available as a paid option, model DMW-SFU1-VLOG for US$97 (Amazon — B&H)
- Built-in switchable. optical ND (neutral density) filters with settings of AUTO, 1/4, 1/16, 1/64 and OFF.
- 3 user-definable function buttons
- Remote control via WiFi using Panasonic’s Image App for Android/iOS or Adam Wilt’s wonderful FieldMonitor app for iOS (illustrated below).
Photo courtesy of Adam Wilt, creator of the FieldMonitor app
Reviews from colleagues
These are in order of priority.
- The WiFi is still limited to 2.4 GHz? Really Panasonic? Both Android and iOS have been offering 5 GHz WiFi for many years. The 2.4 GHz band is often overcrowded, so you should add 5 GHz radios to any new cameras you develop.
- Panasonic, why have you crippled the 720p bit rate and framerates? Of course, we can shoot at 1080/59.94p or 1080/50p and downscale in post for 720p TV stations, but I don’t understand why you excluded 720/59.94p and 720/50p at high bit rates. Please consider adding some high-quality 720p options when you make your next firmware update. At my last count, there were ±41 such 720p TV stations, and in this article, I explain why they logically chose 720p for their situation.
I am surprised that the DMC-FZ2500 (Amazon — B&H) has slipped through the cracks of so many ProVideo Coalition writers for so long (including myself), since it offers so much for such a relatively low price. Better late than never!
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