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Old May 13, 2009, 11:35 AM   #1
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Default ZS3 Sample Images

I gotta admit I'm in total shock at most of these images. I don't know what happened but the quality of them seems very poor with lot's of noise, grain and in most cases poor focus which is not typical of the shooter at all. I realize the gym shots are existing indoor light but normally a basketball court is pretty brightly illuminated. The images taken here are simply BAD.

In comparison to the sample images I've seen at Jeff's site (DCResource) and other sites, these here seem like they're from a totally different camera. I'm wondering if there is something wrong with this test camera as the number of shots capable was below par which even Steve admitted was unusual. He also found the camera to be somewhat slow at startup which is another thing that is odd as no other reviewer experienced that in their sample camera. Something is just not right and the images on this site will do very little to foster sales or interest in this camera I'm afraid .

Last edited by Dark Cobra; May 13, 2009 at 11:42 AM.
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Old May 13, 2009, 12:45 PM   #2
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People should look at much more than just image samples on any one site in trying to decide what's good for them or not. There are plenty of actual user images from the ZS3 being posted by new owners over in the Panasonic forum at DPReview...a much more active site for Panasonic users than here, that should get anyone excited about the camera.

One thing about the review here that does not suprise me is the battery life performance. I am shocked when I hear anyone say they get anything near the battery life Panasonic states. I have used the TZ3 and TZ5 models from this series and have consistently gotten no more than 100-125 images from any single battery charge with either camera. When I use my TZ5 I never leave the house with less than two fully charged batteries...I'd never make it to the end of the day if I did not.
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Old May 15, 2009, 1:09 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Greg Chappell View Post
...I have used the TZ3 and TZ5 models from this series and have consistently gotten no more than 100-125 images from any single battery charge with either camera...
Hello Greg!

In my opinion, buying a battery is something like a lottery-ticket. You may win the Jack-Pot - in which case your battery is doing great, but usually you loose and your battery is way below par.


In my case, a new FZ-28 bought in November last year together with a second original Panasonic battery for spares. Both batteries are equal in type, size and shape with the same plastic-packing.


One of the batteries has sucessfully given me 578 exposures, all shot in one day, and is still halve-full, while the other battery seldom gives me more than 300-350 exposures.


Panasonic states that their batteries will last for 460 pictures (CIPA standard) per charge...
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Old May 15, 2009, 2:06 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Greg Chappell View Post
People should look at much more than just image samples on any one site in trying to decide what's good for them or not. There are plenty of actual user images from the ZS3 being posted by new owners over in the Panasonic forum at DPReview...a much more active site for Panasonic users than here, that should get anyone excited about the camera.
I agree and this is pretty much as I stated . . . these images are not like anything found on the other review sites (in terms of quality) which leads me to think something might be wrong with this particular cam. All the other sites show very noise free clear images and in the case of this particular camera these images do not do this camera justice.
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Old May 15, 2009, 3:18 PM   #5
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I haven't looked that closely at them yet.

But, a quick skim of the reviews at a couple of other sites mentioned noise at low ISO speed settings.

For example, the "Con" section of the review conclusion at imaging-resource mentions this:

"Luminance noise, even at low ISOs"

http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/ZS3/ZS3A.HTM

Jeff over at dcresource.com said this in the "What I didn't like" section:

"Images have a grainy appearance, even at lowest ISOs; still some smudging of low contrast detail"

http://www.dcresource.com/reviews/pa...mc_zs3-review/

I haven't tried to compare any of the samples. But, unless you're taking photos of the same subjects, in the same conditions, using similar camera settings, it's tough to compare image quality.
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Old May 15, 2009, 3:30 PM   #6
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I realize the gym shots are existing indoor light but normally a basketball court is pretty brightly illuminated.
Bright as compared to what? ;-) What looks bright to the human eye is usually quite dim to a camera's lens when shooting indoors or at a stadium under the lights.

A point and shoot model is usually a horrible choice for indoor photos in a typical gym without a flash, or for night games under the lights in a stadium. You'll usually want to shoot at ISO 1600 using a lens with f/2 or brighter apertures available for basketball in many lighting conditions; or if you go to a zoom, make sure it's got f/2.8 and use ISO 3200 instead. Otherwise, you're probably going to get blurry photos with much subject movement.

As for the game samples, yes, they do look pretty bad (as I'd expect from this type of camera for indoor photos without a flash, or at a night game in a stadium under the lights). They're Auto Exposure photos using Auto White Balance (and most cameras do a relatively poor job in artificial lighting unless you set White Balance to match the lighting).

