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Old Sep 23, 2007, 11:32 AM   #31
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Steve, if the dynamic range limitation is software related (in other words, it can be fixed via a firmware upgrade), then reducing the resolution won't help much. However, if it's a result of a small sensor size, then by reducing the amount of megapixels that gets processed and recorded on the sensor, will help. I recently ran extensive resolution tests with my FZ20 and found out that by setting the contrast and saturation to low, there is a noticeable gain in dynamic range. In most cases the file size was bigger, indicating that more image information was recorded. The FZ18 provides various choices when it comes to resolution simply by choosing different aspect ratios. Since it offers very similar image adjustment settings to the FZ20, I'm hoping I'll be able to apply what I've learned from the FZ20 to the FZ18 and gain some dynamic range.

John, I agree with you about the yearly upgrades that consumers expect to happen. However, I'm talking about a couple of months here, not another year. In December last yesr Nikon released the D40 and by the end of February they had announced the D40x. Now, that to me is not a fair game. As a consumer, I may not want to wait a whole year to upgrade my equipment but I can certainly wait another couple of months on top of what I've already waited. In my case, I could wait till say... December for the FZ18x with a larger sensor and 10 MP. That's what I'm afraid Pana will do simply because the FZ18 is priced very low for what it has to offer, As for a possible FZ50 upgrade, I have a similar camera (in concept), which is the Sony R1. Although it has only 5x zoom and no IS, on the positive side it has a CMOS sensor (SLR-type) and that is awesome. The image quality produced by it is incredible. So, the FZ18 is perfect to fill in the zoom that I'm missing on the R1. It's a more "take it everywhere" camera.
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Old Sep 23, 2007, 12:31 PM   #32
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Tullio,

I have the Sony R-1 also, and the photos are excellent. However, it is not my travel camera. It pretty much stays in the house. So now I'm looking at buying the FZ-18 as an all around do-all , with compromise, travel camera (including video clips).

Thanks for the explanation about dynamic range, sensor size, firmware, etc. ; I always wondered why the file size was different from shot to shot.

I noticed several folks speak about dynamic range .. in layman's terms, what does that really mean..if a camera, has great dynamic range, what can I expect ?

Thanks, Jerry


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Old Sep 23, 2007, 2:48 PM   #33
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I don't know for sure, but I don'tthink you can put a larger sensor on THIS lens and keep it as a X18 - one of the reasons why we are stuck witha 1/1.25 sensor is because there is demand for an x18 in a small body - if you want a bigger sensor AND a x18 zoom, then you need a bigger lens / body.

The FZ18 actually becomes an optical x27 if you reduce the pixels down to 3 MB (ie create an even smaller sensor area).
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Old Sep 25, 2007, 12:45 AM   #34
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Jerry, although the R1 is bulky and on the heavy side, it's still more practical than SLRs if you choose tocarry alongthe camera w/ kit lens plus whatever zoom lens you might have. A few months ago I wen to the UK on a 3 week trip and took the R1 with me. It was not bad at all. However, I do agree that a camera such as the FZ18 would be a lot more practical but I certainly would not obtain the same results. The R1 is an amazing camera and I hardly miss a shot with it.

Norm, I think Panasonic could use a slightly bigger sensor with that lens (something like what Canon uses on their A6nn series). Even if they had to make the camera a bit bigger, it would be worth the improved IQ. Casio has announced a 12x zoom camera using a CMOS sensor and looking at the pictures, it does not seem to be much bigger (if at all) than the FZ18. Of course we are not comparing apples to apples here but nonetheless, Panasonic has released many 12x zoom cameras, all carrying the small sensor and all having noise issues.
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Old Oct 16, 2007, 8:10 PM   #35
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The FZ18 is reviewed in detail at DCRP. I orderedone, and I'll have it later this week. I saw it in a store first and took a few shots. It was smaller and lighter than I expected. I'll keep in touch as I start taking shots.

http://www.dcresource.com
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Old Oct 17, 2007, 12:19 AM   #36
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I don't particularly care for their reviews. I find Jeff to be extremely biased toward Canon cameras and he tends to be very critical of anything that does not carry the Canon brand. Besides, his reviews are very superficial and the sample images are not necessarilygood representations of cameras capabilities.

I too was surprised by the FZ18 compact size and light weight (specially compared against the FZ20). It feels like it's build with cheap plastic and has plastic lens so light it is.

I canceled my original order (it was out of stock and on order for weeks) and re-orderedfrom Amazon (only $331 w/ free s/h and no tax). Hopefully I'll have my hands on it early next week.


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Old Oct 17, 2007, 12:32 AM   #37
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There is also a new review out on Megapixel as of yesterday.

http://www.megapixel.net/reviews/pan...8/fz18-gen.php

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Old Oct 17, 2007, 1:12 AM   #38
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A very fair review IMO. No camera is perfect and the FZ18 is certainly no exception. However, I think it's the best 18x zoom out there so far.
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Old Oct 20, 2007, 8:44 AM   #39
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norm smith wrote:
Quote:
I don't know for sure, but I don'tthink you can put a larger sensor on THIS lens and keep it as a X18 - one of the reasons why we are stuck witha 1/1.25 sensor is because there is demand for an x18 in a small body - if you want a bigger sensor AND a x18 zoom, then you need a bigger lens / body.

The FZ18 actually becomes an optical x27 if you reduce the pixels down to 3 MB (ie create an even smaller sensor area).
I'd like to see them have a bigger sensor with the same body size but go with 12x zoom. It could be the FZ8's replacement.
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Old Oct 22, 2007, 2:27 AM   #40
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B-H wrote:
Quote:
norm smith wrote:
Quote:
I don't know for sure, but I don'tthink you can put a larger sensor on THIS lens and keep it as a X18 - one of the reasons why we are stuck witha 1/1.25 sensor is because there is demand for an x18 in a small body - if you want a bigger sensor AND a x18 zoom, then you need a bigger lens / body.

The FZ18 actually becomes an optical x27 if you reduce the pixels down to 3 MB (ie create an even smaller sensor area).
I'd like to see them have a bigger sensor with the same body size but go with 12x zoom. It could be the FZ8's replacement.
They could fit a larger sensor in the FZ18 without increasing the body size. Just look at the FX100, it has a 1/1.7 sensor in a pocketable camera. The FZ18 replaces the FZ8 and then some from the example photos (and features) I have seen on the net.

BTW, just got my FZ18 yesterday. Now all I have to do is wait for decent weather to compare it (image-wise) to the FX100 and LX2 I had.
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