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View Full Version : Panasonic DMC-FZ20 vs Digital Rebel XT



oskar
03-16-2005, 03:29 AM
I know the comparison is somewhat moot, but I've been looking into the quality of various digital cameras on DCresource and I must say that I haven't seen many cameras that provide as good resolution as the Panasonic DMC-FZ20. Compare these images:

Pansonic DMC-FZ20 (http://www.dcresource.com/reviews/panasonic/dmc_fz20-review/P1000020.JPG)
Canon Digital Rebel XT (http://www.dcresource.com/reviews/canon/digital_rebel_xt-review/IMG_4209.JPG)
Canon Digital Rebel (http://www.dcresource.com/reviews/canon/eos_300d-review/IMG_2105.JPG)

Compared to the Panasonic, these cameras look soft and fuzzy! Or am I totally out of line here?

jeisner
03-16-2005, 03:40 AM
Well you have to factor in the DOF differences, the grass is in focus in the FZ20 and not in the XT picture.... The XT does look a little soft, I have no idea why.... although in the forehead of the statue I see noise in the FZ20 photo that I don't see in the XT photo.... all that said I don't trust tests done by others, especially when they were done at different times (when I compare I do on tripod in same position, and back to back, so same lighting etc)...

All said and done I have compared the images from my FZ20 (before I sold it) to my Pentax *ist DS, and the DS was obviously better, in overall picture quality as well as noise and DOF control, which is VERY limited in All-in-one cameras (I like shallow DOF, generally)...

DiJ
03-16-2005, 09:09 AM
Yes you are right. Your comparison is somewhat moot.

Heres a comparison of FZ20 with a cheaper canon camera with less megapixels:

panasonic (http://www.dcresource.com/reviews/panasonic/dmc_fz20-review/P1000006.JPG)
Canon (http://www.dcresource.com/reviews/canon/powershot_a80-review/IMG_0030.JPG)

speaklightly
03-16-2005, 10:12 AM
Oskar-

Yes, it is a dicussion that has been around before. However, consider this:

Pansonic FZ-20
Only 5mp
no wideangle
less photographic flexibility
Max ISO 400

DigRebel XT
8mp
kit lens has wideangle
Max ISO 1600 or 3200 in the enhanced mode
a wide selection of lenses with stabilization
more photographic flexibility

Sarah Joyce

D70FAN
03-16-2005, 10:22 AM
Well you have to factor in the DOF differences, the grass is in focus in the FZ20 and not in the XT picture.... The XT does look a little soft, I have no idea why.... although in the forehead of the statue I see noise in the FZ20 photo that I don't see in the XT photo.... all that said I don't trust tests done by others, especially when they were done at different times (when I compare I do on tripod in same position, and back to back, so same lighting etc)...

All said and done I have compared the images from my FZ20 (before I sold it) to my Pentax *ist DS, and the DS was obviously better, in overall picture quality as well as noise and DOF control, which is VERY limited in All-in-one cameras (I like shallow DOF, generally)...

Looking at the XT photos, I originally thought that maybe Jeff had left the aperture wide open, but according to the data it was set at f8. Then I realized that maybe he was using the 18-55 kit lens. But then again the 20D photos using the 18-55 turned out pretty nice as was the case with the DReb.

Or maybe it's my D70 bias clouding my vision. ;)

I agree with you on not taking test photos as gospel, as I'm sure that the XT images are at least as good as the DReb (which was pretty good). I will be getting my hands on an XT in the next couple of weeks, just to give it a run, and see if I like it.

speaklightly
03-16-2005, 01:14 PM
George-

Keep in mind that the "kit lens" on the XT is a slightly different "kit lens" than was packaged with the 20D. Perhaps that accounts for the differences that you are observing.

Sarah Joyce

D70FAN
03-16-2005, 02:59 PM
George-

Keep in mind that the "kit lens" on the XT is a slightly different "kit lens" than was packaged with the 20D. Perhaps that accounts for the differences that you are observing.

Sarah Joyce

What was the kit lens with the 20D? The 20D I used (borrowed) had the 17-85 EF-S IS lens which I don't think was standard issue (but a nice lens). I think my comment was aimed more at the DReb images compared to the XT than with the 20D.

