Go Back   Steve's Digicams Forums > Digital Cameras (Point and Shoot) > Panasonic / Leica

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old Mar 27, 2009, 10:36 PM   #1
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Texas
Posts: 87
Default

I'm considering this camera as my entry into the world of digital from film SLR -- I can't afford a new dSLR kit right now and I need video capability, so...

I've read numerous posts across the web about this camera's terrible audio quality. I've also viewed/heard some videos online from this camera as compared with, for example, the SX10 and the FZ28 audio is noticeably muffled in every clip. Were all those clips made with early batch units? Doubtful.

From the FZ28 pdf manual:

Quote:
• Due to implemented sound quality improvements, motion pictures shot using this unit cannot be played back on Panasonic digital cameras (LUMIX) sold before August 2008.
My concern is that even if I get my hands on an "improved" unit, what's to keep Panasonic from upgrading yet again -- since there are still plenty of complaints floating around about the audio -- thereby causing me to regret my [hasty?] purchase? I wonder what the chances are that future batches will be given even higher sample rates -- I've read it was bumped from 8k to 16k. I've read that the bit depth was bumped from 8 to 16, so I'm fairly certain this won't be increased further.
Are they done enhancing this model's audio?

Also from the pdf manual:

Quote:
•Operational sound of the unit, which may be caused by operation or zooming, might be recorded.
Perhaps this, too, might receive attention and be eliminated in future batches.

I must say the fact that this model would be released to market clearly before it was ready doesn't exactly inspire confidence in Panasonic. From all accounts, similarly flagrant design weaknesses don't exist with regards to the optics, which is nice.

Does Panasonic have some kind of buy-back (or free upgrade) plan to help consumers acquire revised and improved units at minimal or no cost? Are all those pre-August users simply stuck with inferior units and might this happen to me if I buy now?

Lazy Lens is offline   Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
Old Mar 28, 2009, 11:41 AM   #2
Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 46
Default

If you Google the model history, specifically the press releases and writeups about the FZ28 introduction last summer, you'll find that the FZ28 didn't ship until August 2008. I'm assuming that means the cameras that actually shipped had the audio improvement.

Other than that little clue, there doesn't seem to be any other way to tell.

The manual is ambiguous, but it doesn't specifically say FZ28 cameras. It says Lumix cameras. That could mean the rest of the product line.
rfdandrea is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Mar 29, 2009, 3:30 AM   #3
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Texas
Posts: 87
Default

rfdandrea wrote:
Quote:
If you Google the model history, specifically the press releases and writeups about the FZ28 introduction last summer, you'll find that the FZ28 didn't ship until August 2008. I'm assuming that means the cameras that actually shipped had the audio improvement.
That would be bad news. If the samples I've heard were all from the improved version, I'd hate to hear what the original sounds like.

Sure, it'd eat up more SD card space to ramp up the sample rate, but not by an unacceptable (to most) amount. And considering 16GB SDHC classes 4 & 6 cards are highly affordable now (they could have easily foreseen this during the design phase), I find it difficult to believe that memory consumption was the reason behind Panasonic's decision to keep audio quality low.

I've read cases where people would have bought the FZ28 had the audio quality been on par with or better than Canon's SX10. These folks are willing to sacrifice 720p in order to avoid having to put up with the FZ28's crummy audio. So, they went with the SX10. Bad call, Panasonic!

I realize this camera is intended primarily for still shots, and it does offer respectable performance in that area. But, if Panasonic was going to bother putting 720p in the thing (too bad they didn't choose H.264), they should have included equally pleasing audio capabilities. This failing irks me.

I'll probably still choose the FZ28 over the SX10 due to its RAW availability, slower shutter speed options, superior (IMHO) lens and superior (IMHO) viewfinder, to name a few.

Too bad they didn't see fit to include a hotshoe and articulated LCD. Why can't any manufacturer include all of the most commonly desired features/specs in the same class model? It would utterly dominate the market, even if it cost a bit more than its rivals! From what I've read of the latest offerings and proposed designs, it's clear the manu's have yet to learn this.
Lazy Lens is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Mar 29, 2009, 8:02 PM   #4
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 22
Default

I have both the FZ28 and the Canon SX10. The sound on the SX10 is excellent and the sound on the FZ28 is satisfactory.

When I tried both of these cameras several months ago before a trip to Yellowstone, the FZ28 I tried in the store had TERRIBLE sound. I bought the SX10.

