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-   -   FZ30 vs. FZ20 Aperture (

Nizidramanii Feb 1, 2006 8:43 AM

One thing I like about the FZ20 is the constant 2.8 aperture. On the FZ30 it closes down to 3.7 at telephoto. Does this make shooting at telephoto more difficult?

tclune Feb 1, 2006 9:37 AM

Because the lens is slower, you must shoot the same scene at a slower speed for a given ISO setting. This has two undesireable effects: First, you will be less able to stop motion in the image. A running deer will need a faster shutter, which in turn requires a brighter lens, for the image to look sharp and focused.

Second, when you hand-hold the camera, you iintroduce motion thatcan blur the image in a way that is especially noticeable at long telephoto settings. The standard rule-of-thumb is that you should set the shutter speed to the reciprocal of the 35mm euqivalent focal distance or faster to avoid hand-holding blur artifacts At 400mm, you would select at least 1/400 shutter speed. Now, the image stabilization in the Panasonics allows you to reduce that shutter speed by about two full stops, other things being equal. Thus, you could get away with 1/100 shutter speed while holding the camera at 400mm using IS (all this varies witht the individual -- I am shakier than average, so I can't go quite that low and maintain crisp images). What the birghter lens does for you is allow you to take the hand-held picture in lower light, because you need at least 1/100 shutter speed and you can't change the light in the scene, you need a brighter lens if you are shooting a dimmer field of view.

Of course, the two points above are either/or. If you use a slower shutter speed to accommodate dimmer lighting, you will not be able to stop fast motion within the image. But, the upshot of all this is that the FZ30 is a material step backward from thequality of the FZ20 camera in the specific case of lens brightness. Injust about all other regards, it is a better camera, as far as I can tell.

If you don't care about external flash, the forthcoming FZ7 has a lens almost as bright as the FZ20, and appears to incporporate many of the advances of the FZ30 in other regards.

genece Feb 1, 2006 9:38 AM

I do not think so...and I tried setting the 2 cameras side by side and taking photos ...I preferred the FZ30 photos almost everytime....while thats not a scientific test, it set my mind at ease.

I tried this in rather good light and in very dim light....and while not everyone agrees, I believe the FZ30 handles poor light much better than the FZ10 or 20.

How much of my test had to do with...the way I use a camera,I do not know but the FZ30 works better for me.

tiger98 Feb 1, 2006 2:48 PM

I have to agree with Gene, I haven't had any problems with telephoto pictures with the FZ30. And they look better than the ones I took with my FZ20! Jim

squirl033 Feb 1, 2006 3:21 PM

if you view FZ20 and FZ30 pics side by side at the same print size, it's not surprising the '30 will look better... it has 60% more pixels, and when you view an 8MP image at, say, 8x10, it's bound to offer a slight, though perhaps noticeable, improvement over a 5MP image at the same print size. if you're viewing both files side by side at 100% on your monitor, and the FZ30 still offers better image quality, that's another matter... but from what i've heard in all the reviews, it doesn't.

as to whether the difference between f2.8 and f3.7 is a problem, i doubt it in most cases. the camera will pick a slightly slower shutter speed at f3.7 - maybe 1/200 instead of 1/250, or in low light perhaps 1/40 instead of 1/50, or it may select a higher ISO setting, to compensate. if it just slows down a bit, that's easy to deal with - in low light or at high zoom, at speeds below 1/100 or so you should be using a tripod anyway - but if it goes above ISO 100 to make up the difference, the noise may be a problem.

slipe Feb 1, 2006 8:37 PM

Take your FZ20 out on a sunny day and shoot a bird in full shade. At f2.8 I think you will generate less than 1/100 unless you crank the ISO past 100. I often use a burst in those situations to try to hit moments of null movement. I don't think you could get a really sharp shade shot with the FZ30 at 12X without higher ISO, and it isn't that great at higher ISOs. In the woods on a dreary day it would be even tougher.

I recently shot a conference I attended where I couldn't get close to the speaker. As hard as I tried to steady the camera at 12X and f2.8 I only got a few really sharp shots using burst.

The FZ30 has some great features, but there are times when the FZ20 will do better. Raw is great but not magic. And noise reduction software works well, but at higher ISO the FZs start losing detail which noise software won't recover.

Sharpness acceptability increases with smaller prints and small displays. Same with noise.

genece Feb 2, 2006 9:11 AM

While those post seem to make sense...the point I was trying to make is I set both cameras on tripods and pointed them at the same pole about 100 yds away ....I used 2 different shutter releases and snapped the photos at the same time thru the last 3 hrs of daylight and when looking back at the photos and the exif ,I could see no difference in the settings and the overall appearance of the Photos favored the FZ30 in my opinion. What I am trying to say is I could not see that almost 1 stop just did not show up.

