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Nizidramanii Nov 15, 2005 12:37 PM

I am seriously considering the FZ20 over the Canon S2 IS after a lot of reading on this forum and elsewhere. I like the fact that there is a wired remote available for the FZ20, it has a constant 2.8 aperature, and the lense seems to be of higher quality. Another observation is that the people here on the Panasonic forum seem to post pictures instead of problems! The Panasonic is cheaper than the Canon, too.

So my question to all of your FZ20 owners out there: What kind of issues do you have with your FZ20 or what kind of issues are pretty common? Are there many complaints or limitations to this camera? How does it compare to the S2 IS?

Thank you in advance.

squirl033 Nov 15, 2005 2:23 PM

the FZ20 is a great camera, but it's not perfect. among the limitations i'd list are noise, EVF performance, and power-up/focus times (compared to the FZ30). i can't compare it to the Canon, since i've never used the S2-IS

noise in the FZ20is apparent above ISO200. it's not terribly bad, about average from what i can tell, and it's usually easily enough removed using NR software, but at ISO400, it can be a problem, particularly in low light. that being said, i have not had enough problems with it to make me want another camera. but then, i seldom shoot at ISO settings above 100 - i prefer to use a tripod and a longer exposure for low-light shots, and that seems to produce good results.

the EVF doesn't perform the way i'd like. it freezes up when you press the shutter, and makes panning shots very difficult. it's also relatively low resolution (114,000 pixels), which makes manual focusing a bit more difficult than it needs to be. still, i use it exclusively for composing shots, and only use the LCD for reviewing.

the camera takes a while to power up... about 5 seconds from turn-on to first shot. it has to wait for the lens to move into position. this isn't a big problem for me, since most of the time, my subjects don't take me by surprise and i have ample time to turn on or "wake up" the camera, but it can be kind of a nuisance if i go more than a couple of minutes between shots. if it becomes an issue, i simply turn off the "power save" feature and keep the camera on. focusing is accurate, but relatively slow, though the lag time once the camera gets focused is very short. again, this isn't a big problem for me, though it is for others, especially shooting fast action shots.

the FZ20 is also optimized for outdoor work, and isn't at its best shooting snapshots indoors. if you just want something to take pictures of the family gatherings, you may not be all that happy with the FZ20, but if you'll be using it for wildlife, landscapes or any kind of outdoor work, it's pretty hard to beat for the price.

these are all pretty minor complaints, andthe FZ20 has enough good features to easily outweight them. the lens is simplyincredible, and the images i get with it are consistently good. it's able to do everything i need a camera to do in one package, without lugging an SLR and a bagful of lenses around with me. the OIS works extremely well, and with a close-up lens and a teleconverter, it gives me more usable range than any other camera i've used.

the FZ30 did away with some of the FZ20's shortcomings, like the power up delay and the poor EVF resolution, but it didn't solve the noise issue or the EVF freeze-up, and the improvements it does offer come at a price. the FZ30 is about $100 more than the FZ20 was when it was new. it also offers more MP (8 instead of 5), if that matters to you.

LadyhawkVA Nov 15, 2005 3:48 PM

Squirl033 has pretty much nailed the features of the FZ20. I also want to add that the picture quality of the FZ20 is doggone good - and that's probably the bottom line for a lot of us.

I think you'll be pleased with the FZ20. I like the fact that it's a camera you can grow with. You can use the auto and scene modes as much as you like, or you can try experimenting with semi-auto and manual settings whenever you're ready to go for it. If you want a camera that will take great snapshots, the FZ20 will do that. If you want to learn photography, the FZ20 will take you there.

vIZnquest Nov 15, 2005 5:19 PM

The one thing above the mentioned stuff that can be worked around or using software to correct some minor issues is that the LCD/EVF does not "gain up" in low light. Makes it very hard to frame a shot and get good focus when using a flash for night/indoor shooting. The AF light helps a bit but not enough for me in this case.

Narmer Nov 15, 2005 7:22 PM

S2 twistable LCD id good. Maybe the noise is a bit smaller than FZ20, but with a few more in cam NR, so the resolution is lower than FZ20.
WB and Colors are in my opinion better on Canon, which also has better movie mode , more functions and 4 NiMh stilos will provide nearly/about the same power as two FZ20 Lithium 680mAh 7,2v batteries.
Then there is the LCD no gain up in low light.

In all the rest FZ20 is way better than S2, and it's not few (but too many to tell them all without forgetting some).

Check PBase Cameras database or the images posted in this forum or in DPreview: S2 users are imo less satisfied, havemore problems and post less images and less good ones.

I don't doubt that some users will find S2 better, but IMO 66% of people will prefer FZ20, despite it also has issues.
If you compare FZ30 with S2, the difference (though also in price) is even larger and the two are really uncomparable.

Nizidramanii Nov 16, 2005 8:15 AM

Thanks for the input!

How do you guys think the FZ20 compares to the Olympus C-8080? I could live without the zoom and OIS for the wide angle. Then again, I bet there are some good wide angle converters for the FZ20. The Olympus is also very expensive.

Nizidramanii Nov 16, 2005 8:20 AM

Some more thoughts:

Is the 5 cm macro focus range limiting at all?

Does anyone here have indoor photographs/portraits? I'd be taking these kinds of pictures now and then and I don't want them to turn out completely bad.

Nizidramanii Nov 16, 2005 7:05 PM

No one has any indoor shots?

msantos Nov 16, 2005 11:17 PM

1 Attachment(s)
I have some, with very poor ligth.

Sorry if I bore you, I have already posted them in other discussion.

Both handheld, FZ-15, no flash, ISO 200 (check out the noise level)

This one, subject totaly frozen. f2.8, 1/100

msantos Nov 16, 2005 11:19 PM

1 Attachment(s)
and this one, subject totally moving fast,

FZ-15, No flash, handheld, f2.8, 1/60

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