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Old Oct 22, 2005, 1:14 PM   #1
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OK, History, bad first digicam (bought 1998 ), then a Casio QVS-8000 swivel head 8X optical zoom, pretty decent pics. Figured a smaller camera would be nice so in 2004 bought a Nikon 3200. Really Really miss the zoom, plus just not real happy with the 3200. Research figured it was between the Sony H1, Canon S2 and Panasonic FZ5. Checked out all 3 a local stores, decided the FZ5 might be the best.
Have not had a chance to physically handle the FZ20 but from what I read it is much larger. I think I would like a dSLR except for the needing seperate lenses. I do not need massive MP, I think anything in the 3-5 range would be more than adequate for me. So there seems to pretty much be trade offs on any choice. Two things I really liked about the casio is the 8X optical zoom and the swivel head. It always suprised me how many really good "photo album" type pics I got by holding the camera as high as I could, and still being able to see the LCD to snap a pic over a crowds head. Can't do that with the 3200. Won't be able to with the FZ5 either. So a trade off. Could go with the S2 and it's swivel LCD, but as I am aging, I find the smaller LCD just impossible to see (sharpley) anymore. But that 12X lens with IS sounds wonderful. Then the noise issue, sounds like it is the same on all FZx cameras. I do like taking photos in exiting light, even indoors. The 3200 seems pretty bad about it, but my old Casio was not. Picture quality, from most of the samples I have looked at on the NET, the FZ5 and FZ20 seem to be better other than noise in my opinon. The Sony H1 seemed more soft, and the S2 in between. I like the harder sharpness of the FZ's I think. Of course when I view dSLR pics they always seem to be better than the others. So that leads me to, I think my priorites for a camera is tied between easy to carry around, and good pictures.
So why is the FZ20 larger than the FZ5, I mean what does the extra size buy you? I like the MF option on the FZ20, but not enough to justify the extra size (maybe). I am the kind of person who likes to carry the camera, an extra Memory card and an extra set of batteries on my belt, and leave a larger case behind with the "other" stuff in it. That's one reason I think the dSLR really is out (even thou the other side of brain says, BUT LOOK AT THE PICTURES!) I mean how many lenses would you need to cover the same range as the FZ's? Does the FZ5 have smaller motors (like for AF, IS, ETC) over the FZ20 that could fail earlier to keep the size down?
So after reading as many reviews as you can, looking at sample picures until your head swims, and looking at specs until you want to puke, how can you decide THIS is the camera for me for the next 5 years at least?
Thoughts? Ramblings?
:?
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Old Oct 22, 2005, 3:59 PM   #2
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fofa wrote:
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Have not had a chance to physically handle the FZ20 but from what I read it is much larger.
And a DSLR is even larger.

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Two things I really liked about the casio is the 8X optical zoom and the swivel head. It always suprised me how many really good "photo album" type pics I got by holding the camera as high as I could, and still being able to see the LCD to snap a pic over a crowds head. Can't do that with the 3200. Won't be able to with the FZ5 either.
And not with a DSLR.

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I mean how many lenses would you need to cover the same range as the FZ's?
Two lenses should be enough.
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Old Oct 22, 2005, 7:04 PM   #3
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The FZ20 feels more substantial than the FZ5 because of the weight and build quality. The FZ5 is much smaller than the FZ20/FZ30, and although it has the shape of a SLR, it "feels" too small to be a SLR in your hands, especially if you are used to SLRs. In comparison (I said "in comparison"), the FZ5 is plasticky and "cheap". This is what I found when newer models come out of the same series of cameras - my very old Nikon Coolpix 950 is more substantial and better built than my 990; the 995 just gets plasticky "cheap". I guess this is how they pass on the savings to the consumer.

dpreview reported that the image quality of FZ5 is indistinguishable from FZ20:

http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/panasonicfz5/

(sections 8 and 9)

