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Old May 31, 2010, 2:46 AM   #1
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Default Will a G2 replace my fz20?

I bought myself a Panasonic fz20 about five years ago and generally speaking I have been quite happy with it. However, if you look at the pics attached to this post you'll see that it doesn't look so good anymore. What is left of the plastic grips is now held on by what we in Australia call Blutack. The body isn't holding together well and the viewfinder doesn't work anymore. But it still takes fairly good pictures: http://www.flickr.com/photos/johnstory/

I don't personally know anyone else who has one of these cameras so I can't compare mine with others. Perhaps other users on this forum can tell me, is it normal to expect this sort of wear and tear on a plastic camera like this? For most of this time my fz20 and I have lived in the south-east Asian tropics. Perhaps the weather has had some effect on it. Can any other fz20 (or similar) users tell me how your camera has fared over time?

In any case, I've decided to upgrade and have been looking around for a camera that will suit my style of photography. I'm a little reluctant to go the full SLR route because with the amount of travelling I do, an SLR and lenses that do what my fz20 does would add a fair bit of weight and bulk to my pack. I'm also thinking that perhaps a camera with a metal body might survive better than my fz20 has. The cheapest metal-bodied SLR is getting into serious dollars. I wonder if there is a cheaper and lighter way to go.

For that reason I was attracted back to Panasonic and the soon-to-be-released G2. Metal frame, I like. Rotating 3" LCD with live view, I like. Bigger sensor than the all-in-one plastic models, I like. Way cheaper, way lighter and way smaller than an SLR. Assuming this is the right camera for me I still have to decide which way to go lens-wise.

At first I was attracted to the single-lens version that almost gives me the range I have now but not quite. I do like my long zoom. The two-lens version covers the range I get with the fz20 and more but I have the problem of changing lenses. As a friend with an SLR told me, 'You are so often caught out with the wrong lens on the camera for the next shot you want to take.' One extremely versatile lens sure appeals more than the idea of constantly changing lenses.

No doubt I'll eventually make my decision but I'd appreciate any thoughts, comments or suggestions that forum members might have.
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Old May 31, 2010, 11:57 AM   #2
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Boy, you've certainly beaten up your FZ20 badly. I have cameras that are older than the FZ20 (which BTW I happened to have one years back) and are still in like new condition. The weather can be harsh on anything and the humidity will contribute largely to wear and tear, specially on glued parts. However, the holes and scratches can not be attributed to the weather but to handling. With that said, I think any of the G series will make you happy. They will out-perform the FZ20 in just about every department. The FZ20 was a great camera. It had its share of problems such as poor and very inaccurate EVF, real bad auto white balance, etc. However, it had an awesome 12x zoom lens offering f/2.8 across the entire FL. Panasonic never used such a lens on other FZ replacement models and I don't believe any other manufacturer has ever offered a camera with a similar lens.However, the G cameras are better. They are smaller, lighter, have a bigger sensor, offer more functions and features, and the list goes on and on. If you wish to stay with Panasonic, that's a good way to go. Other good options are the Pentax K-x (excellent camera at a great price for the two-lens kit), the Canon T2i (or even the older T1i), Nikon D5000, Olympus E620 and Sony A550. So, for sure the research will keep you busy for a while.
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Old Jun 1, 2010, 3:09 AM   #3
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Thanks for the tips Tullio. I'll look into those other cameras. Any thoughts on how well the lenses on those you recommend compare with the Lumix G series compatible lenses?
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Old Jun 1, 2010, 2:13 PM   #4
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The greatest advantage of systems like Canon, Nikon, Pentax and Sony is the huge number of available lenses one can buy. These brands accept many of their old lenses and some of the old glasses are very good and reasonable cheap. The problem with the G series is that there aren't very many m4/3 lenses available and they are expensive (excellent lenses, but expensive). Notice that I did not mentioned Olympus and the reason is because they use yet another system, 4/3, and only lenses made for the 4/3 system will work. All Oly vintage lenses (OM) will require an adapter and will not AF. In terms of compatibility with old lenses, I think Pentax is #1, followed by Sony (all Minolta lenses from their Maxxum line forward) and Canon. Nikon has lots of limitations because the D5000 does not have an in-body AF motor. So, most old Nikon glasses will not AF on the D5000.
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Old Jun 7, 2010, 3:15 AM   #5
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Thanks again for your advice Tullio. Perhaps I should explain a little about my lifestyle and photography style.

