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Old Feb 12, 2009, 10:37 PM   #1
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I could have posted this in the Panasonic forum because the examples I use are all Panasonic. But, really, this is a subject that could potentially affect all megazooms.

I read with great interest Panasonic's releases for the TS1 and TS3 - the replacement for the TZ4 and TZ5. These cameras are essentially the same size as the TZ4/TZ5 and feature zoom ranges from 25-300mm (equivalent). That's mighty impressive. What's more, the zoom range is beginning to get dangerously close to Panasonic's FZ-class megazoom cameras - with the same-sized sensor and a considerally smaller and lighter form factor.

So, could, say, the NEXT generation of the TS/TZ-class cameras spell curtains for cameras like the FZ28? The introduction of the micro four-thirds G1 from Panasonic makes me think the FZ-class of cameras might soon be squeezed out from the top and bottom.

And if a strategy like this works for Panasonic, would other major camera makers be that far behind? Canon's SX10 and SX1 are hardly that compact any more - and are priced close to entry-level DSLRs these days.

Just some musings for your consideration.
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Old Feb 13, 2009, 7:15 AM   #2
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It is the ZS3 rather than TS3 (also known as TZ7) that I believe you are talking about.

As for replacing superzooms I don't think so, for now at least for a few reasons.

Lens quality higher in SZs rather than compacts, usually brighter and faster AF.

More manual controls usually on SZs

An EVF as well as LCD screen

Better handling in a larger camera

As for SZs being priced close to dSLRs, this is true but the convenience of havinga vast zoom range of an SZ as well as reasonably compact design makes a usable package where carrying around dSLR kit is not convenient. On the flip side you can't get the same quality and artistic control with a SZ.

For these reasons I have a Panasonic TZ5, Canon SX1 and 3 Canon dSLRs to cover my needs ranging from convenience to Pro work. I can't see any of the cameraclassifications (ultra compact, compact, SZ/Bridge and dSLR)blurring into another for a very long time, well the Pana G1 is having a go and it does interest me for the future when they put video on it as I think this could be a lovely compromise.
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Old Feb 13, 2009, 11:43 AM   #3
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Uh, yes, Mark... I did mean ZS3. And you may be right about megazooms/superzooms. Certainly now they offer much more contorl and quality than camers like the TZ5. I was just musing about what may happen in another couple of years.

Meanwhile... how are you liking the SX1? I had an S3 IS and was considering adding a megazoom camera to my kit again. In many waysI like the SX1/SX10... but I'm disappointed by how much slower the lens is compared to the old S3, which was f/2.8-3.5. Yes, the new camera has a substantially longer zoom, but I am hearing by 200mm (equivalwent), it's down to something like f/5. I could deal with that if it was f/5 at 400mm.I think you know what I mean.

As for the G1 and micro four-thirds... I'm very interested indeed. I'm watching see what Olympus comes out with this year. I can envision my kit including my Pentax DSLR, something like the G1, a megazoom and my Panasonic LX3. It might be overkill for some, but I can see getting use of of four cameras.

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Old Feb 13, 2009, 12:13 PM   #4
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I agree with you about the lens not being all that fast, this is where the Panasonic FX28 wins. I wouldn't have purchased the Canon if I were not for the full HD video and the ability to do a loss less 2x zoom while in video giving over 1100mm (in 35mm equiv).

If I hadn't purchased the TZ5 a while ago in the hope that it would do as an all round P&S/Video machine then I would be looking at the LX3 due to the brighter lens but I'm OK with everything I have so no real complaints.
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