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Old Jan 26, 2004, 2:23 PM   #11
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Holding the FZ10 is a learning process. I usually have the lens hood on unless Iím using the flash and I have found that if I cup my hand under the lens with my elbow in my chest I can actually steady it a little better than my Minolta D7i.

The image stabilization is great. I get many shots handheld I couldnít get with another camera. Both at 12X and at wider angles indoors. You still canít handhold a 12X shot in limited light. My personal best with a sharp image has been 1/6 second handheld, but others have managed 1/4 second. The stabilization lets you shoot at lower ISO as well. The camera is a little bulky, but not as bulky as a tripod. It is very light for its size. I find it will fill a 256Mb card with the battery, but some people on the Panasonic forum have had good luck with Eagle replacement batteries for $20.

Autofocus is a little weak on the FZ10 in low light. Panasonic didnít put focus distance in the EVF like Minolta does so you canít guess the focus and the EVF doesnít brighten in low light making manual focus a little difficult. If the light is that low you are using flash even with stabilization and it isnít a big hassle to just find something the same distance with better light or contrast to pre-focus on. The difference in ambient light makes no difference for a flash shot. The built in flash is a little weak but you would want an external unit for any of the cameras you are considering. I donít think it is necessary to get a expensive dedicated unit, but they are nice.

The FZ10 is very menu driven with few controls. A custom mode or two would have improved that, but Panasonic didnít see fit to include those either.

One thing worth mentioning. I got the silver model because black gets too hot in the summer Florida sun. I regularly take the camera out in my open boat and black would be a big hassle. But Panasonic didnít put black around the viewfinder area like some others do. As a result the reflections off the silver finish in the daytime make the EVF almost unreadable. I adapted a rubber eyepiece for a telescope to the viewfinder and would want it even on the black model. But I donít recommend you get silver unless you want to do that modification.

The Minolta A1 is the best prosumer digicam on the market IMO. The big zoom ring, SHQ and efficient raw, Adobe RGB, Tracking and flex focus, 28mm wide, flip out LCD and flip up EVF, high quality EVF, histogram and lots of manual controls to keep you from being menu dependent. Add stabilization and you have a great all round camera.

But the A1 doesnít have a 12X zoom that maintains f2.8 throughout the range. That is what the FZ10 is all about. If I could have only one camera it would probably be an A1, but the FZ10 is by itself for long stabilized telephoto with a decent Mp.

If you arenít going with stabilization I would get the Nikon 5700 over the Fuji S7000. From the reviews and sample pictures it takes better pictures. It also uses CF rather than the pricey and dead end (IMO) xD cards.

I would suggest you read through the Fuji, Nikon, Panasonic and Minolta forums over at www.dpreview.com as well as here. Also absorb all the reviews you can at Steveís and at dpreview and:
http://www.dcresource.com/reviews/cameraList.php and
http://www.imaging-resource.com/MFR1.HTM
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Old Jan 26, 2004, 7:07 PM   #12
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just a note.. the s7000 uses xd and cf cards!
if i had to make a decision out of the 4 cameras (i forgot to say in my last post) it would be 50/50 5700 and A1. The other two cams are great, but i think they are too much P&S. Thats the SLR owner in me speaking :lol:
I think any choice you make you will be happy with!
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Old Jan 26, 2004, 8:04 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gandalf065
just a note.. the s7000 uses xd and cf cards!
Good Ė Fuji is finally waking up like Oly did. They both went from the frying pan into the fire from the lousy SM to the pricey and limited use xD. xD is probably a better card than SD, but SD got there first and other devices like handhelds as well as third party cameras had already switched to SD. Nobody is using xD but those two and I think that will likely continue.

I still donít much care for the camera. The only way to get decent pictures from it is through an enormous raw file. Otherwise the JPG compression is much too high.


Quote:
if i had to make a decision out of the 4 cameras (i forgot to say in my last post) it would be 50/50 5700 and A1. The other two cams are great, but i think they are too much P&S. Thats the SLR owner in me speaking :lol:
I think any choice you make you will be happy with!
The FZ10 has full manual, aperture priority, shutter priority, program shift and EV adjustments in program mode, a manual focus ring, thru the lens (and CCD) EVF with real time histogram, Continuous focus mode, burst mode with a decent buffer etc etc. Exactly what little feature doesnít it have that constitutes the difference between P&S and non- P&S in your eyes?

My big complaint is that everything has to be accessed from the menu. But if that is the standard the 5700 is a P&S compared to the A1.
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Old Jan 26, 2004, 8:44 PM   #14
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oops! youre right... i forgot that was menu accessible on the fz-10.
i retract my comment then.... now i must say i dont have a favorite between all the cams....
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Old Jan 27, 2004, 1:42 AM   #15
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Hi Everyone,

I just wanted to thank you for all of your great comments and advice!

It's cool to "see" the passion that you have for these cameras....

I will definitely check out those forums.

Last tidbit--I see that there's a $100 rebate for the 5700 that's ending very soon....hmmm...that could tip the scales some!

Thanks again...take care....
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