PDA

View Full Version : New FZs--what's your opinion?



PixChick
08-25-2004, 07:27 PM
I am curious to know what anyone thinks about the benefits of choosing the FZ-20 over the FZ-15, or vice versa. I know that there are no reviews yet and the FZ-15 is MIA while the FZ-20 (and FZ-3 for that matter) has hit the stores and even has a few sample photos to be found. There are very few differences between the two (the 15 and 20) and I am curious as to what anyone thinks might be an issue to the average person when considering which one to buy. In other words, is a hot shoe and an extra MP that big of a deal?? How about the noise factor?

Thanks for your thoughts

PixChick :)

John_Reed
08-25-2004, 10:22 PM
I am curious to know what anyone thinks about the benefits of choosing the FZ-20 over the FZ-15, or vice versa. I know that there are no reviews yet and the FZ-15 is MIA while the FZ-20 (and FZ-3 for that matter) has hit the stores and even has a few sample photos to be found. There are very few differences between the two (the 15 and 20) and I am curious as to what anyone thinks might be an issue to the average person when considering which one to buy. In other words, is a hot shoe and an extra MP that big of a deal?? How about the noise factor?

Thanks for your thoughts

PixChick :)Me, I've always thought 2MP was enough to satisfy most people's shooting needs - 4MP gives you some cropping room, 5MP gives you even more cropping room, but with the 12X zoom, you can do a lot of composition right in the camera as you're shooting, so a little more cropping room isn't a big deal to me. I think the FZ15 should show lower noise levels, i.e., be able to shoot more cleanly at higher ISOs, but that's a subjective feeling based on the FZ15's larger sensor sites, and the FZ20 results I've seen so far indicate that noise is pretty well under control anyway. If you look really closely at the specs, you'll see that the FZ15's burst rate is 4 frames/second vs. 3 frames/second for the FZ20, and also I think its continuous shooting rate (until the card is full) is faster. I do a lot of "burst" shooting, so that'd make a difference. One advantage of the FZ15 would be an image file size that's 20% smaller than image files of the FZ20, so your memory card will hold just that many more images. Lastly, on the flash, I'm one of the rare people who thinks the FZ10 flash is more than adequate, and the new FZ15/FZ20 flashes are supposed to have more range than the FZ10. Me, I wouldn't pay anything for the flash shoe. If that series of answers tells you that I'd probably be at least as happy, if not happier, with the FZ15, you're getting my drift. On the other hand, if someone gave me an FZ20, I'd still keep it! ;)

PixChick
08-25-2004, 10:43 PM
Me, I've always thought 2MP was enough to satisfy most people's shooting needs - 4MP gives you some cropping room, 5MP gives you even more cropping room, but with the 12X zoom, you can do a lot of composition right in the camera as you're shooting, so a little more cropping room isn't a big deal to me. I think the FZ15 should show lower noise levels, i.e., be able to shoot more cleanly at higher ISOs, but that's a subjective feeling based on the FZ15's larger sensor sites, and the FZ20 results I've seen so far indicate that noise is pretty well under control anyway. If you look really closely at the specs, you'll see that the FZ15's burst rate is 4 frames/second vs. 3 frames/second for the FZ20, and also I think its continuous shooting rate (until the card is full) is faster. I do a lot of "burst" shooting, so that'd make a difference. One advantage of the FZ15 would be an image file size that's 20% smaller than image files of the FZ20, so your memory card will hold just that many more images. Lastly, on the flash, I'm one of the rare people who thinks the FZ10 flash is more than adequate, and the new FZ15/FZ20 flashes are supposed to have more range than the FZ10. Me, I wouldn't pay anything for the flash shoe. If that series of answers tells you that I'd probably be at least as happy, if not happier, with the FZ15, you're getting my drift. On the other hand, if someone gave me an FZ20, I'd still keep it! ;)

Thanks for pointing out the info about the burst rate and the continuous shooting differences. I hadn't noticed that info. Good point about the file sizes too. I have kind of been wondering to myself if the 15 might just turn out to be a *better* camera than the 20. I don't know that the flash shoe would make much difference to me. I have been debating whether I care about that extra MP only b/c I am sort of a "crop-o-holic" but then again, with the 12x zoom, hopefully I won't have to do so much cropping. I will be very interested to see what the reviews have to say when they are available. Any thoughts on the different ISO settings for the two (64 vs 80)? I wonder what is up with the 15 and why is not being sold yet??

PixChick :)

Listener
08-26-2004, 06:00 AM
I'm very interested to know about the fz20's 80 ISO on the low end - pros and cons.

John_Reed
08-26-2004, 07:31 AM
Any thoughts on the different ISO settings for the two (64 vs 80)? I wonder what is up with the 15 and why is not being sold yet??One other slight difference between the FZ20 and the FZ15 is that for the FZ20, Panasonic gave up a millimeter of wideangle to get 12 milllimeters more telephoto extension (36-432 vs 35-420). Maybe it just lets them edge out the Minolta Z3 in the zoom race? (Off the subject, but an on-line friend who bought both an FZ20 and Z3 for comparison has already sent the Z3 back, says "it's crap." Maybe she got a lemon?)

