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Old Mar 15, 2005, 11:39 PM   #1
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Hello,

For some time now I've been researching digital cameras and trying to decide on what one I'm going to get. Just over a month ago I started working with stock photography, so my needs kind of changed. I was looking into getting an Olympus C8080 or Nikon C8800. I've just not been very pleased with the reviews I have seen on the cameras, there seems to be a lot of problems with focusing.

Anyhow, it was suggested to me that I look into the Panasonic FZ20. To be honest panasonic wasn't even a brand I was looking into. Anyhow, I've looked at the camera, the shots seem to be fantastic and the price is also really nice. I'm still trying to learn how to properly compose my pictures and things, so I need to have the ability to crop pictures and my current camera doesn't give me much room to do so. I really was looking to get at least a 6mp.But, I love the fact that this camera has the 12x optical zoom and IS.

So, even though the mp's are still kind of low, I'm definately considering this camera simply because of the great image quality. If I need more mp's I can always upgrade to DSLR in the future. But I do have some questions about the camera.

1.) How is the noise of the pictures? From the samples I've seen I don't really see any noise, but I don't know how much editing has gone on in the process.

2.) How is the macro shots? This is one of the most important shots for me, so it is important to get good ones. Will I need any additional lenses to get good macros shots?

3.) I'm wanting to get a farely fast camera as the one I'm using now is so slow by the time the picture is actually taken everything has moved on.

4.) Can I add a wireless remote to this, or does it have to be the wired one?

5.) I was told that the lens of the camera can get in the way of the flash and that it really reduces the effectiveness of the flash. Is this true? Would I need to get an external flash and if so which would be a good one to get and approximate cost.

6.) Is there a difference in the silver and black camera? I don't think that there is, but I've noticed the prices are different depending on the color get and just want to make sure.

7.) Besides the color, are there any different models of this camera?

Thanks for all the help, it is greatly appreciated,

Snick :|

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Old Mar 16, 2005, 1:26 AM   #2
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snicker_bar4u wrote:
Quote:
Hello,

For some time now I've been researching digital cameras and trying to decide on what one I'm going to get. Just over a month ago I started working with stock photography, so my needs kind of changed. I was looking into getting an Olympus C8080 or Nikon C8800. I've just not been very pleased with the reviews I have seen on the cameras, there seems to be a lot of problems with focusing.

Anyhow, it was suggested to me that I look into the Panasonic FZ20. To be honest panasonic wasn't even a brand I was looking into. Anyhow, I've looked at the camera, the shots seem to be fantastic and the price is also really nice. I'm still trying to learn how to properly compose my pictures and things, so I need to have the ability to crop pictures and my current camera doesn't give me much room to do so. I really was looking to get at least a 6mp. But, I love the fact that this camera has the 12x optical zoom and IS.

So, even though the mp's are still kind of low, I'm definately considering this camera simply because of the great image quality. If I need more mp's I can always upgrade to DSLR in the future. But I do have some questions about the camera.
I would go after the dSLR before going for ANY of the 8mp cameras. For the simple reason that they have bigger sensors and will be less prone to noise.. MP isn't the end all solution for great photos. They are also much more versitile when it comes to things like shutter speed, iso, etc. For the money, I think you would be much better off.

In considering the FZ20 however, I must say I am completely happy with mine..



Quote:

1.) How is the noise of the pictures? From the samples I've seen I don't really see any noise, but I don't know how much editing has gone on in the process.
Noise can be an issue in lower light situations. Especially when you hit the photo with an autobalance in a photoshop type program. This is more prevelant at ISO 400 so how it affects you will depend on your needs. I've seen some fantastic photos here of night time subjects.
Quote:
2.) How is the macro shots? This is one of the most important shots for me, so it is important to get good ones. Will I need any additional lenses to get good macros shots?
Have a look through this forum.. There are some Macro hot shots here who have done stunning shots.. Check out the recent one by Hazzarbone using a Nikon 6t closeup lens. I think an adapter is required for this, you can be set to go for about $80 US by the time you buy the lens and adapter. The FZ20 IS capable of some nice macros without add on lenses using a crop in post processing but if you really want to get up close and personal, I would use the 6t or similar.

Quote:

3.) I'm wanting to get a fairly fast camera as the one I'm using now is so slow by the time the picture is actually taken everything has moved on.
How does about 15 shots in less than a minute WITH autofocus and flash grab you?? Without using burst mode... Remember with flash shots, there's a few extra milliseconds for recharging the flash..

Quote:
4.) Can I add a wireless remote to this, or does it have to be the wired one?
To my knowlage, only a wired remote is available and it only does the trigger functions of half and full button press.. No zoom or anything like that.. For the money, you'd be better off using the self timer (2 or 10 seconds).

Quote:

5.) I was told that the lens of the camera can get in the way of the flash and that it really reduces the effectiveness of the flash. Is this true? Would I need to get an external flash and if so which would be a good one to get and approximate cost.
This is in the macro mode only, which you've stated is important to you.. Several users have shown home made devices at a cost of less than $10 or so to get around this.. An external flash can be had for about as much as you want to spend.. Just make sure it meets the voltage requirements of modern cameras.

Quote:

6.) Is there a difference in the silver and black camera? I don't think that there is, but I've noticed the prices are different depending on the color get and just want to make sure.

