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Old Aug 18, 2005, 6:37 PM   #1
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I just recently bought an used Pana FZ20 which comes with an additional used battery. The camera is great! However I've got some questions.

First of all is there any lifetime counter in the camera? something that countts the total running time, or total pictures taken, etc. I looked up the manual but I can't find any.

Secondly, regarding the battery life... I find the 240 pictures by CIPA standard an overstatement. I haven't taken many pictures yet, but taking about 60 pictures already depletes a fully-charged battery. The CIPA standard (as stated in the manual) is quite demanding, and includes using the flash in every other shot. I don't think during my 60 shots I did anything more crazy than the CIPA standard. Or is it because the batteries are too old? But the camera is only about 1 year old so I kinda doubt it. Or is it because the batteries are still not totally "broke in"? 'cause usually rechargable batteries need several full deep recharge cycles in order to fully charge to their limit. But then again after about an year how can the battries not be broken in. Well,I wonder what you guys' experience with the battery life is. Oh yeah, both my batteries are OEM Panasonic batteries for FZ20.

Lastly... what's the best way to clean the lens? Any do's and donts? How do I avoid scratching the lens by cleaning it? It's got some smudges that i'd like to get rid off. I've got this lens cloth from Lenscrafter so I think it's probably OK for cameras too.

Thanks in advance. Sorry for the long post!






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Old Aug 18, 2005, 6:50 PM   #2
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Oh sorry guys, another question

Both reviews on FZ20 fromSteve's and DPReview use the Sandisk Ultra II SD cards, which have a minimum sustained write speed of 9MB per second and a read speed of 10MB per second. I am wondering if using the Extreme III (which hasa minimum of 20MB/sec sequential write and read speed) card would improve the performance? Anybody having first-hand experience?

On DPRevew (http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/panasonicfz20/page4.asp) (Sorry Steve for linking to dpreivew ), at the bottom of that page, it shows that processing and writing a 14MB TIFF file takes 2.5 sec. DPReview says the write speed is 14MB/2.5sec = 5700KB/s but I don't think that's correct, since the 2.5sec includings the processing time. Looking at the process and write time for smaller files and I find that they are all at the same 0.8 sec. So I made an assumption that as file get smaller the write time is becoming insignificant but the processingtime is the same, and that would be 0.8 sec. So, 14MB/(2.5sec - 0.8sec) = 8.2MB/sec which is darn close to the write speed limit of 9MB/sec of the Ultra II card. That's why I am wondering if the speed would improve by using the faster cards such as the Extreme III.

Sorry for another long post... TIA!
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Old Aug 18, 2005, 6:54 PM   #3
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Hey there. Welcome and congrats on your new camera! As far as i know there's no running time counter (ive never heard of a camera or many other devices with one either!), but if you check out the file numbering system, as long as its not been reset, this will indicate how many shots have been taken in total.

As for battery life, i've not measured it exactly, but i'm guessing if they are both used batteries, and possibly a year old, they could have had some heavy use over the year and their charge capacity has become smaller. Im pretty sure my battery lasts longer than 60 shots.

And cleaning the lense... for dust and smudges, i just wipe it gently with a lense cloth or lint-free fabric. i'd advise (as so many have before) that you get a UV (clear glass) filter put in front of the lense to protect it from such things, and its always there incase you knock the lense when doing your macro thing! much cheaper to replace a uv filter than have you lense repaired!

Hope that helps a little.

Ste

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Old Aug 18, 2005, 6:58 PM   #4
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1) congratulations

2) When you look at the filename of the image, like when you upload them to your PC, each image will have a sequentially incremented number indicating the # of shots you've taken (I think you can do this when reviewing them in the cam, not 100%). Some people over on dpreview's forums have 30,000+ so far

3) Unfortunately, manufacturers can throw whatever claims they want out about CIPA standards and battery life, but that doesn't mean they happen. Realistically though, you should definately be able to get more than 60 shots before your battery dies. A couple things to check: First, make sure OIS (image stabilizer) is set to Mode 2, NOT Mode 1. Mode 1 is on all the time, stabilizing the LCD image you see while framing the shot. This is a major battery drain and is usually unncesseary. I suspect Continuous AutoFocus is somewhat of a drain too. A good way to preserve battery life is to use the EVF (eyecup electronic viewfinder) instead of the big LCD whenever possible. And of course, flash drains it rather quickly. It sounds like you need to get a 2nd battery though - I did, and I'm very glad. You can find them pretty cheap on eBay, and they're pretty much all the same. Just try to avoid ordering the ones that ship from China, cause they end up taking forever and a day to ship.

