Bird photos with Panasonic FZ1000?

Is anyone here using the Panasonic FZ1000 for bird and wildlife photos? I´ve seen some sample images and images seem fine when they´re uploaded to a web page but when you look at them at 100% you see a lot of grain, the feathers aren´t sharp and so on. Is the only way to get non blurry and non grainy bird images to shoot with those large and heavy lenses?

I know it´s possible to get images of for example a duck swimming slowly in a pond but I want to shoot flying birds, to be able to zoom without the image just being " a grey mass".

I´m new to the camera and haven´t taken any outside photos myself but I have seen many example photos from the FZ1000 and they really aren´t any good.

I´ll be happy to get some tips on this.

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with any camera, if you look closely enough, you’ll see grain.

there’s not a single factor to overall image quality. if you want a bridge camera like the FZ1000, i think the only ones that will produce better images are the FZ2500 and the Sony RX10 models, but the RX10 IV is 6 years old at this point, and the FZ2500 is 8 years old. Sony has said that the Alpha line is the intended successor to the RX10, and it’s unclear if Panasonic will ever have a successor to the FZ2500 (though i doubt it).

that said…

because, with birds, you’re often dealing with a distant fast-moving object the better the sensor, the better the lens, the better the autofocus, the better the everything, the better your photos will turn out. it’s just a question of when is good enough good enough? oh, and how much money do you have to spend?

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Generally speaking if you’re birding then you’d be better off with a DSLR camera. However, your camera is a very good one with a good 20 megapixels sensor, but it’s main limitation is that it is a relatively small 1 inch sensor, which will introduce noise into your photos. All photos have a certain amount of noise though so it’s not the end of the world. If you haven’t already, you could try shooting when there is more light (avoid early mornings or late afternoons and cloudy days etc). You could also try setting your camera to shoot in RAW as opposed to JPEG as that will give you more leverage to make corrections in Light Room Classic or something simliar like or To get better photos of flying birds bump up your shutter speed.

If you’re not familiar with your camera settings and what might work best in the situations you want to use it in maybe a video tutorial might help.


Do you have an iNat account? I can’t find one under the name you list.
From your post, it sounds like you do not own the camera in question, but are wondering whether to purchase it or not, correct? What is your previous photography experience?

If you’re not an iNat user, you might find that you will get better advice in a specifically photography-related forum.

On iNat, the main thing that matters is whether the organism in a photo is identifiable – not how aesthetically pleasing the photo is. (I mean, we all appreciate beautiful photos, but the overall approach is more pragmatic, which means that for many of us, our equipment choices are guided by different considerations than that of a professional photographer.)


Hello. I’ve experienced using all of point-and-shoot, DSLR, and mirrorless. I can suggest you three things here.

As long as you can get close to your bird, you can still get DSLR-level clear bird images with your camera. So try getting closer to the bird as much as you can (as long as the bird isn’t bothering you)
But if you are too far (approx 10+m), it gets physically impossible to get good shots with point-and-shoot, unless the bird is large. If you often photograph birds this far, consider getting a good DSLR setup (look up Duade Paton’s youtube channel for information about budget DSLR setups)

If you want to get the best results with your camera, the most effective option is to get a Dot Sight like Olympus EE-1.
This helps you to fill the frame with your bird significantly, because you’ll get much wider field of view with it.

Also, never use JPEG images out from the camera. JPEG files are compressed files and so has poor quality. Always record in RAW format, and process them using DxO PureRaw4 with your PC. This reduces the grain and enhance the detail significantly.

Also FYI: Because a lot of good bird photographers use DSLR/Mirrorless for better usability, it’s difficult to find good bird images take with point-and-shoot online.
But, if those good bird photographers used point-and-shoot cameras like FZ1000, they’ll get really good images. So, the difference between the two is fairly pronounced online.


Thanks for your answer.

I recently bought my Panasonic FZ1000 so now it´s not about having a new budget for another camera but to find ways to get as good as possible images with this camera.

