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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Isle of Wight, UK
    Posts
    2

    Ultra Zooms and FZ7 v FZ8

    For my 60th birthday (in 2 weeks) my wife has kindly offered to replace my old SLR film camera with a digital! We're following it up with a Safari in Africa so I would like an ultra zoom. After hours of sometimes enjoyable and sometimes frustrating research I reckoned the Canon S31S seemed to be the general favourite. Trouble is you just can't buy it in Southern England. Every shop said a) they haven't had it for weeks and b) they can't get it. I won't go mail order because I like to feel a camera before I buy.

    So, second choice is the new Panasonic FZ8. I handled it today and liked it. Handled the TZ3 yesterday and felt it was just too small and, being an old SLR user, didn't like the lack of a viewfinder. At my local camera shop they've got an FZ7 on offer (as it's superseded) some 85 (about US$160) cheaper than the FZ8. My questions:

    1) What do you knowledgeable folk reckon to the Panasonic FZs? I know all about the noise at higher ISOs but just for general fun photography?
    2) Is the FZ8 $160 better than the FZ7?
    3) Am I wrong to give up on the TZ3?

    Incidentally, in a UK magazine the Panasonics came out top for reliability this year.

    Many thanks in advance and what a great forum.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Los Altos, CA
    Posts
    2,635

    Smile Check out Phil Douglis's galleries...

    Phil went on Safari a while back in Africa with a Panasonic FZ30; I think he has also done it since with an FZ50. Both these cameras are larger than the FZ7/FZ8, but visiting his gallery should give you some ideas.
    Let a be your umbrella!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Derbyshire, UK
    Posts
    2,505

    Hope this helps

    Timo I have had an FZ20 for nearly 3 years now & it has performed flawlessly (touching wood!) so the reliability coment I can agree with. When I was looking for a camera I wanted one of the smaller FZ5 but couldn't wait as we were going on holiday to the US & it didn't come out in time. Anyway I have not regretted getting the larger camera as it had several advantages although I have just bought a TZ1 which is great for just taking anywhere. I dont think there is much to choose between the Fz7 & 8 though but I'm sure there are several people here who can give you a better opinion. I thought I read somewhere that the 8 had a better viewfinder if this is true I'd go for the newer camera. As for the TZ3 I'd say since you are used to a film SLR the auto operation & lack of manual operation would be somewhat restricting. The link John provided shows some nice shots with an FZ30. Obviously a step up to a 30 if you can get one or an FZ50 would be desirable if funds allow. I would have thought again with your SLR background the larger camera with more facilities would feel nicely at home in your hands. The bonus of all these cameras is the Leica lens which in all cases is superb & in my opinion the main reason why I preferred my FZ over the Canon equivalent superzoom when I bought mine. All in all I don't think you will go far wrong with any of the panasonic choices so go & play with them in a local shop before finally deciding.
    Around every picture there's a corner & round every corner there's a picture
    - the fun's in finding them

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Isle of Wight, UK
    Posts
    2

    Fuji?

    Many thanks for your helpful replies. Thanks John for directing me to the Safari pics. Interestingly, that is the same country, Zambia, that we're going to so they were of particular interst to us!

    Thank you Phil for the info. It helped me decide against the TZ3 - as good a camera as it obviously is. You're right, as an SLR man I think I would reach a point when I missed the controls although I have to say that, as 'film' man I am completely in awe of what I will need to learn about digitals!

    I also saw a Fuji S6500fd on special offer at my local store and after researching, it seems to be rather good. I like the idea of a manual zoom. Any thoughts? Once again, many thanks in anticipation.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Derbyshire, UK
    Posts
    2,505

    Hmm yes I know what you mean Timo

    I also like the specs of the Fuji & would have a hard job choosing between that & the FZ50 if I had to replace my FZ20 now myself. I like the low light spec capabilities of the Fuji but haven't actually handled one. The FZ50 I've seen of a friend seems to handle very well has a slightly longer zoom & some of the shots he's shown me have been very sharp & clear. I would say the Panasonic would probably give slightly better images but not perfom so well in low light above iso 400 but the optical image stabilisation (OIS) is a real bonus for the long zoom. As you are going on safari I guess you will be using that zoom range a lot, I'd probably go for the FZ50 with it's OIS. Although to be honest it all depends on what feels best in your hands really. I don't think you can go wrong with either camera. It would be nice to know which one you go with & post some shots when you get back.
    Around every picture there's a corner & round every corner there's a picture
    - the fun's in finding them

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Posts
    26
    Check out the new Sony H9.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Derbyshire, UK
    Posts
    2,505

    Sorry Timo more choices....

    Yes Plutonius I just looked at the H9 specs & it does look pretty impressive on paper with that 15X zoom & 3inch LCD. It doesn't look like it's generally available yet though. The other one you ought to consider Timo is the new Olympus SP550 with the massive 18X zoom. Jeff has a review out on that so you can get the expert opinion. There is a good spec comparison link in the thread "Questions about the FZ8" by Luscinia in the Panasonic forum between the Oly & an FZ8. http://www.dcviews.com/reviews/Panas...550-review.htm (couldn't work out how to make this an active link sorry my pc skills are pretty basic). Hope you enjoy choosing & again what ever you get please post some photos.

    Edit hey I think I got Luscinia's link to work now & if you look at the news page here the Canon S5IS is also coming soon - bet a new Panasonic wont be far away either!
    Last edited by Phill D; 05-07-2007 at 12:03 AM. Reason: link did not work
    Around every picture there's a corner & round every corner there's a picture
    - the fun's in finding them

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Posts
    6
    Hi Timo

    Not sure if you'd decided on another option but ....

    I'm also looking into getting myself an S3IS and they carry them in my local Makro (in Edinburgh). Not sure where the nearest one to you would be but if you have (or know someone that has) a card, may be worth a look there.

    (They were at 250 odd + VAT ..... reduced from 299 .... still nowhere near the 214 I've managed to find online)

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Posts
    3
    I've seen several posts saying that the FZ8 is a significant improvement over the FZ7. I believe the LCD and EVF were big improvements (if memory serves).

    I liked the FZ8 very much when I handled it as well - fantastic menus and interesting features like the high view LCD mode which worked surprisingly well, I thought. In the end, though, I think I'll be choosing the FZ50 for more manual options.

    Good luck!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Posts
    43

    Intermediate camera no good compromise?

    It seems like most persons considering FZ7/FZ8 finally make a choice of either TZ1/TZ3 or FZ50. (Why) is it so, I wonder?

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