Anyway, although the first pictures look ok, they are not what I was expecting, and I hope to get my paws on an XT, for a day or two, in the next couple of weeks.

Jeff Keller
03-16-2005, 03:45 PM
George-

Keep in mind that the "kit lens" on the XT is a slightly different "kit lens" than was packaged with the 20D. Perhaps that accounts for the differences that you are observing.

Sarah Joyce

Actually I'm using the kit lens (18-55) that came with the 20D that I just bought. I think they're the same lens, though one is USM and one's not.

Bluedog
03-16-2005, 06:35 PM
Jeff does the XT come with a USM lense?

chinmi
03-16-2005, 07:51 PM
i don't understand why people like to compare the fz20 with a dslr camera... it obvious that the fz20 is a prosumer class camera, far below the proffesional dslr class camera...


why not comparing the FZ20 with the same class camera like the KMZ3. KMZ5, or the Sony new 12x zoom camera... now that's a fair competition...


infact, in one of my country's camera forum, one of forum member is actually comparing the fz20 with a 1DsMk2... sound an overkill for me...

AllanMarcus
03-16-2005, 09:48 PM
The reason people want to compare the FZ20 and the dSLRs is simple. Many people, me included, are on their second or third digicam and want something better. We are looking at buying a dSLR because 1) the price has dropped dramatically recently and 2) we want something better (faster, higher quality, cooler, you name it). The problem is that we don't want to spend thousands on lens and flashes; we just want to spend a little more, maybe $1200 and know that we are getting something twice as good as the FZ20.

Personally, I'm drawn to the dSLR because of the virtually instant focusing and generally better pictures. I'm worried about the amount of post processing many seem to think is required with dSLR pictures. I have a Olympus C-750UZ that I enjoy, but it is slow to focus and is horrible indoors, although I am generally satisfied with the picture quality. If I get a dSLR, I'd probably go for the rebel (maybe the XT) or the *ist DS. I'm drawn to the rebel for the speed and the IS lens. I'm told the Zoom Wide Angle-Telephoto EF 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS Image Stabilizer USM Autofocus Lens ($400) is fantastic lens, and it would probably be my only lens for a few years.

So I have to ask myself, the rebel with this lens is just over a $1000; the FZ-20 is $500; is it worth $500 more or am I just buying into the commercialism of cost = value?

If I get the canon, I can buy all sort of add-ons and have a real hobby that I will certainly be happy with, but it's a major commitment of both time and money. If I get the FZ-20 then I'm sure I can take great pictures, I can get a few add-ons, save a bundle of money, but I won't have all the camera I can afford, but I will have enough money to take vacations! :-)

Decisions, decisions, decisions.

-Allan

jeisner
03-16-2005, 10:23 PM
"I'm worried about the amount of post processing many seem to think is required with dSLR pictures."

Most do it, but not required....

As for the camera choice, the choice is yours, can you live with the limitations of the fz20, I thought I could and bought it. After two months I sold it and bought the ist DS..... as far as all-in-ones go though the fz20 is awesome.

Sorry if you know this but the 28-135 won't give you wide angle on the XT, it has a 1.6 times cropping factor so it will give you the FOV equivelant of 45-216, decent range but 45mm is far from wide angle, if you don't need wider than that then thats cool...

AllanMarcus
03-17-2005, 12:05 AM
Yes, I know about the lens factor. I don't have a wide angle now, so I wont miss anything. Just one more thing for my family to get me for Christmas! :-)

I take is you don't miss the IS lens?

Did you compare the *ist DS to the Rebel XT in terms of speed (AF, startup, shot to shot)? I'm thinking about the *ist DS, but the 'slowness' scares me, especially since one of the main reasons I want a dSLR is for the speed.

Thanks,

Allan

jeisner
03-17-2005, 12:51 AM
As I said I don't unerstand these 'slow' comment regarding the ist DS, especially with startup, I switch it on and put it to my eye, it is ready.... Actually I just tested it I was able to take a photo, in I reckon about 1 second from the moment I switched it on, held it to my eye switched on (pre framed shot before I turned it on) and it was literally a second and it wass autofocusing (fraction of a second) and the shutter had fired..... What is the XT startup time? 2 milliseconds??? I don't get this fast/slow startup claim, it takes MUCH longer to just lift the camera to my eye than it takes for the camera to be ready....

