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Old Aug 15, 2011, 3:08 PM   #1
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Default I love my FZ5, but...

... I need bigger images with less noise for microstock. The stock sites (Shutterstock, IStockphoto, etc.) are *very* picky about noise. Their inspectors look at every image at 100%, and even, I suspect, at 200%.

Despite what the DSLR snobs say, I do manage to get images accepted, even shooting with my little point-and-shoot, but it takes more post-processing than I would like, and I usually downsize even the FZ5's 5MP images to hide any noise I can't remove otherwise -- which limits how much I can earn for those images.

I'm a small person with small hands. I don't want to have to switch lenses between macro shots of flowers and long shots of unsuspecting passersby -- which I'm likely to take in consecutive frames. So the FZ5 has been great, up to now.

I don't need video or panoramas or art filters. I don't need a zoom longer than the 12x I have.

I would like RAW capture, less shutter lag, the option of manual focus (especially for macro) and a tilt or swivel display would be nice.

I've read dozens of reviews, both of Panasonic and other brands, I'm just getting more and more confused.

So I'm looking for advice from others who have used several of the FZ series over the years: Which of them was your favorite? I don't need to get the latest and greatest if an earlier model has sharper images with less noise. And if there's something other than an FZ (or even other than Panasonic) that fits that description, I'm certainly willing to consider it.

Thanks in advance for your help!
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Old Aug 15, 2011, 3:41 PM   #2
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If you want less noise in your pictures them you have to think a camera with larger sensor.

Forgetting cost, you can get small bodied dSLR's which have much larger sensors then say the Panasonic FZ series and hence better image quality, and a whole load of different lenes for whatever application you want to shoot.

Next in line for image quality are the 'four third' cameras. These have bigger senors than point and shoot but not as big as the dSLR cameras, because the sensor is smaller, the lenses are also smaller than for dSLR.

To see what type of image quality you can get look on the relevant forum's here
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Old Aug 15, 2011, 5:08 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Square one View Post
If you want less noise in your pictures them you have to think a camera with larger sensor.
Thanks for the quick reply, Square One. If you'll re-read my post, you'll see I already know this, and a larger sensor is one of the things I'm looking for.

Quote:
Forgetting cost, you can get small bodied dSLR's which have much larger sensors then say the Panasonic FZ series and hence better image quality, and a whole load of different lenes for whatever application you want to shoot.
Unfortunately, I can't forget cost entirely, and again referring to my post, I don't really want to deal with "a whole load of different lenses." I prefer one lens that adjusts to different shooting situations -- that's why I chose the FZ5 in the first place.


Quote:
Next in line for image quality are the 'four third' cameras. These have bigger senors than point and shoot but not as big as the dSLR cameras, because the sensor is smaller, the lenses are also smaller than for dSLR.
Yep, I've looked at those, too. And based on the technical reviews, it doesn't appear I'll get a whole lot better image quality in return for giving up the lower cost and weight of the compact camera.

Quote:
To see what type of image quality you can get look on the relevant forum's here
You're correct, I could do that, and I probably will. But there are a whole lot of them, and comparing the various images side-by-side is almost impossible. I was hoping for some longtime FZ users to give me the benefit of their experience with the various models to guide my search.

I look forward to reading more suggestions from those users.
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Old Aug 15, 2011, 6:04 PM   #4
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I can understand what you are saying, but you have to understand that most point and shoots have quarter inch square sensors (I think the sony HX100 has a larger sensor, but people say overall the Panasonic FZ35/38, FZ40/45, and maybe the new FZ47/48 out perform it overall), and that WILL give you noise in lower light conditions. In nice bright light conditions the FZ's DO give sharp, bright images and there are many example here to prove it.

None of the Panasonic FZ series offers easy to use manual focus, all have some form of 'jog wheel' or 'joystick' control, The Fuji HS10 and HS20 offer manual focus and manual zoom, so they may offer what you are looking for.

Panasonic G series DO offer better image quality, at a rough guess you will pay about two or three times the cost of FZ for a G series with a zoom, for examples of shots with this camera type look at saly's posts in 'close ups' and 'architectural forums', you can't fail to see less noise in these pictures.

If you still like the idea of the FZ's then if you can still find a FZ35/38, it will give slightly better image quality then the FZ40/45.

Another point that may sway your choice is Panasonic FZ's all use a dedicated battery pack where as the Fuji still use AA batteries and work well with the lithium AA type.

At the end of the day it's your requirements and feelings that will make you choose one brand and model over another.
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Old Aug 15, 2011, 6:35 PM   #5
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Thanks, Square One -- your specific suggestions to check out the FZ35 and FZ40, as well as the Sony will give me something to work with.
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Old Aug 15, 2011, 6:40 PM   #6
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G'day ff

Nice to hear from you about your needs & the ergonomics that go with them
For background - in the family we have a FZ28 & FZ30 & FZ35

The '30 would be too heavy for you ...
The FZ35 is a great 'general purpose' camera, but the one I have is only good for daylight images at ISO200 - above ISO400 & whenever the light levels go down, the results are awful ... very few keepers > I stress 'my camera' - others may have better results

I also have a Pentax Kx, which gets very little use as -for me- it is too big & heavy, although I have an 18-135 & an 28-300 lens ... each lens is the weight of the Panny FZ35, with the camera as well, the combo is double the weight of the FZ35

To get back to your original Q ...
I would suggest looking for the lowest-pixel-sensor you can find > knowing that as pixel counts go up, so does the noise ... & noise is unacceptable [to us both] ... and 10mpx seems to be the lowest around these days. I would also suggest you look into the m4/3 range of cameras for a sensor that admittedly is a compromise - sensor larger than the P&S cameras with bulk & weight less than the traditional dSLR cameras

I have just placed an order for a G2 + 14-140 to replace the Pentax Kx & its 3 lenses
As I am still awaiting its arrival, I am unable to give you an exact comment as to whether it is "an answer to my prayers"

Hope this helps - come back with more Qs as they arise
Regards, Phil
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Old Aug 15, 2011, 8:07 PM   #7
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Thanks, Ozzie.
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