I understand the FZ15 is supposed to become available around Sept. 8th. Hmmmm. That's my wedding anniversary. Wife, are you listening? :rolleyes:

Without comparing the two cameras' noise levels at minimum ISO, the ISO 80 vs. ISO 64 choice for the FZ20/FZ15 respectively is hard to figure. If I were designing a new camera, I suppose I would lower the ISO to the point of "no more noise," and then why go below that? Considering the relative sensor sizes, I'd expect the FZ20 to be the "ISO 64" model, and the FZ15 to be the "ISO 80" model. When comparing camera speeds to other cameras, both are faster than ISO 50, so the already-fastest f2.8 Leica lens gets a further boost from the higher minimum ISO. I do know that my FZ10's ISO 50 images are virtually noise-free; Noise Ninja couldn't find a noise signature to calibrate on when I tried it on an ISO 50 image. And Panasonic has introduced some new noise-filtering tactics with its Venus II engine, so maybe they can push the envelope on up to 64 or 80 and still be "noise-free." Time will tell, time will tell.

PixChick
08-26-2004, 01:21 PM
I think the FZ15 should show lower noise levels, i.e., be able to shoot more cleanly at higher ISOs, but that's a subjective feeling based on the FZ15's larger sensor sites, and the FZ20 results I've seen so far indicate that noise is pretty well under control anyway.

Can you explain to me what you mean by "larger sensor sites?" I am just not familar with that terminology. I thought I had seen that both the 15 and the 20 had the same size sensor, so do you mean relative size, considering difference in MP, or is there something else that I don't know? I would definitely think that the ISO 80 should go in the 15 as a result, but then again, if the noise levels have been low on the 20 from what we have seen, then you just get the benefit of the extra speed, and that is nice. Still thinking that the 15 might be the way to go, as long as the extra MP doesn't make a difference (which it probably doesn't for most purposes), and the lower price certainly helps too. I am anxious to see some professional reviews of both (if anyone actually reviews both).

PixChick:)

John_Reed
08-26-2004, 01:42 PM
Can you explain to me what you mean by "larger sensor sites?" I am just not familar with that terminology. I thought I had seen that both the 15 and the 20 had the same size sensor, so do you mean relative size, considering difference in MP, or is there something else that I don't know?The FZ15 can't possibly have the same sensor as the FZ20, since the former's sensor contains 4M sites, and the latter's contains 5M sites (give or take a few!) As each sensor is the same physical size, that means that the FZ20's CCD sensor has 25% more sensing sites in the same area of the FZ15's CCD sensor. Ergo, the area consumed by each sensing site of the FZ20 is ~80% of the corresponding area of the FZ15's sensing site. In DRAM design (a field in which some even refer to me as a "pioneer") we used to think that we could keep reducing memory cell geometries from generation to generation, just evolve with the shrinking technology. But it was discovered back in the late '70s that there was a minimum memory capacitor "critical charge", and if you went below that, memories started to get unreliable, subject to "alpha-particle" disturbances, or "soft errors." Likewise, with the CCD sensors in digital cameras, the smaller the sensing site becomes, the more susceptible it will be to random disturbances not related to the imaging information it's supposed to be faithfully storing. The consequences of smaller sensing sites seem to be manifest in today's current crop of 8MP fixed-lens cameras, none of which seems to have totally put the "noise" issue to bed yet. Long-winded answer to your question? :(

PixChick
08-26-2004, 02:00 PM
The FZ15 can't possibly have the same sensor as the FZ20, since the former's sensor contains 4M sites, and the latter's contains 5M sites (give or take a few!) As each sensor is the same physical size, that means that the FZ20's CCD sensor has 25% more sensing sites in the same area of the FZ15's CCD sensor. Ergo, the area consumed by each sensing site of the FZ20 is ~80% of the corresponding area of the FZ15's sensing site. In DRAM design (a field in which some even refer to me as a "pioneer") we used to think that we could keep reducing memory cell geometries from generation to generation, just evolve with the shrinking technology. But it was discovered back in the late '70s that there was a minimum memory capacitor "critical charge", and if you went below that, memories started to get unreliable, subject to "alpha-particle" disturbances, or "soft errors." Likewise, with the CCD sensors in digital cameras, the smaller the sensing site becomes, the more susceptible it will be to random disturbances not related to the imaging information it's supposed to be faithfully storing. The consequences of smaller sensing sites seem to be manifest in today's current crop of 8MP fixed-lens cameras, none of which seems to have totally put the "noise" issue to bed yet. Long-winded answer to your question? :(

Thank you for the explanation, I appreciate the detail. That makes sense to me, I just hadn't heard the term sensor sites, only sensor, so I was unsure of what that meant. I am glad to know a bit more of the technical aspect of sensors in the cameras. I understood before that the more MP you pack into a censor without changing the size, the more noise you end up with, but I didn't really know the reasons. I enjoy knowing how things work, so thank you. I guess when I said "same sensor" I meant same physical sensor size, but I didn't have enough knowledge to say it that way. Again, thanks! And by the way--I did not find that long-winded at all :D

Oh, yes--would you mind telling me what "DRAM" is? This is all very interesting to me!

PixChick :)

John_Reed
08-26-2004, 04:11 PM
Oh, yes--would you mind telling me what "DRAM" is? This is all very interesting to me!"DRAM" is an acronym for "Dynamic Random Access Memory," which is the type of memory that your computer uses for its "main frame" memory. "Dynamic" means that information (data) is stored in little teensy capacitors on silicon chips, and left to its own devices, the data would fade away in time, if it weren't for the periodic "refreshing" that's performed to keep DRAM data fresh. The first DRAM in the world to hit volume production was the 1,024 bit Intel i1103, which I designed and brought to market for them back in late 1970. Nowadays there are DRAM chips with 1,000,000,000 bits of memory. Just as a history calibration, it would take maybe a million i1103 chips to duplicate the memory functions inside my "little" FZ10!

banderson317
08-26-2004, 07:06 PM
I can live without the hot shoe - something I wouldn't need or want all the time.
I can live without the extra MP - something I wouldn't need all the time - I can't imagine printing something that large and with the 12x zone, not as much need for cropping.
Less noticeable noise - now that's something I would want and expect in every picture.