Autofocus is fairly quick IMHO, I have tried the 20d with some expensive L series lenses, and it is quicker, but not in way that I would find all that much more usefull, if I was a pro sport photographer my opinion may be different?

SoI am not sure about the 'slowness' of the ist DS?? where is this coming from? I am honestly very curious? I have never heard this camera described as slow, ,and it definately isn't slow IMHO, maybe AF is slower than my friends 20D and L lenses, but not slow, just not as fast as lenses built for speed, which I don't need anyway....

D70FAN
03-17-2005, 05:37 AM
As I said I don't unerstand these 'slow' comment regarding the ist DS, especially with startup, I switch it on and put it to my eye, it is ready.... Actually I just tested it I was able to take a photo, in I reckon about 1 second from the moment I switched it on, held it to my eye switched on (pre framed shot before I turned it on) and it was literally a second and it wass autofocusing (fraction of a second) and the shutter had fired..... What is the XT startup time? 2 milliseconds??? I don't get this fast/slow startup claim, it takes MUCH longer to just lift the camera to my eye than it takes for the camera to be ready....

Autofocus is fairly quick IMHO, I have tried the 20d with some expensive L series lenses, and it is quicker, but not in way that I would find all that much more usefull, if I was a pro sport photographer my opinion may be different?

SoI am not sure about the 'slowness' of the ist DS?? where is this coming from? I am honestly very curious? I have never heard this camera described as slow, ,and it definately isn't slow IMHO, maybe AF is slower than my friends 20D and L lenses, but not slow, just not as fast as lenses built for speed, which I don't need anyway....

I have tried all of the consumer grade dSLR's (except the XT and that's comming) and while that doesn't make me an expert, the only one I found to be slow was the DReb (300D). The rest were fine. Maybe the reason that Canon fans are so excited is that the XT now performs with the rest.

It cracks me up that the XT barely performs with the rest of the CdSLR cameras out there and yet it is somehow a miracle that it can do this at the same price level as the competition. Wake up Canon fans, there are cameras and lenses out there that can actually compete at a higher level. ;)

AllanMarcus
03-17-2005, 07:11 AM
Thank you both for you responses. I love talking about this with people who actually care.

The "slow" comment comes from my reading of various forums in the camera community where people have made comments about the AF time for the Pentax. That fact that you verify that it is not slow is good news.

As for George's comments about canon v. other dSLRs, I agree, there are other/better camera than the canon. Personally, I'm torn between the pentax (*ist DS), the olympus (e-volt), and the two rebels. The original rebel is in the $650 with lens. That's nothing to sneeze at for a pretty good camera. The other reason I'm leaning toward one of the rebels are the IS lens, which I think are only available for Canons. The Minolta dSLR is just to expensive.

The questions comes back to: is the Pentax so much better than the Rebel that it's worth the extra money and not having the IS lens? Also, are any other these camera worth the extra money compared to the FZ-20 for the guy that wants faster focus, IS lens, and generally better pictures than my Olympus C750UZ?

I've got questions. Who's got answers?! :-)

-Allan

D70FAN
03-17-2005, 09:24 AM
Thank you both for you responses. I love talking about this with people who actually care.

The "slow" comment comes from my reading of various forums in the camera community where people have made comments about the AF time for the Pentax. That fact that you verify that it is not slow is good news.

As for George's comments about canon v. other dSLRs, I agree, there are other/better camera than the canon. Personally, I'm torn between the pentax (*ist DS), the olympus (e-volt), and the two rebels. The original rebel is in the $650 with lens. That's nothing to sneeze at for a pretty good camera. The other reason I'm leaning toward one of the rebels are the IS lens, which I think are only available for Canons. The Minolta dSLR is just to expensive.

The questions comes back to: is the Pentax so much better than the Rebel that it's worth the extra money and not having the IS lens? Also, are any other these camera worth the extra money compared to the FZ-20 for the guy that wants faster focus, IS lens, and generally better pictures than my Olympus C750UZ?

