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Old Oct 26, 2005, 4:57 PM   #1
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hey guys
im looking at upgrading my camera very soon and im finding it really hard to sort out which one of these 2 cameras is right for me

In nz the fz20 is around $850 and the fz30 is around $1200. Now i have looked on the forums and stuff about the diffs between the two obviously falling in the favour of the 30 but i just want to know as a consumer, and i am upgrading from the dscw5 sony (which is 5mp, 3x op zoom) and yes i was very happy with the image qulaity from the sony, is the 30 that much of a better camera that i should pay that much extra for it.

I have also been looking at the dsch1 and the powershot s2 but everything seems to point back to the fz series.

and the other thing what sort of batt life do you get out of this camera. I never trust these figures online. I am wanting it for days at the race track. will 2 batts be enough to take a days worht of racing (around 300 photos and maybe a bit of video??)

thanks
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Old Oct 26, 2005, 7:30 PM   #2
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whether the horns and whistles and the extra 3MP of the FZ30 are worth an extra $350 is a decision only you can make. i've had an FZ20 for almost a year now, and can offer a few tidbits based on that and what i've read/seen of the FZ30.

first, the extra 3MP is nice if you want to make really big prints (i.e. 16x20 or larger), or you want to crop the daylights out of your image and still have pixels left to make an 8x10. and, although most people's eyes can't actually see the difference, i suppose those extra pixels will make even an 8x10 print look a little better, but frankly, the FZ20 produces prints up to 11x14 that are as good as or better than anything i ever got with afilm SLR.

the FZ30 has a number of useful features, like the swivel LCD and the zoom ring on the lens barrel, and the thumbwheels to change setting for aperture and shutter speed. and i'd love to have that 230,000 pixel resolution in the EVF. but most of the rest of the new features it offers are just window dressing and gadgets. from what i've read, it doesn't offer better images (i.e. less noisy, sharper, etc.)than the FZ20, just bigger. there may be those here who'll debate that point, but i very much doubt in a side-by-side comparison of prints taken with both cameras, that most people could ever tell the difference.

that said, i recommend that you find a dealer that has both. handle them, see how they feel, how they balance, etc. consider your needs, and also consider what you may want to do later on, and make sure that whatever you get will meet not only your current requirements but future ones as well. if after all that, you decide the FZ30 is the one you want, go for it. by all accounts it is a very good camera indeed, and you will probably be very pleased with it. if, however, you decide that the added features and megapixels aren't all that important, and you'd rather get an FZ20 and save the $350 difference in price for spare batteries and memory cards, etc., don't feel bad about that; you aren't giving up much. the FZ20 is a helluva camera, and in my opinion, you'd have to spend a lot more than $1200 NZ$ to get a camera that would offer appreciably better image quality.

as for the battery, i don't know the consumption rate of the FZ30, but if i start out with a fresh battery in my FZ20, i can fill a 512MB memory card (about 220-240 shots)and usually still have a little juice left in the battery to start on my backup card.i always carry a spare battery (and memory, too), just to be safe, though... nothing worse thanmissing the shot of a lifetime because yourbattery just went dead! and spare batteries - at least for the FZ20 - are under $15 USD on ebay.


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Old Oct 26, 2005, 7:48 PM   #3
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With little to no use of the LCD or flash 300 per charge is not a problem. Two batteries have never failed to get many more shots in a day than I care to review. Too, the battery charges within an hour. Since the little charger is only a bit larger than the very small battery itself you can carry it with and look for a plug-in sometimes.

As for the camera choice it seems somewhat evenly divided between those that own both the 20 and the 30 as to which is really the best value. If I didn't already own the 20 I'd be in your shoes. One thing about the 20 that drives me nutser, and that you probably havent heard is that every dang time you take a shot in manual mode you have to hunt down the button to allow you to reset the arperture or shutter speed. I hate that cause I use manual a lot. I also use the EVF constantly and it leaves a lot to be desired in resolution to determine good focus. The gain-up to me is less an annoiance.

Noise? they shoulda had a bigger sensor or less pixels on the 20 and 30.

Man I've got to look at your exchange rate. Seems rather high. paid ~$450 / FZ20
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Old Oct 26, 2005, 9:19 PM   #4
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Tazzie wrote:
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With little to no use of the LCD or flash 300 per charge is not a problem. Two batteries have never failed to get many more shots in a day than I care to review. Too, the battery charges within an hour. Since the little charger is only a bit larger than the very small battery itself you can carry it with and look for a plug-in sometimes.

As for the camera choice it seems somewhat evenly divided between those that own both the 20 and the 30 as to which is really the best value. If I didn't already own the 20 I'd be in your shoes. One thing about the 20 that drives me nutser, and that you probably havent heard is that every dang time you take a shot in manual mode you have to hunt down the button to allow you to reset the arperture or shutter speed. I hate that cause I use manual a lot. I also use the EVF constantly and it leaves a lot to be desired in resolution to determine good focus. The gain-up to me is less an annoiance.

Noise? they shoulda had a bigger sensor or less pixels on the 20 and 30.