So if the FZ15 can deliver a better quality picture than the FZ20 then I'm sold on the FZ15.

Therefore, in theory (without samples) if the sensors on both cameras are the same size (1/2.5) then does an extra MP in the FZ20 mean more noise?

Brian :confused:

PixChick
08-26-2004, 07:11 PM
Therefore, in theory (without samples) if the sensors on both cameras are the same size (1/2.5) then does an extra MP in the FZ20 mean more noise?

Brian :confused:


In theory, I would imagine that to be the case, but as John pointed out, the noise levels on the FZ-10 were low to non-existant at ISO 50, so *hopefully* the 20 will still deliver good results. There are some samples from the 20 to be found, but no pro reviews. There are conflicting opinions about the 20, but it is really too early to tell. I am waiting for more info, and waiting for the 15 to become available.

PixChick :)

banderson317
08-26-2004, 07:24 PM
At this point are you then leaning towards the FZ15. Its tough for me because this is my first digital camera and all the photos I've looked at are usually 4x6 - not big enough to analyze. So when I looked at these sample photos that are twice as big as my screen, you start to notice little things but then am I being too picky? Anyways, this camera research is starting to drive me nuts. The longer you wait, the better and cheaper the cameras get!

Brian :eek:

PixChick
08-26-2004, 08:21 PM
At this point are you then leaning towards the FZ15. Its tough for me because this is my first digital camera and all the photos I've looked at are usually 4x6 - not big enough to analyze. So when I looked at these sample photos that are twice as big as my screen, you start to notice little things but then am I being too picky? Anyways, this camera research is starting to drive me nuts. The longer you wait, the better and cheaper the cameras get!

Brian :eek:

Well, I can't say that I am for sure leaning toward the 15, but it seems like it may be a good choice. Most people will say that 4MP is plenty for the average person and I doubt I will need a hot shoe. John made a good point about the different burst modes and that is a factor for me but maybe not for some. The bottom line will be which one is better in terms of the picture quality. It may be negligable and then you can consider the fact that there is a $100 price difference. To me, it doesn't seem like there is that much about the 20 that would justify getting it, unless I wanted one TODAY and the 15 isn't available. So, maybe I am leaning toward the 15???

As far as the whole picky factor (and I am about as picky as they come) I would ask if you are going to print giant sized pics. Or are you going to print 4x6 and 5x7's? Try printing some of those sample pics (but don't use them in a way that would violate anyones copyright!) at the size you want. Look at them that way and if they look good to you, then I wouldn't worry about anything. Better yet, print out some sample photos from other cameras and compare if you can. If it is really bothersome to you to have noise that is seen only in a blown up version, then look for a camera that doesn't have that problem. I think that the noise factor is probably minimal with these Panasonics, though, so really it is just a comparison between the FZ 15 and the FZ 20 that interests me-- and what peoples thoughts are concerning the overall pros and cons for either one (only in comparison to each other though).

If you are only concerned about noise, you can always get software to reduce it, like Noise Ninja or Neat Image. I don't have experience with either one, but people seem to like them from what I read.

PixChick :)

MotoBusa
08-26-2004, 10:43 PM
Jump in if I'm mistaken, but I seem to recall the 20 would let you record audio to annotate your still pics while the 15 does not.

I'm also eagerly awaiting reviews on both. I've been researching "big zoom" digital cameras intensely for the past 2 months. I'm also getting anxious about the delay in the 15's release. I have a trip planned to New Hampshire around 9/10 and REALLY wanted to take a camera! I've never seen the fall foliage in person and will be sick if I have to go without a means to bring it back with me. My only camera now is a 4 yr old, 2 MP, 0x Zoom Kodak that probably couldn't be sold for $20. :)

John, I appreciated your comments about the potential for extra noise, given that the 20's sensors are taxed more than the 15's. I've been wondering about how the manufacturers were increasing MP w/o increasing the CCD size. Thanks!

I can't wait ... I can't wait ... I can't wait! :D

judge9847
08-27-2004, 02:01 AM
You know, I'm continuously amazed at how some threads here at DCRP develop into very, very interesting and informative issues. There are some really intelligent questions - along with answers! - and the degree to which others will share their knowledge and experience is absolutely second to none. This thread's absolutely no different.

So at the risk of being a bit "off thread", it leads me to start thinking about what the future might hold for digital cameras. How far can technology reasonably go in the search for the better and better (perfect?) electronically captured image?

Is it likely to be a case of larger and larger sensors with more and more "sites" or is there a physical limit that will be reached? What about dSLR technology? Is there any feel for the "ultimate" techology in that field? Or will technology be developing to make the captured images more "natural" in output? Or anything else for that matter ... :)

I've seen it said that in terms of the timeline for the development of the motor car, computers are just beyond the "Model T" stage. If that's true then there are going to be some staggering developments in the years to come!! And what about the same comparison with digital cameras? Compared with the motor car, just how far are we down the timeline of development?

Anyone like to hazard some opinions/guesses?

