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Old Feb 5, 2004, 5:51 AM   #1
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Default Questions about FZ10

Hi

I've only ever used a 35mm film camera for taking point-and-shoot photos. Now I'd like to experiment with digital photography and I'm seriously considering purchasing the FZ10. The other camera that I've been looking at is the Olympus C750. I know this camera is cheaper than the FZ10, but I'm wondering whether the FZ10 would be more suitable for my needs, or in reality, would the C750 suffice? Perhaps you could help me decide by answering the following questions...

1. My primary intention is to use the camera for wildlife and landscape photography. I expect most of my pictures to be taken during the day in sunlight or overcast skies (thanks to the great British weather). The 12x zoom and image stabilisation make this camera look very tempting. I'd like to know if anyone here has experience in using the camera for this kind of photography? Does the IS really make a big difference? Does it mean I can forget about using a tripod for most zoom photography or would that be overstating the effect of the IS?

2. The Olympus C750 provides support for taking several overlapping pictures that can subsequently be stitched together on a computer using the supplied software. The results look really impressive. Is this possible with the FZ10? Does it have any built-in support for panoramic photography? I notice for this to work on the C750, you have to use an Olympus XD picture card and not the Fujifilm picture card. Are there similar constraints with the FZ10?

3. Another feature of the C750 that sounds interesting is the ability to save your picture settings so you could recall them quickly without having to set it all up again. However, is this really a gimmick, because to get the most out of it, you'd have to adjust the settings for each picture anyway?

4. I've heard about something called a Digipower power pack that plugs into the camera and can supply up to 9hrs power. Do you know if this is a Panasonic product? Do you know the product code and the price? Can it be charged with the charger that is supplied with the camera? How long does this take?

5. If I were to rely on the supplied proprietary battery, how long would you expect it to last in field conditions, for the kind of photography I've described? Are spare batteries readily available?

6. I know Panansonic provide a warranty, but do you know if they provide an option for insuring the camera against accidental damage? In your opinion, would it be best to get independent insurance for this, perhaps by extending your home contents insurance?

7. Finally, I believe the FZ10 is due for release in the UK around the beginning of March. Does anyone know how much it will cost? Panasonic won't tell me and I don't know which retailers are planning to stock it.

Many thanks for any help you can give.
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Old Feb 5, 2004, 9:41 AM   #2
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Miles,
I'm obviously partial to Panasonic so I'll limit my comments as to why I think the FZ10 is the better choice. I have used the C750 while comparing both cameras and I found certain of its features to be very annoying.

First, the FZ10's OIS and 12X zoom is fantastic for wildlife work.

The C750's ability to store parameters and have them associated with each image size could be handy, but I found it very annoying and time consuming. 15-30 seconds when you are trying to grab an action shot can be an eternity!

Our LCD is definitely brighter and larger than the C750 and I believe the FZ10ís menus are much easier to navigate.

Beyond these brief comments, letís see what the others have to offer.
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Old Feb 5, 2004, 4:10 PM   #3
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Default Re: FZ10 vs C-750

Quote:
1. My primary intention is to use the camera for wildlife and landscape photography. I expect most of my pictures to be taken during the day in sunlight or overcast skies (thanks to the great British weather). The 12x zoom and image stabilisation make this camera look very tempting. I'd like to know if anyone here has experience in using the camera for this kind of photography? Does the IS really make a big difference? Does it mean I can forget about using a tripod for most zoom photography or would that be overstating the effect of the IS?
This is the main reason many of us bought the FZ10. You may still need a tripod, depending on the shutter speed you need and the steadiness of your hands, but without Image Stabilization, you just won't be able to get unblurred 10x handheld pictures on the C-750. Zoom magnifies EVERYTHING, including camera movement. (I briefly owned a Kodak DX6490, which is also a 4mpx 10x zoom with no IS, and it made me realize the importance of IS.)


