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View Full Version : Pansonic FZ30 or Nikon D50



CharityJ
02-20-2006, 08:26 AM
I currently have the Panasonic Lumix FZ20 and from all the reading I've done, it seems that some of the issues I have with the FZ20 have been reduced and improved upon in the FZ30. So I had actually decided to upgrade, even though I eventually want a DSLR. But after realizing what the cost of the D50 is down to I'm reconsidering.

I currently am learning to shoot in manual but when a shot is a one time chance, I'm more comfortable shooting in auto to make sure I don't miss it. I use the macro option all the time and am frustrated with the Panasonic's inability to focus sometimes so I find myself taking pictures from further away and being forced to crop them. Action photography is not something that I'm currently doing, so while I know an DSLR is superior in this matter it's not a deal breaker. I would like to begin doing more portraits and fear that in terms of a shallow depth field the Pansonic might not be able to cut it.

The things I like about the Panasonic is its well roundedness, the color saturation, and the quality of pictures it takes. It's also fairly idiot proof and it's anti-shake feature is nice.

I've been studying this article: http://www.firingsquad.com/hardware/panasonic_lumix_dmc-fz30_canon_eos-20d_camera_shootout/default.asp
which compares the Canon 20D and the Lumix FZ30, but I'm still no closer to a decision.

Help me, please. :)

cdifoto
02-20-2006, 08:34 AM
I currently have the Panasonic Lumix FZ20 and from all the reading I've done, it seems that some of the issues I have with the FZ20 have been reduced and improved upon in the FZ30. So I had actually decided to upgrade, even though I eventually want a DSLR. But after realizing what the cost of the D50 is down to I'm reconsidering.

I currently am learning to shoot in manual but when a shot is a one time chance, I'm more comfortable shooting in auto to make sure I don't miss it. I use the macro option all the time and am frustrated with the Panasonic's inability to focus sometimes so I find myself taking pictures from further away and being forced to crop them. Action photography is not something that I'm currently doing, so while I know an DSLR is superior in this matter it's not a deal breaker. I would like to begin doing more portraits and fear that in terms of a shallow depth field the Pansonic might not be able to cut it.

The things I like about the Panasonic is its well roundedness, the color saturation, and the quality of pictures it takes. It's also fairly idiot proof and it's anti-shake feature is nice.

I've been studying this article: http://www.firingsquad.com/hardware/panasonic_lumix_dmc-fz30_canon_eos-20d_camera_shootout/default.asp
which compares the Canon 20D and the Lumix FZ30, but I'm still no closer to a decision.

Help me, please. :)


You can use a dSLR in auto if you need to. There are other convenience modes as well. Keep in mind once you get into a dSLR, you're stepping into a world of lenses and accessories like no other. The lens on it isn't a fixed, you got-what-you-got type of deal. It also won't be a 12x super ultra megazoom either. Most of the better zooms are 3x at most (which, technically is a nonsense term since it gives no true indication of perspective or focal length you're getting).

I have a good 10x superzoom for my Canon dSLR which cost me a thousand dollars and spans from 50mm to 500mm. Another lens that cost a little more than that is less than a 3x which ranges from 70mm to 200mm.

I'm not trying to scare you off, since a dSLR is a great way to go for max versatility....I just want you to know what you're getting into. The kit lenses included with dSLRs are rarely sufficient as the ONLY lens you'll ever need. Buying at least one other is inevitable...and part of the reason you get into dSLRs in the first place.

If you do get into dSLRs, you can achieve better image results than you ever did with a P&S...you just have to learn a little post-processing as well as climb the dSLR learning curve. It's a whole new ball game and no longer "click; snap; print."

capedeci
02-20-2006, 09:17 AM
If you have the money, the Nikon D50 + Nikon 18-200 VR lens is totally better than FZ30. The equivalent range of this combo is 27-300mm, compared to FZ30's 36-432(not sure, but around this number). You lose a bit in tele end, but you gain much in wide angle. The price of this VR lens is around $650.

I assume you need the image stabilizer, as you come off a panasonic. Getting the Nikon non-stabilized lens will require you a lot of learning,

coldrain
02-20-2006, 10:06 AM
What exactly are the shortcomings of your FZ20 that have been solved with the FZ30? The FZ30 is more noisy so that is not it...

For macro shots with the D50 you will need a macro lens. Good thing is that the macro lens also can be used as excellent portrait lens. The Sigma 50mm f2.8 macro is the cheapest option. Another one to consider would be the Tamron 90mm f2.8 macro.

If you want the tele range of the FZ20/30, you can look at the 70-300mm Sigma APO DG, it is a good affordable lens with an equivalent reach of 105-450mm. The 18-55mm kit lens will fill in the bottom end nicely, 27-82mm. So, you will need 3 lenses to do what you can do with the FZ's, but the results will be better.

Since you can hardly use the FZ30 above ISO 100, and the D50 at ISO 1600 still outperforms the FZ30 at ISO 100, I do not think you will need to get IS lenses, the difference in ISO performance more than makes up for it.