Janet
08-27-2004, 05:05 AM
Since I was thinking of buying the F20 until I read that the F15 might be better due to burst mode and noise, I would like to learn more about noise. Could anyone please refer me to a picture on the net that definitely shows noise so I will know exactly what you are talking about? Doesn't matter what kind of camera, just one that is noisey!
Thanks, Janet

Listener
08-27-2004, 05:23 AM
Since I was thinking of buying the F20 until I read that the F15 might be better due to burst mode and noise, I would like to learn more about noise. Could anyone please refer me to a picture on the net that definitely shows noise so I will know exactly what you are talking about? Doesn't matter what kind of camera, just one that is noisey!
Thanks, Janet


Here's a nice noisy indoor shot from a Konica Minolta A2:
http://tinyurl.com/5q6vk

and an outdoor shot from a Nikon 8700:
http://tinyurl.com/54aqb

(with thanks to steves-digicams.com)

Listener
08-27-2004, 05:29 AM
If those links don't work go here:

http://www.steves-digicams.com/2004_reviews/a2_samples.html

and click on the PICT0458_iso800.JPG image. Lots of good noise.

and here:

http://www.steves-digicams.com/2004_reviews/nikon8700_samples.html

click on DSCN0439.JPG (bottom row, middle shot).

Janet
08-27-2004, 06:08 AM
Thanks Listner

So noise from a camera seems to be the same as what you get from digital zoom. Don't like that!

Janet

Listener
08-27-2004, 07:34 AM
I can live without the hot shoe - something I wouldn't need or want all the time.
I can live without the extra MP - something I wouldn't need all the time - I can't imagine printing something that large and with the 12x zone, not as much need for cropping.
Less noticeable noise - now that's something I would want and expect in every picture.

So if the FZ15 can deliver a better quality picture than the FZ20 then I'm sold on the FZ15.

Therefore, in theory (without samples) if the sensors on both cameras are the same size (1/2.5) then does an extra MP in the FZ20 mean more noise?

Brian :confused:

I really don't think so and if there were more noise on the 20 I would think it would be slight. If the FZ20 were an 8 megapixel then we could expect a lot more noise. I think the picture quality on both will be similar. Of course we won't know until a head-to-head comparsion of shots. I should get my FZ20 on Tuesday and will put it through its paces and report back, with some shots I hope. (Can I upload images here?)

I also went with the fz20 because it records audio with video. Although the video ability was not really an important factor for me, it is a cool feature and I would just as soon have audio with it.

Listener
08-28-2004, 09:28 PM
Thanks Listner

So noise from a camera seems to be the same as what you get from digital zoom. Don't like that!

Janet


Not sure I follow you there....

Noise is a funtion of the camera sensor not the zoom.

See:

http://www.photoxels.com/tutorial_noise.html


"Digital" zoom discards pixels around the edge of an image, fitting the remaining pixels into the same space to give the appearance of zoom. So digital zoom comes at the expense of resolution. Different thing. But with a 12x optical zoom on the FZ20 I would think using the "digital" zoom a bit of overkill, although it might be interesting for special effects.

PixChick
08-29-2004, 11:45 AM
So noise from a camera seems to be the same as what you get from digital zoom. Don't like that!

Janet


I think that a good way to describe noise would be a look that is "grainy," while digital zoom would create more a distorted, possibly blurry look. No one really uses digital zoom, at least that I know of, very often if at all, and the optical on these Panasonics is plenty anyway. The optical zoom is one of the best features of these cameras, along with the IS. At least that is my opinion.

PixChick :)

John_Reed
08-29-2004, 01:35 PM
I think that a good way to describe noise would be a look that is "grainy," while digital zoom would create more a distorted, possibly blurry look. No one really uses digital zoom, at least that I know of, very often if at all, and the optical on these Panasonics is plenty anyway. The optical zoom is one of the best features of these cameras, along with the IS. At least that is my opinion.
PixChick :)If you like to shoot little birds, who don't like perching near humans with cameras, you'll find that the Panasonic optical zoom isn't "plenty." In fact, I often use an Olympus TCON-17, (1.7X) which stretches the effective focal length out to ~700mm, and when even that isn't enough, I've been known to use a little DZ, in this case, 1.8X, compounded with the TCON's 1.7X:
http://john-reed.smugmug.com/photos/7143481-M.jpg

PixChick
08-29-2004, 07:57 PM
If you like to shoot little birds, who don't like perching near humans with cameras, you'll find that the Panasonic optical zoom isn't "plenty." In fact, I often use an Olympus TCON-17, (1.7X) which stretches the effective focal length out to ~700mm, and when even that isn't enough, I've been known to use a little DZ, in this case, 1.8X, compounded with the TCON's 1.7X:


My apologies--I seem to have spoken inappropriately! I would agree that you will need to supplement the zoom on almost any camera (save maybe an SLR type which would have you change lenses instead) to do some serious birding photography. I am sure there are other instances when you would need the extra zoom also. I should have clarified, but I was meaning what I said (about the 12x being enough) in terms of the average consumer type of photography. I was lead to believe that a large number of people visiting this site fall more into that category (of course, maybe that is wrong too) and was speaking to that end. However, I of course appreciate that you and others with your knowledge and skill level frequent this site, giving advice, insight, and education to everyone in need or want. Forgive me for not being precise. I am sure that no matter how much zoom a camera has, or what lens we attach, there will probably always be a situation where we could use more.

And I would be remiss if I did not comment--Fantastic picture!!

PixChick :)

kloid
09-01-2004, 12:04 PM
If you need some FZ20 samples to print, email me at nick@kloid.com
I will send you a few of mine at full size and you can see if you like what you get. I am about t pick up 10 8x10 and 6 4x6 prints in 50 minutes from walgreens.

PixChick
09-01-2004, 08:10 PM
If you need some FZ20 samples to print, email me at nick@kloid.com
I will send you a few of mine at full size and you can see if you like what you get. I am about t pick up 10 8x10 and 6 4x6 prints in 50 minutes from walgreens.

