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Old Feb 26, 2006, 10:44 PM   #1
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Hi everyone

I've had an FZ20 for about 6 months now and i love it. But i often find myself in situations where i'd like to carry around something more compact i can fit in my pockets (used to be able to carry my old Olympus C-760 in my pockets), yet still can produce equally impressive shots and has a decent degree of flexibility. I don't expect it to be as flexible or as professional as the FZ20.

I'm also hoping to get something which unlike the FZ20 has longer exposure (than 8 seconds) and can handle low light situations/supports ISO 800 and preferably 1600 too, RAW support would be desirable (but i doubt anything good in this class would have RAW support too). Also would prefer it to not have heavy noise issues (like the new FZ7 seems to).

I don't care if its Panasonic or not, but just prefer to be able to maintain the quality of images i've been getting to date. Willing to spend upto around $400US (max).
Any suggestions would be appreciated.

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Old Feb 26, 2006, 11:22 PM   #2
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hmm.... you wantsomething with the image qualityof the FZ20, shirt pocket size, plus low noise, ISO 800-1600, RAW capabilitiy, and you want it for $400US?? do the words "you're dreaming" mean anything?? :blah:
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Old Feb 27, 2006, 1:37 AM   #3
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I'm guessing the FZ20 was your first digital as you don't seem to equate stabilization and f2.8 through the zoom range with low light capability. For stationary targets nothing beats stabilization for low light capability. And most small cameras lose almost 2 f-stops when you zoom them. You aren't going to find anything with the low light capabilities of your current camera short of a DSLR.

High ISO gives you more ability in limited light for moving targets but with more noise. The only camera I know of that takes decent pictures at ISO 800 and acceptable ones at 1600 is the Fuji F10/11. I would imagine the announced F30 will as well. Fuji has an entire line of cameras that you can crank up to high ISO, but you probably wouldn't like the results.

There is a compromise that might not be bad. The Sony T9 has both stabilization and decent ISO400 capability. It would be better than the Fuji F10 for static subjects but not nearly as good for capturing action in limited light. Panasonic makes a large number of stabilized small cameras but they don't have high ISO with acceptable noise capability. The LX1 is compact (not ultra-compact) and has both raw and stabilization, but it is very noisy.

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Old Feb 27, 2006, 2:35 AM   #4
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slipe, this is my 2nd digital, previous one was a compact, my FZ20 being a prosumer model. As mentioned above my prior camera was an Olympus C-760 (10x Optical, 3.2mp) camera.

squirl033, I realise alot of the *good* digitals which support 800/1600 are DSLR's. But i'm not expecting to get anything of that nature. But from the camera news ive seen in the last two or so weeks with the new range of Panasonic's, Sonys, Canons, and Fujis, their compact digitals/prosumer ranges have now expanded to cover ISOs of 800 and for some 1600 too (with the Pana's having a special mode for it).

And because this new range has included these things in both compacts *and* prosumer models, i was hoping to find a compact (and thus something around or under the $400us mark) which not only supported 800/1600 but also did a decent job of it. Initial reviews ive seen of the FZ7 which has a special mode for 800/1600 say not only do the higher ISOs lack detail but ISO of 80 has more noise than the FZ5!

I realise asking for RAW support in a compact is wishful thinking but some brands do support it (Fuji does in some models i believe). But as mentioned, its just desirable, not an expectation (will settle for TIFF support).

I'll admit my technical understanding of the relationship between aperture and low light is limited. I usually find my best night shots on the FZ20 come from a combination of (a tripod and) setting the camera to a shutter speed of 8 secs and an ISO of 80. Setting an ISO of 400 on the FZ20 has too high a noise level, so i rarely use 400 for much on the camera. Maybe what im after doesn't exist in a compact (yet?), but as mentioned with the burst of 800/1600 ISO supporting compacts/prosumers onto the market it has sparked my interest into investigating possibilities.

I have seen the different IS has on low light images, as the C-760 I had, had none, and the FZ20 does, so its lower light shots are better of the two. But often get frustrated even then by the dependancy on a tripod to get these shots, and action shots are often out of the question (unless i 'ruin' the shot by using a flash).

I had heard some of the Fuji range does handle the higher ISOs quite well and therefore it handles low light situations quite well. But also read of other models which have high noise problems as well.

At the end of the day a compromise is what im after here, understanding i can only get what i pay for, but as i did with the Olympus C-760 and subsequently the Pana FZ20, i went for some of the best cameras in their price range, and been able to get impressive quality (but with certain limitations which come with it). So im hoping for something similar again, and given that alot of the newer models ive seen recently announced have both higher ISOs, some have IS, and are compact, i felt it time to investigate things again.
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Old Feb 27, 2006, 7:50 AM   #5
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Other than the previously mentioned fujis the new Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ1 may be what you want and its reported to be available next month.

But so far to get the higher ISO (on the small sensor)you give up a lot of detail, at least in my opinion.....there is no magic wand...technology is advancing very quickly and maybe the camera you are looking for will be announced today.

One other thing...I find very little advantage to raw with the consumer type cameras and no advantage to Tiff.

A camera that lets you control the amount of in camera processing in a fine quality JPEG seems to make more sense.....

While in a DSLR where you do not give up the speed to get Raw it makes more sense.

I find I am not willing to give up burst mode for the little advantage raw provides with the FZ30.

Just my 2 cents
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Old Feb 27, 2006, 1:33 PM   #6
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As a matter of fact,being a more than enthousiastic FZ20 owner I am also interestedin buying something smaller to act as an 'always-carry-along' camera with about the same features, and I decided to pick up a used FZ5... prices are falling now that the FZ7 has hit the market!

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Old Mar 2, 2006, 2:13 PM   #7
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Another FZ20 for backup?

Same batts, etc! (but no RAW).

You should be able to find one used for $300 US or so.

Or just wait a year for FZ30 (has RAW) to become "old school" and buy one of THOSE for $300.

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