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Old Dec 4, 2004, 9:07 AM   #1
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Hi guys & gals , need your help.

I have been reading countless reviews on different cameras over the past couple of months ,and I finally pretty much narrowed it down to the FZ20.


I am having a real problem trying to get any sense out of anybody here in western australia as to whether the FZ20 is any good , also trying to find one is a pain ,and when you mention the colour black I am usually presented with a blank face.

One of the main stores had one in today ,but the assistant seemed clueless about digital cameras let alone the FZ20. The other guy who reckoned they were the biggest specialisedcamera shop in Perth , proceeded to run the FZ20 down ,and talk a complete load of utter b***ocks. He didn't think IS was any use and he said you couldn't fit any additional lenses , when I've already seen the fantastic shots that TCHUANYE has got with his macro lense set-up.

The other guy in anothercamera shop that was a Leica lense distributer was very helpful, but said that they didn't keep the Lumix camera in stock because it wasn't a proper Leica lense. He said that he had been to the german factory last year and that the Panasonic collaboration was discussed ,and he was basically told that it wasn't a true Lecia lense and pretty much something they'd knocked up so tha panasonic could pay them a license to use the name. Other than thathe could by all means order me one in but he had no idea what it would be like having only every tried the FZ10 before , and that he wasn't to impressed with that, and suggested I consider the Minolta Z3 which had similar features.

The bottom line is , this is my first digital camera having previously had and still got a Ricoh FF9 , having now got kids I can see its limitations hense the 12x zoom etc of the FZ20.

So I could probably get a FZ20 on order , heavens for bid maybe even in the colour black , but would you pay for it first without having tried it ?

Cheers in advance.
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Old Dec 4, 2004, 10:35 AM   #2
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One man's opinion...

1st: Believe 1/2 or what you see, none of what you read, and believe the opposite of what some sales guy* tells you. He was probably trying to upsell you to a DSLR.

2nd... Despite its "Leica" name, it's not really a German manufactured true Leica lens. Those things start at $1000, and while high quality you are definitely paying for "Leica" name. That said, it's still among ->the best<- glass out there for digitals, regardless.

3rd. Optics are always important. However, apart from contrast, fidelity (lack of optical distortions) and sharpness, the f-stop range of the lens is what determines its price. So, a high-end lens, like a Leica, Zeiss, Nikkor, Schneider, etc. produces crisp, contrasty, distortion-free pictures throughout a range of - say, F 1.7 to F 22. Most consumer-end CCDs do not have the same latitude as film. That is why most fixed lens digicams stop at F-8, and F-2.8 is about as bright as you'll get. Also, CCDs are unable to resolve the same amount of detail (again, without spending obscene money) as film - a 100+ year old technology.

So, it makes sense for pro-photographers to spend $$$ for a lens that can match - that is, "keep up with", the overall range and capability of film stock. It ->doesn't<- make sense to slap an expensive lens on a digital camera that vastly exceeds the latitude, and overall resolution capabilities of most CCDs.

So, do optics matter on a digicam? Of course. But not as much as film - especially 35mm, medium and large format cameras. Is this "really" a Leica lens? That's a matter of symantics and debate. I say no. I also say, who cares? That said, I do like having the name on the lens to BS the ignorant camera snobs I bump in to. Seems to impress them. I just laugh to myself.

4. I think "reviewers" COMPLETELY blew it (including this reviewer on this site) going back to the FZ-1. While they were measuring miniscule differences in barrel distortion and CA, and lamented that the camera (FZ-1) didn't have enough extraneous megapixels, they overlooked the obvious. Here's an almost pocket-sized digicam that you can get for $300 street(!!!) that can do things - literally, NO OTHER CAMERA CAN DO! They miscategorized it - and continue to do so, as a "superzoom". NO! It's a revolutionary camera (and camera line) that greatly extends the range and versitility of picture-taking without trade-offs in image quality, that can be had for a reasonable price. I would take the capabilities of these cameras (IS + 12X optical zoom, and small size fz-1, fz-3) over a DSLR. The synergy between lens, IS, and Venus processing system makes this happen. It (IS) buys you f-stops to take clear images at a slower shutter speed range than any other camer - fixed lens and otherwise, in the history of photography (excluding the old Oly 2100's, also an excellent camera). The technical analyisis would be more important to me if I was a professional studio portrait or commercial photographer. (Though there too, I would argue the results from these cameras would be acceptable for those purposes.) I take snapshots. And for that, nothing touches the capablities and versatility of these cameras, as evident here.

Recommending a camera is always dicey. Ever recommend a favorite restaurant, a movie, or a book to someone and have them come back with an opinion that differs 180 from you? In this regard you have to make up your own mind, but I would point to the enthusiasm - and astounding images, from users in this and other forums, posted every day, as the basis for your decision.

