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Old Jul 26, 2014, 9:37 PM   #1
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Default FZ70/72 First impressions.

Well the FZ72 arrived last Saturday when the postman plonked it down on the hall counter in a similar manner to a disgruntled bagage handler at a busy airport, luckily it was well packed with shock absorbent material. I wonder why "Fragile" stickers seem to bring out the devil in people

After unpacking it, checking all was well after its journey, and preparing it, I turned on and was immediately greeted by clicking and whirring noises from inside the camera. It wasn't too much of a surpise because I had read comments from other owners about the same thing. My FZ150 does the same too, but less than half as loud.
I have a sneaking suspicion that it is coming from the zoom motor. My FZ150 does it as soon as the lens barrel moves from its starting position, it is only silent when it returns to its widest angle. This is not the case with the FZ72/70 it chirps and warbles constantly, increasing as the zoom increases, although I think it has become slightly quieter in the last couple of days. The sound was audible when recording a video in quiet room, but in normal outdoor locations it doesn't seem to be noticable.

The next discovery was slightly disappointing, it takes 55mm filters, not 52mm as I had been led to believe reading the specifications listed on the dealers website, thus I am unable to use the filters I have for my FZ150, and will have to buy new, UV and CPL.

It is somewhat chunkier than the FZ150 and feels good in the hands. Some of the buttons have been moved, and thankfully the area above and to the right of the navigation dial has been left empty of buttons, the playback button having been moved towards the edge of the screen. The playback button on the FZ150 was placed where ones right thumb rested, and was easily triggered if ones thumb pressed too hard.

It is a shame that the camera was not provided with an adjustable screen, but I mostly use the viewfinder so it is not too great a problem for me.

Next stage was to take a few test shots. I started in IA mode. In the IA menu there is a choise of 2 IA modes.. IA and IA+. The IA+ mode gives the user an opportunity to adjust the exposure, background blur (depth of field) and the colour toning, if the user is not happy with the automatic adjustment. These features are accessed by pressing the right hand side of the navigation dial.

What I wasn't prepared for, was that in ordinary IA mode, the background blur can also be adjusted. In many of the first test shots I got very disappointing landscapes due to the camera misinterpretting what the subject was and blurring the background of the landscape. I also found that in IA mode the cameras autofocus tended to change from foreground subjects to background subjects and vice versa which also resulted in some disappointing photos. My wife took a shot of some berries on a bush, but in the last split second as she took the shot, the camera must have decided to focus on a blade of grass to the right of the berries and closer to the camera... result totally blurred berries and a beautiful stem and blade of grass !

Some photos were very disappointing due to a large amount of luminance noise in various modes, giving the effect of shooting through slightly frosted glass when the photos were veiwed at full size on the PC, even though they were shot at ISO 100 and not at full optical zoom. Before anyone gets the impression that I am not happy with this camera, please remember I am used to the FZ150 and need some time to get aquainted to the FZ72's little foibles !

Also in IA mode, if the location lighting and contrasting requires it, the camera automatically goes into Backlit mode and takes a series of shots and processes them to a single shot. When this first happened I was taking a shot down a tree lined country lane on a bright sunny day with resulting dark areas. I really wondered how the photo would come out seeing as the camera was hand held, and my hands are not as steady as they were ! I needn't have worried they came out fine. The stabilisation is excellent.

Now to the 60x zoom......
We then took the camera on a walk in a forest near the fjord. hoping to find some birds etc. to zoom in on. On arrival I tried out the zoom in P mode with just the standard optical zoom, iResolution and digital zoom by zooming in on a boat on the fjord which was barely visible from where we stood.

Please note, all photos shown below are as they came from the camera, and have only been cropped or re-sized and not edited or enhanced.

700mm (35mm equiv.), ISO100, 1/1000s, f/5.7 Image cropped from the original at 100% size. Rather disappointing ! As were the other test photos with extended zoom etc. The reflections/highlights on the water have been blown out.


On entering the forest we encountered a small bird further up the path, I had to zoom to the full extent of the optical zoom to get it in most of the frame. That ended up very noisey too, and not worth keeping, I had expected some noise at the extreme end of the zoom, but a bit disappointing all the same.

Then I found some berries way up high in a bush, these were a huge shock when I saw them in full size at home, shot at ISO 800 and slightly into the extended zoom range hardly any noise at all !
Focal length 1248mm, ISO 800, 1/500s, f/5.7


Here are 2 more images from the trip to the forest.

Focal length 30mm, ISO 60, 1/200s, f/3.3


Focal length= 1321mm, ISO 400, 1/60s, f/5.9


After seeing these photos at home and doing a bit of pixel peeping I was greatly encouraged and felt a great deal happier with my decision to stick with Panasonic and go for the FZ 72. Comparing image quality with my FZ150, I cannot find much difference between the two. The video mode on the FZ72 is very good. In the scenes menu the Firework, beach, party,candle light and snow scenes are no longer featured.

In part two I will give a (shorter) account of my further impressions after a week of getting to know the camera with a few more pics.

I hope this hasn't been to long winded and boring !
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Old Jul 26, 2014, 10:05 PM   #2
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Quite a review, John! Thanks for this quick and detailed inspection report.

