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Contriver Sep 15, 2006 1:08 PM

I currently have a Canon A520, I like it as a point and shoot, but as far as taking creative shots, although it has a pretty intuitive manual mode, it just doesn't cut it for what I want. I think of myself as a photography hobbyist. I want more out of my photography experience then just snapping photos, but, after researching DSLR cameras for the past few months, I have decided that I am not yet ready to invest the money into an inventory of lenses nor do I wish to carry all of the extra equipment around with me. Thus I find myself again looking into the prosumers. I am thinking about picking up the FZ30. I understand many complain about the noise issue, yet others claimthat the severity of this issue isblown way out of proportion. I have seen alot of great pictures taken with this camera; most of which look way better then what I have achieved with the A520. Are you all satisfied with this camera for the price?

genece Sep 15, 2006 3:41 PM

Now I am about as big a fan of the FZ cameras as there is.....but if you have no need for an ultrazoom camera.......I believe you should look at a different type camera.....

The Ultra zoom cameras IMHO need to comprimise on some things to accomplish others......I actually can not imagine being without a Ultrazoom but I just wanted you to be aware that there are trade-offs.

Now since I have no need for a camera with a small zoom, I do not keep up with them so I am no help in suggesting one.

I would decide what type photos you will mainly be taking and then try to find a camera that suits your needs. Ifyou decide onan ultrazoom I do not believe there is a better one made.

But to answer your question ...I really am satisfied with the FZ30.

atkins400 Sep 15, 2006 3:44 PM

Let me precede this by saying that this is all just my own opinion, but I read, evaluate and compare samples as much as anyone else, so I'd be comfortable in saying I know a lot more than the average consumer about digital cameras.........

I am not even a hobbyist, because I rarely get time to go out and actually take pictures. But I got into photography when my daughter was born, and I am an enthusiast. I read this board every day, but seldom post, and rarely post photos, although I really should if I want to get better.

There is simply no better prosumer camera than the FZ30. It has limitations. Noise is sometimes an issue to some, rarely for me. I've seem some ISO 200-400 shots with very decent results if you don't mind using the flash or otherwise have good light. If you want to take indoor low light photos without flash, then you want to buy a dSLR. It's as simple as that. Small sensor cameras just cannot physically handle that end of the spectrum yet (but I think Fuji is getting really close with the F30, a small compact model). Otherwise, the FZ30 excels at most everything else. For under $500 (even less maybe)you get a camera with results that will in many cases rival dSLR quality, with a much more versatile lens that would cost thousands for similar equipment on a dSLR. The FZ30 feels and handles like an SLR, but is more compact and very easy to carry with ALL your accessories in a medium size bag.

The MAJOR trade offs? Less dynamic range, which even I will admit I sometimes wish I had. And noise, but no more noise than you see on any other camera in this class. Actually, instead of saying noise it would be more accurate to say the trade off is excellent quality at an ISO range of 400-1600. Many dSLRs will give you that. Please read this for what it opinion, but I think factual and accurate.


tiger98 Sep 15, 2006 3:46 PM

Until they fix the image quality of the FZ50 the FZ30 is one super camera! Jim

Contriver Sep 15, 2006 7:50 PM

Thanks alot for the feedback guys. I think I am going to go with the FZ30. Its funny how I have come full circle with my pick on which camera to buy.

genece - What types of situations do you find yourself taking advantage of the zoom the most? I'm just curoius.

genece Sep 15, 2006 8:03 PM

Most of my photos are wildlife and/or birds....Its not that I do not take many lanadscape photos and some people photos , but wildlife is my main attraction.

Most of these were taken by my wife and she is a 100% point and shooter.

WackyRoger Sep 15, 2006 8:06 PM

Here a two examples of the FZ30 at work. I copied the text below from my web site so you will understand the photos.

We have developed a new style of Wildlife photos which we call "Stalking Wildlife Photos".
You will find numerous photos that have an insert of a close up of the animal or bird we want to photograph.
The large photo or background photo is where we found the animal and the insert is after we have stalked in closer to get the close up shot.

I hope this helps you see how the FZ30 can do a lot of things.