If you do want an image stabilized lens, maybe the EOS 350D/XT is a contender too, its 70-300 USM IS lens is image stabilized, has a bigger tele range than the Nikkor 18-200VR, and is a lot cheaper too (making the difference between camera body prices void).

capedeci
02-20-2006, 10:43 AM
If you don't want image stabilization, use:
-Canon XT + Kit + 70-300 Lens
-Nikon D50 + Kit + 70-300 Lens
Canon is slightly better here, but It's also slightly more expensive.

If you want image stabilization, use:
-Nikon D50 + 18-200 VR Lens (expensive, good, and flexible)
-Konica Minolta 5D + Kit + 70-300 Lens (good and cheap)
-Canon XT + 17-85IS + 70-300IS (hell expensive but damn good)

You also need to consider, whether as a starting point, you want to use only one lens, or multiple lenses. One superzoom lens is nice & flexible, some distortion but decent sharpness, a good one is Sigma 18-200 lens, as well as the Nikon 18-200VR.

I have KM5D, and for flashless indoor low light photos, if I use the 50mm f/1.7 + Anti-Shake + ISO 3200, the camera can really see in the dark!

Also note that Canon have the widest and nicest lens selection, but if you are hunting for Image Stabilization, Canon is the one who offers them at the highest cost for the range.

The good 70-300 lens is the Sigma APO 70-300 lens recommended in this forum's lens guide.

CharityJ
02-20-2006, 10:45 AM
It was not my original thought to start out with a $650 lens but maybe that's a really good option that's worth considering and would make more sense than getting 2 lenses with the equivalent range.

I don't know if I need the image stabilizer or not. It's definitely not the reason I bought the Panasonic and no film camera that I've worked with has ever had it. And here I thought that shooting through a viewfinder as opposed to the screen was going to be my biggest adjustment. ;)

CharityJ
02-20-2006, 10:46 AM
It's the world of accessories that scares me off, to be honest with you. I am totally intimidated by having to have tons of lenses to do what 1 lens can do. And I worry that I am so spoiled by the versatility of one megazoom that readjusting will be difficult. My original thought on the lenses for my beginner set-up was 18-55 and the 55-200. Your 50 to 500 sounds like a great lens, but I think that I'm going to need to start with the basics and work up to the $1,000 lenses.

capedeci
02-20-2006, 10:59 AM
It was not my original thought to start out with a $650 lens but maybe that's a really good option that's worth considering and would make more sense than getting 2 lenses with the equivalent range.

I don't know if I need the image stabilizer or not. It's definitely not the reason I bought the Panasonic and no film camera that I've worked with has ever had it. And here I thought that shooting through a viewfinder as opposed to the screen was going to be my biggest adjustment. ;)

I'm the type of person who value versatility more than slight quality improvement. The 18-200mm lenses don't perform noticeably worse than the 2 lens combination like 17-55 + 70-300, since these 2 lense combos are also cheaper ones. If you use high end lenses, of course quality will differ a lot. If you are considering the 18-200mm lenses, here I'll write again my favorite comparison between the 3 (hated by everyone here :D )

prices are approximate.

-Canon XT + Kit + 70-300mm = $1000, 2 Lenses, 18-300 range
-Canon XT + 17-85IS + 70-300IS = $1600~1800, 2 Lenses, 17-300 range, IS

-Nikon D50 + 18-200VR = $1200, 1 Lens, 18-200 range, IS
-Konica Minolta 5D + Kit + 70-300 = $900, 2 Lens, 18-300 range, IS
-Konica Minolta 5D + Sigma 18-200 = $1100, 1 Lens, 18-200 range, IS

I don't put the 2 contender's non-IS options because without the need of IS, I don't see any good reason on not getting the Canon. But if you need IS, these two (Nikon & KM) worth a good consideration.

Hope this helps


and... the 50-500 range is not the range used for general use, it has ~75-750 equivalent range, which really lacks of wide angle.

jcon
02-20-2006, 11:56 AM
I was in your exact position a little while back. Owned FZ20, wanted to upgrade. My reason was low light and sport photography and that was the weakness of the Z20, and NO, the Z30 did NOT improve this. coldrain is correct, the Z30 is very, very noisy! I opted for the D50 body and the Sigma 18-125mm for about $800 shipped. I think if you went with the same set up or, even the previously suggested Sigma 18-200mm, you would have one verastile "walk around" lens to get used to the camera and see what you will need in future lenses. They both are good lenses and they both give you a decent reach. I also agree that IS or VR isnt as important as it was on our FZ20s. You will have a much more usable high ISO and allows faster shutter. Just to give my person experience, I am VERY happy that I upgraded from the Z20 to the D50 and I believe you will be too. Lenses can get very expensive, thats why I opted to go with an all in one and first to see what I needed to spend my money on as aposed to throwing it all away in the beginning on a lens I didnt need!

britkev
02-20-2006, 12:52 PM
I'm another recent convert from high-end point and shoot to DSLR... I put my outfit below together for just under $1000 last week. It's definitely a starter kit... I do plan to upgrade the glass over the coming months/years, but even as is it's a whole league above the Nikon 8700 I just retired. The 70-300 gives me all the reach I need and the 50mm f1.8 is great for available light portraits. My only (minor) regret is I got cheap and bought the 28-80 lens kit instead of the 18-55... the 28 turns into 42 on the digital body, so I am left a little wanting on the wide-angle end.

