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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2007

    Panasonic Lumix FZ18 vs an entrly level DSLR.

    I'm trying to decide between the Panasonic FZ18 (I love the 18x zoom) and an entry level dSLR such as the Nikon D40.

    While I would love an ultrazoom, I don't want to sacrifice any image quality. What I'm asking is..Is the image quality of a Nikon D40 A LOT better than the FZ18? Is it $300 better?

    I really want a dSLR camera but it's going to cost me a fortune to get a lense that would equal the 18x on the Panasonic. I just want to know if it's worth the extra money in terms of image quality (sharpness, color, etc.)

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    The FZ-18 has good image quality in ideal lighting. Once you get out of that (indoors, cloudy day outside), it's not very good at all. The sensors on all of the super-zooms are also smaller, noisier, and inherently inferior to those on D-SLRs. Most of the compacts are worthless at over ISO 200.

    You can get a Nikon D40 (with the 18-55 mm kit lens) and a Nikkor 70-300 mm VR for under $950 right now. That'll give you 105-450 mm of zoom (equivalent at 35 mm), which is pretty close to Panasonic's 18x. The lens also has optical image stabilization (VR). You could also get the D40 with the kit lens and a Nikkor 55-200 mm VR (83-300 mm equivalent at 35 mm) for under $700. Both of those lenses are very good. Nikon is running specials on these two lenses and the D40/D40x/D80 through the end of the year ($100 off). You might want to take a look at some of the other manufacturers as well.

    The D-SLRs are easily worth the extra money, IMO. But your decision will hinge on exactly what you need and what you want to spend. If you're going to shoot mostly on sunny days outdoors and don't really want to spend more than $500-$600, you're probably better off with a super-zoom.
    Last edited by WestCoast; 12-03-2007 at 10:34 AM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    In answer to your question, at base ISO, the D40 will be a little better than an ultrazoom. At higher ISOs, the D40 will outperform the ultrazoom by a lot. ISO 400 looks pretty bad on just about every fixed-lens camera, but is completely usable on all the entry-level DSLRs (although the Olympus models fall behind compared to the others). And as long as you expose properly, ISO 1600 looks great. That's a lot more latitude in lower light conditions and action where a super-fast shutter is needed.
    Nikon D40 + kit lens

    Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 D AF(...or not)

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