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Old Jan 13, 2004, 4:32 PM   #1
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Default Should I get the FZ10 or wait (more details inside)

I've been in the market for a long zoom camera for a while. And I have looked at all the long zoom cameras, and the only ones that offer what I want are the Olympus 750 and the Panasonic FZ10.
Lately I have been leaning towards getting a Panasonic FZ10. But I have read some things about it that have made me think I should wait for something else.

I have heard that the noise levels can get rather bad at ISO 200 and up. And that it does fairly poorly indoors in semi-bad lighting. And I have heard that the Olympus takes some overall really good shots. However the fact that it doesn't have Image stabilization(and it doesn't have quite as much zoom as the FZ10) made me want the FZ10.
The things like no uncompressed format in the FZ10 and the barrel distortion at wide angle don't bother me too much. (I rarely used the uncompressed on my old camera, and it is fairly easy to fix the barrel with postproduction tools)

So anyway, I will be using this camera mostly for outdoor shots, as well as a decent amount of indoor snapshots.

My problem is that my previous digital camera is off with my brother for the next 7 months in Germany, and I am wanting to get a replacement for me. I would go out right now and buy the FZ10 right now if it did a little better with the problems I mentioned above. So right now I am torn between waiting for some new ultrazoom to come out (anyone know if Canon has any plans for a ultrazoom?). Or should I just live with the problems that the FZ10 has, because the perfect camera doesn't exist and probably will not exist. And are some of the problems mentioned above even fixable with longzooms? Will noise always be a problem (I am no expert at the mechanics of long zooms)?

Also, a side note, to the people that own or have used a FZ10: Do you find that you can take most shots without using ISO at 200 or above?


So the real question is, do you think I should wait it out, or not?

Thanks a lot for any input.
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Old Jan 13, 2004, 9:46 PM   #2
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One of the advantages of IS is that you can shoot at lower ISO. It isnít just for long telephoto shots.

To get a f2.8 12X zoom you can actually carry around you need a small sensor. Small sensors tend to induce more noise. I donít think anyone is going to do better with the current technology as far as noise goes.

If you view the image onscreen the noise isnít that big a deal to me. If you want to print a large print there are inexpensive programs like Neat Image and Noise Ninja that do a great job removing the noise.

I donít think Panasonic did a great job with the camera but it is usable. I have a small pocket camera with similar low light limitations and have learned to pre-focus on something the same distance with better light and contrast. The difference in ambient light doesnít make a big difference for a flash shot.

One thing you canít get around is the pitifully weak flash unless you want to carry a flash unit for it. Even my pocket camera has twice the flash range. The EVF is less than stellar and normal quality JPG is the best you can get. There probably wonít be a lot of prize winning photos taken with the camera, but the 12X stabilized lens is spectacular.

I havenít read about any similar long stabilized lens camera being developed. The FZ10 is the only game in town and probably will be for a while. If you take a lot of long telephoto shots it is a good choice regardless of the camera limitations.
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Old Jan 14, 2004, 10:35 AM   #3
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The FZ10 is my first digital camera and as a true "newbie" to this hobby am both impressed and just a little nervous with this feature-laden camera. The owner's manual is now dog-eared from carrying it with me everywhere for the last two weeks. I have the Panasonic 256 SD card and am amazed at its speed. The only negative I can find is trying to focus in low light but have found using manual focus has helped in situations where auto seems unsure of itself. I can't recommend this camera highly enough for most everyone and consider it a great value for all its abilities! I don't think you will go wrong, blinblue. Good luck.
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Old Jan 14, 2004, 1:26 PM   #4
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Hummmm. I still haven't quite decided yet. I will have access to a hotshoe flash. So the camera's flash limations do not bother me much.

I really wished panasonic just put in those little extra feature. Like a focus assist lamp, etc. If it had those minor problems fixed, I would buy it right now...

So I think I will go out to some store and test it out. Anyone know of a big national eletronics store that would carry the FZ10 (and the 750UZ would be nice to test also)?

Thanks a lot for the input.
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Old Jan 14, 2004, 1:46 PM   #5
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Default PANASONIC DMC-FZ10K

Hello,
Both Ritz Camera and Wolf camera have them. What is strange, that prices just went up from one week only sale price of $539 back to original $599 and even very reputable mail order house B&H is out of stock for over a month. Does it mean the is such high demand. I feel lucky I ordered mine from Ritz few days ago at their sale price.

