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Old Aug 26, 2004, 2:35 PM   #1
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For someone who wants to shoot decent basketball pics and family pics, is the fz20 worth the wait? Prices on the fz10 are dropping like crazy.

From some of the sample pics that are being posted of the fz20 and the complaints about the "noise" that I, as a lay photo-un-snob can't see, will it be easy for me to print 8X10's that are crisp. I have shot 35 mm for years and this digital camera stuff is as confusing as Stats 501 to me.

It has always been my understanding that the more megapixels, the better. Then I read that more megapixels cause more noise at higher speeds. I'm left scratching my head and needing a large martini!

Again, TIA

Sandy
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Old Aug 26, 2004, 3:53 PM   #2
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If you can wait for the first reviews I would do just that. If your main interest is outdoor pictures (or indoor with decent illumination) you can buy the FZ10 I think.
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Old Aug 28, 2004, 1:03 AM   #3
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I really don't think either the FZ10 or FZ20 would be a camera I would suggest for basketball, especially indoor basketball.

It's really difficult to make a recommendation for something like this because none of the fixed lens digicams are really well suited for action sports. The "only" fixed lens digicam which I've ever owned which I could recommend for action sports, and then only for lateral action (I'll explain later) is the Olympus E-100RS which can do pre capture and 15 frame per second full resolution (1.5 megapixels).

The problem with all fixed lens digicams, and that includes the Olympus E-100RS, is that they use a system of autofocus which is iterative. That is they look for maximum contrast and to find it they actually "hunt" by going beyond the point of optimal focus and backing up. This takes time and by the time you have a focus lock the action is usually over.

To work around this issue, the photographer can "pre focus" on the general area where the "action" is expected then with the shutter release at half click to maintain autofocus, it's pressed at the moment action is "anticipated" and you hope for the best.

With the E-100RS Olympus, you press the shutter half way down and it starts taking pictures at the frame rate you have previously set (3, 5, 7 or 15 frames per second) and when it gets to frame 6 it dumps frame 1. When it gets to frame 7 it dumps frame 2, and so on. This cycle is repeated as long as you hold the shutter half way down. When you fully depress the shutter, the camera saves the last five pre captured frames to the memory card and begins to capture at the frame rate you have set (3, 5, 7 or 15 frames per second).

The Fuji S602Z and S7000Z have a similar function called "post capture" where they capture up to five frames after you release the shutter. The Fuji cameras do not have the extremely fast frame rate of the E-100RS, but can be used to capture action photos this way.

Now here's the problem I mentioned earlier about "lateral action." None of these cameras have a feature necessary to capture action which comes toward or is going away from the camera. This is called "predictive" autofocus where the electronics determine the speed and direction of movement and continually adjust the autofocus accordingly. Sports oriented dSLR's such as the Canon EOS-1D, 1D Mark II, Nikon D1H, D2H and even the new Canon EOS-20D have predictive autofocus. With out it you may get one or two frames in focus, but once you breech the depth of field limits at the aperture and focal length being used, you will simply get out of focus frames from that point.

The fixed lens digicams set white balance, aperture, autofocus, etc., on the first frame then use these settings for the rest of the burst. The dSLR's actually adjust these parameters between each frame at high frame speeds. The fixed lens cameras such as the E-100RS "can" be set to do this between frames, but then they loose their great burst speed in order to compensate. Unfortunately it's true for all of them with which I'm familiar.

The bottom line is that if shooting basketball is important to you, you would be soooo much better off with something like the Nikon D70 (dSLR) and a couple inexpensive lenses. Yes, it would cost twice or more what the F20 would cost, but expecting to get consistent results with action sports with any of the fixed lens digicams is just not realistic in my experience. (I have a couple dozen or more fixed lens digicams and six dSLR's including all the cameras under discussion)..

Best regards,

Lin
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Old Aug 28, 2004, 9:46 AM   #4
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I would wait for the fz20. For one thing the on-board flash distance has been increased substantially on the fz20 vs the fz10. The af assist is going to help alot for family pics as well. Basketball? As Lin has said, high quality shots there are probably not going to happen indoors. I wouldnt pay too much attention to the noise naysayers. They will always be with us. More megapixels are not always better if you dont have a decent lens up front. The fz20 does. I am very happy with my 2mp fz1 but I'm considering adding the fz20 for those extra pixels among its many other features.

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Old Aug 28, 2004, 11:00 AM   #5
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Iknow I shouldwait for the reviews....I know everyone else is anxious to see what they say about the fz20. I check here about 5 times a day to see if the new is out. Hopefully, we won't have to wait too long.

Thanks,

Sandy
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Old Aug 28, 2004, 11:10 AM   #6
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Wow Lin! Thanks for your explaination. The reason I'm leaning towards to Panasonics is because of the lens and also the 12x zoom. The basketball pics don't have to be "professional" in the end result. My husband is a coach at a university and we like to present the seniors with a framed 8x10 picture of themselves on senior night.

I already own a 20-plus year old Canon A-E1 w/ several lenses and it does the trick nicely. I'm just ready to jump into digital. The zoom is on my list of must haves, really, really wants.

After months of reading, I was just about to buy the fz10 when the fz20 news broke. So, it just thickens the plot as they say.

Thanks so much!

Sandy

By the way, Berthoud Pass is a big deal in my family. I'm from NW Colorado and my mom, dad and brother were caught in a huge snow storm there many years ago. The "legend" they tell gets more trecherous everytime the story is repeated....beautiful country that Colorado!
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Old Aug 28, 2004, 11:14 AM   #7
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Thanks Fred,

Waiting is so hard when instant gratification isn't quick enough for me:?

Circuit City seems to be offering the fz20 at a pretty good price, when they get them back in stock! I went to our local store yesterday....just for the heck of it and of course they don't have any Panasonics in stock. I'll just have to get myself obsessing about something else until the fz20 reviews come out and then I can actually purchase one.

Sandy
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Old Aug 28, 2004, 11:45 AM   #8
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Sandy- Put this link to CC on your Favorites and check it out every once in a while. Two minutes ago they said the fz20 was available; back up to $599 though. http://www.circuitcity.com/detail.js...=98885&m=0

Fred
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Old Aug 28, 2004, 11:27 PM   #9
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Bummer! They were $536 when they WEREN'T in stock Maybe I'll wait for them to run out and the price will drop again....hehe. I'm hoping to snag a silver one from somewhere.

Thanks for the info!!

Sandy
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