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Old Jan 23, 2010, 6:25 PM   #1
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Default ZR1 vs ZS3

Interesting in hearing how the IQ, especially for indoor pictures, compares with the ZR1 to the ZS3. Any difference or is the ZR1 any better?
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Old Jan 23, 2010, 8:14 PM   #2
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lawnboy-

Without a doubt, the ZR-1, with it new image processor and upgraded OIS system offers better indoor image quality and existing light/high ISO capability than the ZS-3 does. My guess is that at or near the PMA show, the ZS-3 will be upgraded along the lines of what the ZR-1 is currently offering, while retaining the 12X optical zoom.

The ZR-1 increases the ISO automatically if the camera is in Auto ISO when the built-in flash is used. However, it can over increase the ISO too much, resulting in a whole lot of noise and color molting in the images when the ISO increases above ISO 1000.

That is the negative issue. So any user should be very careful to keep the Flash Range reduced and under control. Flash Range is the distance between the camera and the subject, measured in feet. In actual use, I have found that Flash Range tops out at the 10 foot mark, which is certainly better that what the ZS-3 can do. At a Flash Range of 15 feet the ZR-1 jacks up the ISO to 1250, and the image quality go to hell in a handcart quite quickly. That is why I suggest setting the Flash Range at 10 feet, which will be adequate for most users.

If you want to extend the Flash Range, you must use a Slave Flash to boost the available light in the photo environment. Using a good Slave Flash like the DigiSlave-3000, or the Nikon SB-20 mounted on a Slave Flash trigger, the Flash Range can be extended out to about 28 to 30 feet. I have already done that in testing.

Have a great day.

Sarah Joyce

Last edited by mtclimber; Jan 23, 2010 at 8:17 PM.
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Old Jan 24, 2010, 10:38 AM   #3
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mtclimber - THANK YOU!

You have been SO helpful I cannot thank you enough.

I am going with the ZR-1 and think my friend will love it.

It the outside IQ on the ZR-1 comparable to the ZS3?


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Originally Posted by mtclimber View Post
lawnboy-

Without a doubt, the ZR-1, with it new image processor and upgraded OIS system offers better indoor image quality and existing light/high ISO capability than the ZS-3 does. My guess is that at or near the PMA show, the ZS-3 will be upgraded along the lines of what the ZR-1 is currently offering, while retaining the 12X optical zoom.

The ZR-1 increases the ISO automatically if the camera is in Auto ISO when the built-in flash is used. However, it can over increase the ISO too much, resulting in a whole lot of noise and color molting in the images when the ISO increases above ISO 1000.

That is the negative issue. So any user should be very careful to keep the Flash Range reduced and under control. Flash Range is the distance between the camera and the subject, measured in feet. In actual use, I have found that Flash Range tops out at the 10 foot mark, which is certainly better that what the ZS-3 can do. At a Flash Range of 15 feet the ZR-1 jacks up the ISO to 1250, and the image quality go to hell in a handcart quite quickly. That is why I suggest setting the Flash Range at 10 feet, which will be adequate for most users.

If you want to extend the Flash Range, you must use a Slave Flash to boost the available light in the photo environment. Using a good Slave Flash like the DigiSlave-3000, or the Nikon SB-20 mounted on a Slave Flash trigger, the Flash Range can be extended out to about 28 to 30 feet. I have already done that in testing.

Have a great day.

Sarah Joyce
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Old Jan 24, 2010, 2:20 PM   #4
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Lawnboy-

Yes, like the ZS-3, the ZR-1 does very well outdoors. You see, any of those Panasonic cameras with that very tiny built-in flash unit (both the ZR-1, the ZS-1, and the ZS-3) all have a flash range problem when taking photos indoors.

Have a great day.