I had been wanting a new "field" camera for bird hunting trips that zoomed during HD video and I was waiting for the Pany TZ7. In the meantime, I learned that I absolutely had to have a viewfinder on my field camera so I considered others, most slightly larger. The FZ28, though larger, is light and handy. So, I went back to Ritz Camera with my own card and made some videos with their FZ28 demo model. I was pleased to find that the sound was just fine, better than before.......not as good as Canon, but not bad.

I've had my FZ28 for about two weeks and really like it. It's so much lighter and handier than the SX10. The EZ zoom modes are so easy to access and you can store four custom settings in the camera. My only frustration is editing the HD video clips. You can't shorten or join clips in the camera like you can in the Canon. So far, I can't find a program that will do this minor editing and make DVDs for me. I'll figure it out sooner or later, though. In the meantime, I've got the HD video clips.

So, about the audio. I don't know if they've improved it or not but mine is much, much better than the first one I tried.
Valley Quail is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Mar 30, 2009, 12:02 AM   #5
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Texas
Posts: 87
Default

Valley Quail wrote:
Quote:
So, about the audio. I don't know if they've improved it or not but mine is much, much better than the first one I tried.
That's a bit more encouraging. It would appear that two versions were released onto the public, since there was such a dramatic difference between two units you personally examined. Do you know how good of a charge the battery in the first test FZ28 had on it? How about the speed of the memory card (or did you test it with built-in memory only)? I suppose you could have found one with a bad mic, but that seems a less likely explanation. Several things could contribute I suppose, but I still believe some pre-improvement units made it to store shelves.

I've queried Panasonic support regarding this matter, so I should know soon, IF Panasonic support is worth anything.

I guess the trick is landing a unit from a later batch. I hope I don't experience an RMA nightmare -- replete with wallet-draining return shipping costs plus restocking fees -- just to end up with an updated version. I could check versions from serial numbers, but I expect the likelihood of my obtaining that info on the actual item to be shipped would be low; wouldn't hurt to try, though.

I'd rather purchase locally, but the local shops (Houston area) who happen to offer the FZ28 for sale have it at full list ($399), plus 8.25% sales tax. It can be had online from a number of legitimate vendors, including B&H Photo and Amazon, for $299 shipped, no tax. Too bad the locals can't compete, but that's their business (or lack thereof in this case).

Barring serial #, I'll just have to keep my fingers crossed that the legitimate online vendors are moving only the updated units now.
Lazy Lens is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Mar 30, 2009, 7:26 AM   #6
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 22
Default

Your feelings are exactly like mine. I was so bummed out by the audio during my first test that I think I had a mind set on the second test that it was going to be terrible. I only bothered because I had read on Amazon that another buyer had heard of an enhanced audio in later models.

If possible, I think you should do what I did. Take a card into a large local camera store that has demo models and make a video for yourself. You will find that playing it back in the camera is not effective. You won't hear anything through the speaker. That gives you a reason not to encourage the salesman.

Take it home and play it and decide about the sound. I think it's okay but all I need sound for is to tell myself where I am in the video, what my dogs are doing, what kind of day I had bird hunting, etc etc.

I bought mine from Butterfly. $295 shipped. I prefer to buy from Amazon when they have what I want. They are great on returns if the item is not satisfactory, even paying return shipping. That might be the best option if they have it. You can also get some info from their reviews,.....they have a tpn of them on the FZ28.

Jack
Valley Quail is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 20, 2009, 11:37 AM   #7
Junior Member
 
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 2
Default

I bought a Panasonic Fz28 and for me the audio was shameful, I cannot believe they released a camera like this with 720p video and worse audio than that on a mobile phone. I promptly sent mine back for a refund to Amazon after i'd tried it for a few days. I can't fault the photo quality on the camera for stills as it's quite good with little noise although you can only take 3mega pixel images on burst mode. This isn't much of an issue for me as I rarely use burst. The video is nice and clear although it does seem to go in and out of focus easily when you are zooming. Audio is terrible though, I mean really terrible I also tried to enhance it by extracting the audio channel and attempt to enhance it with only minor success. I need good video and audio to take family clips and didn't want to have to lug around a camera+camcorder I've now replaced it with a Canon Sx1 which has far better audio, holds focus better when zooming on video and photo quality is pretty much the same although the Sx1 is slightly bulkier and a bit heavier it feels like a more solid camera for a little bit more money.

Panasonic SHAME ON YOU! I will never buy a panasonic again after this experience.
stevemona is offline   Reply With Quote
 
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off



All times are GMT -5. The time now is 2:34 PM.