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Old Sep 27, 2009, 10:51 AM   #1
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Default FZ35 worth upgrading from FZ28?

I haven't used my FZ28 that much (a few hundred pics), and it's in like-new condition.

But, I'm wondering if I should sell this unit and get a new FZ35. I see the FZ35 is selling for $330 shipped at buydig.com, which is only $30 more than I ended up paying in total for this FZ28.

I don't primarily use my camera for video, but I was nevertheless very disappointed yesterday when I tried to shoot an outdoor movie. There was a squirrel lying on a tree branch chattering away with sounds I have never heard come out of a squirrel (and I've lived here for decades), so I ran for my camera. I was hearing the squirrel loud and clear with my own ears, but when I played back the video, the audio was so weak I could barely hear the squirrel over ambient noise (constant traffic on a nearby thoroughfare). I could use a separate field recorder for audio, but since the FZ35 is only $330 and apparently has decent audio, it may render said field recorder unnecessary -- even though the separation and quality (and surround sound with some field recorders) available via external mics is obviously going to be superior to any hybrid camera's built-in mics.
I've also read that the Z35's video is more difficult to edit/manage than even the Z28's due to the 35's AVCHD. The 28's .mov format is pain enough to edit on the pc, so I'd hate to trade it for something even more of a PIA.

I shoot lots of macros with my Z, so do you think the extra 2MP of the Z35 is worth upgrading to? My Z28 provides impressive detail, and I'm not sure that additional 2MP would make a big difference. And then there's the added noise I'm likely to get with more pixels on the same size sensor. I have yet to see full-size sample macros of the same scene directly comparing both models.

Do you think I should wait for more profound upgrades in next year's Z successor (if there is one), such as perhaps full 1080 HD video? Of course, Panasonic may be reserving full HD for their GH-x series, so the Z's may never have this capability. I wonder if the FZ35 for my purposes would be worth the extra $30 plus whatever loss I take on my FZ28 -- there's an FZ28 on eBay with a bid of $242.50 with only 10 hours to go, and that's with a Sandisk EX III 8GB card and Hoya UV MC filter. I'm likely to take a substantial loss if I sell now -- makes me wish I'd sold during the Z28 panic months ago when they were going for $400+.
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Old Sep 28, 2009, 12:12 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lazy Lens View Post
I haven't used my FZ28 that much (a few hundred pics), and it's in like-new condition.

But, I'm wondering if I should sell this unit and get a new FZ35...
To be honest, I did not read your entire post but decided to reply to it anyway. Why? Well, you state right at the beginning that you haven't used the FZ28 that much, so to me it does not make much sense to upgrade, primarily because I don't believe the FZ35 has that many upgrades over the FZ28 to justify the exchange. The Fz28 is an excellent camera and newer does not necessarily mean better. Many times manufacturers release new camera models that are inferior to the models they replace. I'm not saying that that's the case with the FZ35. If it had a longer zoom, then I'd say yes, you should consider the upgrade if you felt the need for more reach. However, that's not the case since the FZ35 has the same reach as the FZ28 so I say keep the FZ28. Make more use of it and then by the time Panasonic releases a new FZ camera next year with a longer zoom lens, you'll be ready for it.
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Old Sep 28, 2009, 12:44 PM   #3
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There have been many threads on this subject at dpreview.com. I would read those threads and if you still have questions, ask there as the Panasonic forum there is much more active.
I decided the changes are not significant enough for me to upgrade from my fz28 now. Perhaps next year's changes will be more appealing.
Good luck,

Mike G.
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Old Sep 28, 2009, 11:02 PM   #4
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Thanks for the input, folks.

I registered on dpreview a while back, but for some reason I generally just check this site when I get net cravings.

I just read lots of posts on dpreview, some with direct comparison pics of the two cameras. It seems the FZ38 offers noteworthy improvements in IS and low-light/high-ISO, with the IS enhancement resulting in a gain of an f stop.
The amount of extra detail from the additional 2MP was noticeable in the crops, but it didn't blow me away.

Having seen pics of the FZ35's mic placement (on top of the flash?!?), I'm disappointed and a bit concerned.
Not only are they too close together for any kind of worthwhile stereo effect, they aren't even directed forward toward the subject but instead at the sky! Hardly the best use of the enhanced electronics.
If other makes can fit mics at least as far apart as either side of the flash -- and aimed forward -- I'm sure Pan engineers could have figured it out. There certainly seems to be enough room for them in the images I've seen.
It's obvious that Pan engineers were either lazy or had orders not to force a major retooling of the body/guts and just stuck the mics in the first empty real estate they saw.
It's difficult to tell from pics I've seen, but the mics appear slightly larger than the competitors, judging from the grilles. If so, it's presumably an attempt to make up for lost SPL due to indirect reception. But even if these mics have high gain, it doesn't correct for wave distortions from reflection, etc.
Now, if Pan had included external inputs for proper mics, I could overlook this weirdness.
Ok, so these cameras aren't intended to be high-end audio recorders. Still, it makes one (and maybe I'm the only one ) wonder what other corners they cut that aren't readily apparent.
I listened to some FZ35 audio and it's expectedly better than the FZ28's, but it isn't as good as it could have been, and I doubt retooling would have dramatically increased street price, if at all.
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Old Sep 28, 2009, 11:09 PM   #5
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oops, wait a minute.. do the mics flip up? Nope, just checked the pdf and apparently they don't.