Good enough for me is when I can capture birds in flight and be able to get prints from such an image without a lot of grain and noise, a print in size 30*45 cm or similar.

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Thanks for your answer!

Yes, I´ve realised that perhaps this FZ1000 won´t get the images I want but on the other hand I don´t have the money to spend on a DSLR and lenses especially for bird photography.

Thanks for the link to Graham Houghtons video, I watched it and some of his other videos on the Panasonic cameras.

I´ve gone through a lot of posts about birding and the FZ1000 and some people manages to get good images of even hummingbirds but I then suspect that they are heavily cropped and they are only suitable to show on a screen, not for prints. What´s your take on that?

I both have an iNat account, or else I couldn´t post in this forum at all, and I also own the FZ1000.

Thanks for your answer!

Interesting viewpoints!

I don´t have the money to but a DSLR setup and for birding those cost about $5000 and up so I don´t think I´ll ever be able to invest in such gear. Also, even if I´m looking for great bird photos I´m at the same time not up to carrying those large lenses, “tubes”, that come with that. So I´m not sure what to do.

If I got you right on the Olympus EE-1, this would be a tool for me and not for the camera? I mean, it doesn´t change the camera´s capability per se but more for me to follow a bird and to zoom in in a way that gets the bird to fill the frame as much as possible. Is that how it operates?

It´s really interesting what you mention about professional photographers and their use of different DSLR cameras and other setups, that they don´t shoot with bridge cameras and therefore we´ll never know what a bridge camera would be really capable of if you really stretch it limits.

I´ve seen some good bird photos on Flickr and similar taken with the FZ1000 but then the problem often is they are heavily cropped. You could perhaps get a print suitable for a small photo album from such an image which means the image quality is rather poor unless you just see the image on a computer screen.

It´s also a real fuss to get all the settings right if the camera can´t just focus on the subject you want to shoot, I don´t want to like walk in the forest and have to adjust settings all the time depending on what subject I want to shoot. I now don´t mean shutter speed and so on but focus types, focus frames and so on, that´s not a working camera to me.

What´s your take on this?

Just FYI, it is possible to have a forum account without having an iNaturalist account. There’s no requirement for this, though many people either use the same username on both iNat and the forum or have their iNat username in their profile (there is a field for this).

I don’t have a lot of experience with prints, though this is something I would like to get into at some point in the future. From what I have read, the percieved sharpness or clarity of the picture depends how far away your eye is from the picture that you print. I remember Ken Rockwell saying on his site that he has taken photos with a 4 megapixel camera and had the pictures shown on highway billboards. You’ve got five times that number of pixels to play with. The samples from your particular camera on Dpreview are pretty impressive, even zoomed in at 100%. So I couldn’t imagine you having any problems printing out good quality images.

Yes, I´ve realised that perhaps this FZ1000 won´t get the images I want but on the other hand I don´t have the money to spend on a DSLR and lenses especially for bird photography.

I got my setup off ebay for around $200 second-hand. None of the pictures I take will be in the National Geographic, but they’re more than sufficient for the purposes of this site. If in the future you happen to look at another camera try Tony Northrup’s Buying Guide. You can save a LOT of money buying second-hand gear.


the camera will be fine for taking pictures of flocks of birds, but if you’re expecting a single bird to fill up more than 5% of the frame with any great resolution on a print, viewed from closer than a few feet away, i think you need to adjust your expectations.

birds in flight – which implies a subject more than just a few meters away in most instances – are just going to be too far away to give you a lot of pixels for your subject (because your lens won’t reach far enough), and you can’t just crop in because your sensor doesn’t have enough size / resolution.

if you want to view the photos online, that will require fewer pixels than for print, and you can probably get away with that in some cases, but you still need to get physically really close to your birds – probably within 10 meters – to get very detailed shots of relatively big birds like hawks and eagles, even at max telephoto range on your camera.

you can do some tricks on the photo processing side to get your photos to look sharper, etc., but the results you can get from that are going to vary based on what kind of software and skills you have in that department.

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