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Old Dec 29, 2012, 1:40 PM   #1
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Default Mysterious Panasonic DMC-FZ200

The Panasonic DMC-FZ200 is not sold by any store where you can see and touch one. Only seems sold online. Why? Not good enough for stores to sell to their client base? Reason probably is not $600 price, because much higher priced cameras are sold in many stores.

Plus, ALL of the stores named by Panasonic in an email response from them, do not offer the camera for sale. None of them. Looks like even Panasonic cannot find any brick-and-mortar stores that sell the FZ200.

The FZ-200's f-2.8 feature is what draws me to consider this camera. I have three SONY DSC-F717 cameras. Those have f-stop ranges of 2.0 to 2.4. And the Carl Zeiss optics combo has earned the F717 camera higher ratings than any digital camera since the F717 was introduced.

The Panasonic FZ-200 is one stop slower than the F-717, but the more modern feature-packed FZ-200 hooked my attention. Plus, it has HD video capabilities.

One thing not mentioned in the Panasonic specs or in any review is the EVF eyepiece. Does it have any soft material protection on it, or is it hard plastic?

Panasonic email response to that question just replied the entire camera is rubber-coated. Yeh, right. Probably the numbskull answering their email questions has no idea what I was asking about. I followed up on their response and again asked about the eyepiece. They did not answer.

I wear plastic eyeglasses. I do not want to scratch them, so I need to avoid hard-surfaced eyepieces. I considered sticking on a rectangle of self-adhesive cork to surround the eyepiece, but that seems kind of dumb for a $600 camera.

Lastly, there does not seem to be any consumer tech support for Panasonic cameras, which is a major problem for consumers when they cannot ask their retailer for answers. I tried and tried to get past the Philippine-based, monitor-reading, phone crew to find somebody, anybody, who knew anything about this camera. Same results with another one I was interested in about one year ago. Nothing worked. Customer support seems absent.

So, I ask you Panasonic owners, is there a secret phone number revealed in the owner's registration cards, or have you also experienced the same issue with lack of ANY means of getting tech support information?
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Old Dec 30, 2012, 1:28 AM   #2
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I understand your frustration. I don't think this is a unique problem with Panasonic, but it is very difficult to get personal tech support from large company. When I encounter problems, I usually search for answers online, or post my question on forums like this one.

I don't own a FZ200 so I can't answer your eye piece question, but my FZ150's eyepiece is hard plastic, so I assume the 200 is the same. There are no rubber eyecups available. Many people make their own.
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Old Dec 30, 2012, 5:52 AM   #3
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The FZ-200 with regards availability seems to be mirroring the FZ-150- seemingly available in very few "bricks and mortar" outlets- and in fact I don't recall seeing one (FZ-150) in the flesh so to speak anywhere..! And there's me thinking it was a North Wales thing...!
You're right to be tempted by the fast aperture however- f/2.8 from 25mm right up to 600mm puts it in a class of its own.
The viewfinder- whilst accommodating a very nice 1.3 million dot screen- does appear to be plastic- though at least its edges are rounded and smooth.
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Old Dec 31, 2012, 12:57 AM   #4
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Getting back to the SONY DSC-F717 . . . Yes, Virginia, more than 10 years ago Sony and Zeiss actually created the f-2 to f-2.4 zoom camera.

Since the time that camera was made, why have our camera choices deteriorated to emphasize megapixels with the resulting sacrifice of lens quality, lens speed and bigger zoom ranges.

Camera manufacturers now offer us e-x-p-e-n-s-i-v-e DSLR and NEX-like mini cameras with so-so quality 3:1 "kit" zoom lenses and f-stop ranges typically from 3.5 to 5.6. (How did "kit lens" replace the words "cheap lens"?)

Ten years ago, nobody would have purchased cameras with those limitations. Now, it's mostly all that we see.

As a result of camera manufacturer "progress", more megapixels required bigger chips which resulted in deterioration of image quality which required internal processing to remove the artifacts spawned from that combination.

Now, Panasonic has essentially gone retro by making an f-2.8 lens in a superzoom camera with less megapixels than most similar cameras have.

