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Old Jan 29, 2010, 11:50 AM   #1
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Default Gone and done it... maybe I should have waited.

Well, I know that advice was to wait until the round of PMA announcements were out the way, but I had set my heart on an FZ38 and decided to just 'go for it'! I kinda figured that anything juicy from PMA was going to be (a) several weeks (months?) in materialising, and probably (b) double the money.

I've always looked at the FZ38 as being an awful lot of camera for the money (I paid 265), but I was unprepared for just how much it packs in and how much tweaking is possible...... there's almost too much to fiddle with! I've not really had an awful lot of time to play with it yet, and hope to test some more over the weekend *initial testing was in our dimly lit living room, which was challenging even with my old 40D, but a good chance to see what the FZ38 is capable of for typical 'family' indoor shooting.

The results? Well, more of a mixed bag than I would have liked. You can just use it as a 'point-and-shoot', but as rightly pointed out elsewhere here, you don't get best quality results in iA mode I must say, I find some of the 'intelligent' decisions the camera makes a little 'dumber' than I would have thought too. Maybe that's just me!! It's a small sensor, so yes, noise is an issue at high ISO settings, but it's really no worse than I had expected an added bonus is that the low-light video performance is far superior to our Sony DV camcorder. Side-by-side comparisons with our other compact (Fuji F30) are pretty favourable too, considering the Fuji's sterling low-light capabilities.

So why do I think I should have waited? Well, I guess I just didn't get the "wow" factor I had wanted..... I can't believe as a gadget freak (according to my wife!) and very tech-savvy creative type that I'm going to say this, but *the FZ38 is too complicated!! Yes, the lens is great, the focus fast for a compact, the O.I.S. superb and it's loaded with features too many features maybe? I'm also not sure that it feels right....... having been used to the handling of the Canon 40D, the FZ38 is certainly fiddly, but not so much that I won't get used to it with a bit more 'hands on' time. I think part of me feels a 'compact' form factor like the Lumix GF-1 (i.e. no mini-grip) would have suited me better.

Still, it's early days and I certainly don't intend on giving up on it so soon. My experience does highlight that camera choice is personal, and not having the opportunity to try-before-you-buy can leave you less than 100% delighted with your decisions!! Hoping my experimenting and re-learning the Panasonic way will get me to a happy place soon.
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Old Jan 29, 2010, 12:51 PM   #2
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yes, coming from a 40d, the adjustment to a bridge camera will leave you with a mixed bag, due to smaller sensor and less robust feel.

but you do highlight a good point that we often try to stress here, always try before you buy, after all you will spend alot of time with it in your hands shooting.

i hope that you are able to make the adjustment and enjoy the camera for what it is, and not be disappointed for what it is not. it will never match your dslr in some areas, thats just not possible with the small sensor and at that price point.
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Old Jan 29, 2010, 1:18 PM   #3
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mrmusicman-

Congratulations on your purchase of the FZ-38, known as the FZ-35 here in the USA. We have a pretty active folder here so there is pretty much somebody who can lways help.

Have a great day.

Sarah Joyce
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Old Jan 29, 2010, 2:44 PM   #4
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There are handling differences for sure but you don't need to make things too complicated. Treat it in the similar way to the 40D, don't use Ai and have fun.
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Old Jan 29, 2010, 3:51 PM   #5
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Thanks folks... I hope to have some 'fun' with the FZ38 this weekend, and will indeed keep posting here - you all seem like a friendly helpful bunch!

Trying before buying wasn't an option, and I'd argue that a few minutes in a shop doesn't allow for a fair evaluation of how a particular camera will work for you and your own shooting habits anyway.... granted, it does at least give you an idea of what the thing feels like in your hand!!

Nice point about enjoying it for what it is too - I do think I've been making comparisons subconsciously, not so much with the 40d, but more with the larger-sensor faster-lensed options available for a few pounds more. I should heed my own advice - it's not the camera that counts, it's what you do with it!!
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Old Jan 29, 2010, 3:58 PM   #6
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Just take your time and get used to it's capabilities.....I'm sure you will enjoy it !
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Old Jan 29, 2010, 11:39 PM   #7
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I got my FZ-35 last Friday, I have been using it quite a bit, as it is my first camera, and I have a lot of free time. The day I got it I put it into Manual mode, and that is the only mode I use for 90% of shooting, quite a learning curve!

The only other "modes" I use are the Scene mode "High-speed" burst shooting, which is crazy fast (6 to 10 pictures/sec), but shoots at a max of 3MP, the Macro Mode on the Dial, and the regular movie mode accessed by pressing the record button on the rear, the rest is all Manual shooting.

Here is my flickr gallery so you can see some of my photos, although I don't particularly like flickr, it seems to compress the images even more. Maybe I will set up my own website or something.
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Old Jan 30, 2010, 3:54 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mrmacmusic View Post
So why do I think I should have waited? Well, I guess I just didn't get the "wow" factor I had wanted..... I can't believe as a gadget freak (according to my wife!) and very tech-savvy creative type that I'm going to say this, but *the FZ38 is too complicated!! Yes, the lens is great, the focus fast for a compact, the O.I.S. superb and it's loaded with features too many features maybe? I'm also not sure that it feels right....... having been used to the handling of the Canon 40D, the FZ38 is certainly fiddly, but not so much that I won't get used to it with a bit more 'hands on' time. I think part of me feels a 'compact' form factor like the Lumix GF-1 (i.e. no mini-grip) would have suited me better.
To be honest, I'm surprised by some of your comments regarding the "complexity" of the FZ38 considering that you already have a 40D. I'd imagine that a transition from a P&S to a DSLR would always be tougher than the other way around. I think some people are DSLR users and never feel too comfortable shooting with P&S cameras. The GF1 is a wonderful little camera (I don't have one but a co-worker does), very capable indeed. However, it's a system like a DSLR and as such, to cover the 28-400mm of focal lens (and this is a good 104 mm shorter than the FZ38) you need a couple of lenses. Then you may need a third lens if you like to shoot macro, another for portrait, and the list goes on and on (well, having a 40D you should be familiar with all this, right?!?). Another alternative would be the GH1 (G1 if video is not a must). It has a grip and it's the same size as the FZ38 (actually a tad bit smaller depending on the lens being used). In any case, my point is, P&S is not for everyone as DSLRs are not for everyone. If you are a DSLR type of person, you'll have to adjust to some of the limitations of P&S, even the best ones.
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Old Jan 30, 2010, 6:28 AM   #9
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I think my feelings boil down to being so used to the handling of the 40d - it was comfortable, immediate and familiar.... I'm loving the FZ38 as a package, and just getting used to it's good points and bad points. I have no doubt it will become as familiar in time!
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Old Jan 30, 2010, 10:35 AM   #10
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mrmacmusic-

The Panasonic FZ-38 is a very good choice. Enjoy your weekend with your new camera. I am sure you can become good friends.

Sarah Joyce
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