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Old Nov 12, 2005, 9:20 PM   #1
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went to a local camera store today to get a new lens cap for my FZ20, and the salesman (who knows me from the prints i've had made there in the past) mentioned that they had "the new version of my camera" on the shelf. he showed me the FZ30 and let me play with it a bit.

first off, let me say that there are several things i like about it. one, the added resolution in the viewfinder makes a BIG difference. i can see where that would be a real plus in manual focusing. second, i do like the twist/pivot LCD, and can think of a couple of situations where that could save the day - or at leastmy clothes! and of course, the quick start-up and the pre-threaded lenswould be verynice to have as well.

that being said, i do NOT like the way the camera feels in my hands. i have fairly small hands, and the grip is overly bulky and feels awkward. i find the shutter button falls under the first joint of my finger, rather than right at my fingertip like it does with my '20. i suppose i'd get used to that in time, but why should i have to?

the manual zoom ring is a nice touch, i suppose, and is perhapsfaster than the zoom on the '20, but not enough to matter in the field. the only real benefit i can see to having it is that it's more like the zoom mechanism on an SLR lens, and it allows you to zoom as you snap the shot, so you can take those "going into warp drive" photos. nice, but of limited practical use.

the aperture and shutter control thumbwheels are a nice touch. it'd be nice to be able to change settings without lowering the camera, but i've gotten used to using the 4-way button on the back, and it's not proven to be a problem for me. i also don't care for the AF/manual selector switch on the side of the lens. there are too many detents and the switch has a very short travel, so it's very easy to overshoot the one you want. with the '20, if you press too far, you get the manual mode anyway, you just tell the camera to focus for you, and it's spring-loaded so you know to let off to get the manual mode. another case of trying to cram too many functions into a single control.

i didn't try the "extended zoom", and didn't take any pictures, but based on all i'veread and seen,i would expect they'd be comparable to the images i get with the '20. i talked to the guy behind the counterabout the camera in general, and he told me that yes, it takes great pictures, but sodoes the '20, and the FZ30 is basically made tosell to those who automatically assume more megapixels= better photos (he mentioned "soccer moms", i believe... :lol. in short, in his opinion, it is a more advanced camera than the FZ20, but not a better one.

overall impression? it confirmed my earlierthoughts. if i didn't have the FZ20 already, i'd probably be looking very hard at the '30. aside from the clunky feel, it's a really nice camera, with a lot ofcool horns and whistles. but i DO have the '20, and knowing how well it does what i want a camera to do, i can see no good reason to spend the money for the few desirable handling improvements the '30 provides.
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Old Nov 13, 2005, 3:08 PM   #2
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Thanks for your thoughts and impressions on how the camera felt to you. I for one cannot comment on how well the FZ30 performs since I don't have one. Thus far from what I have seen I don't think I will get one either. The 8mp would have been nice for those big prints (20x30) which I am having done taken with a 6mp dSLR. Great all arounder with some very neat features but I can pretty muchhave my other needs met with the other FZ's.
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Old Nov 13, 2005, 3:35 PM   #3
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Good review squirl. I look at this the way you do in most aspects. I think I'd be more apt to buying the 30 for theergonomics than an overall big jump in quality. My FZ15, as vIZnquest also stated in his case, fills my needs for a FZ model at the moment, and is a good alternative to my dslr. The dslr has met the shortcomingsof thefz for me, and the 2 cameras work in tandem very nicely. When heading out to take pictures, I quite often take both cameras with me. I'll wait till next year I think,and see what they come up with to replace the 30. I don't know how much further they can take a superzoom like the fz. Only image quality from an improved ccd in mho. They've now met most of peoples needs withthese greatall around cameras.........thekman.
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Old Nov 14, 2005, 11:12 AM   #4
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I agree Sqirl, that's the same for me with my nearly 1 year old FZ20K.

Imagewise FZ30 is very similar to FZ20, although I confess that the resolution increment is fairly visible in the 8Mp shots vs the 5Mp ones both viewed at screen size.
Noise, dynamic range and colors are quite the same (although FZ30 haS perhaps less yellow cast in some shots where FZ10-20 are used to show more).

