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Old May 28, 2006, 3:15 AM   #1
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I've been using a Panasonic FZ20 for a year or two but am starting to find it limiting.I'm looking into DSLR's particularly Canon 20D or 30D (mainly because of fast continuous shooting). My main use is for shooting sports, particularly surfing, and wildlife. I'm looking at the 100-400 mm f4.5-5.6L Canon lens too. Anyway, here's a list of things that I've become frustrated with on my FZ20. I imagine, most will improve by stepping up to DSLR, but am interested in any comments...

- Slow start up due to lens extension

- Shutter lag

- Relatively low battery life (90 mins if left on).

- Too much noise at ISO >100.

- Metering:bright skies often blown out

- Colours: yellows and bright greens quite inaccurate, blues sometimes.

- Narrow depth of field almost impossible

- Slow focus

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Old May 28, 2006, 5:03 AM   #2
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I don't have the exact numbers on shutter lag and start up time, but the 20D and 30D is almost non-existent. I think a DSLR will fix just about everything you listed except for maybe the metering, blown out skies will happen with most cameras but is easily corrected by shooting RAW. That is another plus for the DSLR, RAW shooting. It allows you to fine tune your image on a computer so you are able to get the results you want.

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Old May 28, 2006, 7:40 AM   #3
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I moved from the FZ20 to the EOS 30d.* The 30d will answer all your concerns that you had.* It's like moving from a Yugo to a Porsche.
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Old May 28, 2006, 8:43 AM   #4
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the narrow depth of field is always a problem with fixed lens cameras. I'm not exactly sure on your FZ-20, but on most fixed lens cameras not only does the focal length have a 35mm equivalent, but the f/2.8 aperture has a 35mmequivalent of around f/11.
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Old May 28, 2006, 11:38 AM   #5
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Yes, it will solve all your problems.

To correct one of caboose's statments... the DOF *is* smaller with a DSLR, but it isn't because it's a fixed length lens. It's because the physical aperture is so small and the sensor is so small. If someone ever made a new interchangeable lens and body (maybe like the 4-thirds format?) with smaller lenses and a smaller sensor it would also have a very large DOF.

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Old May 28, 2006, 5:04 PM   #6
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Thanks guys, I'm sold! Time to visit the bank!

From the sample photos I've seen, I'm guessing sharpness will also improve (with 100-400 mm) over the lens in the FZ20.

Also, can anyone suggest any good sites for buying second-hand gear (apart from Ebay). They must be able to ship worldwide as I live in New Zealand!

Thanks again!

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Old May 28, 2006, 6:08 PM   #7
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gardensurf wrote:
Eric S is right. I have a 350D and if you think that your FZ20 has a small DOF you don't know how small is on mine... When in tele mode (55 mm focal lenght) and the subject is as close as it can be focused, and the aperture is lets say 8,the DOF is aroundone fifth of a inch... You will miss your Panasonic in this matter!

Anyway, good luck!
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Old May 29, 2006, 5:57 AM   #8
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I also own the FZ20 but have not used it sinceI boughtthe 20D last December. I quickly pushed the limits of the FZ20 within the first 6 months of owning it. You did not mention that you also lose sight of your subject when shooting in burst mode. This does not happen with the 20 - 30D. You may find the shutter noise a bit loud but it's "real" noise. The plastic FZ20 toy, as you know makes a "fake" shutter noise like the shutter noise of my cell phone.

- As far as clairity and crisp pictures go...I can say that after shooting over 7500 pictures in 5 months of use, you will have to learn how to achieve sharpness USING CANON LENSES. You will shoot A LOT...(let me repeat that) A LOT!!! of soft focus pictures and will have to sharpen them up through PB or what ever you find works best. On the same note you will shoot SOME very sharp pictures without having to resharpen them. BEFORE YOU BUY YOUR LENSES, try them out first by renting them for a weekend or so. If your outside shooting surfing and wildlife, try the 100 - 400 (like the one you want) and then try the Sigma 50 - 500. I know from trying these two the Sigma wins 'hands down' on sharpness and color tone right out of the camera.

Do your research on "slide zooms"like the 100 - 400. The Canon reps will and should tell you that dust, sand and other elements will get inside this type of lens very easily and if your going to find yourself standing on windy beaches often, I'll bet it won't take long for something to blow inside of it.

- Noise is far less an issue with the 20 - 30D, HOWEVER I always capture my sports shots with the ISO settings at 3200. This helps push the shutter faster and then I run the photos I want to keep through a noise program. So Noise is a non-issue.

Good luck and can't wait to see your shots!

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Old May 29, 2006, 8:59 AM   #9
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Good luck in deciding what camera to buy gardensurf. I have an olympus C8080 and have also thought of moving up to The Canon 30D but I will have to start saving my pennies. Look forward to seeing your surf photos with your Canon 30D.:-)
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Old May 30, 2006, 12:23 AM   #10
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:blah:Got the FZ20 also; not really impress with the performance. I switch to the rebel Xt with 17-85mm IS lens and 70-300mm IS. For what you're doing the 70-300mm IS I think is the best choice for the money. With factor of 1.5 this lens become 105-450mm (x12 plus zoom). Increase your ISO to 800 plus -3 stops straight from the IS lens you have to yourself a monster machine. Hope this help.
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