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Old Dec 5, 2004, 11:12 PM   #1
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My girlfriend would like a digital camera for a holiday gift. After considerable reading I've decided that a Panasonic super zoom is the way to go, and I think it will make for a nice gift. I would love to be able to get the FZ20, but because I'm on a grad student's income I just can't swing it. I was thinking about the FZ3, but then noticed that it is possible to get an FZ10 on clearance for not too much more money. My question is, how important is the new Venus II engine for overall quality/performance? Would she be better off with this year's entry model FZ3 that has the new Venus II engine, or last year's top-of-the-line model with the older Venus I engine? She usually carries a handbasg that will easily carry either camera, so the smaller size/weight of the FZ3 isn't a deciding factor. I would consider trying to spring for the FZ15, but since her primary use for the camera will be photographing her very active young daughter I'm afraid she may miss the ability to have sound with movie clips. I really appreciate any help you may be able to provide. I'm new to the forum, so I apologize if this topic has already been discussed. Thanks.
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Old Dec 6, 2004, 12:18 PM   #2
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I would go with the newer FZ3 simply because it's newer and probably has some of the bugs in the FZ10 worked out. And even if size isn't an issue now, I would think the smaller size would eventually be appreciated.
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Old Dec 6, 2004, 2:18 PM   #3
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Actually there isn't anything wrong with the Venus 1 engine. The FZ10 is quite impressive with things like burst mode.

I have a FZ10 and love it for outdoor nature photography. But the flash is very weak and it doesn't have a focus assist light for low light. The EVF and LCD don't brighten in low light and they don't display the manual focus distance. So there is no way to focus the thing in low light other than to pre-focus on something brighter that is the same distance. I don't think it makes an ideal family camera with those limitations.

The FZ3 has a decent flash and an assist light. The viewfinder still doesn't gain up, but you can get the picture. I think it more appropriate for a family camera.

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