Have you taken any "people shots?" How is the red-eye? How fast is the camera when used with flash? Thanks for the information. I know many people are anxiously awaiting a professional review of this cam.

How much post-processing did you do to the shots you mentioned in your post?

PixChick :)

D70FAN
09-01-2004, 09:52 PM
Have you taken any "people shots?" How is the red-eye? How fast is the camera when used with flash? Thanks for the information. I know many people are anxiously awaiting a professional review of this cam.

How much post-processing did you do to the shots you mentioned in your post?

PixChick :)

Note: I just realized that I am attaching the wrong quote, so plese consider this an answer to your earlier reply to John.

Even though people use digital zoom, the consesus is, and justifiably so, that digital zoom, by itself, is not sufficient, and cameras offering only digital zoom are no more than junk.

When digital cameras were equiped with 1.3MP and 2MP (dark ages, 5 years ago) using digital zoom tended to seriously degrade the picture, as all you were really doing was cropping an already under-resolute image.

Now, virtually every digital camera has optical zoom, and sensors larger than 3.2 MegaPixels so conservative digital zoom (in-camera cropping) is acceptable. You could also do this with post-processing (by cropping), but many times you want the close-up (like Johns sparrow) without post processing. With 4+ MegaPixels, to play with, you now certainly have some creative leeway.

The rule of thumb though, is use digital zoom sparingly (less than 2X for 4-5MP), and not as a general methodology. At 2X digital zoom your 4MP image is now 2MP.

PixChick
09-01-2004, 10:44 PM
My apologies--I seem to have spoken inappropriately! I would agree that you will need to supplement the zoom on almost any camera (save maybe an SLR type which would have you change lenses instead) to do some serious birding photography. I am sure there are other instances when you would need the extra zoom also. I should have clarified, but I was meaning what I said (about the 12x being enough) in terms of the average consumer type of photography. I was lead to believe that a large number of people visiting this site fall more into that category (of course, maybe that is wrong too) and was speaking to that end. However, I of course appreciate that you and others with your knowledge and skill level frequent this site, giving advice, insight, and education to everyone in need or want. Forgive me for not being precise. I am sure that no matter how much zoom a camera has, or what lens we attach, there will probably always be a situation where we could use more.

And I would be remiss if I did not comment--Fantastic picture!!

PixChick :)

Is this the quote in question?

John_Reed
09-01-2004, 11:19 PM
My apologies--I seem to have spoken inappropriately! I would agree that you will need to supplement the zoom on almost any camera (save maybe an SLR type which would have you change lenses instead) to do some serious birding photography. I am sure there are other instances when you would need the extra zoom also. I should have clarified, but I was meaning what I said (about the 12x being enough) in terms of the average consumer type of photography. I was lead to believe that a large number of people visiting this site fall more into that category (of course, maybe that is wrong too) and was speaking to that end. However, I of course appreciate that you and others with your knowledge and skill level frequent this site, giving advice, insight, and education to everyone in need or want. Forgive me for not being precise. I am sure that no matter how much zoom a camera has, or what lens we attach, there will probably always be a situation where we could use more.Thanks for the kudos. You must be a lawyer? ;) No need to apologize. No, I'm not a professional photographer either. But I did find early on in using my FZ1 (same zoom specs as the FZ10, 20) that "420mm" wasn't quite enough to come even close to filling the frame for sparrows and finches at the distance they like to stay away from humans. So I bought the Olympus TCON-17 and an adapter to use it with my FZ1 to get that much (1.7X) closer. The FZ1 was only a 2MP camera, so I couldn't do much digital zoom, as George says (actually George, I think the pixel falloff goes by the square of the digital zoom power, if I'm not mistaken). With the FZ10, I was initially quite sparing in using DZ, but then I began to see that others were getting decently sharp results venturing into the digital zoom range, so I tried it and was pleasantly surprised that I could still get decent sharpness. But the need for more zoom doesn't stop at little birds; I went to the San Francisco Zoo yesterday with a friend (carrying an FZ20), and every one of my animal shots was taken with the TCON-17, though I didn't use any digital zoom there. I will say that using a camera capable of sharp captures at long distances can be addictive; it certainly is fun!

PixChick
09-02-2004, 07:28 AM
Thanks for the kudos. You must be a lawyer? ;) No need to apologize. No, I'm not a professional photographer either. But I did find early on in using my FZ1 (same zoom specs as the FZ10, 20) that "420mm" wasn't quite enough to come even close to filling the frame for sparrows and finches at the distance they like to stay away from humans. So I bought the Olympus TCON-17 and an adapter to use it with my FZ1 to get that much (1.7X) closer. The FZ1 was only a 2MP camera, so I couldn't do much digital zoom, as George says (actually George, I think the pixel falloff goes by the square of the digital zoom power, if I'm not mistaken). With the FZ10, I was initially quite sparing in using DZ, but then I began to see that others were getting decently sharp results venturing into the digital zoom range, so I tried it and was pleasantly surprised that I could still get decent sharpness. But the need for more zoom doesn't stop at little birds; I went to the San Francisco Zoo yesterday with a friend (carrying an FZ20), and every one of my animal shots was taken with the TCON-17, though I didn't use any digital zoom there. I will say that using a camera capable of sharp captures at long distances can be addictive; it certainly is fun!

Actually, no, I'm not a laywer, although you wouldn't be the first one to ask :D . I've had many a person comment that I should be one (including lawyers) though! Nope I'm just a (former) math teacher.

