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Old Apr 24, 2005, 5:38 AM   #1
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After much searching and researching of cameras I finally decided that the successor to my Canon Powershot G2 would be the Panasonic FZ5.

The main features I was looking for were: at least 5mp, at least 10x zoom, fast AF and response times and not too bulky.

I wondered for a while about the FZ20, but after reading the review at DPReview (still waiting for Steve's verdict!) it seemed that there wasn't much in it in terms of PQ, but the FZ20 had a MF and a hotshoe and the FZ5 was £100 cheaper and smaller with faster AF (class leading according to DP). Since I've never used the MF or hotshoe in the 3 years I've had my G2, and being smaller with fast AF were in my main upgrade criteria the FZ5 seemed the logical choice.

So I ordered it for £290 and a 1Gb Sandisk Extreme III SD card for £64, and what happens the day later - the Canon S2 is announced! However, the FZ5 is out of stock at my supplier at the minute so it's not too late to cancel my order, and the new Canon uses SD cards also so my Sandisk won't go to waste.

Question is do I cancel my order and wait for the S2 or continue to buy the FZ5? I was so sure I made the right choice with the FZ5 I'm now suffering from a crisis of confidence! What would you do in my shoes?

As far as I can tell the main difference are:
The shape/size/colour/weight (personally I think the black FZ5 looks far nicer and is lighter!)
The MF functions (but as I said I don't use it!)
The Flip out screen (this is a tough one, the thing I would miss the most on my G2 would be the screen so the S2 wins on that count)
It's a Canon (good in that I'm used to how Canon's work, but maybe bad if it doesn't feel like a new camera when I use it, if you see what I mean!)
Canon uses AA's (big win for the FZ5 IMO, I've never liked the idea of using AA's for some reason)
Then we have the movie mode, Canon is clearly head and shoulders better in this area, and I love the idea of taking normal photos while filming!

So as you can see it's six of one, half a dozen of the other! Which is why I'm here asking for more opinions on what I should do!

Movie mode aside I guess it comes down the the quality of photo, is the S2 likely to be better? Also what is the IS like on the S2, the FZ5 seems to be excellent in this respect and it is something I'm really looking forward to have.

I just worry that getting another Canon wouldn't solve the issues I have with my G2, so maybe a change would be good. But then I might be disappointed if I get a FZ5 and the S2 beats it hands down in reviews, though on the flipside I could wait then kick myself because the S2 doesn't really perform that well and I end up getting an FZ5 anyway!

At the end of the day I just want to take good pictures, in that respect I suppose you could say that the movie mode should be a secondary factor, I don't use it that often but do occasionally, and maybe I would use it more if I could take pictures at the same time like the S2? The FZ5 seems to take excellent pictures, apart from the noise issue at higher ISO's, but I can't really notice this being considerably worse than most other non DSRL cams. And to be honest when I looked at the Canon S2 sample shots at ISO50 they seemed to have more noise than the FZ5 at higher ISO's! Though it's possible I was looking for the wrong thing, as I'm not really an expert!

Sorry for the long (first!) post, but I just wanted to get all my thoughts down so you could give me your opinions on what I should do! Thanks for reading!
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Old Apr 24, 2005, 6:58 AM   #2
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BTW this lack of "gain up" is beginning to worry me also, is this really as crippling as it sounds? I don't like the idea of not being able to take pictures low light conditions!

Also sorry to be pushy be a quick response would be useful, otherwise it might despatch before I have chance to cancel! Although the law says I have 7 days to try and return it!
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Old Apr 24, 2005, 7:12 AM   #3
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No matter what camera you buy today, a better one will come out 6 months from now. Same thing with a computer. You can buy one today and enjoy using it for 6 months, or you can spend the next 6 months researching all of the available models, then wait and see what else comes along and then go through the agony of another 6 months of research, and never buy anything.

You wanted opinions, so here goes - I personally like the Lumex series - fast zoom, fast AF. Can't attest to picture quality, I've only played with them in stores. I prefer NiMH AA's to Lithium-Ion (AA's are always interchangeable). Video capability is nice, but I was buying a camera to take still pictures, so quality still pictures was the number one priority. If you want to take great movies, buy a great camcorder. I never put too much faith in reviews, because all reviewers are jaded towards their particular preferences. They may think a certain color rendition looks perfect, while you might think it looks washed out. If I placed an order for a camera, thinking the dealer had it in stock, then I found out he didn't, I would cancel the order immediately. I don't like to do business that way.

You made a choice, based on features that you felt you had to have in your new camera. Have confidence in yourself - you know you made the right choice.

the Hun

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Old Apr 24, 2005, 9:32 AM   #4
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I don't have much advice since I was trying to decide between the FZ5 and the Sony H1 when Canon made the S2 announcement. I think I've finally decided to wait for the S2.

I have a question for you though. You said:
I just worry that getting another Canon wouldn't solve the issues I have with my G2, so maybe a change would be good.
Can I ask what issues you had with your G6? Are they typical Canon problems?? Are they things that you're thinking might carry over to the S2?
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Old Apr 24, 2005, 2:42 PM   #5
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You are asking specific questions about a camera nobody has gotten their hands on. It will be a while before anyone can intelligently answer those questions. IMO the FZ3 had better overall photo quality than the S1. That might have no relevance to a comparison of the FZ5 and S2 though.