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Old Oct 1, 2009, 9:13 PM   #6
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Hi

The mic sounds great. That style of mic's are used on alot of video camera's now ! Panasonic, Canon, JVC, Sanyo etc. They are also mounted on top just like the FZ35/38. I've seen some music video's and audio recordings it sounds real good. I'm a sound tech and a drummer in a band. I run sound alot and install sound systems, No its not a 300 -1000.00 mic, but it does a great job. the wind filter works good also, the only thing I wish it had was a audio level adjustments or a mute. not just auto mode . but yes there is a but ! As for auto mode it is one of the best that I've heard ! Panasonic has done a great job keeping the zoom lens and all the other sounds out of the mic. just remember to turn off the audio sounds (shutter, buttons ) from the built in speaker and you will see how quiet this cam is. This is a great all in one Camera. I do wish it had a mic input. Not to add a mic because it does a good job already, but to run off a sound board (mixer) or some type audio player. Maybe next upgrade. the only thing is I don't think we will ever see that because it is already so close to there other DSLR's with audio input .

Len

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Old Oct 2, 2009, 1:33 AM   #7
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Hi Len,

You probably have more field experience in audio than I do, as mine is primarily on the bench -- 25+ years building and repairing audio and video gear.

Still, it seems to me that relying solely on reflected (and dampened) sound waves isn't the way to achieve the best results possible from any given piece of gear. Now, these sky-trained mics could be ideal if you're shooting a subject in front of you but are more concerned with sounds from birds or aircraft overhead.

Sky mics (.oO did I just coin that term? probably not. owell..) may provide reasonable audio captures, but I'd still prefer they be aimed at the subject. Pan could have easily done this with these flash mics by making them flip-uppable (manually).

Furthermore, the only reason I can see for even bothering to provide more than one channel in cases where mics are to be mounted so damn close together is for the sake of keeping up with the Jones' -- so the owner can proudly proclaim s/he has ((( S-T-E-R-E-O ))) sound, too (negligible separation evidently being unimportant).
The FZ35 videos from real-world usage that I've watched online have done nothing to change my opinion on this matter.
Personally, I'd rather have stellar mono results than passable stereo.

I know these are just all-in-one devices and if I want a high-end unit with inputs, etc., I'll have to shell out lots more dough for it. I still think the least Pan could have done with this model is place the mics farther apart and point the things forward (or make them flippable).

I would still choose the FZ35 over the SX20, since IQ is more important to me in a still camera. But, if Canon manages to remove chromatic and distortion aberrations in-camera as effectively as Panasonic has done, and creates faster lenses for their zoomers, my interest in this class of camera will begin to shift in Canon's favor.
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Old Oct 2, 2009, 11:56 AM   #8
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My 2c on the audio issue...two mics placed apart by 1/2 in or 2 in will make no difference as far as sound separation (stereo effect) is concerned. The difference (if any) would be virtually unnoticeable.
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Old Oct 3, 2009, 12:49 PM   #9
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Hi Tullio,

Mic proximity, though very important, isn't the only thing I'm considering.

If there were no hand grip to intercept and deflect left incoming waves into the right mic (and no fingers to block it), the best placement would be mics on either side of the lens, directly at middle, where the lens would provide the greatest amount of physical sound wave division, enhancing the stereo effect.

But, since that isn't feasible, what I have in mind for the Panny Z is:

Mics on either side of the flash unit, where the FZ35 badges are. Since the flash housing extends out and downward into the lens body, it would act as divider/baffle, enhancing separation.
It took effort to get my fingers in the way of this area on the left side of my FZ28, so I don't think mic blocking by 2-hander users would be much of a problem.
Move the AF lamp down a bit, but if it turned out that the lamp was too easily blocked by fingers, simply mount it in a raised pimple next to the flash body.
All this would require very minimal retooling of the camera shell and probably minimal internal changes. If, however, major internal mods are required to accomodate the mics in this configuration, Pan could alternatively add shallow projections to the badge areas to house the mics; again, minimal shell retooling required. While they're modestly retooling, they could fill the areas under the flash unit to create even better physical division. The resulting aesthetics may not please everyone, but I think it would look sleek.

The FZ series has the advantage over Canon's SX series here, because from what I can tell, the SX's have nothing between the mics to aid in separation (i.e., the left incoming wave can easily hit the right mic and vice versa), though they could easily fill this area as well, should they feel the need.
It would be an interesting experiment for an FZ35 owner someday to relocate those mics at the locations I propose just to see what effect that has on separation and quality (as they'd be pointed forward). Or, for a Canon SX owner to add a divider/baffle between those mics and compare.

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Old Oct 4, 2009, 10:52 AM   #10
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Obviously if the design of the camera places a mic where fingers may naturally land, that's certainly not good. One thing is having two mics close together, where sound separation is minimal and pretty much undetectable. The other is to have one open and one blocked mic. The sound difference (poor quality actually) in this case will become very obvious. As for the position of the mic, front placed would be more effective than top placed. Most sounds during recording (whether it is voice, animal or nature sounds such as waterfalls) will come directly from the front where the camera is pointing to. Having the mics placed at the top of the unit, by the time the sound wave reaches them, it has already been dispersed and mixed up with natural surround sounds, such as wind, nature hums, city noise, etc. Just about every camcorder I know have the mic placed forward not upward.
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