Maybe Sony and Zeiss had it figured out right long ago, and just maybe it has taken just this long for camera manufacturers actually to get it.

Maybe, just maybe, the rest of the manufacturers, now including Panasonic, will return to the basics and manufacture cameras for us to just take pictures . . . top quality photos that are razor sharp. Forget about all the in-camera gimmicks to screw up and distort images. Let users have the freedom to do all that messin' around with post-editing software.

I realize that there will be some of you who now wonder not only when my space ship landed but when it will whisk me away again. But earthlings, there was a day, once upon a time, when the quality of photo images was what photographers wanted and demanded. (Yes, demanded.)

Lastly, how did holding a featherweight camera at arm's length and squinting at a 3-in viewfinder become commonplace today. Concert goers now wave their lit camera screens above their heads which can obliterate your view whenever you are seated behind them.

Can any of you recall years ago, in now seemingly ancient times, that photographers held their cameras close to them in a firm grip? Times have changed.

Camera manufacturers created image stabilization processing to enable people to jiggle their cameras at arm's length. Never you mind the sundry artifacts created by image stabilization processing.

Bye. I must go now. My spaceship will take off soon.
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Old Dec 31, 2012, 10:53 AM   #5
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Whilst I won't get drawn on a "mp" discussion (been there done that....), I for one am glad of several areas of progress within digital cameras capabilities over recent times- all of course dependant on which model you buy.
Fast start up times,fast shot-to-shot times,faster AF systems... yes,my 2013 spaceship has warp drive... and I like it...
Oh- and also enjoying vastly superior noise control and optical stabilization systems of today's cameras...
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Old Dec 31, 2012, 1:43 PM   #6
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Simon40, right on, your reasons are precisely what draws me to upgrade.

Honestly, if the Panasonic had an eyecup protection, to prevent scratching my eyeglasses, I'd have bought one already. Well, I also would like to see and hold one first too before spending that much money. And if the quality of images were similar, or even a tiny bit less, I'd switch over to using that.

More zoom and HD movies is a lure that is hard to resist.

Wonder if Leica has any customer service or tech assistance. That would be worth the extra dough for the red dot, at least for me. Does anybody in this forum have experience with Leica customer support and tech service?

Camera stores, franchised for both Leica and Panasonic, assure me that price is the only difference when it comes to the Leica V-Lux 4. But seriously, if Leica is an owner-friendly company, that means a lot to me.
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Old Dec 31, 2012, 6:29 PM   #7
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You certainly do pay a premium for a red dot... but hey,good service comes at a price I guess..!
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Old Dec 31, 2012, 7:16 PM   #8
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Default Lumix FZ200

Just returned from the McAllen Tx area. First real chance to try out the new camera. Attached are a couple of pictures that turned out pretty good considering we never had any sun the whole time. Actually I am pretty impressed with the camera. The only time I used my Nikon D90 with Sigma 50-500 lens was when the battery went dead. I did have some out of focus shots when shooting in shadows but no worse than using autofocus on the DSLR. Well obviously the pictures didn't post so will try again tomorrow.
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Last edited by dpmonk; Dec 31, 2012 at 10:05 PM. Reason: attachment
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Old Dec 31, 2012, 10:54 PM   #9
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Thanks, dpmonk. What tele setting do you think these were done at? Me, I can hear birds sing but seldom can spot them in the trees.

In the 70's Leitz binoculars were popular for birders. Are they still revered? (I'm assuming that you are a birder. I'm not, but I met a lot of them when I represented Hasselblad many years ago.)

Also enjoyed seeing you got these images in McAllen. We live in Corpus Christi.
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Old Jan 1, 2013, 6:10 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 717FAN View Post
Since the time that camera was made, why have our camera choices deteriorated to emphasize megapixels with the resulting sacrifice of lens quality, lens speed and bigger zoom ranges.
Ya, this is what Ive noticed and thus have stayed with my older P&S cameras and have not upgraded (ie, no incentive to really upgrade).

Just some PIXes taken using an old supposed now junkie Panny.
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