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Old Nov 17, 2006, 11:46 PM   #1
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Dear Camera Owners,

I've just come back from 9 weeks of wildlife photography on safari in Zimbabawe, Africa. I found my new Panasonic FZ10 fell far short of my previous film SLR. It was impossible to use the tiny viewfinder, when shooting a photo with high contrast elements (very bright and very dark) everything was washed out, the shutter release was so slow I missed many shots I always captured with my film camera, and when I viewed the photos in my computer the colors are not as vivid as they should be.

I feel I need to either go back to a film SLR or change to a different digital camera. What is your advise? Are their digital cameras that perform as well as film SLR's?

Thank you so much for any advice,

Jude
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Old Nov 18, 2006, 8:50 AM   #2
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Well I sure can understand about the EVF seeming to fall short for someone coming from a Film SLR.

Even the viewfinders on the DSDLRs may seem small and dull to you.

But the shutter on the FZ10 is not what I would call slow.......surely you got familiar with the camera before you left.....but regardless of what some say,every new model of FZ is an improvement over the FZ10.

The EVF of the FZ10 was not great nor IMHO is any EVF...and there is a slight delay to one but it is easy to get accustom to with practice.

And You seem to be saying the photos from your film camera were sharp and vivid....perhaps you should tell people how you acccomplished that or be sure to send Kodak a thankyou note to thank them fordoing a great job of processing your film.

This is digital photos and are meant to be PP but there are many settings in the FZ10 as far as colors and sharpness is concerned.......I can not believe anyone would take a camera on a trip of a lifetime without getting familiar with it first.

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Dear Camera Owners,

I've just come back from 9 weeks of wildlife photography on safari in Zimbabawe, Africa. I found my new Panasonic FZ10 fell far short of my previous film SLR. It was impossible to use the tiny viewfinder, when shooting a photo with high contrast elements (very bright and very dark) everything was washed out, the shutter release was so slow I missed many shots I always captured with my film camera, and when I viewed the photos in my computer the colors are not as vivid as they should be.

I feel I need to either go back to a film SLR or change to a different digital camera. What is your advise? Are their digital cameras that perform as well as film SLR's?

Thank you so much for any advice,

Jude

I have seen plenty of great photos from the FZ cameras taken on Safari.....I would suggest you practice a bit with your camera.......but the EVF is not like the OV on a film camera or evenon a DSLR for that matter.

Here are some FZ10 photos... not on safari but some are wildlife and I feel the color and sharpness is fine.

http://imageevent.com/grc6/toshareon...ckyardcritters

heres a bunch of photo take with a FZ10 and a FZ20.....again I think they are very nice....perhaps not pro quality but that is my fault and not the cameras.

http://imageevent.com/grc6/toshareonnet/2005vacation

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Old Nov 18, 2006, 10:31 AM   #3
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you mentioned your 'new' FZ10 - with all the newer models of the FZ available, why did you by one of the oldest?

anyway, your point about the EVF is well taken. the FZ10/20 do not have particularly good EVF displays. the '30 is better, but still nowhere near optical viewfinder quality. you have to get used to it, but it is serviceable enough once you learn how.

all compact digital cameras suffer from a lack of dynamic range, which means they don't handle extreme contrasts of light and shadow well. some are better than others, and the FZ10/20 are not the worst, but they're also not the best. the only way to solve the dynamic range problem is to spend a lot more money than you did on your FZ10, and purchase a DSLR.

shutter lag on the FZ10/20 is only an issue if you failed to pre-focus. if the camera has a focus lock (as indicated by the focus box lighting up green in the viewfinder), the lag is below 1/4 second. if you aren't focused first, it can be a full second or more. you can also use manual focus to decrease lag time. if you missed shots, it might be because you didn't give the camera time to focus completely first, resulting in blurry or poorly metered shots.

to me the more serious shortcoming of the FZ10/20 - at least from the 'safari' standpoint - is it's relatively slow AF, slow start-up time and the nasty habit it has of blacking out the EVF between shots, especially in burst mode, which makes taking sequential shots of moving targets a problem.

still, all those issues aside, the FZ10/20 is capable of stunning photos. you just have to take a little time to learn how to play to its strengths and minimize its weaknesses. i've used my FZ20 for almost 2 years, and if i do my part, it is more than capable of yielding top quality photos, as i think most members here will agree. don't give up on the camera - take some time to learn it. then, if you still aren't happy, maybe it's time to move up.

a tip from a long-time FZ user... if the FZ won't do what you want, don't expect other compact digicams to do it either. the only way to really solve the issues you mentioned is to get a DSLR, as i did. modern DSLRs will put film SLRs to shame in many respects, but they aren't cheap... if you choose to go that route, expect to spend a minimum of $2000-2500 or morefor a body and a couple oftop-grade lenses. it's expensive, but if you're serious about photography, especially wildlife, it's really the only way to get the results you want.
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Old Nov 18, 2006, 10:48 AM   #4
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I sympathize with VanCote and agree with genece. A couple years ago I switched from 35mm film SLRs to the FZ10. My main interest is wildlife and scenic photography when backpacking and when visiting national parks.

