I'm a little confused. Some reviewers say that the longest end of the Panasonic fz 1000 zoom lens is not as sharp as the rest of the focal range. I guess they need to work on their handholding skills just a bit more. Or use a tripod...

Go long. Hand held.

The average camera reviewer seems to buy into the "echo chamber" system of camera evaluation. Someone on a different site writes something about the long end of a lens being soft and the writer picks it up and runs with it. Sometimes the weather is crappy and a reviewer (not the camera owner) feels the need to go out in low illumination, gray muck and make some images anyway; after all, shouldn't state of the art image stabilization allow you to hand-hold a 400mm equivalent focal length pretty steady at 1/15th of second?

I read in a couple places on the web that the Panasonic fz 1000 was a little soft at the long end and this concerned me because the long reach of the Leica designed lens was one of the reasons I bought the camera. It's also one of the features I used extensively on my recent, downtown Austin project.

But I did something a bit out of the ordinary for web camera reviewers --- I actually went outside on a nice, sunny day and shot some tests. I shot the tests with the camera locked down on a stout tripod and also handheld. Guess what? The long end of the lens is sharp. The secret is to use it intelligently.

A primer for testers: To find out just how sharp any lens can be turn off the I.S. put the camera on a tripod and use a self timer for release. Make sure you focus correctly instead of depending on some automatic focusing point selection algorithm from the camera. Maybe use that boring, old, center, single point, AF method!  Now you have an understanding of the potential of the lens and if you want to you can take it off the tripod, turn on the  I.S. and shoot tests that might show you how sharp the system can be. But please, tell your readers if you shot the 400mm sample while riding on a street car over bumpy track at twilight, holding the camera at arm's length with one hand, to view the idiot screen, on the back, while your other hand grips the safety rail of your conveyance.

But really, the point I'd like to emphasize here is how important it is for one's credibility to actual go out and do the test instead of taking one of the other web shill's word for something, and then passing on flawed information.

Wow. That sounded like a rant. Okay, well I just get tired of reading misinformed crap.


amolitor said...

Not only do these guys mostly just copy from one another, they seem to have no conception of how to perform technical reviews.

It's not sufficient to simply do a thing, and to honestly report the results if that thing. This doesn't help me at all if I don't do exactly that thing. You need to do things (tests) which are carefully designed so that I can deduce how the device will perform when I do my thing.

This means eliminating variables. This means, for cameras and lenses, using a tripod and focusing on whatever you're about to pixel peep and a bunch of other stuff. Once you've baselined the performance maybe it makes sense to shoot some stuff handheld to get a grip on IS and ergonomics, but you can't do either of those things until you've done the first thing!

And on it goes.

Real life testing is worthless because my life is not your life. It's fun to read, though. Actual testing is boring as crap.

Mark Bellringer said...

I love this post :-)
FZ1000 is a fantastic camera... and geez I'm so sick of coming across reviews that are written by people who have seen another review and decided to write "their" version from the one they have read. You get people writing reviews of products that haven't been released... yet they think people might be interested in what "they think" the product "might" be like. Ha ha ha - stick it to them Kirk!

Ray said...

"The average camera reviewer seems to buy into the "echo chamber" system of camera evaluation."

When one guys opinion becomes a "fact."

My favorite camera comes with an oft-criticized kit lens that has limitations but really isn't too bad. The people that actually use it don't understand why it has a bad reputation.

Unknown said...

Sure compare it to some Nikon or Canon $9,000 lens. Gee its soft. Get a grip...