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Old Aug 5, 2004, 3:03 PM   #1
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I've been doing some research on digital cameras and got really excited when I saw the FZ20 for the first time. I like the specs a lot. I am looking fora camera that will last for a while (>5 years) but don't want to blow the bank, my ship hasn't quite come in, although I can see iton the horizon! Also, I'm going to use the camera for taking pictures (you don't say) and printing them out, at about 10cm X 15cm, and blow up the odd picture to 20cm X 30cm. The 12X zoom isalso a feature I don't want to lose. First of all, is the FZ20 the right camera? And what other cameras are possibilities?

About the storage card. Does it have to be a panasonic one. I heard that they're pretty pricy, slow and all in all not that great. I was wanting a 1GB card.

Thanks

Benji
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Old Aug 5, 2004, 4:37 PM   #2
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I don't think you'll be disappointed with the FZ20 ; its predecessors have a terrific fan base for good reasons Nothing else has a lens like it...f2.8 at all focal lengths.

Think about the memory card.

I really wouldn't want a card more than about 256mbs just in case it failed and with it an entire days shooting . Better not to put all your eggs in one basket.

I use Panasonic. SanDisk and Lexar cards and they are all fast enough for the burst mode shooting that I do.

Never seen the need to buy the ultra fast types so I'll leave others to comment on their benefits.
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Old Aug 5, 2004, 5:23 PM   #3
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You will get lots of comments here on the good points of the FZ range, like the fantastic 12x lens, and IS.

So let me point out some weak points that I have found as an FZ10 owner. Up to you to decide how important they are

1. evf/lcd resolution is low and hasn't been changed on the FZ20. This doesn't help manual focusing. What looks sharp in the viewfinder isn't necessarily sharp when you look at the full resolution image. Makes it difficult for macro work or anything where the focusing is critical

2. low light focusing is poor - this might be slighly improved by the AF assist - but apparently the range isnt great

3. Lack of a dedicated external flash with proper TTL metering and automation is a pain - you need to set everything manually when using a decent external flash - and the pop-up one will never be good enough for anything serious or for decent range

4. Finally, and it pains me to say, don't expect any firmware upgrades. What you buy is what you will get. Don't expect anything to get improved or modified - except of course show stopping bugs will get fixed(but the FZ10 never had any of those)
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Old Aug 5, 2004, 5:46 PM   #4
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I think you would love a FZ20. But before setting your heart on something, you should wait until you have actually tested it at a local store. Because if a camera feels horrible, you won't take as good picutres.

Also you will probably want to read reviews on it before deciding.

Anyway, I am sure FZ20 will have some problems, but I am sure that all of them can be overcome. And it sure promises to be an excellent camera that should last you a long time. It seems to have many good improvements over the FZ10. Hopefully the focus assist will do a good job, and they have a new metering/auto focus system, so that will also (hopefully) speed things up. I guess we just need to wait.


I personally would go out and get one, but I have a FZ10, and it does everything I need it to do. And the new features would probably only help on 1% of the pictures that I take.



Anyway, have fun with whatever camera you will get
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Old Aug 5, 2004, 7:14 PM   #5
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What you've heard about the Panasonic SD cards is mostly untrue: in fact, their 256MB cards are the fastest cards available, comparable in price to other high-speed SD cards, and reliable.

I've used SanDisk Ultra II 256MB cards and Panasonic 256MB SD cards in my FZ10. The SanDisks were about $80 each and the Panasonics were $75 each (all through Amazon). Both SanDisk cards failed; one after 10 days and the other after 3 months. To SanDisk's credit, they replaced both cards under their lifetime warranty, and even paid the shipping both ways.

The SanDisk cards both failed after being read and erased (not formatted) in a SanDisk 6-in-1 card reader, so it's hard to blame the Panasonic camera for their failures.

The Panasonic cards have not failed (yet, at least). However, Panasonic only offers a 90-day warranty and they don't pay for you to ship them the card.