Quote:
2. The Olympus C750 provides support for taking several overlapping pictures that can subsequently be stitched together on a computer using the supplied software. The results look really impressive. Is this possible with the FZ10? Does it have any built-in support for panoramic photography? I notice for this to work on the C750, you have to use an Olympus XD picture card and not the Fujifilm picture card. Are there similar constraints with the FZ10?
The FZ10 has nothing like that, unfortunately. It does have a tic-tac-toe like grid you can use to help align the segments of a panorama, but the best mechanism for this is what some of the Pentax cameras use: a "ghost" of 1/3 of the side of the previous frame appears in the viewfinder to let you overlap them just about perfectly. Some FZ10 owners (including me) have made some pretty good panoramas by using either the stitching software Panasonic includes with the camera or other 3rd party stitchers.

When shooting panoramas, there is another consideration besides aligning the overlapping areas: keeping the exposure and the White Balance constant. The Kodak DX6490 could not do that and would not let the user do it: it changed the WB each time, so the colors in the overlapping areas did not match. The FZ10 allows manual WB as well as manual focus, aperture, and shutter speed, so the overlapping areas can be absolutely identical in terms of exposure and color tones. That makes the blended frames look seamless. I don't know what the C-750's capabilities are in this respect, but consider it to be very important for creating good panoramas.


Quote:
3. Another feature of the C750 that sounds interesting is the ability to save your picture settings so you could recall them quickly without having to set it all up again. However, is this really a gimmick, because to get the most out of it, you'd have to adjust the settings for each picture anyway?
The FZ10 can only do that for a couple of very narrow situations: it remembers four non-Auto White Balance adjustments and a couple of other things associated with specific shooting modes. For the most part, it does not have a "group settings" memory. Such a feature would be nice if you could press just one button to use it (like the station buttons in a car radio), but you'll still want to fine-tune for the lighting and depth-of-field.

Quote:
4. I've heard about something called a Digipower power pack that plugs into the camera and can supply up to 9hrs power. Do you know if this is a Panasonic product? Do you know the product code and the price? Can it be charged with the charger that is supplied with the camera? How long does this take?
This is not made by Panasonic, but by Digipower. Here's a review: http://www.imaging-resource.com/ACCS...00/DPS9000.HTM Here it is at Amazon (offered by Ritz camera for $40): http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg...photo&n=507846 It should work with most cameras, not just the FZ10.

Quote:
5. If I were to rely on the supplied proprietary battery, how long would you expect it to last in field conditions, for the kind of photography I've described? Are spare batteries readily available?
It lasts for a couple of hours (camera turned on). I've taken about 200 pictures on a single charge, and it recharges in about 90 minutes. You can (and should) buy at least one spare battery. I bought two extras ($20 each) and a $25 charger that can plug into a 12v auto socket as well as 120v from Eagle Imports, and everything works fine (the batteries seem identical in all respects but the label to the ones from Panasonic): http://search.stores.ebay.com/search...&submit=Search Note that some people who bought batteries from other eBay suppliers were not happy with their purchases, but most people have reported good results with Eagle Imports' batteries. If you order from them, ask when they will be able to ship your order.

Quote:
6. I know Panansonic provide a warranty, but do you know if they provide an option for insuring the camera against accidental damage? In your opinion, would it be best to get independent insurance for this, perhaps by extending your home contents insurance?
Don't know; haven't read about an extended warranty from Panasonic.

Quote:
7. Finally, I believe the FZ10 is due for release in the UK around the beginning of March. Does anyone know how much it will cost? Panasonic won't tell me and I don't know which retailers are planning to stock it.
Don't know.
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Old Feb 5, 2004, 5:25 PM   #4
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I donít think you are going to be able to handhold 12X shots on a dark overcast day without cranking the ISO up to 400 Ė which is quite noisy. Neat Image will remove the noise nicely, but there is a little resolution loss with high noise that Neat Image canít recover. Realistically you need 1/100 sec to shoot with mode 2 stabilization at 12X. But you will get handheld long telephoto shots in a lot more situations with the FZ10 than you could with the Oly. The lens is almost a stop faster at full tele and the stabilization is good for a couple more stops.

Panoramas are a hassle with the FZ10. I have no idea why Panasonic put such a small mode dial on that large camera with ASM bunched together and no custom modes. A custom mode would be very handy for panoramas. Sort of in line with their minimalist low cost approach to the entire camera. Not the lens Ė it is exceptional, but the camera leaves things to be desired in controls, modes, file formats etc. There are rumors of a stabilized long tele from a major manufacturer about to be released, but for now nothing compares to the camera for nature photography short of a DSLR. I obviously donít think custom modes are a gimmick. I use it often on my Oly and wish it had a couple more.