The benefits on the trail were huge. The weight of my my photo system was cut by more than half yet the tele range was doubled in the same weight comparison. But I found the same issues that VanCote did. I was less successfulwith high contrast pics than when using film. My, perhaps overused, technique of setting up backlit scenes remains a challenge. And the shutter lagis a frustration when dealing with moving animals. But, still...

I look at published/posted pics and realize that the camera will do the job. In my case, it's the workman, not the tool that's hurting the end result. I've got to 'learn' more about my camera.

And genece is spot on about relying on unfamiliar equipment. I read and post a lot on backpacking forums. One thing I and many others preach is, 'try out your equipment before you hit the trail.' Don't wait until you're in theback countryto discover your gear, photo or camping, won't do its intended job. Or that you don't know how to use it to its full capabilities.

I'm still trying to accomodate contrasting scenes and beat the shutter lag...

john






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Old Nov 18, 2006, 11:42 AM   #5
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I agree with everyone above. You need to get usedto your camera before going on such a trip. That being said, Here is a link to someone who has mastered the FZ10 that may help you in the future. Granted this is another kind of wildlife shooting but it's all the same in the end. http://www.stevesforums.com/forums/v...mp;forum_id=23

Don
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Old Nov 18, 2006, 1:34 PM   #6
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Dear Genece,

Thanks tons for your input to my problem.

Regarding your point about "viewfinders on DSLR's may seem small and dull to me." With my previous film SLR the great joy was composing the photo thru the viewfinder as opposed to just pointingmy digitalcamera in the direction of the subject andcrudely framing it with an often hard to clearly see VCR screen. My question is, "Are there DSLR cameras that have optical viewfinders that are comparable to my old film SLR?"

Regarding my saying the shutter release is too slow I think Squirl033 below got at what my problem is. With my previous film SLR camera the COMBINATION of the auto-focus lense and shutter release were instantaneous. With the kind of wildlife shooting I do it has to be instantaneous or I miss the most spectacular shots. My question is, "Are there DSLR cameras that have auto-focus lenses and shutter releases that are comparable to my old film SLR?"

I did study and practice with my camera before going on the trip and I did set all themodes at the highest settings for sharpness amd saturation. Dispite all that the photos don't have the vivid colors I've found with film. My questions is, "For superior colors do I need to go back to film or are there digital SLR's that can give comparable colors?"

What does PP stand for?

Thanks again for your help,

Vancote
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Old Nov 18, 2006, 1:43 PM   #7
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Dear Squirl033,

Thanks so very much for your input and advice. I think you hit all the points right on the nose. I'm pretty well convinced that I do need to make a change. The question is whether I should spend the $3000 for a DSLR or go back to film. Are there top-end digital-SLRs that have optical viewfinders, the ability to handle dynamic range, instantaneous auto-focus/shutter release, and vivid colors comparable to film SLR's? If yes,can you suggest a model, and if not that will help me go back to what I know works best for me.

Thanks so much,

Vancote
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Old Nov 18, 2006, 1:48 PM   #8
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PP = post processing, ie sharpening, adjusting levels, cropping etc in a computer program such as Photoshop.
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Old Nov 18, 2006, 1:55 PM   #9
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Dear JMGIV,

Thanks much for your feedback. I appreciate hearing you see some of the same shortfalls I see, and I agree with you about the lightweight advantage. I really did study the manual and modes, and practiced with the camera well before I left on the trip. However, the lesson I learned was that it's one thing to walk around my park-like neighborhood in California and take shots as opposed to when I got in the field and shot in the much more demanding Africanlighting (where dynamic range is critical)and tried to capture an instantaneouslion yawning or an elephant flinging his ears forward, etc. It's the difference between going to a practice range to target shoot and facing down a charging animal in the field.You just can't know how it performs until you're under fire. Also, I couldn't see the results of the photos till I got home and loaded them into my computer. Sorry if that all sounds like excuses. It's just my experience of it.

Thanks again for caring to write back. Your comments helped me.

Vancote
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Old Nov 18, 2006, 2:00 PM   #10
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Dear Sintares,

Thanks for the lowdown on PP.

Vavcote
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