FZ 30, Nikon TCE17, QuikAim Max RDS, Zeiss Digiscope/Sony W7

gotta.learn Sep 16, 2006 1:46 PM

Hi contriver!

I have an FZ30 and am loving it. However, I would not be honest if I didn't tell you that it wasn't easy for me at first. I come from a point and shoot background. To better explain my position, I have editeda reply I made in another thread about the FZ30helping mestretch my knowlege of cameras and inspiring me to be a better photographer. Here it is.


Although I've taken pictures my whole life and owned a miriad of cameras, I never owned an SLR,and it was for good reason. They scared the heck out of me! :lol: I always owned an automatic-everything type camera. Auto focus, auto advance, auto pilot...jk.

I love to take pictures, but I figured I could NEVER learn a camera so complicated as an SLR. All those levers and dials labeled with obscure numbers and letters. I heard words and phrases like aperture, f-stop, shutter speed, ISO, OIS, white balance, macro, and all those focuses - Spot, multible and center weighted. And what was depth of field? I would begin to shut down trying to make sense of it all. OH, and manual focus with my own fingers? This was all so "other worldly" to me.

Nope, I didn't think I could even come near to understanding any of these foreign concepts.

Now, here I am with my FZ30 happily learning all the above (well, almost). This camera has actually made it inviting to learn these concepts.Owning the FZ30has allowed me to learn more about manual mode and understand the featuresand verisatilecapabilitiesthey provide.But, because the FZ30 is such a "smart" and powerful camara,I enjoy exploring the manual functions, learningas slowor fastas I wish and stillexperience the great satisfaction oftaking beautiful pictures using the program mode, auto mode and scene modes.

Noise or artistic textural grain as I prefer to call it (haha), is not an issue with me. Neat Image is a free download and I find it to be great in clearing up any artistic textural grain that I'm not willing to leave alone. This is usually only needed rarely for me.

I have taken countless hundreds of pictures with my cameraover the last seven and a half months, I am now spoiled by all it has to offer including the huge megapixal availability for enlargements and/or cropping, and even more spoiled by the amazing 12x zoom capability. Not to mention the handy swing out LCD display. That has come in handy many times. I'm only scraping the surface of whatthe FZ30 can do. But in keeping with your question of whether I'm satisfied with this camera for the price, I only know that I could not settle for less than what this camera offers. As for the price, it's worth every cent.

Teree :)

Qutie Sep 16, 2006 2:38 PM

Well, I took the plunge! (finally:-D) I've been looking for a new digital camera for months, cruising the varius websites, reading reviews, hunting forums, pretty much making myself :whack:!I had a bunch of points on a rewards card and I decided to reward myself with a camera. I originally wanted the FZ30, I had actually gotten to the point of being one click away from placing the order... but all of those reviews! Oi, the noise, the noise, oh no, the noise...also the fear factor of having more than just an auto point and shoot was rather high so I backed off and decided maybe the time wasn't right for an ultrazoom... so I started lookingfor a decent point and shoot, leaned in on the f30 for a while (must be the lettering!) But I kept coming back to the fz30.

I'm not a pro shooter, I'm just someone that likes to take photo's. Of friends, family, views, out the window driving (shh ;p)My brother was a proshooter, I remember going along with himsometimes and being the gofer:roll: I would think... wow, all that to take a pic... I just press this lil button here and presto ;)I Love looking back at places I've been, sharing them with friends and family, printing them out for later, playing around with settings and crops, all of it.

I started hunting the forums again, mostly here, to see what mostly regular people liked and disliked about their cameras. The FZ30 was uppermost in my mind, but I checked other forums as well, lurking about, clicking the various albums and such. I had about decided that yes! The FZ30 was once again my first choice... then thenews came out about the fz50 and total confusion set in once again!

To cut a way too long post short, the user photo's with the FZ30 and the happiness they've expressed with their camera, especially thehotel and tiger98 (totally amazing shots guys! I always look for new posts), pointed me back on course. Luckily, I've been able to find the camera (tho' not in black) and it's been ordered! So! I hope that you don't mind that I've answered your post as I am not yet an FZ30 owner :) I almost feel as though I am withall of the months of research on this project of mine! Iam sure it took less time to decide on my house and vehicle tho' :blah:

I hope to become a productive, photo-producing (and sharing) member of the forum soon!

