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Old Jan 15, 2005, 4:15 PM   #1
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Hi,
I am planning to buy my first digital camera. I am a beginer in photography. I would be using the camera mostly for family oriented purposes (pictures of my 2 month old daughter and so on). Lot of indoor pictures and some outings.

Since i am planning to buy only one camera and will be sticking with it for some time, i thought having a higher zoom and 4MP and above will be worth it. I am not particular in having it as very small/compact camera. Picture quality is very important.

From what i read in the forums, i like Panasonic FZ20 and FZ15. But seems panasonic cameras are not very popular and not avilable in all stores. Even amazon.com does not carry it. Is there any reason why they are not popular.

I am willing to shell out 100$ etc for FZ20 if it is worthwhile. Can u please guide me on this front also.

EDIT: Sorry for the confusion. I meant 100$ extra for FZ20 over FZ15. My budget is 500$+some change.

For family oriented pictures, is there any reason normal zoom cameras will be better than higher zoom cameras?

thanks for ur guidance,
Suresh
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Old Jan 15, 2005, 4:30 PM   #2
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First, the Panasonics are not 'unpopular'. They aren't well known, since Panasonic doesn't advertise them much, and no one thinks of Panasonic when they think of digital cameras. But they are excellent cameras, and word is spreading fast...

Second, be prepared to shell out more than $100 for ANY decent digital camera, much less an FZ20. You won't get a goodcamera for less than about $200-250 (retail), and that will be a compact point-n-shoot with a 3x zoom and maybe 3 or 4 megapixels. The FZ20 costs a good deal more than that. for the uses you mention, and to introduce yourself to digital photography, the FZ15/20 would probably be overkill, both from a capability stantpoint and also price.

Is the'normal' zoom a plus for family snapshots? not really, except that for most indoor shots, you really don't need a 432mm lens, and the 3x zoom offered by most pocketdigicams is plenty.you can get small point-n-shoot cameras in the 3-4MP range, that will be easier to use, and will take very nice photoes, for a couple of hundred bucks, and any one of those cameras will provide you with perfectly acceptable prints of your kids, outings, etc.
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Old Jan 15, 2005, 4:39 PM   #3
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Nikon coolpix series are good allround autoshoot camera's. I had a coolpix 2 megapixel cam before. After that I had a 3.2 megapixel fuji s5000 10xZoom. But the picture quality of the nikon was equal or even better. For fast snapshots and good image quality, my advice is the coolpix series, coolpix 4300 or something. And they are really small too.
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Old Jan 15, 2005, 5:01 PM   #4
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I think you meant dishing out the $100 extra for the FZ20 over the FZ15. If so, I would do it for the hot shoe if nothing else. I had to make the same choice when I bought mine and I'm glad I did. I haven't got the recommended flash (Sunpak 383) for it yet but its next on my list. The photos I've seen with the camera's on board flash v/s an external does not compare. This is, of course, if you plan to take indoor or low light photos and you want higher quality results. :-)
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Old Jan 15, 2005, 5:04 PM   #5
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i personally love my fz15, very very nice camera, i dont regret my purchase one bit. picture quality is very very good, and it feel's great in your hand. the only downside of teh fz15 is that it has no hotshoe for an external flash. but if you dont think youll be needing an external flash, then id say go for the fz15.



btw, the onboard flash works very well.
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Old Jan 15, 2005, 5:20 PM   #6
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46343 wrote:
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From what i read in the forums, i like Panasonic FZ20 and FZ15. But seems panasonic cameras are not very popular and not avilable in all stores. Even amazon.com does not carry it. Is there any reason why they are not popular.

I am willing to shell out 100$ etc for FZ20 if it is worthwhile. Can u please guide me on this front also.

For family oriented pictures, is there any reason normal zoom cameras will be better than higher zoom cameras?

thanks for ur guidance,
Suresh
Hi Suresh,

I own an FZ15, and I'm no expert by any stretch of the imagination. I, too, use it primarily for family pics, of our teenaged daughters in their marching band, drumline, and tae kwondo activities. I also like to use it to take pics of landscapes, nature's creatures, and of our pets, especially our newfoundland(dog), Suki, and her swimming adventures.

The FZ10/15/20 all share a Leica 12X optical zoom lens, which is a fabulous lens to have on any camera(imho). The only benefit that I can think of, to having a digicam with a "normal" zoom(3X, 4X), is compactness...without that big piece of glass or that longish lens barrel, the camera becomes much smaller and more compact.
Just wait until your daughter gets a little older, joins the soccer team, and you're way off on the sidelines, dying to get that once-in-a-lifetime close-up of your daughter kicking in her very first goal...That 3X zoom ain't gonna cut it....

