Back in January I happily joined the FZ20 club and have been very satisfied with that decision.. Usually I second guess my purchases after making them but that hasn't been the case here.. Sure, there are a few gripes with the camera but nothing I can't work around.
Being infactuated with the FZ1 IR shots shown here and elsewhere, I decided to make the plunge.. The piggy bank finally said okay so the hunt was on.. Naturally, I missed the one $99 FZ1 from Unique so I placed a bid on a Ritz Camera auction for an open box / repaired (whatever that means) camera.. Normally I wouldn't do something like that but in this case, 30 day replace or refund policy gave me a small degree of comfort. I have to say that my experience with Ritz was top notch (so far).. The camera was sent within 24 hours of payment and tracking info was provided.. After a 2 day journey, UPS left the camera at my door.
The camera came in it's original USA market box with all of it's original packaging and documents. The serial number on the camera matches the one printed on the box. I don't think any of it had ever been opened.. Cables were tied as they would be from the factory, the 8Mb card is taped in it's proper place (and will probably stay there), the strap and adapter had never been installed on the camera.. There isn't a mark on anything.. Looks brand new.
My initial impression is favorable but if this is the same size as the FZ5, I'm glad I have the FZ20 instead. As I stated earlier, the reason for the purchase was to play with IR photos.. The FZ20 is VERY capable of doing IR but the idea of hauling a tripod around doesn't appeal to me.. I had considered a monopod but the one I want is into the $100 range. Couldn't justify it. So, for the cost of the monopod and the extra battery that I now have (I'll never carry both cameras), and a few extra $$, I have the ability to take hand-held IR photos.. I do have to admit that the details are much better in IR with the FZ1.. I intend to play with it extensively in the next several days, weeks, months, and hopefully years.. I'll post some photos when I get this camera figured out.