Sarah Joyce
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Old Mar 2, 2010, 10:24 AM   #5
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Sarah,

Do you have ZR1? I just purchased it recently but I am not happy with the indoors photos. In iA mode, it gets confused quite a lot. The flash is inadequate and it accidentally gets in to slow sync mode. ZS3 is extremely popular and there are lots of photos and satisfied users. I am thinking of swapping ZR1 for ZS3 but I am not sure if I would get better indoor pictures with ZS3. I was just trying to snap pictures at our house during a family get together. Not only noise was very high, sometimes the shutter speed was too slow and lot of subject movement was recorded in the image. I could not figure out why camera decided to have such a slow shutter speed in iA mode even though flash was on.

My previous camera was Canon SD410, a very old 4MP camera with CompactFlash memory :-) The sensor has gone bad and it gets some weird red cast or psychedelic rainbow effect. I was hoping ZR1 to take better pictures than SD410 with 5 years of advances in technology but that does not seem to be the case.

- Vikas

Last edited by sontakke; Mar 2, 2010 at 10:28 AM.
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Old Mar 2, 2010, 11:26 AM   #6
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sontakke-

Welcome to the Forum and to the Panasonic P+S folder. We're delighted that you dropped by.

The ZR1 and the ZS3 share the very same flash unit. I own both cameras. The difference of image quality between the two cameras is only affected by the different firmware in each camera. The image quality difference is very small, indeed.

What you must keep in mind is this: the Flash Range (the distance measured in feet from camera to subject) is very short for both of these cameras. The ZS3 is limited to a Flash Range of just 6 to8 feet. The ZR1 incorporates a firmware work around. The Zr1's Flash Range is also 6 to 8 feet. However, if the camera is set to ISO Auto, the ZR1 will automatically begin to elevate the ISO as the camera user increases the distance beyond 8 feet. It is that increased ISO that is reducing the image quality in your photos.

So here is what you do:

1. Set the camera to P for Programed auto mode, set the camera to ISO auto, and be sure the camera is set to Auto WB.

2. Strictly get no further than 6 to 8 feet away from any subject .

However, if you want a more permanent "fix" do as I do and use an adequately powered slave flash unit. I use the Canon HF-1 slave flash. The slave flash is "triggered" by the built-in flash unit on the camera and it adds need light to the photo environment. Using the Canon HF-1, I have been able to increase my flash range to 25 feet.

Sarah Joyce
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Old Mar 2, 2010, 2:10 PM   #7
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Hi Sarah,

Thank you for your detailed reply! I will not try to swap ZR-1 with ZS-3 given your experience. I also noted that you have Fuji cameras too. I was wondering if I should seriously consider a Fuji but I think I would be losing some features such as HD video recording and Fuji has their own issues and steep learning curve from what I have observed over the internet.

I still have my Minolta 7000 film camera (purchased in 1987!) and the Vivitar flash for that. I am thinking of purchasing a cheap slave trigger for that flash but I was afraid that ZR-1 does pre-flash and the slave trigger will not be able to handle it. At least it will NOT work in "iA" mode because the camera uses pre-flash to measure the exposure. I would like to know if in the other mode, pre-flash is disabled. Does your HF-1 slave flash handle pre-flash?

By P - Programmed Auto mode, do you mean "Normal Picture"? This camera has only four modes which are "intelligent AUTO", "Normal Picture", "Scene Mode" and "My Scene Mode".

Thanks,
- Vikas
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Old Mar 2, 2010, 2:20 PM   #8
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Vikas-

Yes I mean "Normal Picture."

I have a class to teach right now but I will test the ZR-1 with the Canon HF-1 when I get back and report the results to you.

Sarah Joyce
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Old Mar 2, 2010, 9:35 PM   #9
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OK, Sontakke/Vikas-

I am back, and I have a sample photo from the ZR1 with it using a Zeikos slave flash due to the weird placement of the tripod mount on the ZR1.

Sarah Joyce
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Last edited by mtclimber; Mar 2, 2010 at 10:05 PM.
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Old Mar 2, 2010, 10:13 PM   #10
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Vikus -

Here is a photo of the ZR-1 and Zeikos Slave Flash Set-up.

Sarah Joyce
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