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Old Dec 29, 2005, 4:18 PM   #11
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John and Fraf

Thanks ! So far I have been very impressed with the 30's ergonomics, the LCD/EVF and esp the colour rendition which is just spot on. I also think from first impressions that the OIS in the 30 is better than my 10's esp at the full 12x zoom, even though it was very cold and I couldnt reduce camera movement the shots very pretty clear and sharp. Not sure about focusing but that aslo seems to superior than to the FZ10's esp indoors where the 10 in auto can just seem to hunt around although I need to play around with that more. What I did find to be a wee bit of a pain was the lack of 2.8 at the tele end and that f3.2 or 3.6 seems to kick in at 2-3x zoom, although for me that shouldn't bee too much of a problem as I usually shoot upto 6x zoom max. I'm hoping for the sun to break out and then I'll try and take the 30 into the city or to Canary Wharf. A really good test would be the British Museum - the 10 just looses the WB plot in there and I'd like to see how well the 30 handles it.

Here's a few more shots from today - the first of the tree stump had some despekle applied to it - and the little noise that was there basically vanished.

f3.6 1/30sec


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Old Dec 29, 2005, 4:20 PM   #12
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Pic 10. A wee bit of the forest @ f2.8 1/125sec
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Old Dec 29, 2005, 4:24 PM   #13
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Pic 11. the only shot that I seriously underexposed and that needed a wee bit of levels to fix the WB.

f3.7; 1/80sec
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Old Dec 29, 2005, 8:29 PM   #14
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I've just begun to play with my FZ30 as well, and most of the things that have impressed me have been related to ergonomics and ease of use. As long as there's a decent amount of light (like say a gloomy, overcast day), it's quite easy to get a sharp, well exposed picture using the preview and the live histogram. I don't know if my hands are much steadier than anyone else's, but I do find that a 1/13 shutter speed is quite practical when using the camera handheld thanks to the IS. I have yet to use a tripod, and have gone substantially slower than that and have gotten some pretty clear shots as well, though usually by leaning on something or sitting down, and taking a few tries.

My only major complaint really is that I feel it should be even better in low light. Being able to take longer exposures is great, but sometimes you need a faster shutter speed and ISO 200 and especially 400 are hardly practical if you want good looking images.
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Old Dec 29, 2005, 10:20 PM   #15
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Good looking test shots HarjTT ! Better be careful you might start to like the FZ30 and won't want to give it back! :-) Jim
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Old Dec 29, 2005, 11:34 PM   #16
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Thanks HarjTT.

Can you post a full size, unedited crop? I'd like to see what the camera does "for real". I also own an FZ10 and somehow would like the FZ30, but perhaps It's better to wait for the next one (Narmer made excellent suggestions for that).

Oh, and pic7 looks like Nessie.
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Old Dec 30, 2005, 4:01 AM   #17
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Jim

I warned him of that already so he's aware of what may happen!

Jose'

http://harjtt.smugmug.com/gallery/1077606/1/50068727

Here's the link to the gallery. They've been resaved as jpegs so they would have lost some detail when I did this and I've been using smugmugs new upload manager which is a bit buggy to say the least and hence two of the pics haven't uploaded correctly. I definetly need to read the manual a couple times over as there's quiet a few features that the FZ30 that are completely new. Hopefully, I will get a chance to go out and take some shots in RAW - I've downloaded the Silkypix RAW application which is held by some of the guys on the Leica forum in high regard. You can download it from here:

http://www.isl.co.jp/SILKYPIX/englis...d/step_dl.html

Cheers

HarjTT


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Old Dec 30, 2005, 7:22 PM   #18
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Thanks for the feedback. I went back and forth between wanting to get the FZ30 and waiting it out. I had only bought my FZ20 less than a year ago. After all, I broke down and I have had it for a couple of weeks now. The upgrade cost me about $180 since I sold my FZ20 for $350 and got the FZ30 for $530 incl. shipping. Here is my assessment:

Ergonomics and handling wise alone, it's worth the money for me. Personally, I like the extra size and weight. Makes it feel a lot more like a traditional SLR.

I had been used to the swivel screen of my Canon G5 and not having it on my FZ20 was a major step back. I am gladthe much improved and brighter swivel LCDwas added on the FZ30. I just wish, however,I could swivel it to the right as well as to the left. There have been shooting angles where that would have been handy, and how much more could it have cost to make it swivel all the way? The much applauded manual zoom ring is great, more professional and precise. However, there are situation when the electronic motor lever would come in handy, especially when I am holding my infant son with one arm and I can't easily free up my left hand to adjust the zoom. Having both controls might be too much to ask. By the way, the clarity of the EVF is incredible.

