Sometimes walking around with a camera in your hands is the best way to figure out how to use it well. Some cautionary experiences with the fz2500.

I'm going to dive right into it. There's something going on with the Panasonic fz2500 but it's not that the lens on the front of it is unsharp. I turned off the rear (touch) screen and set the camera to focus with the pinpoint focusing mode and I was able to get frame after frame of sharply rendered images from the camera. But there are several things that give me pause. The first is my suspicion that having the touch screen enabled can cause focusing issues because if your nose is touching the screen while you are pushing down on the shutter button there is the possibility (and I think I've experienced this...) that the focusing point changes or moves during the exposure process, confusing the camera. Almost as if there isn't a lock out of the focusing point movement control when you initiate a shutter press. This is only a "defect" if you think you should be able to have both an external control interface and be able to swipe the interface with your nose at the same time. Kind of like having two fully engaged steering wheels in one car.

A second focus/interface issue I've noticed is something that occurs if you have the camera to your eye and push the shutter button halfway down while gripping the zoom ring. The zoom ring seems to be always active and is not locked out during exposure. I've locked focus, taken my hand off the zoom ring and witnessed a slight compositional "jump" in the finder. Of course, the remedy is to keep your hands off the ring when not zooming but that's not the way most of us have trained ourselves to use the camera. Any camera.

Additionally, I have noticed that when using the multi-point options to AF, locking focus and then switching to manual, I must fine tune the manual focus ring in order to set sharp focus. I have noticed none of these issues on the Sony RX10 series of cameras.

Finally, I have noticed that most of these issues only occur at longer focus distances and become worse near infinity. It could be that, like many AF lenses in bridge cameras, the focusing discrimination (or number of discrete steps for AF) are more concentrated in the closer distances where it is presumed depth of field gives less coverage, and become less concentrated at longer distances, where it is presumed that d.o.f. will help cover the gaps. 

Reader, Casey, suggests that even if the lens is not the ultimate culprit that Panasonic ought not to have launched a camera with these kinds of flaws. Whether or not some of these issues can be fixed in firmware is yet to be seen. The biggest help for users who may want to use multi-point autofocus is to disable the touch AF on the rear screen. The biggest help for single point AF fans is to either use the center point with a small target selected or to use the pin-point focusing mode. 

I am still testing the camera but feel confident that I can get still image results from it that I want. 
All of the (above and below) files here were uploaded in their original file sizes so you can blow them up as large as you want to look around the frames. They were all shot handheld. All started life as Jpegs.

With these glitches in mind why on God's green earth would I consider keeping the camera instead of racing to the store to return it? Mostly because I bought it for the video features and my tests while shooting video have not shown up the same kinds of issues in video focusing that I've gotten shooting stills. When I shoot video I tend not to rest my hands on the controls.... Just thought you'd want this clarification. I'm interested to hear from other Panasonic fz2500 users. I'd like to compare notes. 

Taken with no intervention on my part. Just a snapshot. But it is sharp and perfectly exposed. 
I love the colors as well. Mmmmm. Cupcakes!


Anonymous said...

FWIW my FZ300,a distant cousin to the FZ2500, seems to yield a sharper spot autofocus images when the white balance color temperature is set towards a very blue or cool bias. There's a visible difference in aggressive crops or when pixel peeping. It has the latest firmware.

MikeR said...

Owning or owned a variety of Lumices (plural of Lumix, right?), I've found it works best to shut off the touch screen to avoid nose-selection (a cousin to the well known butt-call), and to set a small single focus point. That makes the process more predictable for me. OTOH, for long video, especially tripod-mounted, I'll turn the touch screen back on, to be able to relocate the point of focus when necessary. That seems to say that the touch screen is there for video.

Anonymous said...


In your previous post where you were diagnosing this problem, you said "It's not that the frames were in focus in a plane in front or behind the intended subject, they were uniformly unsharp throughout". This sounds, not saying it is, like shutter shock.

You know much more then I do, but a simple test would be to turn off IS, leave on the touch focus, and hand hold the camera to take pictures equivalent to the ones that you initially saw the problem. It'd be interesting to hear about the results. And turn on IS, turn off touch screen as a further test.


MO said...

i have gm1 and gx7 and gx80 with touch. For me i only use the touch screen when i shoot video. That way i never came around encounter the problem you describe. Because i meet many other issues with stills and touch. Not firmware related issues though. But moving focus point by mistake either with your nose or thumb already brought me to turn off the touch. And if you get to know your lumix camera it can be custom made in countless ways, which makes it even faster to handle as as purely bottom controlled machine, than my fullframe canons. And i picked the lumix instead of the other brands of mirrorless because it was so easy to set up to resemble my canons. getting into new stuff is hard! But after i have shoot them for a while i find them even better than my canons to control purely by buttons.

I have a dedicated fn button for turning on and off the the touch. Then i have the touchscreen controls setup for video. I do miss the touchscreen on my fz1000 for video though. But for stills it just makes shooting slower for me anyways. Maby that's why the tech guys at panasonic never encountered the issue?

I may have encountered the focus ring/focus button problem now u mention it, without taking notice. coming home with 1 or 2 frames that witch i could not figure out why was out off focus. but out off a hole shoot it was not bothersome. But i use back button focus and dont have focus attached to the shutter, which also minimizes this issue. my lumix cameras runs manuel focus and only activate autofocus when i hold down the backbutton addressed for autofocus.

All cameras have issues that have your OCD finding workarounds to make it fit your mindset :D You just have to find the camera that is best suited for your personal OCD!

But if You take the time to get to know the camera i think most new cameras will be able to cut it. for me its decided by the learning curve which camera i get attached to. We need to click without too much headache :D

Anonymous said...

I am using the GX80 to avoid touching the screen when using the viewfinder, i used my right eye instead of the left when looking to the EVF. Still my nosetouched the lcd causing the AF point to move. I think i should disable the LCD touch.

Aleksi Lausti Photography said...

I recently bought a second hand FZ2500 and after taking it out for days shoot came back home only to find that the images were worse than any 1/2.3" pocket cameras that I have used, in the sharpness department. I compared images from my Olympus TG-5 and they just blew the FX2500 out of the water. I was truly surprised and quite perplexed at the bad performance. I concluded that the scuttlebutt on the forums about the bad lens must be true after all. Something I had pretty much dismissed as possible user error etc. I have used the FZ1000 extensively and know what a 1" type sensor can produce with good glass and focus system. Then I discovered your article about switching off the touch AF and, wow, the difference is like night and day in sharpness and focus accuracy. So thank you for that, now I might actually keep the camera. Hard to believe Panasonic has not yet responded to this issue with a firmware update. The damage might already have been done as the general consensus seems to be that the lens is a dud.