IMO, the new cameras are too intelligent to give us the exact result we want. It takes time to understand how and why the camera produced those unsatisfactory shots and slowly learn to produce the best out of any given situation. I still rely mostly on the P and M modes, though I do some adjustments here and there.

Congrats on your new toy! No hurry, we will wait. Please take your time testing the camera. I hope to see some good results at the full zoom range.

(The first owner of this camera in this forum, Carol, unfortunately, could not achieve that and we have not heard from her at all after her first few posts. Hope she has recovered from her injury.)
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Old Jul 26, 2014, 11:55 PM   #3
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About the focus problem, have you tried the "Single Area AF Mode"?
Enjoy your new camera,
Rudi

Last edited by rudimaes; Jul 27, 2014 at 4:55 AM.
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Old Jul 27, 2014, 4:28 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rudimaes View Post
About the focus problem, have you tried the "Single Area AF Mode"?
Enjoy tour new camera,
Rudi
Or focus lock
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Old Jul 27, 2014, 5:06 PM   #5
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Like number 3 the best. Nice POV.
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Old Jul 27, 2014, 8:22 PM   #6
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Raghu:- I tend to agree with you about camera technology being too intelligent sometimes ! I have been looking at all the image info, thrying to understand what went wrong or what went right and why, most of the time I end up more confused than when I started
I mostly use P + A mode, occasionally IA when I need to quickly point and shoot. IA mode was where I had the most autofocus problems with the autofocus jumping back and forth between different areas. I never had this problem with the FZ150 !

I saw Carol replying in one of Eysha's threads a couple of weeks or so ago. I too hope she is having it a bit easier. It was her posts with pics from her FZ70/72 that got me interested in this camera.
I must admit I felt a bit of a traitor towards my FZ150 when the new camera arrived, it serves me well and has provided me with much fun, amazing shots and learning over the past 1 years.
--------------------------------------------

Rudi:- The AF problem was mostly in IA mode, where I only have AF Tracking. A day after taking the first shots, I changed to the single area AF, which seems to have helped. I have also been messing around with other settings and seem to be getting better image quality.
---------------------------------------------

Darren:- now that is a good point ! I have hardly ever had to use that feature with the FZ150, so had sort of forgotten about it.

Seeing as you have the same model, if you have any helpful settings tips, they would be appreciated. I have reduced the noise reduction to -2 to try to prevent artifacts and have the sharpening set to -1, working on the theory that there is no point in sharpening any noise or artifacts the camera produces.
---------------------------------------------

Jim:- Thank you ! The physical POV was even nicer, the peaceful, cool shady surroundings with intermittent birdsong, the sun's rays lighting up the green foliage !
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Old Jul 28, 2014, 12:48 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John J View Post
Raghu:- I tend to agree with you about camera technology being too intelligent sometimes ! I have been looking at all the image info, thrying to understand what went wrong or what went right and why, most of the time I end up more confused than when I started
I mostly use P + A mode, occasionally IA when I need to quickly point and shoot. IA mode was where I had the most autofocus problems with the autofocus jumping back and forth between different areas. I never had this problem with the FZ150 !

I saw Carol replying in one of Eysha's threads a couple of weeks or so ago. I too hope she is having it a bit easier. It was her posts with pics from her FZ70/72 that got me interested in this camera.
I must admit I felt a bit of a traitor towards my FZ150 when the new camera arrived, it serves me well and has provided me with much fun, amazing shots and learning over the past 1 years.
--------------------------------------------

Rudi:- The AF problem was mostly in IA mode, where I only have AF Tracking. A day after taking the first shots, I changed to the single area AF, which seems to have helped. I have also been messing around with other settings and seem to be getting better image quality.
---------------------------------------------

Darren:- now that is a good point ! I have hardly ever had to use that feature with the FZ150, so had sort of forgotten about it.

Seeing as you have the same model, if you have any helpful settings tips, they would be appreciated. I have reduced the noise reduction to -2 to try to prevent artifacts and have the sharpening set to -1, working on the theory that there is no point in sharpening any noise or artifacts the camera produces.
---------------------------------------------

Jim:- Thank you ! The physical POV was even nicer, the peaceful, cool shady surroundings with intermittent birdsong, the sun's rays lighting up the green foliage !
I only really discovered the focus lock the other day , i haven't really used the camera that much as yet but it does work very well
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Old Jul 30, 2014, 7:59 AM   #8
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JohnJ I have the FZ200. Been playing with it and still tons to learn.
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Old Jul 30, 2014, 7:30 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eysha View Post
JohnJ I have the FZ200. Been playing with it and still tons to learn.
A very nice camera ! May you have many happy hours and great photos with it.
I've had my FZ150 for 1 years and I'm still learning, but that's part of the fun
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Old Aug 9, 2014, 1:24 PM   #10
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From Ragu:

"I hope to see some good results at the full zoom range.

(The first owner of this camera in this forum, Carol, unfortunately, could not achieve that and we have not heard from her at all after her first few posts."

Are you saying I could not get good results at the full zoom range?

This is at 2400mm (35mm focal length).
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