The adjustment wheels for the aperture and shutter speed are a little hard to find, and I still have to get used to them and still get them confused,but they are ahuge step forward from having to go to the exposure button first to make adjustments. I also like that in manual mode, which I use for external flash shots, the screen doesn't black out, but only darkens when you depress the shutter. With my FZ20 I'd often have to shoot blindly in low light settings.

After being at first biased by LoveLife's comments about the FZ30's supposed underexposure issues and blue leaning tendencies, I have found that it's generally spot on in autoexposure and white balance. And it's swift and easy to adjust the white balance on the spot as needed. Autofocus with zoom can be an issue especially in low light conditions, but that's true for all ultra-zooms. That's why we have the manual focus ring.

I have gotten around the annoying image freeze in burst mode by gettinga Red Dot Sight. From what I hear though, the FZ30 is better in that respect than the FZ20 was, and freezes the image just briefly, making it easier to follow moving objects. I have not really tried that since I use the red dot sight now.

As far as flash exposure is concerned, it might just be my impression, but it appears to me that the FZ20 was more accurate in throttling down its flash power. I have been getting some overexposed close-up flash shots, which I didn't with my FZ20. Does anyone here have the same experience? Both cameras have quite a remarkable reach for a built-in flash. Again, however, maybe it's subjective, but doesn't the FZ30 hunt for correct focus more in low light than the FZ20 did? I'd get a clear focus instantly with the assist beam on my FZ20, but the FZ30 seems to struggle a little more, especially when I use the zoom.

The RAW feature is nice, but I need to learn more about working with it. There have been some threads here about the ACR in Photoshop not delivering images as well as some other programs, such as the GIMP plug-in. For now I am sticking with jpeg's, and unless they'll need post processing, I find that even the standard (high compression) jpegs come out very sharp and detailed, in fact indistinguishable from the fine setting. They just deteriorate faster if you need to work with them and resave them. But that was the same in the FZ20. For day-to-day shooting, I often remain in the 5MP mode. I go up to 8 MP and fine when I anticipate that I might blow up the shot or will need to process it. But with the volume of pics I take, 4 MB per pics takes up to much space as far as I am concerned. I might switch over to the 3:2 format at 7MP to get the same proportions as 4x6 images. LoveLife claimed in some other forum that the FZ30 has more focusing problems at 3:2. I don't know if that's true.

Everything seems to be mostly better in the FZ30 as far as handling ergonomics and features are concerned. But here is what I find: Images are noisier at the lower ISO settings than in the FZ20. I was prepared for noisy ISO 400 shots. And they don't seem to be any worse than before. However, in my opinion, and I can back that up with some samples, when I am back at my home computer (right now I am killing time at work before going home for the New Year's weekend), the FZ30 has noticable grain even in ISO 80 images, especially noticable in indoor flash shots or on any evenly coloredsurface, less of course inscenes with more detail.This noiseis worse than in my FZ20. For portraits, I always have to apply NeatImage (which is nice anyway to soften skin). And this is true for any setting, 5MP, 8MP, standard or fine, lowor high NR. And this grain is visible, if not quite on a 4x6 print, in any prints larger than that, and on the monitor, especially if any cropping is done.

Noise was never an issue for me in the lower ISO's when using the FZ20. With the FZ30 it is. Sadly!


So, while I am very happy with all the improvements in the FZ30, and I do love it, I find that as far as noise is concerned, it was a step back, and I will upgrade again hopefully next year when this issue is addressed.



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Old Dec 30, 2005, 10:39 PM   #19
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Thank you very much for the info, rduve...

I'm a patient guy, (and don't have the money right now, hah) and since noise IS very important for me, well... I might as well wait for the next FZ.

Ijust hope Panasonic thinks the same way Narmer does and gives us a bigger CCD for the same 8Mp to reduce the noise, or something alike, while recovering the f2.8 in the whole zoom range... and also have ISO 50 instead of 80. Yes, my new year's wishes.

BTW, don't you find that 8Mp is already A LOT? Will Panasonic make a next camera model with an even higher resolution? (in the same CCD)

Anyway.
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Old Dec 30, 2005, 11:02 PM   #20
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Rduve, I can't say I've seen terrible amounts of noise in the images at low ISO settings like 80 and 100. You can find it in the shadows if you zoom in all the way, particularly if you underexpose and then brighten, but I typically find it rather easy to remove if I feel it's necessary to do so. I would suggest you shoot in 8mp rather than 5mp and resize your images afterwards to reduce the amount of noise you see. Since 5mp is cropped rather than resized, it's like zooming in on the noise. There are a lot of programs that can automate the resizing of groups of images, so it shouldn't impact your workflow too much.
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