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View Full Version : FZ20 at the top of my list -- Help me narrow (or expand) my choices!



LobsterSan
10-11-2004, 08:36 AM
Hi all.

My current list stands thusly, based on several criteria including image quality, price, features, convenience and ergonomics:

1. Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ20
2. Fujifilm FinePix S7000 Z (also the S-5100 and S-5500, for which there is limited information)
3. Nikon Coolpix 8800 -- or no stabilization with the 8700/5700

This is a first time post, so please excuse any newbie-isms I may produce. I'm looking to get into a larger-sized digital camera, after having devoted the last few years to ultra compacts (Canon and Pentax models). I'm actually still debating whether to go with film or with digital. The convenience of digital is really pulling at me, though. As I have yet to step up to the plate and fully embrace my photographic inclinations, perhaps a convenient stepping stone on my way to the utmost in quality is in order. I really like the smoothness and resolution of the Digital SLRs, which appear very filmlike. But the inconvenience of carrying and switching lenses coupled with the higher pricetage has made me shy from thinking about that route. I am still considering film, or possibly DSLR, but my preference at the moment is for the convenience of a do-it-all digital ultrazoom.

So through my searching through various cameras, I ended up looking at the FZ20 with particular zeal. The ergonomics, zoom capabilities, and pricing point left me quivering to run to my local electronics shop and plunk down my hard-earned yen (I live in Japan) and buy one of these puppies. However, I have some reservations after checking out many of the samples I have seen thus far. My overall impression of these sample pictures is slightly poor. I'm not sure if it is bias, but I have the general impression that the coloring and exposure/contrast for me seems a bit... uninspiring. I'm not sure if it's the color processing or if it's the exposure and settings that people have used, but I've seen much nicer shots from other cameras than the samples I've browsed through thus far. Noise isn't the biggest letdown for me in these samples, as I believe I must go the DSLR route if I am to eliminate noise to an astounding degree. But the colors and exposure are issues which DO worry me. However, I will admit that I often carry a heavy bias against products that I am heavily interested in. Perhaps it's a self-defense mechanism for spending money too friviously. It's probably more likely that since I am seriously considering pulling the trigger on the FZ20, I need to find the faults that I am likely to encounter after making the purchase.

I'm interested in people giving me the faults that they have experienced with their camera. Anything is good, and particularly situational faults. Many cameras have advantages in certain situations and faults in others. Praise is nice to read, but it's all to commonly the case, especially with a popular camera such as this one. But as popular as anything is, their are always faults. I'm also interested in seeing some really terrific results with the FZ20. If anyone can point me in the direction of some samples that really "sell" the camera, please link them up. As well, I'm all ears for suggestions of other ultrazoom digitals in the same league as the FZ20, but which might produce better results.

MikeCamp
10-11-2004, 12:17 PM
Buy the FZ20 and be done with it. The pictures I've taken and the ones I have seen from other users are mostly all high quality pictures. A camera in the hand of an amateur can take good and bad pictures with any camera. If the settings (environmental as well) are not correct for the picture the quality will be low with any camera. The FZ20 with out a doubt is still the best digital ultra zoom camera on the market. IMO.

FZ20 complaints from me = 0

skyfree
10-11-2004, 04:35 PM
I advice you to buy the fz10 instead of fz20.. it take better exposed photo and less noisy..

LobsterSan
10-11-2004, 05:19 PM
I advice you to buy the fz10 instead of fz20.. it take better exposed photo and less noisy..

The biggest problem I have with the fz10 is the grip. I've handled both in the store, and my hand feels like it would start cramping with constant use of the fz10. The thicker/wider grip on the fz20 to me almost justifies the mild loss in quality (if there really is one) and the increase in price.

BTW, why do you suppose the fz10 is better exposed and less noisy? This is not meant as an attack, I just would like to know what facts lead you to this conclusion. Comparative photo samples or technical specs would be helpful.

Jayde
10-12-2004, 01:31 AM
Hi
I really get the impression you wont be happy with a FZ you need a DSLR maybe >
http://www.dcresource.com/reviews/nikon/d70-review/index.shtml
you very creative ?
perhaps a nikon SLR as well with bucket full of nikkor lens.. :)

or buy FZ10 with 30 day return policy < hint :)
but
You lose too many features with the Z10, I have one and its exc.. but without faster venus 2 (thats a biggy) AF assist, and cable release, + more modes.. Tiff. etc... will i upgrade..yeh when a FZ is 10mp or more..
..................maybe !

for comparison pics see Jim Zim`s post here...

skyfree
10-12-2004, 04:38 AM
3 pictures.

