One of the most forward thinking cameras to come out the last few years was the Lumix FZ1000. This all-in-one combined a killer lens, solid sensor and had some hidden features like an iris shutter for flash sync at any speed. When Panasonic told me about the FZ2500 my jaw dropped so when I found out it was going to be at Adobe Max I had to get my hands on it.
Being announced around same time as the G85 and GH5, I think the FZ2500 could easily go unnoticed but for me, I'm more excited about it than the G85 and GH5. This is not to say I'm not excited about all three but while both the GH5 and G85 are nice upgrades to their former models, the FZ2500 is a big step closer to my ultimate camera.
When I think about all the tools I shoot with and the ones I want the FZ2500 has just about all of them. I'm shootig a lot of video with my still photography and for this I love my Lumix system. My GH4's are compact but when I add on additional lenses and filters for all those lenses, things start to bulk up. Yes, part for part a GH4 system is much smaller than a comproable APS-C or 35mm sensor system but if I can have it all and with an overal smaller package I'm sold.
Picture this, a camera that can go with you everywhere, has super comfortable ergonomics, a sizable sensor, mic jack, 24-480mm lens and built in variable ND filter - that's the tip of the FZ2500 iceberg.
This article is not a review or a spec sheet, both of which have been covered properly from other people which you can find within 10 seconds. Also, in case you didn't know I'm sponsored by Panasonic so I'm not going to be comparing this camera to others. This post is about is what the experience of shooting with the FZ2500 was like and the results.
At the end of the day, specs are nothing if they're not being used and although there's a ton of features in the FZ2500 like dolly zoom that I want to play with, I only ended up using a few key features. Top of the list for any camera should be how easy it is to use. At a time when we have phones that talk to satellites, self driving cars and spacecraft that can land on a platform in the ocean, a camera had better be damn easy to use.
Shooting Quantum Blue
For this project I wanted to shoot something fun and 1970's futuristic, Jennie brought a bunch of outfits and accessories but after a quick scout of the San Diego convention center I decided to go with her blue jumpsuit and silver glasses. I thought they'd work well visually with the environment and keep things simple visually.
I'm not trying to be a filmmaker, but I'm getting so much more than just a photograph.
Being the last day of Adobe Max I had to catch a flight home and I was borrowing a camera people at the Panasonic booth wanted to see so I had to work fast. Jennie and I just walked to a location, framed up the shot and when the scene was clear, captured the shot. This simple but effective way of working is how I prefer to operate. I'm framing up like a photographer and capturing video with minimal movement. I'm not trying to be a filmmaker, but I'm getting so much more than just a photograph.
The camera should be a partner in the creative process not a barrier. If I had to constantly change lenses, use a gimbal or tripod and mess with ND filters I'd be shootig for hours. Quantum Blue was shot in less than an hour in part because of the smart tools built into the FZ2500. The Lumix FZ2500 is a sizable camera by Micro 4/3 standard but because everything is built in and the camera is comfortable to use the size just melts away as you work. I shot with Program mode with the built-in ND filter set to Auto. Truthfully I'm not sure exactly what the Auto ND filter would do in Program mode, I just trusted the engineers who built this thing and shot. When I wanted to tweak exposure I simply rotated the rear control dial left or right to darken or brighten the scene.
FYI If I shot in Shutter priority the Auto ND filter helps keep your preferred shutter speed without over exposure.
The zooming motors of the FZ2500 are buttery smooth which allows nice gradual zooming effects. I used to fake this in post but doing it in camera is huge. Using two of the function buttons on the lens barrel for slow, smooth zooming helped make shots like the close up of Jennies face possible. Add in the fantastic Face Dection AF and you can see in the shot that the Lumix FZ2500 grabbed focus on Jennie's eye through the glasses as I shot video...wow! Also of note, you can now shoot dolly zooms with the FZ2500 using built in guides. It's recommended that you use a slider to keep the shot smooth and steady but even then what used to take 4 trained camera operators to achieve now takes one. The dolly zoom is one of many features I can't wait to try out.
After my short experience with the Panasonic Lumix FZ2500 I'm even more excited to take a deep dive into using the camera as my daily shooter. I think paired up with the new LX10 would make a killer minimal kit - the LX10 with it's f/1.4 Leica for low light, quick vlogging and every day use and the FZ2500 when I'm out with the intention of shooting something specific.
Tomorrow I'll have a video that goes more into how I made Quantum Blue with the Panasonic Lumix FZ2500. If you are not a subscriber to my YouTube channel hop on over and hit the Subscribe button so you don't miss a video. Each week I post at least one new video covering stuff like Art vs Trash to cameras like the FZ2500 and the apps that keep your workflow strong.
If a tool has loads of features that we're not using, what's the point in having it? Camera's like the FZ1000 and now the FZ2500 offer a ton of features you can use now to help you achieve shots that even 3 months ago took a lot of gear and sometimes multiple people. At the end of the day we need tools that help us be better creators and although my time with the Lumix FZ2500 was short I can easily say I'm a better photographer because of it and this is something I rarely say.
I very much am looking forward to using a production model on future shoots.