I use the pano mode often with my little pocket Oly C50. I have a couple button pushes memorized to get to pano and pre-meter for what I consider the most representative light. It locks everything on the first exposure and keeps track of the pano shots in order for easy stitching in the Oly software, which does a nice job. It is enough of a hassle with the FZ10 that I donít do many panos with it. It is certainly doable though.

Battery life is fine. I fill my 256Mb card with enough left over to download the pictures before I recharge.
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Old Feb 5, 2004, 5:49 PM   #5
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Miles, you may want to pick up a copy of What Digital Camera (January), and Digital Camera Magazine (February). They both have a review of the FZ10. The price in both magazines is £500.
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Old Feb 6, 2004, 4:37 PM   #6
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Depending on the type of panoramas you are taking, I find the burst mode on the FZ-10 great for "action panoramas", such as at a game. I've done what I think are decent panoramas on both automatic and manual controls. Manual is obviously better, but I usually try automatic first to see what adjustments need to be made.

Here are a couple of panoramas I shot with the FZ-10. They were stitched with Photoshop Elements 2.

This one is from Purdue's campus

http://home.insightbb.com/~srvirata/PurdueFountain2.gif

And here is one from a recent basketball game

http://home.insightbb.com/~srvirata/...Wisconsin2.gif

So I am very satisfied with the FZ-10, but you'll have to see what features are important to you.

Hope this helps a little
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Old Feb 9, 2004, 11:56 AM   #7
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Default action shot

Quote:
Originally Posted by Panasonic
Miles,
I'm obviously partial to Panasonic so I'll limit my comments as to why I think the FZ10 is the better choice. I have used the C750 while comparing both cameras and I found certain of its features to be very annoying.

First, the FZ10's OIS and 12X zoom is fantastic for wildlife work.

The C750's ability to store parameters and have them associated with each image size could be handy, but I found it very annoying and time consuming. 15-30 seconds when you are trying to grab an action shot can be an eternity!

Our LCD is definitely brighter and larger than the C750 and I believe the FZ10ís menus are much easier to navigate.

Beyond these brief comments, letís see what the others have to offer.
About action shots whit the FZ-10, have you a technical measurement of time response between depressing button, and photo itself (with & without auto focus) ?
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Old Feb 9, 2004, 1:14 PM   #8
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With the pre-focused, shutter lag is ~.1-.2 seconds. Very fast.
Auto focus operation will vary with scene illumination. I've found that if I'm shooting at a fixed distance, I prefer using manual focus.
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Old Feb 9, 2004, 1:28 PM   #9
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Default Re: Shutter lag time

If you half-press the shutter button and wait until you get a solid green light, the shutter lag when you press the button the rest of the way is 0.15 seconds.

If the camera is in Auto-focus and you just press the shutter button without half-pressing it first, the shutter lag can be between 0.7 seconds and several seconds, depending on how long it takes to get focus lock.

If the camera is in Manual Focus and you just press the shutter button without half-pressing it first, the shutter lag is about 0.35 seconds.

If you're in Manual Focus and have turned off the Review feature, the delay time AFTER taking a picture is about one second. I've taken 8-9 separate frames in ten seconds just to test the camera. That didn't give me time to compose the scene, so the pictures were artistically terrible, but the camera easily kept up, and can keep going at that rate until you fill the card. Other than true "Pro" cameras, this is by far the fastest digicam around.

If you have a fast SD card (Panasonic 256MB, SanDisk Ultra II, etc.), the delay after a 5-frame high-speed burst is 2.2 seconds. The burst itself takes 1.25 seconds, so you can start a new burst of 5 frames every 3.5 seconds, and keep doing so until the card fills. (With a standard speed card, that post-burst delay can be 12 seconds, so it pays to get a high-speed card.)
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Old Feb 9, 2004, 3:19 PM   #10
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Nice stats Charlie. You've just saved me some time
I did manage to test some SD card speeds which can be found somewhere on this forum. I now have a Sandisk Ultra II 512MB. From the last shutter click until the red card indicator stops flashing is 2.0 seconds flat with either 5 or 7 shots in burst mode. I'm impressed.
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