1 canon eos 20d (for exposure comparison)
2 fz20 (shoot was taken the same moment as the canon)
3 fz10 (for noise comparison)

http://www.dcresource.com/reviews/canon/eos_20d-review/preprod/IMG_0121.JPG

http://www.dcresource.com/reviews/panasonic/dmc_fz20-review/P1000026.JPG

http://www.dcresource.com/reviews/panasonic/dmc_fz10-review/P1000040.JPG

the most important thing for me is image quality.. and for me the fz10 is better than fz20 from that point of view.. sure the fz20 have an assist lamp (but it is useful for indoor shots when the focus is near.. and that's not a usual photo in my album :P ) it has less chromatic aberration (however I can correct pics with photoshop without degrading quality)... I don't think 5 mp instead of 4 make a big difference... the only really good thing is the fast focus...
I saw some pics of nikon 8800... maybe these could be a really competitor of fz series... but I think will cost much more than pana..

MikeCamp
10-12-2004, 09:15 AM
I advice you to buy the fz10 instead of fz20.. it take better exposed photo and less noisy..

http://zimfamilycockers.com/Panasonic/

Look at jims pictures. I don't think the fz10 takes better exposed photos. The pictures I've taken have all been great. And who wants to be messing around in photochop? Also the fz20 will produce larger print photos than the fz10.

Take my word for it and others will say the same. The fz20 is a fine camera. I'd take one over the fz10 any day of the week.

jamison55
10-12-2004, 09:23 AM
You're in Japan? That means that you can get a black DReb (or EOS Kiss Digital)!

You definitely won't be disappointed, as no digicam even comes close to the quality. If changing lenses is a big deal to you, then buy one for the DReb that covers the focal lengths you will most often desire, and leave it on full time. I know you won't be able to duplicate the focal length and IS of the FZ20 cheaply, but I'll put my DReb and cheap Sigma zoom lens against any non DSLR. As far as IS goes, usable ISO 800 and even 1600 (in a pinch) make the DReb able to get the same results in similar lighting by using a faster shutter speed.

Ultimitely it comes dow to how long you will be happy with your next camera purchase. If you think an FZ will keep you happy for a couple of years, by all means make that choice. If however, you feel you might want something more in 6 months or a year, You may want to look into a DSLR. You will save money in the long run by planning ahead now. Just my 2cents.

Jayde
10-12-2004, 09:58 AM
skyfree
thnx :cool:
i learned somthin today, that the 20d is superb... i want one !
what lens is on the 20d ?
and certainly a diff between the FZ`s thats what trying to cram 5mp on the same sensor does.. shame !
what alts did you make to pics ?
do you have a Z10 pic with those orange palm fronds ?

skyfree
10-12-2004, 11:52 AM
http://zimfamilycockers.com/Panasonic/

Look at jims pictures. I don't think the fz10 takes better exposed photos. The pictures I've taken have all been great. And who wants to be messing around in photochop? Also the fz20 will produce larger print photos than the fz10.

Take my word for it and others will say the same. The fz20 is a fine camera. I'd take one over the fz10 any day of the week.

I saw his pics.. I sti.l prefer fz10...
about exposure.. I think the two jeff's pics talks :P
I use photoshop.. and again there isn't a perfect camera on the market..
fz20 will produce larger prints.... but noisy pictures... if you print 8x10 you will not notice noise.. but on larger prints... noise will be visible.. and I hate it! (expecially if there is sky...). You can use noise ninja or digital gem pro ore everything you want to clean your image.. but it will affect the sharpness of the photo... so I don't think there will not be a lot of difference if you enlarge a sharp 4mp or a less sharp 5mp...

@Jayde pics in my post are not mine... these are pics of Jeff Keller the owner of this site.. from the review of fz10 http://www.dcresource.com/reviews/panasonic/dmc_fz10-review/gallery.shtml

MikeCamp
10-12-2004, 02:49 PM
but on larger prints... noise will be visible.. and I hate it! (expecially if there is sky...). You can use noise ninja or digital gem pro ore everything you want to clean your image.. but it will affect the sharpness of the photo... so I don't think there will not be a lot of difference if you enlarge a sharp 4mp or a less sharp 5mp.

With my own personal experience with the FZ20 the noise levels are not that bad at all. The extra features of the FZ20 over the 10 are major ones. If someone is looking for an all around ultra zoom why would someone want to buy a discontinued fz10 model with less features? I'll say this again... it depends on what you are shooting with the camera as well. None of my photos I've personally taken and have made large prints have had any noticeable amount of noise. (without using software correction) I'd take a fz15 over the fz10 as well. Anyone who takes photos will tell you that you can take 100s of pictures with any camera and there will be some that are perfect and some not so perfect. If I was shopping cameras I also wouldn't take a few sample pics off the net as gospel either (sorry jeff). I think that is why Jeff states this in most of his reviews "my test results may not reflect what your experiences will be". I also believe if you are using good photo editing software your sharpness will not be degraded by noise removal (at least not enough that the average human eye could detect).

