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Old Feb 18, 2010, 9:47 AM   #1
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Default Looking for a recomendation.....

Hi Folks,

I started getting into Digicams back in '03 when my daughter was born. My original camera was an FZ20, which I loved. But I quickly upgraded to the FZ30 for the added resolution, and the zoom ring on the lens. Been using it ever since. Since then, I've also owned an FX01 subcompact, and the TZ5 compact megazoom. Bottom line is, I am still a big fan of Panasonic cameras.

Recently, I've been noticing that Panny seems to be abandoning some of their commitment to marketing and sales to the consumer. I haven't seen their newer models in any major electronics stores around me since the demise of Circuit City. And most of the other smaller shops only carry the FZ35 and maybe 1 or 2 others.

I'm now looking for a new compact point and shoot. So my question is for you, the good people of this forum, which I used to follow religiously. What is your current take on the state of consumer point and shoot digicams? I've always ranked Panny and Canon near the top with a slight bias towards Panny. What current models are people talking about other than the G or FZ series? I've read some good things about the FP8 and the ZR1. Also, other than added megapixels and/or HD movie capabilities, is there anything about the currently announced crop of 2010 Lumix models that I should be waiting for? I would welcome any comments.

Thank You.......
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Old Feb 18, 2010, 10:52 AM   #2
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Unfortunately,as an old time Panasonic fan, I feel that around 18 months ago Panasonic re-diverted the bulk of their marketing energies to the G-series cameras, as they came out in rapid succession with the G-1, the GH-1, and the GF-1.

The only really bright star in the Panasonic line-up currently, in my opinion is the FZ-35. I also own a TZ-5, but after the TZ-5, came the TZ-65 in Europe which was a very good camera, but Panasonic failed to market it in the USA.

The ZS-1 and ZS-3 were successful but more due to the 25mm wide angle and the HD video on the ZS-3 which has become a hot item here in the USA. The ZS-1 and ZS-3 were essentially P+S cameras with very few adjustments.

That made 2010's introduction of the ZS-5 and ZS-7 logical candidates for full manual and automatic controls. While Panasonic is trumpeting that change, in truth, it was a very small technical change. And that once again, is proof that Panasonic is not putting their full energies into creating state of the art cameras in the compact zoom camera niche.

The FZ-50 ruled supreme as the greatest landscape camera of its type in 2005 and 2006. But there was never a follow-on model to replace the FZ-50, and a whole segment of users either had to adapt and move to the FZ-28 or leave the Panasonic camp. Many of those folks migrated to DSLR cameras, another area where Panasonic established a "beach head" with the L-1 and then the L-10, and then completely abandoned those users to re-direct their energies to the G-1.

If you interests lie in the compact zoom market niche, you either have to put up with poor to, at the very best, only fair indoor image quality on the ZR-cameras, and the ZS-cameras, because Panasonic elected to use a very tiny and very weak built-in flash unit on those cameras. The ZR series incorporated a work around which is almost as bad. It wildly escalates the ISO setting to compensate for that very poor built-in flash unit, but still indoor image quality takes a huge hit in the ZR-series from excess ISO settings as opposed to the sheer lack of flash lighting in the ZS-series..

That has once again, forced folks, including me, away from Panasonic and to the Sony H-20 camera, which has the best built-in flash in the compact zoom class. Even the Ricoh CX-2 and CX-3 are now competing with Panasonic's ZS series.

So other than the FZ-35, which is a very good camera in its own class, in my opinion and as you have observed, Panasonic has done a lot of foot dragging that we did not see 3 to 5 years ago.

Have a great day.

Sarah Joyce

Last edited by mtclimber; Feb 18, 2010 at 10:57 AM.
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Old Feb 18, 2010, 8:08 PM   #3
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Wow nice one Sarah. The lady of the moment, The Expert.
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Old Feb 19, 2010, 1:18 AM   #4
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My 2 cents:
Since 2008, Panasonic has been preoccupied with its takeover of Sanyo, itself a serious player in the home Video camera market. This deal was concluded late last year and now makes Panasonic the largest electronics company in Japan (it used to be Sony). I think that once things settle down, it will become clearer if Panasonic are still going to be committed to being a major camera manufacturer…… in for the long haul, or if they are going to focus more on their most profitable and fastest growing business – Batteries!!
(Remember that the big appeal for Panasonic was to get its hands on Sanyo’s impressive battery technology
– They own the Eneloop brand too).
Panasonic are also seriously into solar panels with some commentators believing that the
future and focus of Panasonic is that of an energy technology company.
Interesting times!

Last edited by dbnnet; Feb 20, 2010 at 2:21 AM.
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Old Feb 19, 2010, 1:40 PM   #5
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Hopefully for our sake, as camera users, Panasonic will get back to producing more innovative and state of the art cameras.

Panasonic has essentially ignored the non m4/3 portion of their camera products for the last two years. It will be interesting to follow how much improved the imager in the ZS-10 might be.

Sarah Joyce
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