I first paid attention to the Panasonic DMC-FZ1000 4K UHD camcorder when my friend and director Luis Palomo told me he had one on the way for him. I looked up the specs and price, and was intrigued. Like the Sony PXW-X70 I’ll be reviewing soon (already purchased by two local friends), the DMC-FZ1000 has a 1″ type sensor which is capable of 4K UHD, as well as 1080p and below. It has a 25–400mm permanent electric zoom (35mm equivalent). Here is my first look (including audio details not published by Panasonic), while I perform a full evaluation with Luis.
Panasonic DMC-FZ1000 physical design
The Panasonic DMC-FZ1000 is physically designed like a traditional handheld DSLR, although mirrorless.
Panasonic DMC-FZ1000 1“ type sensor and 4K capability
Both the Panasonic DMC-FZ1000 and the PXW-X70 I am planning to review soon have a 1” type sensor with a little more than 20 actual megapixels. I do not know whether it is the exact same sensor or not. I do know that there is a lot of misunderstanding and controversy about the 1″ type sensor which is now appearing in a multitude of cameras, at least from Panasonic and Sony, so I plan to write an article called Understanding the 1″ type camera sensor since the explanation goes in depth. The Panasonic DMC-FZ1000 already ships capable of recording 4K UHD (3840×2160). The Sony PXW-X70 will have a firmware upgrade for 4K UHD (3840×2160) sometime in the first quarter of 2015, so at that point, they will be more comparable. It is not yet clear whether Sony will give away the firmware update for free or charge for it.
Panasonic DMC-FZ1000 framerate capabilities with firmware 1.0
At least the version of the Panasonic DMC-FZ1000 that Luis Palomo received is not currently worldcam, but has 59.94-based framerates only, as you’ll see below. (The two PXW-X70 received by my two local friends are indeed worldcam.) As shipped with firmware 1.0, the US-segregated version of the Panasonic DMC-FZ1000 offers the following framerates:
in 4K UHD with firmware 1.0
- 4K UHD/29.97p, although Panasonic unfortunately labels it as “30” in the menu with firmware 1.0. The total payload is 100 megabits per second. (Ahead in this article you’ll see information about 4K UHD @ 23.976p via a firmware update.)
in HD 1080i (for interlaced lovers only) with firmware 1.0
- 1080/59.94i , although Panasonic unfortunately labels it as “60” in the menu with firmware 1.0. The total payload is 17 megabits per second.
in HD 1080p (progressive) with firmware 1.0
- 1080/23.976p, although Panasonic unfortunately labels it as “24” in the menu with firmware 1.0. The total payload is 24 megabits per second.
- 1080/29.97p, although Panasonic unfortunately labels it as “30” in the menu with firmware 1.0. The total payload is 24 megabits per second.
- 1080/59.94p (not for general distribution), although Panasonic unfortunately labels it as “60” in the menu with firmware 1.0. The total payload is 28 megabits per second.
in 720p (progressive) with firmware 1.0
- 720/29.97p, although Panasonic unfortunately labels it as “30” in the menu with firmware 1.0
Surprisingly, with firmware 1.0 there is no 720/59.94p (the most popular 720p in ex-NTSC areas), although if that’s what you need, you could shoot 1080/59.94p and edit on a 720/59.94p timeline, and even have some blowup capabilities without loss.
Considering that Panasonic repented from its sin of rounding to the closest integer with the GH4, I am disappointed to see that (at least with firmware 1.0 of the DMC-FZ1000) Panasonic went back to their old bad habits. Of course, this doesn’t affect picture quality. It just breads unnecessary misunderstandings with users.
In its HD modes, the Sony PXW-X70 can go much further, since it can record internally up to 50 megabit per second 4:2:2 10-bit, while in best quality in HD, the Panasonic DMC-FZ1000 goes to 28 megabit per second (24 megabit per second with 23.976p) at 4:2:0 8-bit. However, the Panasonic DMC-FZ1000 does 100 megabit per second at its 4K UHD mode, and can also output clean 4:2:2 HDMI for use with an external recorder, although the DMC-FZ1000 HDMI output is 8-bit according to my research.
