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Old May 6, 2011, 12:12 PM   #1
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Default FZ40 - First Day Impressions

Hello there!
My FZ40 just arrived yesterday. I bought it mainly because of the pictures and recommendation in this forum.
I've tested it yesterday at night and wasn't impressed because night shots aren't that good (somewhat expected) and my mini tripod doesn't stay very immobile, so it was pretty much a disaster.
Today I spent the entire day taking pictures and all i can say is that this little electronic device really impressed me.
The image quality is outstanding, and during daytime it does a very good job.

I have some cons that i want to share though:

In manual mode, It's difficult to change the focus and the shutter speed using that dial, because it's so slow. It's not very useful at all. Manual focus is somewhat okay because the automatic button works very well and then you can use the dial to fine tune it. But the shutter speed needs some unacceptable amount of time to go from the slower to the faster.

Another thing that really annoys me is that it's not possible to turn it on without extending the lens and going to the shoot mode. Something that some nikons allows by holding the playback button.

Also, it should not turn on normally when connected to an USB port. Should never extend the lens in this case, because it's very likely someone would connect it while in a bag.

Another nice feature that some other cameras have is the option to do not use the battery power when connected to an USB port. I'm not talking about taking pictures on USB, but simply reading the internal memory and the memory card. If the battery is on charger, there's no way to transfer the pictures to a PC that doesn't have a card reader. And it's a nonsense that it discharges the battery whilst connected on an USB.

However, the worst thing about this camera is the yellow "blotching" on not very well-lit pictures, and mainly on pictures taken under incandescent lighting. If taking a picture of a white matte object in these conditions, even using ISO 200, it gets all stained with yellow blotches. In this case the camera is very disappointing, because in this conditions you are forced to use higher ISOs, so it's very unuseful for indoor pictures, not because of sharpness, brightness or other common problems that cameras with small sensors generally have, but because of this unusual yellow blotching.

Overall it's a very good camera, however, it could be much better if they did a better job testing it carefully and looking at the rivals features. Most issues are firmware related, and by adding a cheap IC they would allow it to use the USB power at least to read the memory card. The yellow blotching thing doesnt seems related to "bad" JPEG compression as the cnet review says, but the sensor does seem to capture some kind of yellow noise that the JPEG compression worsen, the JPEG itself is just "default", in this case, the camera should allow some kind of filter for pictures that are likely to show yellow blotching. (it should be easy to program the firmware to do that because it only happens at a fixed white balance range, ISO, and shutter speed). And the processor seems powerful enough to do that kind of fancy filtering.

Unfortunately i doubt a firmware update to fix these issues and add these features will be released.

Cheers.

PS.: english is not my native language so please apologize the errors.
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Old May 6, 2011, 12:19 PM   #2
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Ive got the FZ-38 which is similar and I'd say it's worth checking the level of noise reduction in case that's causing the yellow blotches. Also on the FZ-38 there is a switch for playback mode and if it's set to that then the lens doesn't extend when you turn it on.
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Old May 6, 2011, 12:41 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MartinSykes View Post
Ive got the FZ-38 which is similar and I'd say it's worth checking the level of noise reduction in case that's causing the yellow blotches. Also on the FZ-38 there is a switch for playback mode and if it's set to that then the lens doesn't extend when you turn it on.
Hmmm, well. Thank you. Setting the noise reduction actually helps to reduce yellow blotching. It's not as fancy as I would like, but it's a little bit better.

I'm gonna buy a DSLR for night shots later. The cameras itself aren't that expensive, the problem is the lenses. A "12X" equivalent lens for a DSLR is the price of 2 FZ40s . So i'm gonna buy a DSLR with a 18-55mm lens and the only case when i will not be able to shoot properly is a telephoto at night.
For telephotos with decent lighting (even at dusk) the FZ40 is simply amazing.
Also, the image stabilization is incredibly good.

And for a first digital camera it's pretty good. Until yesterday i've been taking 0.3MP pictures using an old mobile phone. So the difference is... noticeable .

Thanks.

Last edited by Electrolyte; May 6, 2011 at 12:43 PM.
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Old May 6, 2011, 5:54 PM   #4
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Another thing that isn't good is the flash hinge speed. Man, it's so fast that it even hurts it if hits you. I wonder if some day that flash piece will break and be launched miles away. Other cameras with similar flashes has a smoother movement.

And a feature that would be very useful is the option to sort the menu items manually. Some very important settings that i often need to change are hardly acessible by default. The image capture menu has 8 pages of options and it's a pain to quickly find one of them. Also, the functions assignable to the Fn key are limited.

This camera is the best I could find in that price range, but it certainly could be much better.

It's still a very good camera though, and in terms of image quality, at least in my opinion and for my tastes, it's the best in it's segment. I was considering the FZ100 because the price was very similar, but i've tested both side-by-side and this one had much better image quality on higher ISOs. I don't care too much about shot-shot speed, only shutter delay and IQ.
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