Therefore if you like a camera with "quality feel" in your hands (most people usually associate this with "metallic body", "substantial weight", "feels more like a SLR" etc.), go for the FZ20. I bought a FZ5 recently and I agree it looks and feels "plasticky cheap" compared to the FZ20 or FZ30, but it is still very well built and takes good pictures (and yes I agree with the pet peeve about "grainy pictures in high ISO"). The FZ5 is smaller and much lighter and easier to carry around, if convenience is what you are after.
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Old Oct 23, 2005, 11:17 PM   #4
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FZ20 has a hot shoe for external flash and the FZ5 doesn't. For indoor flash pictures, and external flash is superior to the built in flash.

Hard to beat 12x zoom with stabilized lens of the FZ family. But, an SLR has the edge for less noise at higher ISO settings. I love my FZ20, but could see moving up to an SLR at some point...but I would keep my FZ20 for those times when it is a better/more versatile camera with less stuff to haul.
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Old Oct 23, 2005, 11:46 PM   #5
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See this discussion:

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

Specially Nancy's comment. It is very interesting, she has both cameras.
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Old Oct 24, 2005, 12:07 AM   #6
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the major reason the FZ20 is so much bulkier is the manual focus ring, which makes the lens barrel substantially larger in diameter than on the FZ5.it also has a larger LCD. if the manual focus and external hotshoe aren't important to you, then by all means, go with the FZ5, if the smaller, lighter package is more to your liking. personally, i like the feel and heft of the FZ20... it's large by digicam standards, but it still lighter - and barely any bulkier - than my old Pentax ME Super with a 35-70mm lens attached,and the MEwas one of the smallest and lightest film SLRs made.

as for whether the '20 is more durable than the FZ5, the jury's still out... neither one has been on the market long enough for a significant reliability/repair history to be built up yet. but i've had my '20 for almost a year (got it in November of 2004), and have yet to have any problem with it. i doubt very much that there's any appreciable difference in reliability between the two.

how many lenses would it take to equal the FZ's range? probably 3, though you might be able to do it with 2 depending on brand. how much to equal the rangeAND the optical clarity and performance? think in terms of a$1500 or more just forlenses, probably closer to $2000. an image-stabilizedDSLR lens capable of matching the 430mm zoom on the FZ would be a real cannon... long, heavy, and bulky. the FZ doesn't give away anything to DSLR's in terms of optics.

Where the FZ's - like all compacts - compare poorly is in noise, focusing speed, and dynamic range. DSLR's focus faster, have less noise (bigger sensors), andhave much wider range of ISO settings tohandle a broader range of lighting conditions. the price for those benefits, though, is a lot more weight and bulk. plus several thousand more greenbacks.

the FZ series cameras do have limitations. noise can be a problem at times, but if you play to the camera's strengths, and make judicious use of noise reduction software when you need to, noise isn't a real problem. dynamic range is actually harder to deal with than noise. that's what results in blown-out skies, for example, if you focus on an object in deep shade, or throws the foreground into darkness when you shift your focus to a lighter background. the FZ's, like all compacts, don't handle that well. but with intelligent composition, and some thought to lighting beforehand (when possible), you can minimize the negative impact of this limitation.

there's no question DSLR's in competent hands can take marvelous pictures. but don't underestimate the FZ5 or FZ20. if you do your part, either one can give you some stunning shots. and believe me, i've made 11x14printsfrom my FZ20 that are better in terms of clarity, sharpness of detail, and color, than the shots i used to get with film in my trusty ME Super. a DSLR does produce higher resolution (more MP), but beyond a certain point, the human eye can't tell the difference, and all those extra pixels are, in essence, wasted.

i long ago decided that the image quality the FZ20 produces is more than satisfactory for me, and i have no need to consider a DSLR at this point. especially given that evenincluding a top-notch close-up lens, a good teleconverter, and assorted filters, hoods, batteries and memory, i'm still into this thing for less than about $750. i know of no other camera that could equal what my FZ20 will do for less than 5 times that price.
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