JohnK Sep 16, 2006 4:06 PM

"Are you all satisfied with the FZ30?" Of course I can only speak for myself but I'd say no. However I don't regret buying it at all. I've learned a HUGE amount about photography from using the FZ30, far more than I ever did with my old FZ1 and have a much better idea of what I need from a camera now. The FZ30 can take terrific photos - under the right conditions. Unfortunately I seem to be taking a very large percentage of shots under far from ideal conditions for the FZ so for me the FZ30 hasn't been that great of a camera. If you're fully aware of it's limitations and don't have a problem working within those limits the FZ30 is a great camera.

I'll be getting a DSLR soon, but won't be getting rid of my FZ30 either. I'll use the FZ when appropriate, or when I need/want a video (probably of the kids).


Contriver Sep 17, 2006 2:33 AM

Thanks alot for the comments guys! Its nice to read the professional reviews, but I find that getting feedback peers sometimes can give you greater insight. Of course, there is no secret formula to purchasing a camera, you ultimately have to decide how much you are willing to spend and what you are willing to comprimise on.

BTW, As far as image clarity overalland sensitivity at night time, the FZ30 should, by all means, outperform my Canon A520, correct?

RealMash Sep 17, 2006 7:40 AM

Hi Contriver!

I´m still pretty new to taking Pictures. Started last year with a Panasonic LZ2, after thinking about buying a digital cam for a long time. Now I have an FZ30, and _for me_ the Limits of this camera go way beyond my limits. However, there are some thoughts I think I should share first and come to _my_ conclusion later.

The FZ30 has some severe Disadvatages to my LZ2, that is the reason why I will put the LZ2 through a bit of polishing up and will carry it with me again.

The FZ30 is a lot bulkier, heavier and more complex to use than the LZ2 point and shoot (which is not far from your current Canon). It is simply not possible to lug my full gear around with me all the time. The worst pictures possible are the ones You don`t get. I have to unpack the FZ30, take the lenshood stored the wrong way on the cam off and put it on again. Then I´ll take the Lens protector off. Then I´ll gain a little time compared to the LZ2 when I power up (this is really fast) and set the Magnification. And then I would be ready to shoot. BUT-then there are numerous settings you have to consider, the Camera was in the wrong mode etc. So effectively I´ll get a better picture if I know what settings to use, and it will take _me_ half a minute or such until I have evrything set up properly. The Flash is very good, btw. But this differs as a process a lot from grabbing a point and shoot and just fireing -my dad has a Canon A85 (the first Gift for Christmas he really uses-and we have been trying for 40 Years!) and this cam makes amazing pics. He has gotten some stuff I didn`t right away, because he was ready to fire off some shots before I and my FZ30 were (of course I came back to the spot and tried again until I got my shot ;-). Of course-if I have my cam with me and if I have the time to shoot-I´ll blow his Pics out of the water resolution and zoom wise. I can select my magnfication in a much wider range. I can screw on Wide angle lenses (I found out that I would need a wider angle on the cam the first day I took pictures with the LZ2 in the deutsche Museum Schleißheim (Flugwerft) in Munich). I can use a tele converter (there are some Pics from Gran can I put on this board yesterday, so you can see for yourself). But I would have never known what I needed would it not have been for the LZ2. I got a pic of a Fighter plane, with a black bird decal glued to the Windowpane of the Museum to stop birds flying into together with a true blackbird sitting outside-because of the tele range of the FZ2. On my first "session" with that Camera. That made me deduce a lot of things.
A) I needed a front thrad-use of Tele/wide angel converters.
B) Having a fast Ultra zoom comes in d*mn handy! Need it, want it!
C) I needed a lot more settings (white Balance, focus etc)
D) I need an polarizer, the cam mus be black so as not to beeing to obvious in pics where there is reflection on a Glass Surface.

So I bought the FZ30.
I found out even more of what I need. But at the Moment, I am not at the limit of the capability envelope of the FZ30.