Atindra
10-13-2004, 04:19 AM
Hi Lobstersan,
I would like to expand your choices,hope it wont confuse you further.
I would advise to have a look at Kodak dx7590. FZ20 and 7590 both are reviewed by Jeff on this site-have a look at side by side comparison on reviews, pics etc.
you can visit on dpreview.com/forum to find lot of pics posted with Kodak 7590 camera.
Your worry about colors will be best addressed by Kodak..no doubt. however it depends on you which type of image quality appeals you most.
Atindra

wmussatto
10-14-2004, 12:06 PM
Do you need manual focus? I find that the focus on the FZ-20 is generally acceptable. However for macro and wildlife (in trees) manual focus is sometimes needed. If it were not for that, I would have an FZ-3 now. Both the FZ-3 and Kodak can support slave flashes. I've found I prefer the results of a bounce flash unless the subject is far away.

All that said, I have seen some very good results with Kodak cameras. If it were not for the lack of manual focus and Image Stabilization I might have got one.

Bill

LobsterSan
10-15-2004, 08:55 AM
Thanks all for your valuable input. I have carefully weighed and reweighed (and reweighed again) all my criteria, had a look at all your suggestions and advice, fondled all the goodies at the downtown Fukuoka camera shops and came to this final conclusion:

I will be purchasing the Lumix DMC-FZ20, just as soon as I can find a cheap Japanese retailer with a black one in stock. For me, it seems to be a nice compromise for everything that I want at the moment. After looking at all the camera options that were available, I had to realize that there was going to be some compromise, regardless of the money I threw at the situation. So, I decided to compromise for less money, yet still get fairly decent quality. I will probably make the move to either a dedicated SLR film setup or a DSLR in the coming year or so, but until that time (and hopefully some price drops and great new technologies will emerge in said time), I believe I'll be contented with my FZ20 purchase, and focus on taking pictures rather than missing great picture opportunities whilst contemplating the technology.

Again, everyone's input in the matter was greatly appreciated. I now feel quite a bit more enlightened about the current crop of digital cameras, and I feel confident in my research that the FZ20 is the best fit for me at the moment.

Jayde
10-15-2004, 11:12 AM
Another happy customer :D
Congrats.. hey you know the FZ20 is crap rilly haha ;)
good luck with price, more info here for xtra lens if u need it...
:cool: m8 !
dont get caught up in the sushi :eek:

lumixfan
10-15-2004, 11:47 AM
You will not be disappointed. It looks an excellent camera. I love it (though only 1 day). The photos are great.

420 mm zoom and IS. leica lens. Thats awsome.

John_Reed
10-15-2004, 01:22 PM
You will not be disappointed. It looks an excellent camera. I love it (though only 1 day). The photos are great.

420 mm zoom and IS. leica lens. Thats awsome.
432mm zoom... Harrumph! :rolleyes:

Payne
10-18-2004, 07:02 PM
Yeah, good decision, you wont be disappointed.
The whole FZ line is great.

Im gonna wait for your shots, I hope you have the chance to post some of them soon.

Best Regards,

LobsterSan
10-20-2004, 10:02 AM
I just received my FZ20 today, and I've been toying around with it quite a bit. My initial impression is quite good. I've handled it several times at the store, but it just feels so much nicer knowing that this one is mine. :)

A typhoon swept in to Japan at the same time that I received my camera, so I was unable to venture out to take outdoor photos. I am also awaiting delivery of my 1GB card from the states (flashcards are roughly half-price stateside).

Tommorow, I will go out with my meager 128mb card and hopefully catch some nice nature shots in the mountains. I will definitely post some pics when I have some nice ones to display. I've been quite pleased with the focus ring and the manual-photo mode. Being able to select shutter speed and aperture is quite handy. As well, the fluidity of the 30fps video mode is quite nice, and the clarity (despite being 320x240) is quite good when compared to my other camera's 320x240 mode (Pentax Optio S). I know video isn't of the upmost importance for everyone, but I regard it as fairly valuable for recording short keepsakes best captured in motion.

LobsterSan
10-20-2004, 10:09 AM
One more note, for anyone considering purchase of an FZ20 in Japan or from Japan:

They are basically the same camera, but the Japanese model has only two languages to select from (Japanese and English). I believe the US version has 5 or 6 languages that can be selected. As well, while the US version comes packaged with a flashcard, the Japanese one does not. Aside from these two things, they appear to be identical.

genece
10-20-2004, 10:34 AM
Congratulations ..you will not be disappointed.
The FZ20 is an awesome camera.
I am glad you did not leave the naysayers (Trolls) sway your opinion.