I've got questions. Who's got answers?! :-)

-Allan

Other dSLR's are not necessariy "better" than Canons offerings, but the original Canon DReb can be classified as the least desirable dSLR, while still being a better choice than most all-in-ones for the casual photographer or beginner. Kudos to Canon for keeping the DReb 300D in the line-up for just that reason. Hopefully, Nikon and others will figure out how to position something in that slot as well. I'm not sure of why you have an aversion to the D70, but it is at least as good, if not better thean the rest of the pack, and the E300 is a part of the four-thirds system which may have it's own drawbacks in the future.

My only concern with Canon at this point is that the latest releases in low cost all-in-ones and also with the XT, is that they are missing little things that made Canon a great value. I wanted to like the A510 but Canon forgot to add the little things that made the A75 a great value. I want to like the XT, but there are too many corners cut when comparing it to others in the class.

As for Canon IS lenses, they are not unique in the market as Nikon has their VR equivalent, and even Sigma has their 80-400mm F4-5.6EX OS lens out there, and I'm sure they are planning more.

If image stabilization is a big concern then you may still want to consider the K-M 7D which has AS (Anti-Shake which is their version of IS) built into the camera. For a fair cost comparison you would have to include the cost of the other cameras with 1 or 2 IS or VR lenses keeping in mind that you can buy very high quality non-image stabilized lenses for a lot less. Suddenly there is no cost difference.

I have not found IS to be that big of a help day-to-day in focal lengths under about 120mm, and I guess I'm just accustomed to carrying a monopod or tripod for long lenses. I've found that, curiously enough, a good tripod/monopod, pillar, tree, building, or fencepost, will stabilize any lens. ;) Additionally, image stabilized lenses are not always a manufacturers best optical quality, and when they are, you will pay dearly.

For lenses in general, Tamron and Sigma (and if you can find them Tokina) make some very nice lenses that can easily compete with the "Brand Names" in quality, at less than half the price. As an example: The Tamron 28-75 f2.8 for $370 is rated at the same level as the Canon 24-70 f2.8 USM for $1139.

So don't get stuck in the "camera brand lenses are better therefore I should buy that camera" rut, as it just isn't the case anymore.

So now you should be free to buy anything you like. As always, try before you buy.

TheObiJuan
03-17-2005, 09:48 AM
the tamron can be had for even CHEAPER now. I saw it posted on FM for $260 with rebates.

and George, you have mentioned the "cut corners" before, what are they?
only thing i would like on the XT would be the jog dial, flash/exposure comp. dial, iso display, AF assist lamp, and thats about it.
just because the camera doesnt have a full frame doesnt make it a high quality build. and personally, I like the light weight body.

AllanMarcus
03-17-2005, 12:33 PM
George (and others)

I realize that there are 3rd parties that make lens, but I thought canon was the only one that makes IS lens. You mentioned lens "ratings"; where can I find ratings for lens? That would be very helpful. Is there an objective scale that lens are rated against?

As for the Nikon D70; great camera, but huge. I might consider it if it cost the same as the Rebel (or just a little more). The "Nikon Zoom Wide Angle-Telephoto AF Zoom Nikkor 24-120mm f/3.5-5.6G ED-IF AF-S VR Autofocus Lens" look very interesting at $484. Coupled with a D70 ($750) and for under $1250 one would have a great system. About the same price as the RebelXT and the canon lens. The Nikon goes back on my list! :-)

As far as money, my thought was to get a Rebel and the 28-135 IS lens, and that's about it. That's just over $100. I might get a stronger telephoto at some point for another $150 (or $400 to get the IS version). even then, I'm paying less for the rebel and a lens then I would for just the minolta body. remember, not everyone can afford more than a couple of lens, nor do they want so many.

I wonder why everyone keeps comparing the RebelXT to the 20 and not to the Rebel? I guess a lot of rebel owners are deciding if it's worth the money to "upgrade". Us new buyers will need to wait for the mainline reviews.

Again, I appreciate the input.