I do a heck of a lot of travelling in developing countries. I am not a four-star traveller. I get down and dirty and mix with the locals. I'm sixty-two and I weigh only 57 kilos. I travel with two backpacks—a biggish one for clothes and other necessities and a Crumpler for technology. If I have to walk any distance the Crumpler is mounted over my chest and the big one on my back. The combined weight of the two is about 25 kilos—equal to about 44% of my body weight. The last thing I want is to add more weight to my packs. Therefore, the idea of carrying multiple lenses, especially SLR, won't excite me until I stop travelling.

Generally speaking, the fz20 has suited my needs quite well. Let's say I am in a remote village in Cambodia photographing the villagers and their homes when I see a bird or a monkey in a tree. I simply point my fz20 and zoom in. Next I see an insect or flower on the ground, I switch to macro mode and click.

When I decided it was time to upgrade, my first thought was that I want a camera that will survive my lifestyle a little better than the fz20 has, therefore I was looking for one with a metal body. I was considering a Nikon D300 but was not excited by the size and weight that I would be obliged to carry. Was in a camera store recently when I saw one of the Panasonic G1s. I was impressed by its compactness. A little bit of a search online and I discovered that the G2 was on its way and it looked like it had a little more to offer me.

If I buy one, I'm still obliged to change lenses to do what I'm already doing with my fz20. Let's assume I go with the two-lens kit. In the above situation, I'd be photographing the villagers and their homes with the 14-42 lens. I see from the sample pic on the Panasonic website that using this camera and lens combination at f5.6 it still gets nice background blurring in a portrait shot. When I see the bird or monkey I'd need to switch to the 45-200 lens. Considering Panasonic's sample using this lens I'd probably still get a great shot provided the bird or monkey hadn't flown. Their sample, BTW, has delightful background blurring despite f5.6, 200 mm (35 mm equiv 400 mm) and 1/25 sec shutter speed. I assume they used a tripod. And yes, I do have a tripod but it's one more thing to carry around and I'm thinking I might be tempted to leave it behind on my next trip.

When I come to the insect or flower, I suspect my two lenses will let me down. I could buy the macro lens but it's roughly the price of the whole camera with the two lenses. Perhaps I'll have to pass on that one. The other lens offered that might tempt me is the 20 mm f1.7 pancake lens. I assume this is intended for portraits. It appears to not have OIS. If I do buy this camera I think I might try out the kit lenses first. If I can take portraits as well as Panasonic's photographer, perhaps I won't need that one.

The only other option that makes some sense to me is to go with something like an fz35 and be prepared to replace it in five years time. But I feel that somehow the G2 is a camera that will advance me as a photographer despite the disadvantages of needing to change lenses.

Any comments or advice appreciated. Thanks in advance.

Last edited by oznasia; Jun 7, 2010 at 3:21 AM.
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Old Jun 7, 2010, 7:14 AM   #6
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The Pentax K-7 is small, light and fully weatherproofed. It can be used in pouring rain, and has developed quite a reputation amongst hikers etc. If you could forgo long zooms, with a smallish zoom it might be ideal. Probably not what you are after, but just a thought as an option for you.
PS It is a fabulous camera - if I had the dosh I would buy one :-)
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Old Jun 7, 2010, 7:43 AM   #7
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Thanks for the tip chillgreg. Just had a quick look at the review. And while I am hoping for something smaller than an SLR, my mind is not closed. I'll look more closely.
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Old Jun 7, 2010, 8:18 AM   #8
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You are most welcome! At the time, I did a wealth of research, and have saved all my links, so if you decide you'd like to look further on this, please ask and I can either email you or post the links here.

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Old Jun 7, 2010, 3:34 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chillgreg View Post
...if you decide you'd like to look further on this, please ask and I can either email you or post the links here.
Greg,

Please post your links here if you would.

I am considering my options for upgrading from my FZ30 (with older FZ20 as well) and would be interested in seeing some of your research. My current list includes the Panasonic G2/G10, Canon T2i/50D/7D, and Pentax K-x/K-7.

Thanks.
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Old Jun 8, 2010, 1:26 AM   #10
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rschofield, I'm interested to know if your fz20 (and perhaps fz30) have survived in better condition than mine.
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