The viewfinder isn't as big a problem with the FZ5 as with the FZ20. If you attach an automatic flash unit and revert to aperture priority or manual it becomes a much bigger problem. The FZ5 focuses fine and you can see what you are shooting in most indoor lighting. Not as well as you should, but you can frame most shots adequately.

You will be able to do a lot of photography with your FZ5 before there are good reviews on the S2 to make a good decision. I agree that an articulated LCD and a decent movie mode are features to consider. But the FZ5 is probably going to be at least as good as the S2 if those things aren't a big factor for you. But if you wait for reviews on the S2 there will probably be something better on the horizon by then you should wait for.

I agree with you on batteries. I have cameras both with proprietary lithium and NiMH AAs, and I much prefer the lithium. If you wait, be sure to compare the heft of the two cameras with the batteries installed. 4 NiMH batteries are quite heavy and my guess is that the FZ5 will be considerably lighter. The S1 is almost as heavy as the FZ20 with batteries installed.

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Old Apr 25, 2005, 6:01 PM   #6
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You're right, you will never be on top of the game for long! I've decided to trust my initial gut instinct and continue with my order of the FZ5.

The flip LCD and big movie modes are nice bonuses (dare I say bordering on gimmicks from a purists point of view) but I don't think it is worth waiting for. I shall none the less be interested to read it's review in due course, after all I can always sell my FZ5 on ebay if the S2 proves to far out perform it (unlikely).

There are various upgrade routes to go for, and the FZ5 should prove to be an improvement to my G2, and even if I decide to upgrade again in 12 months by then there will be a lot more options open to me other than the S2, such as the latest in the FZ series.

brendak2000 I've not got a G6, I've got a G2, which is getting on a bit now, it was a model from August 2001. Perhaps "problems" was a little harsh, but all makes and models have their own quirks and weaknesses and the pictures they take will most probably have their own qualities, and I just think that maybe going from one Powershot cam to another may not "feel" different enough to make me think I've had a significant upgrade.

In regard to the particular "problems" with my G2, I find it very slow to startup/respond, slow to auto focus (the amount of time I took to focus became a standing joke in the family!) and in my opinion seems to have a higher miss rate than I would like.

I've never really gotten to grips with it's advanced options, but in point and click Auto mode it can be rather average and the shot can go wrong for various reasons from the focus to the quality for the flash (though when they are good they are very good!) From a styling point of view it's a little on the heavy side and it's look is quite boxy and uninteresting compared to newer models.

There has also been many occasions in recent months where I've wanted to take photo's without a flash and handheld, these are impossible with the G2 unless it's a bright day as even the slightest movement ruins the picture, this is why a good I.S. function was crucial on whatever model I chose as it's replacement.

I'm just finding that I seem to miss out on a lot of "one-off" shots with the G2 because of these reasons, and my enjoyment using it has dwindled recently so I decided it was time for a change...
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Old Apr 26, 2005, 1:35 PM   #7
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I too "struggled" with cancelling my FZ5 order but didn't because -

1) I've been waiting since January and it's almost here - shipping this week, I hope. If I wait until June or later for the S2 I've missed a lot of good shots.

2) The FZ5 is significantly lighter - 290G vs 405G (not sure if that includes batteries).

3) I don't need a good video cam - I have a Panasonic 3CCD that uses mini-DV tapes at over an hour each for about $4.

4) I got a good price on the FZ5 - the S2 might be inflated for weeks if it's really that good and supply is scarce.

5) Like you said, there's always Ebay!
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Old Apr 27, 2005, 4:25 PM   #8
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I got my FZ5 last week and am very happy with it. I have been able to take god pictures in all the lighting conditions that i expected. It's small, light, and very quick. The battery is just under 2 ozs and the sd memory card is maybe .2 of an oz. This isa camera i can keep with me and get good shots. So far i have kept the digital zoom off simply because i have not needed it but the few shots i took with it on were fine.
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Old Apr 27, 2005, 5:48 PM   #9
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first off, i think you will be more than happy with your fz5, i have seen nothing but good reviews for it, and i enjoyed its handling..

that said.. given the choice between the two, i would lean towards the canon.. its true that it is not tested of right now.. but along with the other features mentioned earlier, it has one big advantage..

DIGIC II image processor (same as in 20d, rebel xt)

.. this chip is lightning fast and produces excellent color rendition.. (as i can attest for from my 20d)..

..the S2 will be capable of 2.4 fps burst mode until the card is empty!!!!!

..i am not a big fan of panasonic's in-camera sharpening methods.. and will guess that the Digic II will be far superior in this aspect

since you have already decided, this is more information for others reading this post...

enjoy, dustin
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Old Apr 28, 2005, 1:15 PM   #10
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I purchased an FZ15 in February. Love the camera, takes great pictures, does everything I want and then some. Don't know anything about the S2.
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