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View Full Version : My first week with a DMC-FZ20



Jim Zim
09-13-2004, 09:30 AM
I've owned an FZ10 since last Christmas, and decided to upgrade to the FZ20. My new FZ20 arrived a few days ago, and I've been very pleased with it.

I don't think Panasonic has done a very good job about putting the word out there about all the improvements the FZ20 has over the FZ10. There have been several improvements that I've noticed that I never heard anything about... they were just pleasant little surprises to discover.

Here are some of the things they've improved on the FZ20 versus the FZ10. Some you will already be aware of, a few maybe not.

5 Megapixels versus 4
Can save images as uncompressed .tiff to avoid .jpg compression
Can shoot an unlimited number of pictures in burst mode (versus 5 on FZ10)
New style lens hood looks MUCH more professional
New arrangement on mode dial: scene modes. Very nice!
New style battery charger: no funky cords!
Nicer graphics on the on-screen menus
Focus-assist lamp for shooting in low-light situations
Bigger hand-grip makes camera easier to hold
Improvements to the Venus engline LSI

If you'd like to see some pictures taken with my new FZ20, head on over to my web page (http://www.zimfamilycockers.com/Panasonic_Lumix_DMC-FZ20.html).

On the negative side, there was only one thing that surprised me:

With the changes to the battery charger, it is no longer possible to run the camera on AC power and no battery like you could on the FZ10. To do this with the FZ20, you have to buy an accessory AC adapter.

I also really wish they had moved the battery and memory card compartment away from the bottom of the camera and over to the side... so that you could change batteries or memory cards when the camera is on a tripod. While the image stabilizer does mean you'll use a tripod a lot less with this camera, there are still times when you need one... and it sure is inconvenient if the camera is on a tripod and you need to charge the battery.

Overall, though, this camera is a real gem! There is nothing else on the market within hundreds of dollars that can beat the FZ20. Read more about it over on my FZ20 web page (http://www.zimfamilycockers.com/Panasonic_Lumix_DMC-FZ20.html).

Jayde
09-13-2004, 11:20 AM
Jim Zim
wow great pics :)
thnx for the new info.. i bookmark that...im jeeloos fz10 owner, so can you use the fz10 power unit at all ?
say that agin plz...

John_Reed
09-13-2004, 11:21 AM
Jim - Nice bunch of shots you posted in your gallery! Thanks for showing them. I had a couple of questions for you, since I have an FZ10, and am wondering whether the changes are great enough to get me to sell it and pick up either an FZ20 or an FZ15:

1. Do you really notice any image quality differences between the FZ10 and FZ20, and if so, what?

2. I saw you had a good shot including those flying Pelicans. I get kind of frustrated with the FZ10's focusing speed while trying to track and shoot closeups of flying birds. (Well, I might also add that I often try this with my TCON-17 screwed on, which makes it that much harder!) In other more normal situations, the focus speed and lag time are perfectly acceptable, but boy, it doesn't take much lag to miss focus on flying birds. What's your experience with the FZ20 in this respect?

Keep posting more pictures, please!

Jim Zim
09-13-2004, 12:29 PM
To answer the first question... yes, you can use the FZ10 AC adaptor to power a FZ20. In fact, I did it when the camera arrived and I had not yet charged the battery.

In fact, I toyed with the idea of including the FZ20 battery charger in my eBay auction of the FZ10 (http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=3839544588)... and keeping the FZ10 combo charger/adaptor for myself. But I decided that even if I disclosed it, some folks might think that was odd or somehow dishonest. The bottom line is I rarely used the battery charger as an AC adaptor with my FZ10, so it doesn't bother me that much that the FZ20 does not have it.

As far as the focus... I rarely use autofocus. I am a big fan of manual focus. So I just haven't played with it enough on the FZ20 in the week or so that I've had it. I know what you mean about it being useless on moving objects with the FZ10. My understanding from reading about the improvements to the Venus engine LSI is that this is supposed to improve autofocus speed... but I haven't played with it enough to confirm it.

Resolution... instead of 2304x1728 pixel images on the FZ10, you now have 2560x1920 pixel images. Is that going to be enough to make a huge difference? I doubt it. I was always happy with the FZ10 resolution, and I'm happy with the FZ20's also.

John_Reed
09-13-2004, 01:18 PM
To answer the first question... yes, you can use the FZ10 AC adaptor to power a FZ20. In fact, I did it when the camera arrived and I had not yet charged the battery.

In fact, I toyed with the idea of including the FZ20 battery charger in my eBay auction of the FZ10 (http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=3839544588)... and keeping the FZ10 combo charger/adaptor for myself. But I decided that even if I disclosed it, some folks might think that was odd or somehow dishonest. The bottom line is I rarely used the battery charger as an AC adaptor with my FZ10, so it doesn't bother me that much that the FZ20 does not have it.

As far as the focus... I rarely use autofocus. I am a big fan of manual focus. So I just haven't played with it enough on the FZ20 in the week or so that I've had it. I know what you mean about it being useless on moving objects with the FZ10. My understanding from reading about the improvements to the Venus engine LSI is that this is supposed to improve autofocus speed... but I haven't played with it enough to confirm it.

Resolution... instead of 2304x1728 pixel images on the FZ10, you now have 2560x1920 pixel images. Is that going to be enough to make a huge difference? I doubt it. I was always happy with the FZ10 resolution, and I'm happy with the FZ20's also.Thanks for your answers, Jim. With respect to image quality, I was wondering if you'd noticed any new noise issues, but as I suspected, you hadn't. My normal mode of camera operation with my FZ10 is to use manual exposure, and spot focus, so focusing speed becomes a critical issue on little birds, for example, as they move around too quickly to be able to easily focus manually, so I rely on the autofocus mechanism to do that, and it usually works fine, except for when they're flying! In this respect, the FZ15 attracts me more than the FZ20, as it's even a little faster, with less lag, anyway. But I'm still not throwing over my FZ10. Pretty durn good camera, as you know already.