Anyhow, thanks for the insight about the digital zoom and the TCON-17. I looked up the TCON-17 and it is well within my budget so I may add that to my toy list.

By the way, any remarks about the new FZ-20? I guess you haven't seen the finished pictures it produced?

PixChick :)

snowflake1996
09-02-2004, 08:30 AM
Yes, but if you get the FZ20 at Circuit City, when it is only $539 (on-line and when they are in-stock which is hour to hour), then it is only costing you an extra $40 for the extra megapixl, etc. So that for only $40, even if you won't use it too often, it might be worth it.

Listener
09-02-2004, 09:23 AM
By the way, any remarks about the new FZ-20? I guess you haven't seen the finished pictures it produced?

PixChick :)

I saw some shots (following some links at dpreview's Panasonic forum) and they were quite stunning.

I have a brand new FZ20 sitting in front of me and I'm (im)patiently waiting for the battery to fully charge. (Extra batteries are on the way). I wish an AC Adapter had been included so I could start taking shots right away. I've got a 512mb SD Card waiting to be filled. I will say this: I like the "old school" look of this camera and was surprised when I picked it up that it's much lighter than it looks. It feels nicely balanced and is very comfortable to hold. All the buttons and controls are easily accesible and well positioned.

The supplied petal lens hood attaches quite easily and gives the camera a very serious look.

Assuming I keep the camera I probably buy an AC Adapter and the remote control.

Well, I've got about an hour to go....

John_Reed
09-02-2004, 12:12 PM
By the way, any remarks about the new FZ-20? I guess you haven't seen the finished pictures it produced?Don't take my "lawyer" remark as disparaging, by the way. Lawyers are the main people I work with in my daily toil, and by and large, at least the ones I work with (who litigate cases in the intellectual property arena, don't chase ambulances or try divorces) are a pretty solid group of citizens, for whom I have a lot of respect.

But I digress. Impressions of FZ20?
1. My friend thought it was lighter than her FZ10. Seemed about the same to me.
2. Controls look to be exactly the same layout as the FZ10, except the mode switch is changed to allow A, S, M, scn1, & scn2 positions. I was wishing the "Exposure" button would have moved to a more convenient spot, but it's in the same place, right above the LCD.
3. It seems much faster to start up, maybe half the time it takes the FZ10 to start up, maybe 3 seconds or less instead of ~6 seconds. (Although you can bypass a lot of that for the FZ10 by pulling on the zoom switch while starting up.)
4. I'd say it was faster focusing; I tried a distant gull in the air, and it picked up the bird very quickly, I thought.
5. It's my impression that the FZ20 is much less prone to overexposure at 0 EV bias. In fact, I was pushing the EV towards the positive side, seemingly with little effect sometimes. I'll have to see the photos.
6. Oh yes, and all the FZ10 adapters fit the FZ20 perfectly, like the Yoshida or Pemaraal adapters, for example.
Some potential downsides:
7. The menus go deeper on the FZ20. For example, to set the Noise Reduction level means you have to select a little icon that looks like a wrench in the setup menu, then select NR, then select Low, STD, or High. I wanted Low, and set it.
8. I was sort of hoping that with the three separate modes for A, S, and M, that you could set your favorite A settings, your favorite S settings, and your favorite M settings independently, but such is not the case. If you change a setting in M, it carries over to S.

I can say that I wasn't "blown away;" the great animal shots I took with my FZ10 at the zoo will attest to the fact that the FZ10 is no slouch, and I didn't come away with an urge to immediately put my camera on eBay. As you surmised, I haven't seen the FZ20 images yet, and I'm looking forward to receiving the CD with those images in the next few days. I wanted ALL the images, to see what kind of "keeper" percentage we got in the shots she and I took with the camera. Since she had just received the camera from UPS before coming to the Zoo, I was the one who got to take its first shots!

PixChick
09-02-2004, 12:46 PM
Don't take my "lawyer" remark as disparaging, by the way. Lawyers are the main people I work with in my daily toil, and by and large, at least the ones I work with (who litigate cases in the intellectual property arena, don't chase ambulances or try divorces) are a pretty solid group of citizens, for whom I have a lot of respect.

But I digress. Impressions of FZ20?
1. My friend thought it was lighter than her FZ10. Seemed about the same to me.
2. Controls look to be exactly the same layout as the FZ10, except the mode switch is changed to allow A, S, M, scn1, & scn2 positions. I was wishing the "Exposure" button would have moved to a more convenient spot, but it's in the same place, right above the LCD.
3. It seems much faster to start up, maybe half the time it takes the FZ10 to start up, maybe 3 seconds or less instead of ~6 seconds. (Although you can bypass a lot of that for the FZ10 by pulling on the zoom switch while starting up.)
4. I'd say it was faster focusing; I tried a distant gull in the air, and it picked up the bird very quickly, I thought.
5. It's my impression that the FZ20 is much less prone to overexposure at 0 EV bias. In fact, I was pushing the EV towards the positive side, seemingly with little effect sometimes. I'll have to see the photos.
6. Oh yes, and all the FZ10 adapters fit the FZ20 perfectly, like the Yoshida or Pemaraal adapters, for example.
Some potential downsides:
7. The menus go deeper on the FZ20. For example, to set the Noise Reduction level means you have to select a little icon that looks like a wrench in the setup menu, then select NR, then select Low, STD, or High. I wanted Low, and set it.
8. I was sort of hoping that with the three separate modes for A, S, and M, that you could set your favorite A settings, your favorite S settings, and your favorite M settings independently, but such is not the case. If you change a setting in M, it carries over to S.

