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Old Dec 6, 2005, 12:13 PM   #11
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Oh, there is an update in Steve's review addressing the famous "noise issue"? Good to know. I agree, while the noise is bad at ISO 400, I don't think it is particularly worse than other cameras with that sensor size. Look at this shot at ISO 400 with the Nikon 8800. http://www.steves-digicams.com/2004_...s/DSCN0453.JPG Couldn't get much worse, could it? Now, I don't remember anyone crying out over the terrible noise issues of the Nikon 8800, and that camera had the slightly larger 2/3 CCD.

Fact is that probably only larger sensors will really handle excessive noise in higher ISO's. Possibly new cooling technology could improve noise on smaller CCD's. In-camera noise processing compromises image quality as the Fuji S9000 proves. But sensors are getting larger with more MP's and prices will be tumbling on those over the next couple of years. Mamiya just developed a camera with 22 MP on a 36x48mm CCD. http://mamiya.com/cameras.asp?id=1&id2=2107 This sensor would house 45 (!) of the FZ30's CCD's. Now, that's the ticket for low noise images at up to ISO3200 or even higher. But until development has reached a plateau where large sized sensors are the new standard and affordable, and maybe even available in an ultrazoom that does not weigh two tons, I am not going to spend 1000's of dollars on a system that will soon be outdated. For $500+ the FZ30 is the most and best camera that's currently on the market, period. Just keep the ISO at 80 or 100 and use a tripod when needed. Neat Image does the trick when you have to use ISO200, or very rarely ISO400. At ISO 100, there is no visible difference when printing a letter sized photo even compared to the Canon EOS D20. Try it yourself, using Steve's samples.

As to your suggestion, johnvanhulst, that Steve was corrupt and paid by Panasonic for not mentioning the noise issue at first, and for you to have the audacity to come here and post your accusation on the forum boards that Steve created, you are lucky you did not get your bottom banned from here for a lifetime.

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Old Dec 6, 2005, 12:22 PM   #12
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So, I spent some time comparing several camera's higher ISO pics to find out for myself if the "terrible noise issue" of the FZ30 is fact or fiction. These are all at ISO 400, unless otherwise specified. (For example I included the Fuji S9000 ISO 800 and 1600 images because its "Smart Blur" feature simply bumps up sensitivity in order to compensate for the lacking IS.) Here are the links. You decide for yourselves. (Make sure to look at them at full resolution).

Panasonic FZ30: http://www.steves-digicams.com/2005_...s/p1000337.jpg

Fuji S9000 (ISO 400): http://www.steves-digicams.com/2005_...s/DSCF0699.JPG

Fuji S9000 (ISO 800): http://www.steves-digicams.com/2005_...s/DSCF0701.JPG

Fuji S9000 (ISO 1600): http://www.steves-digicams.com/2005_...s/DSCF0703.JPG

Canon Powershot Pro 1: http://www.steves-digicams.com/2004_...s/IMG_0297.JPG

Canon S2 IS: http://www.steves-digicams.com/2005_...s/IMG_0048.JPGand http://www.steves-digicams.com/2005_...s/IMG_0533.JPG

Kodak p850: http://www.steves-digicams.com/2005_...s/100_0014.JPG

Konica Minolta Dimage A200: http://www.steves-digicams.com/2004_...050_iso400.JPG

Nikon Coolpix 8800: http://www.steves-digicams.com/2004_...s/DSCN0453.JPG

Olympus c8080: http://www.steves-digicams.com/2004_...289_iso400.jpg

Sony DSC-H1: http://www.steves-digicams.com/2005_...s/DSC00479.JPG

In my opinion, those are all in the same ballpark, with the FZ30 being clearly better than for example the Canon Pro 1. The Olympus c8080 and Fuji S9000 (at ISO 400 only) probably take the prize for being best among all of them, but still quite noisy.

Here is what an image from a large sensor looks like. This was taken with the new Canon EOS 5D. http://www.steves-digicams.com/2005_...s/IMG_2102.JPG
As you can see, it is by far less noisy than even an ISO 100 image from any of the previous cameras. That's why DSLR's cost so much more. But I think they'll tumble soon and a camera with a full size 36x24 mm sensor will be available in the $500 range by 2007 or 2008.

But it appears to be a myth that the FZ30 has any more noise issues than any other small sensor camera (which includesthe 2/3 sensor, by the way, since it is only about 20% larger than the 1/1.8 CCD used in the FZ30 and others), ultrazoom or not.

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