It’s been over 1 year since I first wrote about using my Panasonic FZ1000 at an air show, specifically the Planes of Fame Air Show in Chino, California. I had just purchased the Panasonic GX8 prior to this air show and brought my FZ1000 along as backup.
The GX8 seems like a great camera, and I did manage to get some good results using it. But, while it has a lot of features and functions, it also has a learning curve, and I planned very poorly trying to use and learn it during the air show.
This is where the FZ1000 came in to save the day! The FZ1000 may not be small, but it is light, and operates very quickly. There is no need to change the lens, and that alone can be stress relieving. Simply turn it on, make your setting changes, zoom in or out, and fire away!
Now, I don’t want to give the wrong impression. Not every shot was a keeper. When a plane would pass in front of the crowd, I would start panning, then lock focus and fire a few frames, then repeat. Sometimes I would get caught up in the moment, and fire off too many frames and bog the camera down. Even with a fast SD card, there was definitely a limit on how many frames you could shoot. It needs to be noted that I shoot RAW, and the files are larger and bog things down more quickly. When this happened, I had to wait for the camera to process the files before I could shoot again.
The GX8 also has a limitation on how many RAW files (or jpegs) you can fire off in a burst before you bog things down. The limit is just higher with the GX8.
Some of the talk about the FZ1000 at an event like this revolve around the limitation of the 400mm lens. Personally, I don’t find this to be a limitation. It helps me stop trying to get shots of planes that are simply too far away to get a decent picture. Not only does every little movement magnify when you’re zoomed out, but the atmosphere itself can work against you, at least at this air show. When I’m zoomed out I can see the heat waves rising off of the pavement, and the distortions in the air can ruin a photo (unless that’s the look you were going for). Perhaps there are air shows in other areas that don’t have this problem, but this is normal for an arid area like Chino California. If the planes are too far away for a decent picture, I put the camera down and enjoy the show, and wait.
Another issue is cropping, and yes, I do a bit of cropping. Having a RAW file size of 5472 pixels x 3548 pixels allows a little room for cropping, the trick is not cropping too much. I generally don’t look at my files at over 100%, but have been pleased with them when I do happen to view them at higher resolutions.
There is the other end of the lens that I use quite a bit as well, the wide part. The FZ1000 lens can go to 25mm at its widest point. This can come in handy when you are trying to fill the frame with your subject. There is some distortion, but it is easily worked out during post processing.
My FZ1000 continues to be one of my favorite cameras. It is absolutely the most versatile camera I have ever owned. And, it doesn’t matter to me that it has a 1″ sensor, the picture quality has matched or exceeded with I could do with my old Canon 60D. I’ll be keeping, and using my FZ1000 for a long time!
That’s it for now, thanks for looking and until next time – Happy Shooting!