I can say that I wasn't "blown away;" the great animal shots I took with my FZ10 at the zoo will attest to the fact that the FZ10 is no slouch, and I didn't come away with an urge to immediately put my camera on eBay. As you surmised, I haven't seen the FZ20 images yet, and I'm looking forward to receiving the CD with those images in the next few days. I wanted ALL the images, to see what kind of "keeper" percentage we got in the shots she and I took with the camera. Since she had just received the camera from UPS before coming to the Zoo, I was the one who got to take its first shots!

No offense taken about the lawyer thing--I take it as a compliment:)

I'll be interested to hear what you think about the FZ-20 pics when you get to see them. I sure wish Panasonic would get on the ball and send out some cameras for review.

PixChick:)

John_Reed
09-02-2004, 01:31 PM
I'll be interested to hear what you think about the FZ-20 pics when you get to see them. I sure wish Panasonic would get on the ball and send out some cameras for review.I forgot my friend had emailed me a couple of shots directly, although they must've been cropped, or otherwise modified, since they didn't seem to have any EXIF data attached.
Here are two shots taken at essentially the same time. Both of us had our TCON-17s pointed at the same gorilla, although I think she may have been a little closer. My exposure was "manual," with spot focusing; I think she was in "P" mode, having an aversion to manual controls. But her shot came out darker, as you can see. Personally, I think the FZ10 captured more hair detail than did the FZ20. What do you think?
Shot with FZ10 at full optical zoom + TCON-17:
http://john-reed.smugmug.com/photos/8034430-L.jpg
Shot with FZ20 at full optical zoom + TCON-17:
http://john-reed.smugmug.com/photos/8058351-L.jpg
The Gorilla shows good taste; he's looking at her, rather than at ME! :o

D70FAN
09-02-2004, 01:52 PM
Personally, I think the FZ10 captured more hair detail than did the FZ20. What do you think?

The Gorilla shows good taste; he's looking at her, rather than at ME! :o

The cameras were definately at different settings. Since you were in manual it appears that it's about f6 and hers is wide open. I'm not going to comment on which is better. I always loose freinds when I do that. :D

This was the San Francisco Zoo...Right? Obviously not a native (sorry, couldn't help myself). ;)

John_Reed
09-02-2004, 02:09 PM
The cameras were definately at different settings. Since you were in manual it appears that it's about f6 and hers is wide open. I'm not going to comment on which is better. I always loose freinds when I do that. :D

This was the San Francisco Zoo...Right? Obviously not a native (sorry, couldn't help myself). ;)Careful there, you're referring to the City of my Birth! (Which happened 65 years ago this month, I might add). Actually though, the FZ10 "manual" shot was shot at f2.8, 1/250, ISO 100. Knowing the "P" mode preferences, I'd say hers was shot around f4, maybe around the same shutter speed (or a little faster with ISO 80), since hers is a tad darker. If you like one or the other better, don't worry about my feelings here. This is offered to see which people prefer, not as a test of friendship.

Janet
09-03-2004, 06:55 AM
Is this a telephoto that will be highly recommended for the FZ20? Do you need an adaptor to use it? Which one? I want to be ready when I make the decision to buy it. I see the TCON -1.7 C for $105 at pricegrabber.
If not the TCON, what else would be recommended?
Were the gorilla pictures handheld?
Thanks
Janet

John_Reed
09-03-2004, 08:25 AM
Is this a telephoto that will be highly recommended for the FZ20? Do you need an adaptor to use it? Which one? I want to be ready when I make the decision to buy it. I see the TCON -1.7 C for $105 at pricegrabber.
If not the TCON, what else would be recommended?
Were the gorilla pictures handheld?
Thanks
JanetI just did a TCON-17 price check, minimum of $96.22 (http://www.pricescan.com/item_zip/item_zip.asp?category=digiphoto&itemno=519736&zipcode=94022), free shipping. There are at least two adapters you can use, and for our collective gorilla pictures, each was used, the Yoshida (made by a Japanese hobbyist, Mr. Yoshida, whose English-language page I couldn't find right now) and the Pemaraal (http://www.b-300.com/fz10ac.html) PD62 adapter I use. Both of them screw on the camera in place of the metal ring that adorns the front of the lens. The Yoshida adapter my friend used has a nice taper to it, and fits the 55mm threads of the TCON-17 directly; the Pemaraal has 62mm threads, so I also bought a 62-55mm stepdown ring from them.

Not everyone loves the TCON-17; the Canon TL-55 is a popular alternative, with slightly less magnification, but is smaller and lighter than the TCON. I think it still fits 55mm threads, so you'll still need an adapter, but I wouldn't swear to the thread size. You can also go for more mag, if you look up "Raynox," they have a "2020" model that gives 2.2X extra oomph to your shots.

Both Gorilla shots were handheld, by two different pairs of hands! Not bad, for ~700mm zoom under overcast skies. My shot was at 1/320 of a second, f2.8. Her EXIF was lost, but probably a little faster, since her ape is darker.

Janet
09-03-2004, 08:49 AM
Not everyone loves the TCON-17; the Canon TL-55 is a popular alternative, with slightly less magnification, but is smaller and lighter than the TCON. I think it still fits 55mm threads, so you'll still need an adapter, but I wouldn't swear to the thread size. You can also go for more mag, if you look up "Raynox," they have a "2020" model that gives 2.2X extra oomph to your shots.



