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Old Jan 23, 2005, 1:51 PM   #11
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Before I bought my FZ15, I briefly owned my most expensive digicam to date, the "prosumer"-level KM DiMage A1. I thought that it would be the camera to far exceed my needs for many, many years to come(especially since I'm such a newbie to digital cams!). 5mp, smooth, manually controlled zoom(instead of power zoom), anti-shake image stabilization, magnesium alloy casing, solid build quality, nice and hefty feel in hand...blahblahblah, etc., etc., etc....

***You want to know the truth? Image quality was poor, with a lot of noise. My first and previous digicam(which I still have), the Olympus C-3020, a true point and shoot 3mp, 3x opt. zoom, with no bells or whistles, made 3mp images that were far superior to the A1! Sharper, clearer, truer color...images that popped! I couldn't believe it! Then I read some articles and reviews on KM digicams, and found that image quality is a prevalent issue with most of their models, including their most expensive ones. That did it for me. I sold my A1 on eBay, lost a chunk of dough, and proceeded to read as much as I could on these fascinating Lumix FZ series cams. Then I went to a local Fry's Electronics store, which showcases the FZ series in their camera dept. I got to hold the camera in my hand, and play with it a bit. Then I found it at OneCall.com, where I bought my A1, and they had special pricing on the FZ15...I bought it.

At $200 less than what I paid for the A1, the FZ15 is way superior to the A1(IMHO, of course!). For me, it's much more user-friendly(important for a newbie), it feels great in my hand, the lens and zoom are incredible, and its images are much sharper and have better color. The only things about the A1 that are better than the FZ cams(IMHO) are: the placement of the shutter release button(it's a bit more forward and angled than the FZ...better, ergonomically), that filters can be attached directly to the lens, and they have the camera strap eyelets designed and placed so that the camera is balanced and naturally sits "upright" against your chest while it's hanging with the strap around your neck(wow...big deal, eh? :roll: )....some ergonomic advantages that have nothing to do with the quality of the images that the camera produces....

Perhaps the KM Z5 is a truly good camera, and could be a good camera to buy and own. My friend owns a Z1, the first of this particular line of KM long zoom digicams...it takes okay pics, and it's nice and compact...and it's also butt ugly, and looks and feels very cheaply made. When I hold it in my hand, it makes that cheesy "crackling" sound, like the plastic panels of the body are kinda "squishing" up against each other... ...nothing at all like the build quality of the FZ cams....

Good luck on your selection...when the Z5 actually comes out, you might want to go to your local camera shop that sells and carries both the KM Z and the Lumix FZ lines...hold both cams in your hands, play with them, get a feel for them, compare any differences in build quality, design aspects, and how they feel in your hand(s). Look hard at both the KM's GT APO and the FZ's Leica lenses...and remember, it's really all in the glass....
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Old Jan 23, 2005, 1:55 PM   #12
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Hey mate; Small world isn't it? I'me from Rijswijk

I'de say, if you want to wait; wait long, and let the camera prove itself. That's what I did with the FZ20; though it's predecessors allready proved it was going to be one heck of a cam :crazy:

I also have the Minolta Dimage Z1. (sorry for the bad language, fellow FZ members ) I really hope they improved the image quality with the newer versions. And I also hope they have improved the AF; On the Z1 it sucks; just sucks! Extremely unreliable... I strongly reccomend to not hang the entire descision on what cam it's gonna be on the shutterlag. If you aim @ someones face, you will have to focus, and by the time the cam, or you, finished that, the right expresion is gone allready anyway.

I think it's way too early to decide wether the Z5 will beat the fz20. But in my humble opinion, I can't believe it will..

What are you looking for in a camera? Are you looking for a photocamera that is build to take beautyfull pictures, or a multi purpose unit for some holiday fun? I believe the fz's are build with the one and only purpose to make it as easy as possible to take pictures. With it's optical stabilizer, manual focus ring (really, a holy feature), and it's unbeatable sharp and fast lens, it is build to take pictures. The movie mode is a joke.

Cheers! GB
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Old Jan 23, 2005, 1:56 PM   #13
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Thanks for all the replies!

Could somebody elaborate on it's experience with the shutter lag of the FZ20. That's my major reason for waiting / doing more research.

greenbaron: I make a lot of pictures at nights indoor, but also windsurfing pics and nature / tourist. My pics can be found at: http://yannick.goyaweb.nl/site/3355/pics.aspx. They are all taken with a Sony DSC-V1 which I'm very impressed with with it's image colors and sharpness.
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Old Jan 23, 2005, 2:45 PM   #14
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Like your homepage and the various pictures. It looks like the KM would be something to look out for in taking the kind of pictures you said you are interested in taking. I will keep my eyes on it as well after looking at it in your first post. Interesting to see if it does what it says.
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Old Jan 23, 2005, 10:02 PM   #15
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Considering I just recently purchased my FZ20, I don't know that what i've seen here would have caused me to wait. It does look interesting, and as is the case with most technology, the FZ20 won't reign supreme in the ultra zoom arena for long. Hopefully they put out a damn good product at Minolta, which will then lead to Panasonic doing them one better with the next FZ model. At this rate, I may find myself with a DSLR type camera at FZ20 prices soon!
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Old Jan 23, 2005, 11:31 PM   #16
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bubmc wrote:
Could somebody elaborate on it's experience with the shutter lag of the FZ20. That's my major reason for waiting / doing more research.