4) I'm no expert (about any of this btw), but I just use a standard camera lens cloth. I got mine on eBay with another order, but you can pick them up in any camera shop for just a couple dollars. They're extremely soft and made of material that will not scratch the lens. I've used mine with no problem, it's really handy.

5) I haven't done any thorough tests, and I only use 1 SD card usually so I can't compare, but just from general experience I would say you wouldn't notice extremely improved speeds with the ultra high speed cards. Since you'll almost definately be shooting in JPEG format (as opposed to TIFF, and obviously not RAW since the FZ20 doesn't do RAW), the files will be small enough for the memory buffer in the camera to load on the card at just as fast a speed. I don't know what the transfer speed is on my Kingmax card, but I know it's not a super fast one, and I still get fast shot-to-shot times, and 4 fps hi-speed burst shots.

Just my .02



Jesse
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Old Aug 18, 2005, 6:58 PM   #5
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OH oh sorry for yet another question...

What do you use to carry the FZ20 around? The "Lumix Camera Case" from Panasonic (http://www.panasonic.ca/english/audi...ccessories.asp)? Or... just any generic camera case/bag? I need a case/bag but just need to get enough info before getting robbed by the evil sales ppl in camera stores.

I am thinking about buying the remote shutter too (see the above link). Do I have to buy the Panasonic one, or I have cheaper aftermarket options?


One other thing... on my FZ20, the rubber piece on the back side (the LCD side) of the camera, near where the right thumb would sit on, is kinda popping out. Is that a common "problem" of FZ20?

Lastly... why is there a limit on the available shutter speed and aperture value (Page 55 on the manual).


TIA!
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Old Aug 18, 2005, 8:59 PM   #6
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1) Regarding the camera bag: I just purchased a Tamrac Velocity 7. I wrote up a pretty lengthy review in this post:

http://www.stevesforums.com/forums/v...mp;forum_id=23

I'd highly recommend it. You can pick it up at B&H Photo's website for about $50 shipped, or a little less on eBay.

2) AFAIK, you don't *have* to use the Pana OEM remote shutter release either. One of the members on this forum made their own custom one for their FZ!(sorry, can't remember who - do a search on custom remote).

3) I haven't heard of that rubber piece coming out as a commonality, but if the camera has been used a lot then it's certainly possible. Maybe a careful touch of glue would be in order? (If I'm thinking of the right spot)

4) Without looking at the manual, I can only assume that you mean it's 'limited' to F 2.7-8 aperture, or 1/2000 sec - 8 sec shutter speed. There are a lot of reasons that those are the defined limits in this case, but suffice it to say that the aperture limitations are really quite good in this camera and you shouldn't suffer for it. The shutter speeds available are quite versatile as well - rarely would you need faster than 1/2000, and rarely slower than 8 seconds. I do wish (a little) that they offered a "Bulb" setting for unlimited open exposure, but that's a small thing really. 8 seconds is really quite substantial, and more than adequate for most any long exposure you'd want to do.

I find the manual options of the FZ20 quite versatile - was there something in particular that bothered you about it's range?
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Old Aug 19, 2005, 12:25 AM   #7
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UltraMax wrote:
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I haven't taken many pictures yet, but taking about 60 pictures already depletes a fully-charged battery.
60 pictures per charge is low. I get about 200 per charge with my FZ10 with year old batteries. I expect you have the camera on for long periods with the LCD on. This drains the batteries. Just reviewing your pictures takes almost as much current as taking them in the first place.

Quote:
what's the best way to clean the lens?* Any do's and donts?* How do I avoid scratching the lens by cleaning it?* It's got some smudges that i'd like to get rid off.* I've got this lens cloth from Lenscrafter so I think it's probably OK for cameras too.
I use a lens pen. I also use my thumb. No kidding. You brush any grit away with the brush end of the lens pen. Then if there are any small bits of crap stuck on the lens you can gently wipe them off with your thumb (which is nice and soft but very greasy) then buff off the grease and other smears with the other end of the lens pen.

I have done this dozens of times with my FZ10 (perhaps hundreds, though I seldom have to use the thumb trick) and haven't harmed the lens yet. Just be certain you don't grind grit particles into the lens with whatever tool you use.

As an aside, my FZ10 seems to have come with two small pieces of fluff inside the lens assembly. Don't try too hard to clean off marks that are actually internal dust motes!
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Old Aug 19, 2005, 8:14 AM   #8
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spidamonkey wrote:
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As far as i know there's no running time counter (ive never heard of a camera or many other devices with one either!
he's referring to an actuations counter. I know that at least Canon EOS camera's have one, and it's a very much asked question when buying a used camera because their shutters are rated at a certain amount of actuations, after which, it may or may not work anymore.

good luck with the camera, it's a gem, today i'm shipping mine as I ended up selling it due to financial needs. enjoy yours
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