D70FAN
03-17-2005, 01:05 PM
the tamron can be had for even CHEAPER now. I saw it posted on FM for $260 with rebates.

and George, you have mentioned the "cut corners" before, what are they?
only thing i would like on the XT would be the jog dial, flash/exposure comp. dial, iso display, AF assist lamp, and thats about it.
just because the camera doesnt have a full frame doesnt make it a high quality build. and personally, I like the light weight body.

It's just the little things, like the LCD display is a little lower resolution (not much, but lower than the 300D. The viewfinder is a little smaller. Several settings functions have been moved to the main menu and require a confirming button press. Still no spot metering. The AF assist is the pop-up flash. No grid-overlay option in the viewfinder. Shutter speed limited to 1/4000 sec. Flash sync limited to 1/200 sec.. Smaller, cheaper battery (not good news for 300D owners wanting to upgrade).

While you may like smaller and lighter it also means that it was cheaper to make, which in the end may make no difference at all except Canons bottom line.

Don't get me wrong here, I think the XT is a great improvement over the 300D, and it's a good camera, but not a great camera (unless you already have Canon mount lenses ;) ). So for the same price why would you buy a lesser camera?

Again, my point is that Nikon spent the time to bring out a really great camera for the price, without compromise, and added the nice touches that make the camera a pleasure to use.

I wouldn't have a problem using the XT day-to-day. But as long as the D70 keeps running why would I want to? :D

ericb
03-17-2005, 07:30 PM
As for the camera choice, the choice is yours, can you live with the limitations of the fz20, I thought I could and bought it. After two months I sold it and bought the ist DS..... as far as all-in-ones go though the fz20 is awesome.


What specific problems did you encounter with the fz20? I am guessing it was the noise issue..do you do a lot of action/sports photography by any chance?

The reason I ask is that I am trying to decide between going with the all in one fz20 & a wide angle adapter or making the step up to a dSLR..with the ist DS my leading candidate at the moment - due to portability, cost, & solid performance.

I think the ist DS makes a better long term solution for me, but I'm not sure I can completely justify the money at this moment (life is full of compromises :(). In the near term my needs are:

- I'm taking a 2 week trip to Alaska this summer and wanted a long zoom for wildlife photos (but still need a wide angle for landscape shots)
- I have 2 daughters that play soccer and swim competitively so I would like a zoom that can get close up action shots (while keeping me dry and off the field of play!)

This second item is somewhat compounded by the fact that they play soccer and swim year round..which means the cold weather months are spent at indoor facilities. Although I have to say its almost impossible to get a clear shot at some of these swim meets unless you can get on deck (indoor soccer is worse with the nets that cover the whole field).

The high ISO capability of a dSLR makes the most sense, but the cost of two lenses (probably the package lens + a long zoom lens) may make it difficult to justify the final cost to my wife (at least in the near term)..decisions, decisions. :confused:

jeisner
03-17-2005, 10:15 PM
What problems made me switch to ist DS from FZ20...

1) EVF, it is crappy, sorry but it blanks out (or freezes) when you take a photo makes it hard to follow action, I guess SLR does that too but far less noticable...

2) EVF makes manual focusing much harder IHMO, I like macro work and I got decent shots with macro lens attachments, but manual focus was much less precise with the EVF when compared to a proper viewfinder.

3) IS was nice, fun feature but high ISO is far more practical for me. IS helps freeze your shaking but it doesn't help at all to freeze the subjects action, especially in lower light situations, like it seems you may actually need?

4) Speciallised lenses, I love the choice ;-)

5) Longer exposure times possible with DSLR.

6) Bright lenses, I use my 50mm f1.7 a lot, as I like to avoid using flash.

There is more but I'm at work and should avoid getting caught ;-)

AllanMarcus
03-18-2005, 06:16 AM
While you may like smaller and lighter it also means that it was cheaper to make, which in the end may make no difference at all except Canons bottom line.

Actually, smaller is usually more expensive to design and produce.


I wouldn't have a problem using the XT day-to-day. But as long as the D70 keeps running why would I want to? :D

Great news if you already have a dSLR, but if you are looking to buy a new one, the smaller size of the Canon is very appealing to many (people with smaller hands, and those that want to carry the camera around all day on hike, say.).