CharityJ
02-20-2006, 01:40 PM
The FZ30 is supposed to be a lot faster in terms of shutterspeed and time to focus. My FZ20 can seriously take 2-3 seconds to focus whenever the main focal point isn't clear. That drives me crazy. I also really want the ability to shoot in RAW although from what I'm reading, the RAW processing on the FZ30 isn't that great. And the noise is my major issue with my camera, so the FZ30 definitely falls short there.

Just to prove how stupid I am, can I ask a stupid question? How much of a difference is the image stabilizer going to make? You guys keep talking about it and I hadn't originally thought that it would be a big deal but now I'm wondering if it's going to be a bigger adjustment than I think.

britkev
02-20-2006, 01:53 PM
IS/VR, or whatever you want to call it is a big help when hand-holding long lenses in low light to shoot relatively static subjects... most "affordable" long lenses are fairly slow, typically f/5.6 or worse... handholding you typically want to use a shutter speed faster than 1/focal length to avoid blur from camera shake... so with a 300mm lens on a digital you're going to want something pretty close to 1/500th, which means noisy high ISO in anything but the brightest of sunshine...

VR will pretty much eliminate camera shake at a shutter speed 2-3 stops slower than the 1/f rule, making a 300mm lens useable at 1/60th...

It won't help if you need faster shutter speeds to freeze the motion of your subject.

tim11
02-20-2006, 02:56 PM
.........How much of a difference is the image stabilizer going to make? You guys keep talking about it and I hadn't originally thought that it would be a big deal but now I'm wondering if it's going to be a bigger adjustment than I think.
Try taking a subject hand held, zoom in to the max (12x) with IS on. Then do the same with IS off.
You will see and appreciate Image Stabiliser. It will not save your day, however, if your hands shake excessively or prefer to take photos with one hand.
That's just to answer IS question.

britkev
02-20-2006, 10:21 PM
To add to my comments above about VR/IS, I'm going to steal a thought that I read on another board: think of it not so much as an enhancement to the lens, more as a "virtual tripod".

CharityJ
02-22-2006, 06:05 PM
Alright, I'm interested to know what the biggest adjustment/learning curve has been for you. I think that you guys have definitely convinced me to go for the D50 although I'm still torn on what lens to go with. I think that the FZ20 will be hitting Ebay with all it's many accessories this weekend!

CharityJ
02-22-2006, 06:08 PM
Hey, you're in Philadelphia. I work in Chester and live in Delaware.

The upgraded kit lens and the other 2 you mentioned are actually by now the 3 that I am strongly considering. What do you primarily shoot and do you feel that all your bases are adequately covered?

Warin
02-22-2006, 06:12 PM
Alright, I'm interested to know what the biggest adjustment/learning curve has been for you. I think that you guys have definitely convinced me to go for the D50 although I'm still torn on what lens to go with. I think that the FZ20 will be hitting Ebay with all it's many accessories this weekend!

If you can find it, I would recommend the 18-200 VR. In terms of what it does, it will give you the closest compatibility to your existing gear, without breaking the bank.

then down the road you can upgrade as you like. I turned a buddy onto fast primes last year, and now he shoots about 75% of his photos with his 50mm f/1.8.

britkev
02-22-2006, 06:49 PM
Hey, you're in Philadelphia. I work in Chester and live in Delaware.

The upgraded kit lens and the other 2 you mentioned are actually by now the 3 that I am strongly considering. What do you primarily shoot and do you feel that all your bases are adequately covered?

My main subject these days is my three year old daughter, also my cats, airplanes, butterflies, zoo animals and anything else that grabs my attention.

As I've said in a few threads I am already regretting getting the 28-80 lens... I should have spent that bit extra on the 18-55mm because 28mm just isn't wide enough on a digital body. My toy budget is all spent out for a while now, but I will be looking to pick up a used 18-70DX (the D70 kit lens) since they are in quite plentiful supply now with lots of people upgrading to the new 18-200 VR.

It's been too cold and/or gray for me to give the 70-300mm a workout yet... the lens does have a reputation for being soft, particularly over 200mm... depending on how irritating I find it I may upgrade to the D version fairly soon, but I hope to be able to live with it's limitations while I save up for the $1,500 80-400mm VR.

I'll also be looking for something with macro capabilities - maybe the 105mm f2.8 AF will drop in price or become widely available used when the newly announced VR starts shipping next month.

I haven't had too much of a learning curve with this: I used to shoot film on a Pentax ME Super back in the eighties, and before that I had a Zenith all manual SLR which was a great learning tool. I've been using high-end Coolpixes (5700 & 8700) for the last few years, while lusting after the D70. The D50 finally hit my price point so now I'm a highly satisfied owner.