Man I've got to look at your exchange rate. Seems rather high. paid ~$450 / FZ20
not sure what you're referring to, Tazzie, when you say you have to reset the aperture and shutter speed... when i shoot in manual mode with my FZ20, the settings not only stay put from one shot to the next, but they're still there if iswitch to a program mode and take some shots and then switch back to manual!

that price does seem high... $850 NZ converts to about $600 US, which is awful, considering that most dealers will be discounting the FZ20 to make room for the '30. i got my '20 for $450 US almost a year ago, and that was a great deal then. now, it's a bit higher than average... a brand new FZ20 should be around $650 NZ, not $850...


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Old Oct 26, 2005, 10:48 PM   #5
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Hi Squirel, you bet we got a good deal.
Your'e right it keeps what you last gave it. Its just that I have to hit the damn button again to make another change each and every time I want to change arperture of shutter speed. I keep having to change my hold. Besides I suspect the button sometimes hides from my thumb. Nasty bugger. When in manual I want those up-down, left-right arrows to stay there ready for my next change. I hate that more than any other aspect of using the 20. Yet, no one else ever mentions it. Its always EVF gain up or noise they complain. Its still a magic camera and I love it. Its "my precious."
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Old Oct 26, 2005, 11:10 PM   #6
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that IS one thing i'd like about the '30... having those thumbwheels to change settings for manual exposure without having to take it down from your eye (if you're like me and use only the EVF for composing) press the 'exposure' button every time you want to change it.

the gain-up doesn't bother me all that much, but then, i don't shoot a lot in light that poor. the EVF on mine seems to work well enough to get shots in pretty low light, but then, i tend to use AF for those shots. i can see where it'd be a problem using manual focus. noise is there, but i never shoot above ISO 200, and seldom above 100, so it's only objectionable (to me - a lot of other people don't even notice it)in some shots, and it's easy enough to remove... it's just a hassle sometimes to have to mess with an otherwise nice image just to get rid of the 'specklies'

i agree, it's a great camera, and i've gotten some great results using it. to say nothing of having an absolute ball in the process! :G
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Old Oct 27, 2005, 1:20 AM   #7
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My two cents worth are to be gleaned from the following verbal gold mine...er..hakk kaff! Now then, I have never owned the FZ 20. I H A V E shot with it, I have seen zillions (and zillions) of shots it's made. I DO own the FZ 30! (The ! mark is to emphasize this fact and give you the hint that I love this camera...to the max.) Having said all that, I bet a dedicated FZ 20 owner can give you as much beauty in a shot as any FZ 30 owner can, and I can testify that FZ 20 owners are for the most part very pleased with their camera. My observation is that while the 20 is a beauty, and has that much coveted "fun factor" to reward it's users with...my senses tell me Panasonic went to bat for it's fans and put every bit as much function into the 30 as can be found in the 20, and then they just upped that fun factor as a bonus. Including the swivel screen, more pixel real estate to play crop the image with, a broader choice for zoom from 3 to 8 MP's stretching the zoom to 23X +! MANUAL zoom and focus rings, and a sweet bouquet of extra pixels in the evf. A N D then there's all those lovely preset scene modes to choose from...they are lots of fun, and believe it or not they're functional! So, if you are loathe to dig to the bottom of your pocket to pony up for the 30, the 20 won't give you heartburn, it's a fun gadget, a functional camera with a lot going for it. But, if you can somehow claw that price difference into a more realistic sum, snap up the 30. Oh, and 2 batts ought to see you thru and then some. Good luck,

Kd
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Old Oct 27, 2005, 5:49 AM   #8
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thanks for all the replies

How bad is this infamous noise issue?

I have seen demo shots online and they look pretty bad but im guesing they are maximising the noise to make a point. Like in door dim shots without a flash are they still relatively clean>?

can u post any?
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Old Oct 27, 2005, 10:38 PM   #9
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Ken,
The consensus is that a well exposed ISO 80 or 100 can be exceptionally quiet. If you are not completely aware of when you can get away with using those ISOs you'll need to study the situation here http://www.robert-barrett.com/photo/...alculator.html
or here
http://www.fredparker.com/ultexp1.htm
ISO 200 with good exposure can be quite good without using Neat Image correction (which is very quick and easy)
ISO 400 is a real problem and normally gives noise that will be softened so badly in correction that you won't care to keep them unless the photo actually benefited due to the effect it gives or for whatever reason the picture has meaning for you. This is when you either flash or place the camera on a tripod for photographing the stationary. Moving objects are lost without flash and even with flash at times. Image stabilization is also going to do no more than freeze the camera better, not the moving object. This is when big expensive sensors and big well spaced pixels KA, and people start looking at DSLRs and their spare mad money and somehow mad and money get mixed. Anyway they start weighing the pros and cons of the next tool which can then branch off into an obsession. At that point there is little hope of ever becomming an accomplished amateur photographer.
Oh, noise. You'll get around it if you shoot enough to learn from your mistakes.
Absolutely fantastic photos are being taken and shown (check out photoshowdown)
with less able cameras than either the 20 or 30. The only reason I'd like to have a 30 right now is to give you my impression of it and help you. I sure don't need it to get an excellent photo. very best wishes
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Old Oct 27, 2005, 11:00 PM   #10
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This is a with very little early morning light. The picture is not cropped. It is shot through glass from accross the room, compressed 25%, a very small 57 Kb copy.

This makes sense of what I said earlier about ISO 80. "good exposure, well exposed."





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