12.21.2016

A Very Short Blog Post About the Panasonic fz 2500 Versus the Sony RX10iii. No real conclusions yet.

Just horsing around in the studio....from the 2009 archives. Yes, that's the Leaf A7i we were sporting around. Ah, medium format digital. The 2017 redux is at hand.

Once again I have to blame Frank for my current waffling. He asked me to join him for coffee and then showed up with the new Panasonic fz 2500 in his hot little hands. He knows I have a couple of big video projects coming up and I just know he loves to muddy the waters of my decision making by tossing in new options to my already mixed up mix of thoughts about the next acquisitions in video gear. 

We got our coffees and we sat down to catch up. He handed me the camera to play with and I have to say that if I was not already deeply entrenched in the Sony camp I would have curtailed our coffee meeting and gotten in the car to rush to Precision Camera and pick up an fz 2500 right way. #impetuous.

The first thing in favor of the Panasonic is the viewfinder. Sony and Panasonic are both using the same resolution in the EVFs but Panasonic increased the magnification and eye point and the finder is easier to look at, seems sharper and cleaner. Point to Panasonic. The Panasonic also has more video file format options, including an "All Intra" 200 mbs 1080p setting that should really make editing a pleasure. While we're on the subject of output that camera also allows one to output a 10 bit 4:2:2 signal from the (micro) HDMI port and that's one of those "holy grail" specs that technically adept video fans are always trotting out as highly preferable. 

I also have a sneaking suspicion that the DFD focusing in the new Panasonic brings a faster and surer focus to the table. The topper in favor of the fz 2500 is probably the three position, built-in, neutral density filter system. Nice......

During our coffee, I kept picking up the camera and checking "just one more thing" in the menu. I'm pretty familiar with the Panasonic menus having owned the GH4, GH3, fz 1000 and several other Panasonic cameras. I could only stare in wonder at the reality that they have separate still and video tabs in the main menu. That would also be so nice (hello Sony?). 

A couple of things stayed my hand and preserved my credit rating (at least temporarily). One is that when shooting in 4K (which we do more and more; even when editing in 1080p) the Panasonic makes a big crop into the frame. It grabs the pixels it needs one-to-one instead of downsampling the whole sensor. Might make for a better image but you lose a bunch of wide angle capability and recent shoots have shown me that a wider angle is always useful. 

Secondly, the preliminary reviews point to evidence that the lens on the front of the Sony RX10 iii is superior and its superiority can be seen in the camera's output. 

The jury is still out for me.  Frank has offered to loan the new camera to me so I can spend a couple of days shooting it with both an eye to a review and a nod to (almost inevitable) acquisition. It'll have to wait till after Christmas but I think it'll be fun to put the two cameras together and have them battle it out. 

I have no complaints at all about the RX10 iii's image quality in either stills or video but I do wish it had the convenience of ND filters inside as well as some of the file format bells and whistles. On the other hand, I don't want to walk away from the painful investment I've made in mastering the Sony menus across the entire camera line, so there is that. 

If I were in the market, with an empty camera bag and a full wallet of ready cash, I'd have to carefully weigh what I would want to use each camera for. If I were a video guy who wanted occasional still images I think I'd be all over the Panasonic. But there's more to life than video.....

Stay tuned?

8 comments:

joel said...

Haven't used the Panasonic but oversampling, like the RX10 does, will almost always yield a better image than a 1:1 crop because of the information lost to the bayer filtering. Sony is taking a ~5k image and downscaling it to 4K! Most high-end cinema cameras over sample by at least that much or more. Here's hoping Sony brings the variable ND from the FS5 and the updated menus from the A6500/A99mk2 to the next RX10 refresh!

Craig Yuill said...

The Camera Store review of the FZ2500 was very positive, and comments made during that review echo what you have mentioned. That said, it doesn't appear that the FZ2500 is any better overall for your needs than the RX10 III. Resist its charms. Think of all of the lighting and audio equipment and accessories you could instead purchase with that money. And neither one of your RX cameras has one of those nifty cages you have recently been writing about.

George Janik said...

Any chance you can do a book,ebook on video. I enjoy your P.O.V.,ideas,and style of writing. I have a couple of your books and find them helpful. I understand that things are constantly changing and evolving (especially video). I think you are knowledgeable enough to pull it off or have enough friends or contacts to fill in. What do you say?

Doug said...

Kirk: Would love your thoughts on the Sony Rx10iii vs. both Panasonics (Fz2500 and FZ1000) with regard to video and stills. I so wanted to love the Sony as a one camera solution to my international travel needs, but sadly it didn't suit me ergonomically. Thanks! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Anonymous said...

I second the request for a useful book on video production. I bought an EM 5 II partly to use it for video but still can't figure where to find all of the settings I need. The only books I have found on the subject seem to be no more than shopping lists for rigging a DSLR with nothing about bit rates, workflow, etc. I am sure you could come up with something more useful.

Alex said...

So you wait for the MK2-Version of The Panasonic, to a) get this Version dead cheap or b) finally habe those improvements in Video you lust for?

tnargs said...

When you get to play with it properly, notice the neat way you can hold any customisable button down for a bit and the menu pops up for customising it. Maybe I should hold your wallet while you play with it.

tbcass said...

Reviews of the FZ2500 show that the lens is significantly softer than the RX10iii.