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Old Nov 14, 2006, 6:59 PM   #1
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Hi! I'm a novice but I like to take photos. Besides the obvious subjects of scenery and flowers,I take lots of photos of the grandchildren in rooms with relatively low light. I also like to have the option of cropping a photo and still being able to get a good 8x10 image. I like the idea of having optical image stabilization which has turned mein thedirection of the Lumix.

I now have an Olympus C740 which I like very much, but I really want at least a 6mp camera. For some reason Olympus doesn't seem to get it with regard to optical stabilizer. Anyway, I looked at the Z7 today and it appeared that in the "AUTO MODE/SIMPLE MODE", where I feel most comfortable...I don't believe it allows you to upgrade the quality of the photo.

Right now, my Olympus, in the AUTO mode, will allow me to upgrade from normal to super quality with the click of a button. The downside is that it reverts back to the default mode after the camera is turned off. So...my next camera...must have both optical stabilizer and the ability to upgrade photo quality in the AUTO mode...and I would love it if it didn't default but waited until I personally return it to default mode.

Any information would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks, Martie
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Old Nov 15, 2006, 9:13 AM   #2
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Tackettm wrote:
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I take lots of photos of the grandchildren in rooms with relatively low light.
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I now have an Olympus C740 which I like very much, but I really want at least a 6mp camera. For some reason Olympus doesn't seem to get it with regard to optical stabilizer. Anyway, I looked at the Z7 today and it appeared that in the "AUTO MODE/SIMPLE MODE", where I feel most comfortable...I don't believe it allows you to upgrade the quality of the photo.
I don't have experience with the c740, but if you're happy with the lowlight capability of that I would think the fz7 would be satisfactory. If most of your shots are in lowlight, however, consider the fuji f30/31. It doesn't have image stabilization but it allows for much higher iso (1600 and above)non-flash shots which get the shutter speed faster for better action shots of kids indoors. The image stabilization is very beneficial at slower shutter speeds but not so necessary at shutter speeds you can probably obtain with the fuji indoors, depending on the light.

Simple/full auto mode defaults to the highest jpg picquality with the fz7.
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Old Nov 15, 2006, 9:40 AM   #3
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Thanks for the quick response. Just a quick note to say that I'm very unhappy with the low light indoor performance of the Olympus, but I've been dealing with it until I find another camera. I just took a look at the Fuji 30/31 but it's a bit small and it doesn't have image stabilizer. I really want the stabilizer and pretty much decided I must have it with my next camera. And, the Z7 is a great size for me...big enough to get a good grip and yet small enough to carry in a pouch for quick access.

I only held the Z7 for about 5 minutes due to an impatient husband. I'll go back and try and get a better look. During my brief moments I couldn't see where I could change the quality settings on the auto/simple mode. I'm happy it defaultsto the highest quality, but I'd also like to see if I can dumb it down and if so, will it stay at the lower quality level when I turn it off. (I take pics of items to sell and don't want to have to downsize a large file since downsizing often results in a poor quality photo..even for selling an item).

What I've read about the Z7 excites me because I know it is supposed to handlelow light very well. I don't mean to have you answer questions that I should research by visiting with this camera for a longer period of time, but if you have knowledge about the Z7, I sure appreciate the help. Please tell me how this change in quality settings appears in the auto/simple mode. I went to the menu and couldn't seem to find it. And if you have the Z7...how do you like it?

Again, thanks for your time. Most photographers won't even bother with us novices, as you'll probably see when very few answer my posting.

Martie
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Old Nov 15, 2006, 7:55 PM   #4
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Martie - Let me say first off that I have the fz5 and I'm very happy with it. The fz7 is essentially the same camera with some minor added hardware features. It also has a different in-camera processing software (VenusIIIvs the fz5 VenusII) thatallows for higher sensitvity low-light shots in the iso800-1600 range. The quality of those high iso shots is dependent on the amount of in-camera processing and may or may not be to your liking. If you have fairly decent light and don't use the zoom (whichreduces the aperature and requires more light), you should be able to crop to the framing/magnification you want. Outdoors in daylight the fz7 12x zoom and image stabilization will knock your socks off! Panasonic-Leica makes a great ultra zoom camera!

There are very few adjustments that can be made in simple mode. Flash on/off is about it. White balance and iso are set to autoand picture quality is set to high. The menu is essentially disabled in simple mode. Going to camera mode enables the menu and allows you to adjustwb and iso and pic quality among other settings. Those settings will be retained when the camera is shut off/on in camera mode. If you go to simple mode, youwill be back at full auto and high pic quality. It's pretty simple.

Fred
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Old Nov 15, 2006, 8:57 PM   #5
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You may not be able to get the low light performance you might be looking for short of a dSLR and it doesn't sound like that would be much of an option if you are looking for pure simplicity.

I have an FZ7 and am very happy with the camera and have no regrets about getting it. But, you aren't going to get perfect low light, non-flash shots of fast moving kids out of it. It's a physics thing. You need fast shutter speeds to freeze the action. That requires a fast lens and high ISO (without noise) for the most part. There is only so much a non-dSLR camera can do in those areas.

I don't want to discourage you from these super zoom, image stabilized cameras as I love mine but you have to have realistic expectations of them.




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Old Nov 15, 2006, 8:58 PM   #6
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Fred thanks for the useful information. I have to stop being lazy and start reading more about tweaking my camera to take advantage of it's capabilities.

I've been very spoiled with my Oly C740 and I've been very very lucky. It's auto mode allows me to change the quality of pictures but it has definate limitations one of which is the simple fact that it's a low mexapixal camera which doesn't allow me to crop very much to enlarge to an 8x10 photo. I'm ready for the extra mp and a stabilizer.

I've been very fortunate to get hundreds of wonderful (in my opinion) shots. Some of the photos I took during our three week stay in Italy totally surprised me. I've sold so many in the past year but I know it's been mostly luck. I do pretty well with composition but I can imagine how much better my photos would be had I used proper settings.

I'm inspired. I'll soon go out and purchase the fZ7 with the understanding I can return it within two weeks. Hopefully I'll get comfortable with it and end up keeping it.

Thanks again for your help,

Martie

P.S. I've never posted a photo before, but I'll try posting one of my favorite photos. I took it at dusk from our hotel overlooking Sorrento Harbor (without a tripod :?). I'll apologize in advance if it's terrible because of the downsizing.
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Old Nov 17, 2006, 9:30 AM   #7
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fmoore wrote:
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Martie - Let me say first off that I have the fz5 and I'm very happy with it. The fz7 is essentially the same camera with some minor added hardware features. It also has a different in-camera processing software (VenusIIIvs the fz5 VenusII) thatallows for higher sensitvity low-light shots in the iso800-1600 range. The quality of those high iso shots is dependent on the amount of in-camera processing and may or may not be to your liking. .....

Fred
Fred, actually the FZ7 does not have the VIII in it. It has the Venus II LSI or something like that. It's really only added the high sensitivity mode you mentioned without the aggressive noise reduction of the VIII. A small but to some people important point.

-Brett
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Old Nov 17, 2006, 10:02 PM   #8
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Brett - Thanks for the correction.

Martie - That's a beautiful shot of Sorrento Harbour.
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Old Nov 18, 2006, 12:05 AM   #9
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Fred...Thanks much! I'll be sure to get back to you after I've researched the FZ7
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