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Old Jul 17, 2005, 3:38 AM   #1
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I'm looking at picking up a new digital camera, the 2 i have narrowed down to are the Canon S2 IS, and the Panasonic FZ20. Either of these would be nice, however the canon runs on AAs where as the panasonic has the Li-Ion. Can anyone tell me what battery life is like on these 2 cameras comparitively? I realise it's rather hard to definatively measure battery life due to so many variables, so i guess i'm just looking for whether one of the cameras is substantially better in that department, and also in general, whether one solution is a better option than the other?

thanks.
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Old Jul 17, 2005, 5:50 AM   #2
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Look no further than Steve's Reviews:

http://www.steves-digicams.com/2005_...2is.html#specs

http://www.steves-digicams.com/2004_...z20.html#specs

In a nutshell, the Canon will give you 550 shots per charge (with NiMH batteries), and the Panasonic will give up to 270 (with EVF).

I prefer cameras that use AA's, because AA batteries (alkaline, lithium, or NiMH) are readily available just about anywhere you go. The NiMH AA batteries are relatively inexpensive and they can be recharged hundreds of times.

the Hun

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Old Jul 17, 2005, 6:37 AM   #3
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thanks, I did read through those reviews, however i wasn't sure how much stock to put in the OEM numbers as they tend to supply best case scenarios. Even so, it would appear that the S2 is quite a bit longer battery wise than the FZ20.
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Old Jul 17, 2005, 8:18 AM   #4
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I know what you mean about the OEM numbers. Both Canon and Panasonic are members of CIPA, so you would think that their numbers would be accurate and honest. With that in mind, I went to both of their websites and noticed that Panasonic posted a battery life of up to 300 pictures (CIPA Standard), and up to 320 pictures with EVF (I guess that means with the LCD turned off). Steve posted a battery life of up to 240 pictures (CIPA Standard), and up to 270 pictures with EVF. I can't account for the difference. Canon posted a battery life of approx. 550 shots (AA-size NiMH battery), which is the same as Steve reported. I'm sure you could find a way to get fewer pictures per charge with either camera, however, you would probably always get considerably more with the Canon than the Panasonic. I wasn't able to find any shots per charge data on my camera before I bought it, however most professional reviews stated excellent battery life with four NiMH AA's. In the real world I get somewhere between 350 and 400 pics per charge with a lot of zooming, flash pics, playback and uploading using 2400 mAh batteries.

http://www.cipa.jp/english/hyoujunka...f/DC-002_e.pdf

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Old Jul 18, 2005, 10:27 AM   #5
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The panasonic FZ5's battery (dont know if the FZ20 uses the same one) costs about as much as at least 3 sets 2500mAh batteries for the S2.

Another problem is availability say 10 years from now. I know its a long time, but if you have a camera that suits your needs 100%, you dont want to bave to buy a new one, only because the manufacturer stopped making batteries for it?
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Old Jul 18, 2005, 12:31 PM   #6
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The FZ20 comes with a lithium battery and charger. The S2 comes with alkaline batteries and you have to purchase a charger and NiMH batteries. I got a replacement battery for my FZ10 from Eagle Imports for $20 and it seems to be as competent as the Panasonic battery. I think it also fits the FZ20. So you can buy a couple of spares for the FZ20 for about the price of getting a good charger and a single set of high capacity NiMH batteries for the S2.

A FZ20 battery is a lighter than 2 NiMH. 4 AA batteries weigh the S2 down more than it needs. But you do get a payback in battery life.

A lithium battery loses about 5% of its charge the first day like a NiMH does. But after that it loses about as much in a month as a NiMH does in a day. So you can charge a lithium and just keep it in a handy place in case you need it. So if it is two months before you need more than 270 shots in an outing the battery is still almost fully charged.

I have a camera that takes NiMH batteries and prefer lithium batteries. You have to keep track of how long your spare set of NiMH has been sitting etc. It isn't a big deal and it would be nice to have over 500 shots available if you tend to shoot a lot and get a large memory card. I tend to use the burst mode on my FZ, and that does fill a memory card faster along with adding some additional battery drain – not a lot though. The burst mode isn't quite as good on the S2, but I would probably still tend to use it often. If you are pushing the edge of handhold ability there are null moments in hand movement that you have a much better chance of capturing with a burst. And it helps capture an exact moment in dynamic situations.

Both cameras have advantages. Overall I think I would choose the S2. It is a little more compact but probably about the same weight once you add the batteries. It has much better controls – the FZ20 is almost totally menu driven. The movie mode is superb on the S2 with full VGA at 30fps, stereo sound and a wind buffer. And you can use the optical zoom with movies. Having a high quality movie mode with stabilization and zoom would be nice. Too bad they didn't use MPEG4 so they didn't take so much space. Autofocus shutter lag is better at full zoom than the FZ20, but I keep mine in continuous autofocus and usually pre-focus, so that would be a wash for me. Continuous focus does increase battery drain though. I often wish I had an articulated LCD.

The nearly half stop faster speed at full zoom on the FZ20 would be significant. I find I am often at the limits of my handholding abilities with the stabilization on the FZ10, and any decrease in the available shutter speed would not help at all. You don't need an adapter for filters. It has a hot shoe, but it is very difficult to use an external flash with it. Panasonic added a "feature" that makes it almost impossible to frame in normal room lighting. The burst mode is excellent and a little better than the S2.



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Old Jul 31, 2005, 5:34 AM   #7
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Pros and cons

lithium batteries hold there charge while stored

AA batteries are a damn sight cheaper.


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