Andre
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Old Jan 17, 2004, 8:25 PM   #6
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I just got an FZ10 and have a few comments:
1. the image stabilizer only works at shutter speeds 1/125 and faster. So if there is low light I have to boot up iso to 200-400 so I can use the IS.
2. When using burst shooting, it takes about 10 sec. before I can shoot another photo. Is this a function of card speed? If so, how do I measure what the speed is?
3. The lens works great- as long as I use spot focus and am careful what item I focus it on. Also- it seems like continuous AF works better than non-cont? focus [photos are better focused. Why is that?
4. I am having no trouble with indoor shots as long as people are not moving quickly. Good AF and exposure.
5. Still playing with the camera and am happy that when digital telephoto is selected in the menu, the graph in the EV shows where the optical zoom goes to and where the digital kicks in.
BTW: the digital zoom enabled me to read licence plate from pretty far away. However, the photo was clearer when using 12X optical zoom and enlarging it on my computer screen to dig. size, then the photo taken in digital 36x.
6. I still haven't decided on whether to shoot at max resolution and min or max jpg, or go to a lower resolution and shoot min jpg. I am trying to determine the differences in picture quality.
Any ideas re: the best combo for photos that will NOT be printed but will be viewed on my monitor [95% of my kept photos]?
7. So far I am very happy with the FZ10- I just need to practice more with it to get the photos I want.
Tim
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Old Jan 17, 2004, 9:30 PM   #7
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Hey TimXX,

RE your comment:

Quote:
the image stabilizer only works at shutter speeds 1/125 and faster
How do you know that? I have taken many pics on the fully automatic mode where the shutter speed was only 1/4 second. I'm actually quite amazed how sharp they turned out.

RonV
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Old Jan 17, 2004, 9:41 PM   #8
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Default Re: TimXX's comments about the DMC-FZ10

Quote:
"1. the image stabilizer only works at shutter speeds 1/125 and faster. So if there is low light I have to boot up iso to 200-400 so I can use the IS."
On my FZ10, OIS seems to work at slower shutter speeds than 1/125th: certainly 1/60th, probably 1/25th. Other people with steadier hands say it helps them down to 1/4 sec. The useful limit is probably a function of how much you move the camera and how much zoom is being used. As an experiment, try deliberately shaking the camera a bit while taking a picture, and see how well OIS works. Up to a point, the results can be just amazing.

Quote:
"2. When using burst shooting, it takes about 10 sec. before I can shoot another photo. Is this a function of card speed? If so, how do I measure what the speed is? "
You are using a slow SD card. The 16MB card that came with the camera is a medium-speed card, whose delay after a burst is about 5-6 seconds. The Panasonic 256MB card is a high-speed (10MB/sec) device, and the delay after a 5-frame burst is about 2.2 seconds. Since a burst takes 1.25 seconds, you can start a new burst every 3.5 seconds and continue to do that until you fill the card or get bored. Some other companies also make high-speed cards, but not all of those other brands are reliable.

Quote:
"5. Still playing with the camera and am happy that when digital telephoto is selected in the menu, the graph in the EV shows where the optical zoom goes to and where the digital kicks in.
BTW: the digital zoom enabled me to read licence plate from pretty far away. However, the photo was clearer when using 12X optical zoom and enlarging it on my computer screen to dig. size, then the photo taken in digital 36x."
The computer software can be far more powerful than what's in the camera: it has no particular memory constraints on its own size or its workarea size, and is running on a CPU that is a lot faster than the one in the computer. Even so, not all computer-based resizing software programs produce the same results.

Quote:
"6. I still haven't decided on whether to shoot at max resolution and min or max jpg, or go to a lower resolution and shoot min jpg. I am trying to determine the differences in picture quality.
Any ideas re: the best combo for photos that will NOT be printed but will be viewed on my monitor [95% of my kept photos]?"
ALWAYS use best JPEG: it produces fewer artifacts. Resolution selection is a matter of opinion, but my preference is to always use maximum resolution: the images can be resized on the computer, and you may not know what you want to do with any particular image until you've seen how it came out. The camera's CCD only captures at its full resolution (2304x1728 for the FZ10), regardless of the resolution you select, so you're choosing whether the camera's software or the computer's software should do the downsizing. Some people have said there's less noise in the lower-resolution images, but there's also less information.

"7. So far I am very happy with the FZ10- I just need to practice more with it to get the photos I want."
Ditto.

One other area to consider is "Picture Adjustment". Many of us find that we get our best results by setting all three of them to "Low", and then, if necessary, adjusting contrast, sharpness, and/or saturation on the computer. The "Low" settings more accurately reflect what the CCD captured. In the camera, there are only three levels for each of those adjustments, but on the computer, there are hundreds. Of course, if you do not want to do any post-processing, then use whatever camera settings give you the most pleasing results.
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Old Jan 18, 2004, 1:45 PM   #9
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TimXX,
You should be aware that the IS takes a while to become operational. Check in the viewfinder and wait until the yellow hand turns white.

You can see an example of an indoor shot, without flash, of "Helen" at http://www.e-photoworks.com/albinato...uuid=67&aid=90
This was taken handheld at 1/10 second. One could NOT do that without IS.
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Old Jan 18, 2004, 2:40 PM   #10
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Thanks for all the info re: the FZ10.
On the IS only working at 1/125 or faster- at slower speeds I get a picture of a red camera with little parentheses around it. I assumed this indicated that my camera was shaking [and photos were a bit blurred when I looked at them on my monitor]. This red camera icon disappeared at 1/125. This was all at IS2. I have not checked this out using IS1 yet.

Also- I will tell the shop where I bought the camera and the 256 SD card, that I want a faster one [the package said it was ultra fast]. Will let you know what their response is.
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