John
Thanks for giving me a detailed reply. I will look into these lenses. I do like small-but I also like greater Mag! And thanks for the info on the adapters.
I am glad your pics were handheld as I almost always just shoot handheld.
Janet

John_Reed
09-03-2004, 12:00 PM
I am glad your pics were handheld as I almost always just shoot handheld.
If you saw me and how my hand shakes (the Docs call it "dystonia") you'd be amazed that I can get sharp pictures, but I can, and I very rarely use a tripod, unless it's for night shots or the like. You should do fine, young lady! ;) Enjoy your new camera!

Janet
09-05-2004, 10:45 AM
Not everyone loves the TCON-17; the Canon TL-55 is a popular alternative, with slightly less magnification, but is smaller and lighter than the TCON. I think it still fits 55mm threads, so you'll still need an adapter, but I wouldn't swear to the thread size. You can also go for more mag, if you look up "Raynox," they have a "2020" model that gives 2.2X extra oomph to your shots.


Hi John
If you could choose any of the above or any in a reseasonable price range(but not the $500.00 Panasonic telephoto!) what would you get? Still want handheld. Yes, the Canon is 55mm threads but can't find it forsale, anywhere. Also, which converter? And what is the size threads on the lens? I couldn't find it on the Panasonic website.
Thanks
Janet

Janet
09-05-2004, 01:03 PM
I just did a TCON-17 price check, minimum of $96.22 (http://www.pricescan.com/item_zip/item_zip.asp?category=digiphoto&itemno=519736&zipcode=94022), free shipping. There are at least two adapters you can use, and for our collective gorilla pictures, each was used, the Yoshida (made by a Japanese hobbyist, Mr. Yoshida, whose English-language page I couldn't find right now) and the Pemaraal (http://www.b-300.com/fz10ac.html) PD62 adapter I use. Both of them screw on the camera in place of the metal ring that adorns the front of the lens. The Yoshida adapter my friend used has a nice taper to it, and fits the 55mm threads of the TCON-17 directly; the Pemaraal has 62mm threads, so I also bought a 62-55mm stepdown ring from them.

Not everyone loves the TCON-17; the Canon TL-55 is a popular alternative, with slightly less magnification, but is smaller and lighter than the TCON. I think it still fits 55mm threads, so you'll still need an adapter, but I wouldn't swear to the thread size. You can also go for more mag, if you look up "Raynox," they have a "2020" model that gives 2.2X extra oomph to your shots.


Hi Again

My mind is fried from all the surfing I have done. Luckily the hurricane left us with power and phone and since I am stuck inside, might as well surf.
The following is a site that tells about several different telephoto lens and also adapter rings including Mr Yoshida's ring. I never did find out how to order it as that part of it seemed to be in Japanese. And it seemed to say that you cannot fully extend the zoom when using these telephotos. Is that true? I know you can't do it the opposite way due to vignetting--which I happen to like!
I also never did find out exactly what size the Panasonic FZ series needs or if it is even possible to have a lens without an adapter. What size would fit without an adapter? Oh well, I may just have to wait til I get my camera to figure all this out.
I am working on the cards and batteries as I guess they are more important than the telephoto.
Thanks

Janet
http://www.cs.mtu.edu/~shene/DigiCam/

PixChick
09-05-2004, 08:21 PM
I forgot my friend had emailed me a couple of shots directly, although they must've been cropped, or otherwise modified, since they didn't seem to have any EXIF data attached.
Here are two shots taken at essentially the same time. Both of us had our TCON-17s pointed at the same gorilla, although I think she may have been a little closer. My exposure was "manual," with spot focusing; I think she was in "P" mode, having an aversion to manual controls. But her shot came out darker, as you can see. Personally, I think the FZ10 captured more hair detail than did the FZ20. What do you think?
Shot with FZ10 at full optical zoom + TCON-17:
http://john-reed.smugmug.com/photos/8034430-L.jpg
Shot with FZ20 at full optical zoom + TCON-17:
http://john-reed.smugmug.com/photos/8058351-L.jpg
The Gorilla shows good taste; he's looking at her, rather than at ME! :o


Sorry, I guess it took me a while to respond to this post...

Well, I don't think I have a very discerning eye, so I don't think I could make a good judgement. I don't think one was better or worse than the other either, just lighter or darker as you said. Neither one is bad--that is for sure. In fact they are both really good. I think that there is not a significant difference (at least not to me, without a discerning eye) to warrant saying one camera is better than the other. That is just me though and maybe I am wrong about that. I didn't actually print out the pics, so that might make a difference, but it was pretty hard for me to tell if one had more hair detail than the other. I would think that either camera could be capable of taking either one of those pictures by adjusting the settings. Does that seem right to you? You actually have used both cameras and are in a much better position to say if that is true. What do you think?

PixChick :)

D70FAN
09-05-2004, 08:41 PM
Careful there, you're referring to the City of my Birth! (Which happened 65 years ago this month, I might add). Actually though, the FZ10 "manual" shot was shot at f2.8, 1/250, ISO 100. Knowing the "P" mode preferences, I'd say hers was shot around f4, maybe around the same shutter speed (or a little faster with ISO 80), since hers is a tad darker. If you like one or the other better, don't worry about my feelings here. This is offered to see which people prefer, not as a test of friendship.

Yeah, it's always fun for us Central Coast (Monterey) kids to make fun of San Francisco. But I have to tell you that, as a city, it's still one of the best in the world. From The Presidio/Crissy Field to Market, and the piers TI and the produce district there's no place like it.

Both shots are extremely nice. Makes me want to get an FZ15 just for nature shots. The Nikon 80-400 f4.5-5.6 VR lens runs about $1400 and change, so you can see where I'm comming from.

See I can be politically correct...