I don't know about popularity issues with the Lumix line. I know that there are many hardcore photographers out there who will only buy cameras(digital or film) that are manufactured by dedicated camera companies, like Nikon, Canon, Olympus, or Konica-Minolta...ignoring broader industry companies like Fuji, Panasonic, and Sony. I'm not sure about Amazon not selling Lumix. If memory serves, when I was looking for the best merchant to get my FZ from, I believe Amazon did/does sell the Lumix line, through one of their affiliated merchants(possibly Adorama...can't quite remember). I ended up getting my FZ through OneCall.com, a great online merchant. Out here in Northern California, Fry's Electronics is a very popular store chain, and they not only sell the Lumix line...they really promote it, with its own display section.

Depending on where you shop, there's about an $80-$100 price difference between the FZ15 and FZ20. As much as I love my 15, if I were to do it over again, I'd probably buy the 20. I deliberately bought the 15, thinking that it would force me into the mindset of "keeping it simple"...yeah, right. Now here I am, looking at external flash units, and wishing that my 15 had a shoe, like the 20. Think about it, just 80 bucks more(or so) will get you a hot shoe, sound recording capabilities, and an extra megapixel(important if you're going to do large printing with some cropping)...well worth the dough for the extra possibilities.

Like another person posted earlier in this thread, I think the word is out on this incredible Lumix FZ line of digital cameras, and what they're capable of. Just wait and watch FZ's popularity grow... exponentially.

Good luck with your decision! Let us know when you've made your choice....:-)

Geoff
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Old Jan 15, 2005, 6:30 PM   #7
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you mentioned 'dedicated camera companies', and i think this is one reason the Panasonics haven't yet received the 'official'recognition that others have. but here's something toremember (and something i think a lot of camera retailers haven't figured out yet)... digital cameras are electronic devices connected to optical lenses. now, the 'dedicated camera companies' are relative newcomers to the electronics industry, while Panasonic has been doing it for decades. the parent company of Panasonic is Matsushita Electric, one of the largest, most respected electronics manufacturers in the world, and Leica makes some of the best lenses out there. so a marriage of the two is bound to be great, IMHO. i know, there are those who say it's not a 'real' Leica lens, but who cares? Leica wouldn't allow their name to be used on an inferior product, so even if it's not ground in Germany, it's very good glass, and Panasonic, with all of Matsushita's financial backing, is certainly not lacking in engineering talent for designing things like the Venus II engine!

Panasonic doesn't give cameras away by the boatload for reviewers and marketing samples, so it's taking longer for people to realize how good they are. but every review i've read, from professional evaluations to casual user reviews, says these are great cameras. are the Panasonic cameras less widely known and respected than, say, Canon or Olympus? sure. are Canon or Olympus any better just because they're made by 'dedicated camera companies' ? not a chance.
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Old Jan 15, 2005, 11:59 PM   #8
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I just recently made this same decision. By the time I bought the upgrade kit with the camera bag, larger card, 72mmUV filter protector, (which by the way, I read here :lol:,) it had added quit a bit. I did not care about having the sound on the FZ20, or the extra mp. I like it, but, heh, what do I know, I just got the camera Monday!Seems like it depends on what you need it for.






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Old Jan 16, 2005, 3:11 AM   #9
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I purchased my FZ15 from Amazon last October, I didn't care about the sound or the hot shoe. I'm very happy with my decision.
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Old Jan 17, 2005, 5:49 PM   #10
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sukispop wrote:
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As much as I love my 15, if I were to do it over again, I'd probably buy the 20.
Hi, fellow FZ15 owners,

When I posted the above comment, I didn't mean that I now regret buying the FZ15. I don't regret it; I love my camera, too!:G

I just meant that the extra features that come with the FZ20, for around $80-$100 more than the FZ15, are well worth the slightly higher price tag. If I had known, then, that I would end up looking into an external flash unit, I probably would be a little better off buying the FZ20...simply because it comes with a hot shoe, which makes having an external flash that much easier. The extra megapixel and sound recording are not features that I need or want, but do add to the value factor of the FZ20.

Regardless, I am a very satisfied FZ15 owner, and know that I'm going to enjoy this great camera for many years to come.

:-)
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