D70FAN
03-18-2005, 09:03 AM
Actually, smaller is usually more expensive to design and produce.



Great news if you already have a dSLR, but if you are looking to buy a new one, the smaller size of the Canon is very appealing to many (people with smaller hands, and those that want to carry the camera around all day on hike, say.).

Your first assumption is only correct when talking about miniaturization. Definately not the case with the XT.

I'm just thinking that people would want the most value for their hard earned dollars, and there are 3 other choices out there that can meet, or exceed, the XT's capability for the same amount of money.

People with small hands don't necessarily need a small camera. My wife has small hands and prefers the larger grip of my D70 to her Sony S85. Additionally I pack my camera all over the world, and considering the total weight, the 2.5 ounces weight savings offered by the XT is no big deal, and is due primarily to the smaller battery.

Again, I'm not trying to discourage folks from buying the XT, but there are other choices out there that may be better suited to individual needs. The XT is a "catch-up" camera, not a panacea.

AllanMarcus
03-18-2005, 11:41 AM
I'm just thinking that people would want the most value for thier hard earned dollars, and there are 3 other choices out there that can meet, or exceed, the XT's capability for the same amount of money.
...
considering the total weight, the 2.5 ounces weight savings offered by the XT is no big deal, and is due primarily to the smaller battery.


Good points! Just so that I'm not missing anything, the three cameras you mention are the Pentax *ist DS, the Olympus e-Volt and the Nikon D70?

As for the weight, I wasn't referring to packing the camera and lugging around in case; I was referring to having on on a neck strap. When you are walking around Yellowstone all day, even 2.5 oz. around your next is extra weight you sometimes wish you didn't have.

I'm getting very excited about getting a dSLR. I just wish I could pick one! :-)

D70FAN
03-18-2005, 01:09 PM
Good points! Just so that I'm not missing anything, the three cameras you mention are the Pentax *ist DS, the Olympus e-Volt and the Nikon D70?

As for the weight, I wasn't referring to packing the camera and lugging around in case; I was referring to having on on a neck strap. When you are walking around Yellowstone all day, even 2.5 oz. around your next is extra weight you sometimes wish you didn't have.

I'm getting very excited about getting a dSLR. I just wish I could pick one! :-)

The E-Volt was thrown in to appease the Olympus fans. It is smaller than most and it is a nice camera but it's missing a few features that I like (like an info LCD) on a dSLR. The four-thirds (i.e.4:3) system (which means that it is the same aspect ratio as your old TV and most consumer all-in-ones) may be the wave of the future. Hey, it works for medium format film.

Since I keep my D70 in a TLZ Mini (shoulder slung) when I'm not shooting. I rarely use the neck strap except as a wrap around in case my right hand, for some reason, lets go of the big fat grip.

Again, when I'm shooting the weight is not as important as the balance.

I would like to say go out and buy "X" camera, but you really need to spend a little time trying them out, and decide what you like, and not what some shmuck like me advises you to buy. Any of the current dSLR's will give you great pictures.

AllanMarcus
03-19-2005, 09:35 AM
I'm excited. We have two camera stores in Santa Fe, and one of them has all the dSLRs I want to try! I'm going to go there today and play with them.

Now to a different question. How much more should I spend at the local store over buying the products on the internet? I would like to support my local shop, but if they charge list for the cameras, plus 6% sales tax, that a lot more than over the internet. I'm thinking a 10-15% premium (including tax) over the internet prices is appropriate.

D70FAN
03-19-2005, 05:45 PM
I'm excited. We have two camera stores in Santa Fe, and one of them has all the dSLRs I want to try! I'm going to go there today and play with them.

Now to a different question. How much more should I spend at the local store over buying the products on the internet? I would like to support my local shop, but if they charge list for the cameras, plus 6% sales tax, that a lot more than over the internet. I'm thinking a 10-15% premium (including tax) over the internet prices is appropriate.

I have to be honest, I always buy my cameras from Norman Camera in Michigan. I usually buy lenses and accesories from my local guys, unless the difference is over 15%. Just the tax alone is around $72 on a $900 body, and shipping is less than $30.

So I guess the magic number for me is 15%.