7.) Besides the color, are there any different models of this camera?
Price and availability..
Quote:
Thanks for all the help, it is greatly appreciated,

Snick :|

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Good luck,

Jeff
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Old Mar 16, 2005, 1:40 AM   #3
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i've had an FZ20 for several months, and although i'm certainly no expert photographer, i've seen some of what the '20 can do. so, to answer your questions, in order:

1. there is some noise, especially in large monochromatic areas, or in low light situations, especially at ISO200 or above. at ISO 80 or 100, it's quite acceptable, and easily cleaned up if you want to eliminate it with image cleaning software. as for needing 6MP, i don't think you'll find that to be a problem. with the 12x zoom, much of the need for cropping goes away, and with 5MP, you can still crop down quite a bit and still have enough resolution for a nice quality 8x10 print.

2. the camera will focus down to 2cm for macros, but you'd really be better off getting an adapter like the Phayee and a close-up lens like the Nikon 6T. See some of the recent macros on this board for examples of what the camera with this lens set-up can do...

3. the FZ20 is fast! when prefocused, shutter lag is lessthan .05 seconds! if not prefocused, it's about a half second in AF mode, and if focused manually, it's about .1 sec.

4. you can get a wired remote for it, but it's fairly expensive.

5. the lens can get in the way if you're using the onboard flash only, and shooting in macro mode. this problem is greatly alleviated when using the add-on macro lens, and if you purchase an external flash with bounce capbility, it's not an issue at all. i've heard the Sunpak 383 recommended as a good external flash, but have no idea what they cost. Look it up online.

6. there's no difference between silver and black except color. the only model variations are the FZ10 (4MP), the FZ15 (4MP, without hotshoe), and the FZ20. if you want a compact model without the manual focus feature and some of the other options, but still with the 12x zoom lense, the FZ3 (3MP) is highly regarded here, but it sounds like you're looking for a higher pixel count than that...
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Old Mar 16, 2005, 1:46 AM   #4
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Jeff and squirl have already given you terrific answers to which there is not much I can add. I will say that adding an external flash (Sunpak 422D in my case) and good diffuser of your choice (Lightsphere II in my case)has made a world of difference in the quality of my indoor/low light FZ-20 shots and I didn't have to spend an arm and a leg. Ibought both for around $75 and now I think I'd pay twice that price for them sinceI use them so much. YMMV.
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Old Mar 16, 2005, 11:20 AM   #5
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Wow! Thanks so much for the fast and very informative answers. I think that this is going to be my choice. I never really expected this to be my choice, but I think in the end I will be happy with it. Hopefully panasonic will come out with a higher mp and flip lcd in the future.

I do have one more question. Where is a good place to buy these flashes, lenses, adapters, etc. online? I am having a hard time finding places to get them and when I do find them they are several hundred dollars.



Thanks again,

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Old Mar 16, 2005, 11:45 AM   #6
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It will depend on which way you choose to go with the lenses.. The nikon 6t is a 62mm thread mount and will fit the Phayee (search that on ebay) adapter.. Email Rong Jin (the seller of the Phayee) and tell him what you want. He may be able to set you up with everything including the remote release.. There are lots of other adapters that I have no experience with.. The Panasonic supplied adapter may work for you if you buy panasonics' lenses. Otherwise, it's pretty useless.

The Nikon 6t, I just ordered one from B&H last night, total cost $51 including shipping (we'll see if I actually get it in a week since they've had a fire recently).. BTW, I went with the 6t based on the results I've seen here and the fact that I already have the Phayee.. I tried to get the lens on ebay but used ones kept outpricing new ones by the time shipping was paid for (be careful about that). I'm in Michigan so your shipping cost would probably be about the same.

The flash, for something simple, in addition to the ones mentioned here, people seem to like the sunpak 383.. I think the Quantaray 383 is the same unit. You can try ebay but but buyer beware is definately in effect here. Also shop the reputable sellers (b&h, adorama, KEH, etc) as well (www.resellerratings.com) .. Mine is a Metz 50mz5 but that is probably WAY overkill for most of what you want.. Works great though. If you are interested, I bought my camera from Cameta Camera (through ebay) and couldn't have been happier with the service.

Good luck and welcome to the FZ club..

Jeff
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Old Mar 16, 2005, 12:41 PM   #7
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Great, thanks. Hopefully I will get some time here soon to do some more research on the camera and what I want to do. I'd like to just buy everything :-). But I think I will probably get a flash, macro lense, maybe some filters and an adapter. But who knows. Thanks for the help.



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Old Mar 16, 2005, 10:17 PM   #8
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snicker_bar4u wrote:
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Great, thanks. Hopefully I will get some time here soon to do some more research on the camera and what I want to do. I'd like to just buy everything :-). But I think I will probably get a flash, macro lense, maybe some filters and an adapter. But who knows. Thanks for the help.



Snick :|

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I've found it is hard to stop buying cool stuff once you get going. Today I broke down and bought a Nikon 6T macro lens and a Ultrapod tabletop tripod because of some of the most excellent 6T shots that have been posted here recently.You are probably right todo your research on the whole 'package' of the camera before buying. I researched the FZ-20 pretty well before I bought in January but didn't really consider anything but the camera so it has been fun 'discovering' new things that I absolutely must have like an adapter, external flash, diffuser, filters, etc.

Good luck to you whichever way you decide to go.

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Old Mar 17, 2005, 12:36 AM   #9
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same here, beernutz... i really only looked at the camera, never considering that i might be able to get an adapter to add filters, etc. once i got the thing, and discovered that you CAN get those added goodies, it was even better! i love the Phayee adapter and the Nikon 6T, and it's really nice to be able to mount filters and lens hoods, etc... i'm glad i got my '20 cheap, 'cause Lord knowsi've spent enough on accessories after the fact!
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