*... be especially wary of attractive flirty sales gals. I have a $250 pair of shades the Mrs still "reminds" me of on occasion. :lol:
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Old Dec 4, 2004, 11:16 AM   #3
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Nick, I wish I had had the luxury of reading this post before purchasing my FZ20. You are so right on with your advice and observations here. I used to sell cameras when I was working in a camera shop in high school and while I always tried to find out the customers needs rather than upsell them to something they would be dissatisfied with, what you say is true. Most will.

Bassman, I did exactly what you are asking. I bought an FZ20 sight unseen, never held one or saw one in person. I did, however, do copious amounts of research both here and over the internet and with the kind folks here who take the time to share, the decision was easy. I have absolutely no regrets. My Canon EOS Elan IIE, it is not. A terrific tool for what Nick suggests..... you can't get better at this time, in my opinion.

Hope this helps you decide.
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Old Dec 4, 2004, 12:34 PM   #4
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I would buy it ,as a matter of fact I did. It is a great camera, and I gave my wife the FZ10 which I also bought sight unseen. There is a chance I will do the same when the FZ30 or whatever comes out.
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Old Dec 4, 2004, 1:08 PM   #5
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My frist digital was a Sony W1. Returned it a week later because it was defective. Exchanged it for a Canon S1 IS, Returned it a week later for a defect. Exchanged it for a Canon A85. Returned it less than a week later because it felt like a cheap toy and took just ok pics (used the two bright spots in the bottom of the LCD as an excuse for defectiveness).

At this point I was ready to give up on cigital cameras. I never owned or had any knoledge of cameras before, and was totally overwelmed be it. I decided to see if they had anything else before totally giving up.

They had just gotten the FZ3 & FZ10 in. They where not even on display yet. The guy let me use the in store computer to go on the internet. I found some good personnal reviews but no proffessional ones.

I decided to give it one last try with the FZ20.

Did I buy it without testing it?


Would I buy a digital camera... Now... Without testing it?

Probably not... Unless it's an FZ...

Reason being... Because now I know more. Then I did not know anything, and just happen to be in the right place, at the right time, on the right day.

The FZ's... IMO... Are truely THE BEST BIG ZOOM's on the market.

I tryed to find anything up to $1,000.00 that comes close... And... There ain't none.

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Old Dec 4, 2004, 3:21 PM   #6
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Jering wrote:
Most will.
I bought the FZ-1 on eBay after the usual obsessing and reading everything I could about this model - and others, on-line. [Why is that? I walked into a car lot when I needed a car and said, "I'll take that one". I wanted a convertible, so my options were limited, perhaps? I spent way, way more time researching a few hundred dollar purchase, than something that cost 100X as much...]

I never saw an FZ-1 in a camera store before ordering it. I happen to see one in a camera store while I was waiting for my camera to arrive in the mail. I asked the (cheesy) sales guy at the camera store to see the FZ-1. He showed me the camera, and immediately launched into his "... whaddaya want that thing for? This one over here has blah, blah, blah..." (Which cost three times as much - why is that always the case?)

Not one to walk away from a debate, and armed with two monthis worth of research into megapixels, IS, dof, lenses, good cams, not-so-good cams, etc., I politely (of course) begged to differ on his opinion of both the camera, and the importance of megapixels...

It was funny... he just walked away. It wasn't a long conversation, but he knew I knew what I was talking about, and I exposed a few of his more illogical points, which sunk his whole little sales schtick.
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Old Dec 4, 2004, 3:31 PM   #7
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Well...I've got one tucked away for Christmas, and I bought it based on what I found online. After ordering it, I did get a chance to play with one at a store while returning from a trip to Ohio...and I wasn't dissappointed. Now, I can't wait to really use it, as I checked it out when it arrived...and handed it over to my wife til the big day.

What she doesn't know is that I ordered her a FZ1 when Viking had them on sale for $179 including shipping. I've also ordered extra sd cards and batteries....so it is going to be a fun holiday.

Normally, I would never order something without checking it out personally first, but when you can see and read a lot about the FZ cameras online, I was willing to take the gamble. My first camera is a Sony DSC S30....and I learned from using it that aside from having a decent camera, much of your success as a photographer is learning how to get the best out of the camera and learning what to do to get the best shots. Can't wait to get learning with the FZ20.

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Old Dec 4, 2004, 5:07 PM   #8
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Hi Bassman,
I know the problem you are having, I had the same issue when I bought my FZ10 in Sydney. Some of the big camera shops said they didnt stock the panasonics because they were s**t, they didnt know anything about the FZ10. Panasonic also has an appalling distribution centre and management they ship randomly to Australia and may give each camera shop one or two. When I called Panasonic Australia to find a store that stocked the FZ10 the guy basically laughed at me! He said the distribution was so random he didnt know who stocked it!
Pansonic is a weird company who some how managed to make the best ultrazoom cameras. Stick to what you know and dont listen to those idiots in the camera shops. I bought the FZ10 after without trying it out and I love it.
Good luck trying to find someone who stocks it though! My advice would be try internet stores.
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Old Dec 4, 2004, 6:01 PM   #9
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Yes I did! and don't regret it
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Old Dec 4, 2004, 6:37 PM   #10
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I am still considerin'...
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