MikeCamp
09-14-2004, 05:40 AM
I picked up the FZ20 the other day myself. I was going to go the FZ15 route but I liked the hot shoe on the 20 and the ability to create quality larger prints. All I can say is this camera takes some very high quality pics. I did some very low light shooting and it did a superb job. I did a few macro shots and they came out beautiful as well. And as Jim said, I don't believe there is another cam out there that comes close unless you want to get into the digital SLR price arena.

Nice review Jim, I'd say you hit the nail on the head as to specs. Nice pics on your site.

Janet
09-19-2004, 07:10 AM
IIf you'd like to see some pictures taken with my new FZ20, head on over to my web page (http://www.zimfamilycockers.com/Panasonic_Lumix_DMC-FZ20.html).

Overall, though, this camera is a real gem! There is nothing else on the market within hundreds of dollars that can beat the FZ20. Read more about it over on my FZ20 web page (http://www.zimfamilycockers.com/Panasonic_Lumix_DMC-FZ20.html).

Hi Jim and others
I really liked you flash pictures. You have convienced me I need a flash.
I went over to your site and saw that you recommended the SUNPAK 383 Super and recommened Amazon.com. Amazon says that it has been discontinured or they don't stock it. They have a vivatar for about $65.00
the Vivitar DF200 Digital Flash 200. B&H photo has both for about the same price and I wonder if there is any reason to chose one over the other. Or is there a better one?
Thanks

Janet
09-19-2004, 07:18 AM
I would like to become a decent photographer with the FZ 20 and wonder if there is a very basic course on the use of this camera. The instruction manual isn't much help to me. There has to be an easier way. And I know you all have lots of tricks on how to capture the picture you want. Is there anywhere I can find this posted clear and concise?
I found one for the Olympus
http://irphotoschool.com/lessons/c740dofPort/c740dofPort.php
and wonder if there isn't any thing out there for the Panasonic. I suppose any on the FZ10 would be fine.
I don't mean to sound stupid, well, I guess, if the shoe fits, wear it! But I never did get full use out of my Nikon 950 and I want to do more with this camera.
Thanks
Janet

Jim Zim
09-19-2004, 08:20 AM
I think Amazon has just run out of stock of the Sunpak 383. As far as I know, Sunpak still makes them. I'd check back in a few weeks.

Have you seen the FZ10 shooting manual? You might find it helpful. http://panasonic.co.jp/pavc/global/lumix/fz10/index.html and then click on the link to the shooting manual.

Other than that, I think your best bet is to just get out there and take lots of pictures. Learn by doing. You could buy a regular photography book to help you get the basic concepts like aperture settings, shutter speed, depth-of-field, ISO, etc. Most of the basic concepts that apply to 35mm SLR film cameras apply to the FZ10 and FZ20.

Janet
09-19-2004, 04:20 PM
Have you seen the FZ10 shooting manual? You might find it helpful. http://panasonic.co.jp/pavc/global/lumix/fz10/index.html and then click on the link to the shooting manual.



Jim
Thanks for the site on the shooting manual. I hadn't seen it. Now to take some lessons------------
Janet

sheshoots
09-21-2004, 08:19 AM
I've owned an FZ10 since last Christmas, and decided to upgrade to the FZ20. My new FZ20 arrived a few days ago, and I've been very pleased with it.

Overall, though, this camera is a real gem! There is nothing else on the market within hundreds of dollars that can beat the FZ20. Read more about it over on my FZ20 web page (http://www.zimfamilycockers.com/Panasonic_Lumix_DMC-FZ20.html).




Jim did you consider a digital SLR? Yes prices are high. I'm looking to buy and don't know if can bite that deep, but also don't think I can get good pro quality without going SLR.


sheshoots

Jim Zim
09-24-2004, 05:00 AM
I didn't seriously consider a digital SLR... simply due to the price. Go ahead and price out a digital SLR with a zoom lens comparable to what's on the FZ20... and you'll see we are talking about a lot of money.

I've used digital SLR cameras on two occasions now... lots of fun... but just not in my price range. And the truth is that for all that extra money you can't do that much more with a digital SLR than you can do with an FZ20.

Regarding the Sunpak 383 external flash... which is a great add-on for the FZ20 or FZ10... Amazon.com finally got them back in stock.

sheshoots
09-26-2004, 01:28 AM
I didn't seriously consider a digital SLR... simply due to the price. Go ahead and price out a digital SLR with a zoom lens comparable to what's on the FZ20... and you'll see we are talking about a lot of money.

I've used digital SLR cameras on two occasions now... lots of fun... but just not in my price range. And the truth is that for all that extra money you can't do that much more with a digital SLR than you can do with an FZ20.

Regarding the Sunpak 383 external flash... which is a great add-on for the FZ20 or FZ10... Amazon.com finally got them back in stock.




I can't think when I would want to use auto anything and I don't much like zoom lenses. However, I'll echo an OPs sentiment here; your pix are great. Definitely curious. Eager to get my hands on this camera before I rule it out.

I'd like the Canon 20D or 10D, particularly the 10D. I plan to be using this camera in prolonged freezing temps and snow.

Thanks for your response. Hope to see more pix.



sheshoots