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Old Mar 31, 2005, 8:10 AM   #11
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HarjTT wrote:
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Not sure on the lens/zoon/CCD issue - Nikon have managed to get a 2/3 CCD paired up with a 10x optical Nikkor and I'd say it was about the same size as the FZ20 - may be even smaller.
Yes, but the Panasonic has a constant f/2.8 aperture throughout it's zoom range.

It's lens is approximately 3 times as bright as a model like the Nikon Coolpix 8800 at full zoom.

A camera wouldbe considerably larger if you wanteda larger sensor, coupled with a long and bright zoom lens. Of course, cost would also increase substantially.






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Old Mar 31, 2005, 10:06 AM   #12
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I think JimC is right about a larger sensor. The 2.8/ 12x zoom limits sensor size and the only real alternative is a dslr. Panasonic can work on refining features and maybe some new noise reduction ideas. I don't think increasing Mp is going to help as it will only increase noise.
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Old Mar 31, 2005, 11:11 AM   #13
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JimC wrote:
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HarjTT wrote:
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Not sure on the lens/zoon/CCD issue - Nikon have managed to get a 2/3 CCD paired up with a 10x optical Nikkor and I'd say it was about the same size as the FZ20 - may be even smaller.
Yes, but the Panasonic has a constant f/2.8 aperture throughout it's zoom range.

It's lens is approximately 3 times as bright as a model like the Nikon Coolpix 8800 at full zoom.

A camera would be considerably larger if you wanted a larger sensor, coupled with a long and bright zoom lens. Of course, cost would also increase substantially.





Jim

Thanks for clearing that up, I didn't check the specs on the 8800's lens at all - being a wee bit lax.

Harj

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Old Mar 31, 2005, 1:18 PM   #14
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Ihave only had my FZ20 for a couple of weeks now and knew as with all other cameras I researched there were limitations. I believe it was a good purchase for the features atthe price. I almost went with a DSLR but decided for now to hold off on that expense.

So far the biggest drawback to me isthe lack of gain up on the LCD and EVF in low light.

To try and get around that problemwith this camera I am going to rig up a mount for the camera AND tripod and use a laser pointer that will be in line of where I want the camera to focus. Without a doubt I believe I can see my subject and thelaser dot a lot better than looking at the LCD.It will need to be positioned where the on/off switch is quickly accessible.Will take a little tweaking but am going to work on it.


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Old Mar 31, 2005, 2:13 PM   #15
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What all long zoom cameras need is a flip-up wire finder reminiscent of the old Speed Graphex. I would be happy if it only showed the 12X frame with your eye against it, but they could probably make one with a couple more focal lengths. It is hard to shoot action through a 12X with an EVF. If they could put giant optics in an optical finder that would be bright enough at 12X it wouldn't be much better, although it would eliminate the EVF lag. Acquiring a fast moving target is a real challenge looking at a 12X view. One day I'll make my own wire finder.

I think we are stuck with the sensor makers to give us better small sensors if we want higher ISO capability. By my calculations the 8800 lens would require four times the area to allow the camera to have f2.8 at 12X. That would make for a very large and very pricey camera. That isn't something you can get around with technology until they get full color night vision equipment suitable for photography, and that isn't coming any time soon and won't be cheap. For now we are stuck with standard optics, and if you want the brightness in a larger sensor you need more glass up front.

There is no excuse for not making the viewfinder gain up in low light though. I paid $130 total after rebate for a little Nikon 3700 for my daughter, and the LCD gains up beautifully. Panasonic now has the FZ series and the smaller FX series, neither of which you can frame without an electronic viewfinder. None of them gain up. I don't know what they could be thinking.


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Old Mar 31, 2005, 2:21 PM   #16
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Thanks for all your replies. Seems like it stirred up quite a discussion. I wanted to let you all know that I love my FZ20. But there is always room for improvement. And our input (which will certainly not be uniform), is certainly going to help Panasonic in developing future generations of cameras. And as technology develops, we will be able to keep getting more for our money. Look at the SonyDSLR's with 1 MP going for $2000 just 5 years ago. Price points are constantly changing in the consumer's favor.

People have different preferences. I listed everything I would like in a perfect camera, understanding that some of the featuresmight just not be possible for a reasonable price at this point in time.But then again, 10 years ago a hybrid car with 250hp, going from 0-60 in six seconds, was only a fantasy. Today Lexus produces it.

