Panasonic has just unveiled the Lumix FZ1000, a camera it describes as "the world’s first digital compact camera" to offer 4K video recording. But calling the FZ1000 "compact" is a stretch. There's a very clear DSLR influence here, and no one's going to be mistaking it for an RX100M3 anytime soon. Instead, its nearest competition in Sony's lineup is the RX10. We loved the versatility of that camera, and Panasonic is seemingly trying to outdo Sony at a cheaper price here. The FZ1000 will be released in July for $899.99.
Like the RX10, Panasonic's latest features a 1-inch sensor, which the company says will help beef up low light performance. The camera's "Venus" engine also features multiple noise reduction systems to assist in this department. The FZ1000 and its 25-400mm equivalent f/2.8-4.0 lens can reach impressive lengths, and will certainly get you closer to a far off subject than the RX10. (The glass itself might not be quite as nice overall, though.) You're able to carefully control that 16x optical zoom thanks to a 5-step speed control, which should make for smoother zooming when shooting video.
4K tragically loses optical image stabilization
And video is definitely the main attraction here. The FZ1000 shoots 4K footage, just like the Lumix GH4 announced in February. You're limited to 30fps when recording at max resolution, whereas the GH4 also allows for 30fps. If you can make do with 1080p video — and most people certainly still can — you can capture up to 60fps. Sticking with a lower resolution also gets you the benefit of five-axis optical image stabilization, an important feature when you're zoomed in that's sadly unavailable in 4K mode. Panasonic has also piled a number of special video effects into a "creative video" mode; it's here you'll find high speed 120fps recording, time lapse shooting, and stop motion animation.
To frame your shots, you can either peer through a 0.39-inch EVF or glance at the 3-inch rear LCD, which can rotate 180 degrees to each side or 280 degrees in either vertical direction. Still photographers can expect the usual array of scene presets and Instagram-like filters. Burst mode supports up to 12 shots per second at full resolution. And like every other consumer camera nowadays, the FZ1000 features NFC and Wi-Fi, meaning you can use it with Panasonic's app to transfer images to your smartphone or take advantage of remote shutter functionality.