Panasonic DMC-FZ1000 promised framerate capabilities with firmware 2.0
On October 1, 2014, Panasonic released firmware 2.0 for the DMC-FZ1000. In addition to the capability of 4K Photo (for capturing a frame to save as a still image), firmware 2.0 promises 23.976p for the 4K UHD resolution.
I have personally carried out hundreds of firmware updates in computers, routers, cameras, monitors, and other devices. However, I have so far been unable to carry out the firmware on Luis’s DMC-FZ1000. I have already reached level two of Panasonic tech support, and they confirm that I have been doing it correctly, and cannot understand why it is not working. They offered to send the update via postal (“snail”) mail. I should receive it soon so that Luis and I can do our video recordings with firmware version 2.0. I am also cautiously optimistic that firmware version 2.0 might show framerates to two or three decimals, as they should.
Permanent electric zoom lens
The DMC-FZ1000’s zoom has variable speed which you can access either from a knob on the front of the camera (difficult if you want precision within a shot) or from your smartphone (I haven’t tried it yet from a smartphone).
Focal length: 9.12–146 mm (35 mm equivalent: 25–400 mm) Aperture: f/2.8 (W) – 4 (T) to f/11
On the other hand, the Sony PXW-X70 offers:
Focal Length: 9.3 to 111.6mm (35 mm equivalent:29–348mm) Aperture: f/2.8 -f/4.5
Panasonic DMC-FZ1000 audio
The DMC-FZ1000 offers an unbalanced 3.5mm TRS (tip/ring/sleeve) microphone input which you can use either for true stereo or dual mono. I have already confirmed that this input has continuous (non-switchable) bias voltage (“plugin power”), and using a proper pair of cable adapters (less than US$10 each),
or the MXL MM–160 (shown above, review pending) to the other channel, to create a dual mono recording. The two required adapters do two different things: one converts the plug from the lavalier from TRRS to TRS (or TS). The other divides the TRS input jack of the camera to provide discreet inputs for each channel (Left and Right, aka 1 and 2).
The DMC-FZ1000 offers manual audio level control via the menu, and a switchable limiter, also via the menu. Note that the camera assumes that the source is stereo, there is only one global adjustment for the two channels, and the limiter (if you activate it) will work globally, not independently for each channel. Sadly, there is no headphone output on the DMC-FZ1000. I will provide DMC-FZ1000 audio recordings with this setup (and others) in my upcoming articles. If you like the DMC-FZ1000’s video quality but need more audio quality or flexibility,
On the other hand, the Sony PXW-X70 offers balanced XLR microphone inputs and a headphone output as standard.
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My most recent book is available in two languages, and in paperback as well as an ebook. The ebook format is Kindle, but even if you don’t have a Kindle device, you can read Kindle books on many other devices using a free Kindle app. That includes iPad, Android tablets, Mac computers, and Windows computers. Although generally speaking, Kindle books are readable on smartphones like Androids and iPhones, I don’t recommend it for this particular book since it contains both color photos and color comparison charts. The ebook is also DRM-free.
In English, it is currently available in the following Amazon stores, depending upon your region:
- Amazon.com, for the US and other countries in the Americas that don’t currently have their own Amazon store, or anywhere if you simply prefer it
- Amazon.br for Brazil
- Amazon.ca for Canada
- Amazon.de for Germany
- Amazon.es for Spain pero a lo mejor lo preferirás en castellano, a continuación)
- Amazon.fr for France
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Or in your favorite bookstore by requesting ISBN–10: 1456310232 or ISBN–13: 978–1456310233.
En castellano, está disponible actualmente en las siguientes tiendas Amazon, según tu región:
- Amazon.com para EE.UU. y todas las Américas donde no existe ninguna tienda particular… o en cualquier parte si simplemente lo prefieres
- Amazon.com.br para Brasil
- Amazon.co.jp para Japón
- Amazon.de para Alemania
- Amazon.es para España
- Amazon.fr (Francia)
- Amazon.in para India
- Amazon.it para Italia
- Amazon.com.mx para México
- Amazon.co.uk para el Reino Unido
o en tu librería preferida al solicitar el ISBN–10: 1492783390 ó el ISBN–13: 978–1492783398.
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