So,wehave a choice: an unreliable card with a lifetime warranty, or a reliable one with a 90-day warranty. My personal choice has been to use the Panasonic cards. The most recent replacement from SanDisk is still in its unopened package, and will be auctioned off on eBay.

Speed: both brands are rated at 10MB/sec, and both actually transfer at about 6.5 - 7 MB/sec. One was a hair faster in reading, and the other was a hair faster in writing. When used inmy Panasonic DMC-FZ10, both cards could store a 5-frame high-speed burst injust over2 seconds, and the burst itself took 1.25 seconds, so I could start a new 5-frame burst every 3.5 seconds. With other, slower cards, the interval ranged from 6.5 to 12 seconds.
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Old Aug 5, 2004, 7:44 PM   #6
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Charlie Howard wrote:
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The SanDisk cards both failed after being read and erased (not formatted) in a SanDisk 6-in-1 card reader, so it's hard to blame the Panasonic camera for their failures.
Was the failure permanent or would they work if formatted/erased in the fz10? Did the reader cause the failure? Did the replacement card(s) work in the reader?

Fred
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Old Aug 6, 2004, 1:43 AM   #7
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speaking of memory cards, I have a question too....
how much difference does getting a card stating 10MB/s and the "normal" ones make?

does FZ10 or 20 supports that read/write speed?

thanks a lot
Andy
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Old Aug 6, 2004, 2:15 AM   #8
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dakidd wrote:
Quote:
speaking of memory cards, I have a question too....
how much difference does getting a card stating 10MB/s and the "normal" ones make?

does FZ10 or 20 supports that read/write speed?

thanks a lot
Andy

Charlie already answered your question:

"Speed: both brands are rated at 10MB/sec, and both actually transfer at about 6.5 - 7 MB/sec. One was a hair faster in reading, and the other was a hair faster in writing. When used inmy Panasonic DMC-FZ10, both cards could store a 5-frame high-speed burst injust over2 seconds, and the burst itself took 1.25 seconds, so I could start a new 5-frame burst every 3.5 seconds. With other, slower cards, the interval ranged from 6.5 to 12 seconds."

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Old Aug 6, 2004, 2:47 AM   #9
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lawrencew wrote:
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You will get lots of comments here on the good points of the FZ range, like the fantastic 12x lens, and IS.

So let me point out some weak points that I have found as an FZ10 owner. Up to you to decide how important they are

1. evf/lcd resolution is low and hasn't been changed on the FZ20. This doesn't help manual focusing. What looks sharp in the viewfinder isn't necessarily sharp when you look at the full resolution image. Makes it difficult for macro work or anything where the focusing is critical

2. low light focusing is poor - this might be slighly improved by the AF assist - but apparently the range isnt great

3. Lack of a dedicated external flash with proper TTL metering and automation is a pain - you need to set everything manually when using a decent external flash - and the pop-up one will never be good enough for anything serious or for decent range

4. Finally, and it pains me to say, don't expect any firmware upgrades. What you buy is what you will get. Don't expect anything to get improved or modified - except of course show stopping bugs will get fixed (but the FZ10 never had any of those)

Some comments:

1 The EVF resolution is on par/better than the competition in it's price range, when using the manual focus ring (which other cameras in it's price range lack) the centre of view in your EVF is magnified making it a good useable feature.

3 Although not TTL you will get great results using an automatic (non dedicated) external flash like the Sunpak 383. Once again, other big zoom cameras in this price range lack a hot shoe let alone have TTL.
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Old Aug 6, 2004, 4:50 AM   #10
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Thanks very much for everone's help. I have a much better idea now.

I'll probably buy the FZ20. The other cameras I was looking at were the Konica Minolta Dimage Z3and the Canon EOS 300D (Digital Rebel). So if you suddenly see a brilliant reason to buy one of the others or another camera new on the market, please don't hesitate to say so.

Thanks again,

Benji
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