The most important and immediate features that should be added (as far as I am concerned) are the swivel screen, and the EVF gain-up.

I would like to see the improved macro, but I certainly can work my way around it. I have the Nikon 4t macro lens and the Raynox DCR-250. It's just awkward having to switch lenses when the bumble bee is posing perfectly on that flower in front of you. And then you can only focus at one exact distance with the 4t or 6t which is really tough to do with live nature shots, especially without a swivel LCD that gains up in sunlight as well low light. The macro is actually not bad, but it's not the best. What bothers me is that I can't zoom in past 3x without having to step back several feet.

Can I work my way around the odd and sudden jump in macro capability past 3x zoom when one has to step back from 2" or so to 6'?. Yes, I have pretty muchfigured this camera out. But would I like to not have to work around it? Even a more emphatic yes!

Movie mode is of no concern for me. I never use it. And should I ever use it, it is only to capture something that comes along unexpectedly as I am holding my camera, such as a plane going down or a police beating by the LAPD. Great quality of the video is ofno concern to me. I have two fine digital camcorders. But again, everybody has different needs.

Thanks for the info on the Nikon 8800, HarjTT. I checked the review on it again, and you are right. It maxes out at ISO 400, and the sample shot Steve took at the highest sensitivity setting is pretty darn noisy, so there goes myidea of automatically better in-door shooting cababilities with a larger sensor.

In any case, I wantedyou guys to have that email address to give some feedback to Panasonic directly.

PS: Check out my sample shots at: http://www.stevesforums.com/forums/v...mp;forum_id=23.I will post some more shortly. Took some great shots in the Antelope Valley Poppy reserve.



Rainer





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Old Mar 31, 2005, 3:57 PM   #17
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One of my biggest peaves about the FZ20 is it's uselessness above ISO100. ISO 200 is too noisy, and 400, well, it hurts. A lot. I suppose this is the price you pay for 12x optical zoom - small sensor with high noise.

I would love a larger sensor, with a decrease in zoom range, even down to 5-7x.

EVF. For heaven's sake, it's useless in less-than-daylight operations.
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Old Mar 31, 2005, 4:02 PM   #18
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At this point of technological advancement, the noise seems to be the trade off for the high zoom with a small sensor. However, I have found it to not beany worse than in most other cameras with a 1/2.5 or even 1/1.8 sensors. I use this free noise reduction program which works wonders: http://www.neatimage.com.

If you compare these two images at full size, the first taken at ISO 400 withan Olympus c8080 and its8MP 2/3" CCD (http://www.steves-digicams.com/2004_...289_iso400.jpg), the second one with the FZ20 at ISO 400 (http://www.steves-digicams.com/2004_...s/p1010111.jpg) you'llsee that the noise levels aren't thatdramatically different. They are both pretty bad. But I found thatif you apply the neatimage noise reduction,sharpen itup a little as needed, 4x6 prints come out quite well when taken at high ISO's with the Panasonic. Generally looks worse on the screen.



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Old Mar 31, 2005, 8:09 PM   #19
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Old Mar 31, 2005, 11:25 PM   #20
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i gotta throw my 2 cents in here... like most, i love my Z20, and have learned how to work around the few real "deficiencies" it has. for instance, i don't worry about the "super macro" mode... i use a Nikon 6T when i want really close shots, which also lets me use the full 12x zoom... no "dead zone". noise can be evident, especially in large monochromatic areas, or in low light, but that can be minimized by using lower ISO settings and/or noise reducing software. i would like to see the Z-series provide cleaner images at higher ISO settings, and it would be nice to at least have ISO 800 as an option, but i'd settle for ISO400 without appreciable noise. i don't have a problem with the EVF, and have no particular issue with the AF assist light, but it would be nice to have threaded lens housing so no adapter would be needed. although, with the price of the Phayee et al being so cheap, that's really a very small concern.

all in all, i think it would be pretty hard to get too much more into the FZ'z and keep the price where it is, and as has been mentioned, if you add more than a couple hundred $ to the current cost, a lot of folks would likely choose a DSLR. if i had to pick just one thing to improve on, in exchange for a minimal cost increase, it would be the noise/ISO issue... but that is also the hardest one to solve, technically speaking, without either a major increase in size, or a major reduction in lens capabilty, or both. and considering that the Z20represents a pretty darned good compromise in those areas already, i'd be hesitant togive up one in exchange for the other.
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