I am also sure that FZ40 will have less improvements and add-ons over FZ30 than the latter had over FZ20, but I think I ll buy a FZ40 when it'll be out next year or so.


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Old Nov 14, 2005, 2:01 PM   #5
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Narmer, if the FZ40 addresses the issues of noise and provides fixes to a couple of other key issues i have with all the Lumix cameras, i'll be in line to get one too. but i was reading in the latest issue of Pop Photography thatPanasonic may move into the"affordable DSLR"market, and the next step for them might be a pseudo-DSLR built on the Olympus 4/3 system.if they put that size sensor in, they'd probably need to either make the lens bigger, or sacrifice somezoom, butas long as they resist the temptation to jam the sensor with as many MP as it will hold, that might wellbe the best FZ yet.i guess we'll wait and see. meanwhile,the only thingthe FZ30can do that my FZ20 can't is produce enough pixelsfor a 16x20 print without interpolation, and since i don't have room on my walls for prints that size anyway, that's just not a big deal.
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Old Nov 14, 2005, 6:05 PM   #6
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I have the FZ10 and the FZ30 and I find the FZ30 lacking in some key areas. I have already lost a FZ forum friendbecause of my views but that is show biz. The FZ30 has a focus problems at 300 + zoom. It sometimes fails and gives you the OK green. I find myself checking far too many pictures doing retakes and using the manual focus ring which s too soft to the touch. The camera in bright sunlight has a blue cast and underexposes using cloudy optionin overcast conditions. Noise sometimes shows up in ISO 80 in dark shadows. I think will have to set up two custom W/B settings one for bright sunny and one for cloudiness. I was not happy with the results using a low noise setting. I am currently shooting noise STD and sharpness high. Yes there are a lot of nice improvements high EVF brightness and resolution, the internal zoom is nice but they should have kept and improved the accuracy of the power zoom. but the FZ falls short on some very important issues. The FZ 10 has less noise, more accurate focus in spot mode, better exposures and color rendition. I find myself worrying more about the camera then my shot. This is my second FZ30. The first actually froze up in spot mode and produced more blue in sunshine.
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Old Nov 15, 2005, 12:29 AM   #7
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I am pleased that Panasonic was awarded the gold medal for this camera. For sure it may not be all things to all people, and I truly hope they (Panasonic) continue the FZ line and turn it up another notch if and when they produce either an FZ 40 or maybe a dslr. Either way, for now I am ecstatic with the 30, and I'll still be first in line to get a look at a 40 if and when it comes. Best regards,

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Old Nov 15, 2005, 12:42 AM   #8
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thekman620 wrote:
Quote:
Good review squirl. I look at this the way you do in most aspects. I think I'd be more apt to buying the 30 for theergonomics than an overall big jump in quality. My FZ15, as vIZnquest also stated in his case, fills my needs for a FZ model at the moment, and is a good alternative to my dslr. The dslr has met the shortcomingsof thefz for me, and the 2 cameras work in tandem very nicely. When heading out to take pictures, I quite often take both cameras with me. I'll wait till next year I think,and see what they come up with to replace the 30. I don't know how much further they can take a superzoom like the fz. Only image quality from an improved ccd in mho. They've now met most of peoples needs withthese greatall around cameras.........thekman.
Which DSLR did you choose?
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Old Nov 15, 2005, 10:01 AM   #9
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He chose the Pentax *ist DS and so did I. It is no longer in production since then been replaced by the *ist DS2 and a lower featured *ist DL. All are 6.1 mp cameras that use the sony CCD also used by Nikon D70, 70s and 50. I believe the KMD 7D and 5D do as well.

Out of them all the 3200 iso used by the Pentax is amazing in its noise level to the other cams at 1600.
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Old Feb 15, 2006, 12:45 PM   #10
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I had a 1STDS here for a month and a Canon S2IS at the same time for comparison. With all the DSLR HYPE you would expect WOW ! WOW, is not the case. I was less then impressed with the 1STDS and all the DSLR hype.
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