The reason I could see no difference is I used program mode and except for the lowest light shots..the cameras chose the same setting almost exclusively, thelowest light shot were the last 4 shots I took and the FZ20 used F2.8 and the FZ30 used F3.7 and related shutter speeds but the photos looked very similar...I do agree the last shots with the FZ30 would have been more difficult to handhold or to stop motion. But that condition is not the strong point of either camera.

I did not keep the photos as it was just for me to see how much light I lost at the higher zooms with the FZ30 and I did not seem to loose any under most conditions.

And when I got the FZ20 ..I felt there were things the FZ10 did better than the FZ20, which made it difficult for me to decide which of those cameras to give to my daughter. I gave her the FZ10..I left that decision to my wife.

But IMHOthere is nothing the FZ20 does better than the FZ30 at least for what I use a camera for. I can see if you were to use manual mode most of the time you could miss the F2.8...But thats no problem for me.

slipe Feb 2, 2006 11:48 AM


I do agree the last shots with the FZ30 would have been more difficult to handhold or to stop motion. But that condition is not the strong point of either camera.

I don't see what stabilization and f2.8 to 12X is about other than that.

I use aperture priority at f2.8 and ISO 100 often. And sometimes I need ISO 200, although the output isn't the greatest at ISO 200.

Nizidramanii: This is a great little program for checking the EXIF. I use it often because it will look in sub-folder, unlike most viewers. Perhaps you could look through your FZ20 images and see how often f2.8 was necessary. If your normal shooting doesn't use the wide stop very often then f3.7 isn't going to hinder your shooting.

Edit: They recently added the Pro version, but the regular viewer still seems to be freeware.

Nizidramanii Feb 2, 2006 7:06 PM

Thanks slipe! I was wondering how everyone here was looking at EXIF data.

LoveLife Feb 3, 2006 4:31 AM

Nizidramanii wrote:

One thing I like about the FZ20 is the constant 2.8 aperture. On the FZ30 it closes down to 3.7 at telephoto. Does this make shooting at telephoto more difficult?
Out side in good light there is no difference. You can even use higher ISO and get good results. If you are looking for low light captures sans flash the FZ10 and the 20 leave the FZ30 in the dust you start off at 1X 2.8, 1.5X at 3.2, at 3x 3.6 and 3.7 at 10x and above. This is too much to give up because opting for a higher ISO at low light is noise city. The noise isthere at all ISOand you cannot turn off noise suppression. My FZ10 does not have any. If you are not concerned about this the 30 it is very good in other lighting situations. The camera has some other minor weaknesses but they can be overcome. The focus ring is too soft and moves with the slightest nudge. I slipped a rubber band into the slit to make it stiffer. In bright sunlight there is a minor blue cast but that can be permanently adjusted with a -2 clicks to red. For those that take issue with this check out the color test of the FZ30 and stop with the reinforcement.

or -1.0 Red and +.6 Blue = blue cast.

This is a quote from the review the bold are my additions.

Noise is even an issue at ISO 80, a real problem at ISO 400 or in low light very true
Very occasional exposure problems Very true
Max aperture at long end of zoom only F3.7 I mentioned that
Limited dynamic range, highlight clipping in JPEGs
Pointless RAW converter produces worse results than JPEGs
Focus at extreme telephoto sometimes hunts, occasionally misses It misses a lot it has what is know as a back focus problem
Images can look a little soft viewed at 100%soft at 60%

I have a 10 and a 30 and I find myself using the 10 more often the Panasonic the color is way better. Pixel Pushing on the 30 has cost them dearly.
Don't even think about a shot like this with a FZ30. The FZ30 would be at F3.6 400 ISO, noise and speed well you do the math.

Model: DMC-FZ10
Size: 2235x1673

Bytes: 364710

Aperture: f/2.8

ISO: 400

Focal Length: 45.9mm (275mm 35mm)

Exposure Time: 0.0166s (10/600)

JPEG Quality: fine

Flash: Flash did not fire, compulsory flash mode

Exposure Program: Aperture priority

Exposure Bias: -1/3

LightSource: 4

White Balance: manual

DigitalZoomRatio: 0/10

Sharpness: 2

SubjectDistanceRange: 3

SensingMethod: One-chip color sensor
ColorSpace: sRGB

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