I can't comment specifically on the FZ shutter lag, but some thoughts in general:

You can overcome nearly all the lag by manually focusing...it's really focus lag that slows things down. I wish those so used to 'auto' everythinghad tospend a week with a Pentax K1000 or other manual camera. That's where the "shutter lag" is up to you, because you have to set everything...exposure, focus, etc. for every shot and every change of conditions. That FZ or whatever would look pretty fast after that.

Most all digitals are equipped with "predictive" focus, though they don't advertise it, because it's up to YOU to predict the focus. You point the camera where you predict the shot to be, half press, and then hold it until it's exposure time. Not as difficult as you may think, and a technique used for many years with manually-focused AND autofocus cameras.

It seems like with the huge popularity of digitals, folks now are demanding that everything be instant and automatic. It's an understandable thing to want, but probably won't improve your photos as much as you may think.

A little cheapie film camera can be instant; but that's because it's "focus free", which sounds nice but really means the aperture is so tiny that virtually everything is in focus from a few feet to infinity. But you also have no low light performance, among many other things, because it's also nearly "exposure free".

You can get a lot out of a camera that's not absolutely instant, you just have to work with it and add your own talents to the camera's abilities. You'll miss some shots, sure, but you won't miss others, and miss fewer as you get better. And, what would you miss by swapping lenses on that "instant" DSLR? Pick up an FZ20, then pick up a lowly DRebel with the cheapie kit lens, what a monster! Add a 100-300 or 400 zoom to that and you're lugging around something that's going to demand all of your attention, not to mention your credit line.

And how many extra shots will you really get from that 'instant' camera? Will you have it with you? Will the right lens be on? Will you react quick enough? Or will your reluctant shutter finger miss it anyway?

I used to get irritated at the shutter lag on my Pentax K1000...at times it seemed like way too long to hear that focal plane shutter go kah---lunk; my digital (C2100) is much quicker if it's already focused. Yet a lot of good photos are taken with K1000's, as well as digitals with some shutter lag.

Sorry for the long post, and I know that shutter lag can be frustrating, but it's only one factor in the usability of a camera, and may not be as important or as limiting as you think, if you work on it. The FZ20 has a lot going for it, regardless of how it stands in the shutter lag comparison. Gain (maybe) a little focus timewith that Minolta, but lose 1.5 stops of aperture, is it really worth it?

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Old Jan 24, 2005, 6:20 AM   #17
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You shouldn't apologise for your long post -- every word of it made sense and was well worth reading.

And no flashing emoticons!My eyes, now into their 61st year, don't take kindly to bright lights amongst text.

What a good post!
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Old Jan 24, 2005, 7:01 AM   #18
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A friend of mine has the KM z3

I have the panasonic fz10. And my pictures are far better than his. Mine are sharper and more saturated. But the KM Z series do have some pros. Fast AF.. real fast! and better video recording, faster zoom. But If you want quality pictures.. i would go for the FZ20.

I don't know the quality of the Z5 pictures, but if they are as noisy and soft as the Z3 (4mp) My choise is pretty obvious.

Good luck with the choice
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Old Jan 24, 2005, 8:04 AM   #19
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Big Bob wrote:
I know that shutter lag can be frustrating, but it's only one factor in the usability of a camera
BINGO!!! Great post. I came from a 100% manual SLR camera - a Vivitar (believe it or not, but that was one of the few all manual new cameras out there in the age of the auto-everything) for 10+ years.

Because of this I really appreciate the advances of digital - and the Lumux line, in particular, for giving you a camera that's ready for ->almost<- everything. Iagree, you need some experience with manual film SLRs to appreciate these things, and I really don't see what a lot of the fuss is about regarding alleged defincies sometimes.
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Old Jan 24, 2005, 8:27 AM   #20
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bubmc wrote:
After all the awesome reviews of the FZ20 I was hooked to this camera. My main reason to upgrade from my Sony DSC-V1 was to have less shutterlag and UZ.

But then came the news about Konica Minolta releasing th Z5. You can see the details of this camera at:

It seems to me this camera overtops the FZ20 at shutterlag and moviemode.
FZ20 has shutterlag of 0.5 to 1.0 (wide - tele) while the Z5 only has 0.2 to 0.3!
Although it is hard to make any judgement based on the information we have until now I would like to ask your opinions. Is this (the first possible) FZ20 killer or am I being too positive in favor of the Z5?
Autofocus Lag is going to depend on several factors, including light levels, amount of zoom used, and the amount of contrast in your subject. So, take Autofocus Lag numbers with a "grain of salt". They are useful in comparing cameras in average conditions, but they are definitely not "absolutes" for Autofocus Time.

How well a camera like the Z5 will work depends on the conditions you'll be using it in.

For one thing, the lens on the DMC-FZ20 is more than twice as bright at longer focallengths compared to the lens in theKM Z5 (which stops down to f/4.5 at full zoom). So, you're going to get much faster shutter speeds with the Panasonic at longer focal lengths (which will help to reduce motion blur from subject movement), and more light to the sensor will alsohelp the DMC-FZ20 "see" better when more zoom is used.

Another thing to take into consideration is the sharpness of the lens. Inone of the resolution chart tests I've seen, even the 3MP DMC-FZ3 could resolve as much detail as one of the 4MP Konica-Minolta "Ultra zoom" models. We'll have to wait to see if KM managed to improve the optics in this model.

The Z5 also has much lower flash range from it's built in flash (with the range decreasing as more zoom is used), and it lacks an Autofocus Assist Lamp (so,the Z5 is probably going to struggle more to focus indoors in low light).

So, I doubt that this new model is going to be an "FZ20 killer". LOL
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