I just looked at a game image (P1000281.JPG), and it's at ISO 200, f/4.5 and 1/60 second using Auto settings for everything. You're going to see blurry photos at shutter speeds that slow, and you're going to have color cast issues using Auto White Balance in most artificial lighting with most cameras. If you changed the settings from Auto, you could probably do a lot better (but, only to a point, since you'd need to use much higher ISO speeds to freeze much movement without a flash).
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Old May 16, 2009, 10:52 PM   #7
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Bright as compared to what? ;-)

As for the game samples, yes, they do look pretty bad (as I'd expect from this type of camera for indoor photos without a flash, or at a night game in a stadium under the lights). They're Auto Exposure photos using Auto White Balance (and most cameras do a relatively poor job in artificial lighting unless you set White Balance to match the lighting).

I just looked at a game image (P1000281.JPG), and it's at ISO 200, f/4.5 and 1/60 second using Auto settings for everything. You're going to see blurry photos at shutter speeds that slow, and you're going to have color cast issues using Auto White Balance in most artificial lighting with most cameras. If you changed the settings from Auto, you could probably do a lot better (but, only to a point, since you'd need to use much higher ISO speeds to freeze much movement without a flash).
Well you make my point quite well then don't you. The images indeed look pretty bad and you concur. If it's a fact that you're going to have blurry images at shutter speeds that slow and you're going to have color cast issues with that type of lighting without compensation . . . why intentionally do precisely that and post these images as representative of what this camera does?

It is unfair to Panasonic to intentionally take a camera like this on a mission you KNOW will fail and then post those failed images as representative of the quality of the device. Those images are examples of what NOT to do with a camera like this . . . they are NOT fair representatives of what this camera IS capable of doing.

There's a reason those other sites have such a larger following . . . and sadly things like this are one of those reasons. There should be accompanying verbiage with these images that say "THIS IS WHAT NOT TO DO WITH ANY CAMERA OF THIS KIND". But that's not what happened is it? These images were held up as what you can expect from "THIS" camera. It was wrong and I will not be an apologist for it. That may come easy to some to do, but not me.

The review verbiage on far too many cameras here can almost be copied and pasted into the next review of a similar camera and pretty much just change the name. Things like this need to be openly expressed so that changes are made and not swept under the rug. There are a lot of web site counter hits for this site but being blatantly honest. The other sites are far more relied upon for reviews and THAT is the truth and even those here know it!

You can now close my account and erase this thread . . . sweeping truth under the rug has gone on too long here and closing this will definitely be in keeping with the contiuance of erasing truth here.
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Old May 17, 2009, 7:51 AM   #8
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I'm not trying to "sweep it under the rug". I was simply trying to explain why they look so bad.

If you look at some of the photos elsewhere, you can see similar issues. For example, look at the inside of the church photo in Jeff's review over at dcresource.com. The noise has destroyed the shadow detail when you get away from the lighter areas lit by the brighter light coming in through the stained glass windows, with washed out highlights on the areas below the inside lights due to very thin Dynamic Range in that type of lighting.

You seemed to imply the camera was defective, and that's only it's normal behavior from what I can determine when it's used in those types of harsher low light conditons (which is what I'd expect from that type of camera). Unless you take photos in the same conditions using similar settings, it's tough to compare image quality.

As for the settings, the reviews try to show how a camera works using Auto modes. Many new camera owners are going to do that exact same thing, and often expect their new [insert model here] camera to take great photos in those types of conditions with little to no user effort.

I see new threads in the forums all the time from members complaining about blurry/grainy photos in similar conditions, wondering why they don't look as good as the photos they see in some reviews. IMO, those photos are actually more realistic as to what a new camera owner can expect in similar conditons.

I already sent feedback with my thoughts about it with a link to this thread when I noticed it and posted replies (suggesting that they don't do that kind of thing, since you can't expect a camera like that to perform well in conditions that harsh using auto settings).

You can use the Contact Steve's Forum for the same thing. That's what it's for (so that members can submit feedback on what Steve's should do differently to improve the site). So, rather than leaving, continue to voice your opinion about it. ;-)

Again, I wasn't trying to "sweep it under the rug". I was only trying to explain why they look so bad, as you seemed to think the camera was defective, and I see no evidence of that from what I can tell from photos taken here and elsewhere, along with reviewer comments about it's performance (like the ones I quoted from dcresource.com and imaging-resource.com).

Besides, that's only my personal opinion (not that of Steve's, as I only help out with the forums here). You're welcome to disagree with that opinion. ;-)

If you interpreted my response another way, then my apologies for not being clearer.
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Old May 18, 2009, 12:23 PM   #9
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Where are the images? I'm logged in but don't see them. Still trying to get used to the site changes...thanks.
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Old May 18, 2009, 1:57 PM   #10
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Here you go (we're discussing the ZS3 review samples):

http://www.steves-digicams.com/2009_...3_samples.html
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