I need a bigger Sensor to reduce depth of field, but not now.
I need a Camera with much better low light capabilities-but not now(didn`t get a beautifull Picture of the singer of the Hotels Band on my vacation in Gran canaria. There were al sorts of Mirrors with stunning effects (Hotel costa canaria, if soemone is going to try) and the beautifull ucrainian singer was reflected several times while she sung spanish love songs with all her might, while the Germans did not dance to the Music and watched her with polite interest-the pained look in her eyes reflected several times by the Mirrors and disco attire in the 70ies style would have been _IT_! But I failed horribly, light to low. There I would have given a months payment to get a decent low light capability. But honestly, you would have to pay at least two months salarys to buy it!)

So, and that is the biggest BUT, you should try the FZ30!
It is a beautifully made and very capable camera, BUT
don`t expect it to satisfy your camera lust for more than some time. There are cameras and lenses that are superior on the extreme parts of the usage envelope. BUT (next big but, if you excuse the bun ahem, pun) you have to vastly invest more money, you have to lug around a vastly bigger assortment of stuff.

So, baseline: keep your old point and shoot with you all the times, I flinch when I think of all the good pics I missed, because I did not!

If you think you are going to do heavy shooting, pack your FZ30.
Some acceories. This is still a very compact bag.
If you expect realy adverse shooting conditions, add some stuff (UV Filter, Tele converter, polarizer, Wide angle converter, 2.nd Battery, additional Memory cards, brush and cloth against dust, maybe a small tripod or a bigger one, if you don`t have to lug it around to far), that is my normal pack. This is not too much intimidating or draws too much attention, but for me it`s at the brink of it. Everything beyond that is _in my opinion_ not feasible to lug around. That is why I don`t have a DSLR right now-does not afford me big advantages under normal conditions. However, there will be shots you don´t get, but fewer, as with a DSLR where you don`t pack three times its Body Price in added Lenses (that is what I thinkl now. Nobody can prevent me from beeing smarter tomorrow ;-).

So baseline: if you invest a lot of time, post your pics regularily for review, practice regularily and get your settings correct, add some post processing and are willing to lug around about four times the weight of your current cam: You will get pics that blow away the old cams pics on a rate of about 70-90%. Add the pics you dn`t get at all with the old cam, and you are happy. Stand close to a _real_ pro with your old cam, and you will be left weeping. You see, it´s the one that pulls the trigger, for good or for bad. You will improve and learn how to make better pics with your old cam, the FZ30 is easy on you in that respect. You will not be a vastly better photographer over night. But you´ll have a lot more headroom to grow.

`nuff said, and probabaly a lot too much.


bayourebel Sep 17, 2006 8:23 AM

Hi! and Welcome

I also have the FZ30, and feel that RealMash gave a pretty fair commentary of the pros and cons of the camera. I am still in the basic learning stages, and the camera is capable of far more than I am at this point.

However, I have also purchased a point and shoot camera, the FX01, to carry with me most of the time for all the reasons given by RealMash.


pixelstuff Sep 17, 2006 2:18 PM

I have been using and owning a fz30 for about 8 months. All i used before were two decent and one point and shot analog cameras and a very basic digital. The FZ30 feels like taking photos again - I have an analog feeling with it that brings me back to using the analog ones, had to stop for years because the prints were too expensive and been using the bad digital one.
So from this very low point of comparsion the Fz30 is great but I can´t help thinking any damn coolpix would be better. I don´t print, I want great pixel quality ( and I get a lot of purple fringing and only 100iso is useable, from 200 on it was a waste to pull the heavy machine out of the sac.
So no, I am not really happy but I have no comparsion. I´ll buy a very small coolpix when I hit an occasion because for everyday use the fz30 is very heavy - if I want anything not daylight I need a tripod, which means yet another schlepp.
I don´t think that the noise issue is being exaggerated, I thought so when I was reading reviews before buying. For a person that gets photo-graphic when the sun goes down that was pretty stupid. :angry:

Contriver Sep 18, 2006 12:05 PM

Thanks alot RealMash for the very detailed posting! ;) I appreciate your time spent putting all that info together! Thanks to everyone else too! I ask alot of questions on this site and I am very thankful for all the feedback you guys provide!

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