Go Back   Steve's Digicams Forums > Digital Cameras (Point and Shoot) > Panasonic / Leica

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old Mar 8, 2006, 10:12 PM   #1
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 14
Default

Tapachula, Mexico

Any advice on how the Panasonic FZ20 performs in lower light conditions?

I am trying to decide between the Panasonic or FujiS5200.

I have seen some excellent images of birds with thePanasonic and Fuji but not sure how they would perform in lower light at 380mm or over 500mm (with tele converter). Would IS (as in the panasonic )bringing the shutter speed down and avoiding high ISO and noise bepreferable to the Fuji system of upping the ISO?

The Fuji seems to have less noise at 400 and 800 ISO but has no IS.

I will be taking photoes of otters. at late dawn, early dusk and in the shade.

Any advice welcome!

cheers julian
Julian Flavell is offline   Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
Old Mar 8, 2006, 10:38 PM   #2
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Indian Rocks Beach, FL
Posts: 4,036
Default

For static subjects I don't think you can beat the FZ20. With optical stabilization and f2.8 all the way to 12X it is very good in low light.

Stabilization doesn't help for subject motion though. If you are going to be shooting action you need better high ISO capability and that is where the Fuji shines.

The stabilization is advertised at 3 f-stops, and I don't find that far off. So the shot you can handhold at ISO 100 you need ISO 800 without stabilization. The FZ20 will give you better shots of static subjects but the S5200 is better for action.

slipe is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Mar 12, 2006, 10:58 PM   #3
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 141
Default

Please be aware that when you use either of these camera at full zoom in low light, you are working at the outer limit of the equipment's capability, and perhaps your own.

It is likely that you can get some percentage of usable shots with either camera. I will not attempt to predict what that percentage might be, but it will probably be less that might be expected with a much more expensive dSLR and appropriate lenses.

You need to be prepared to tolerate some frustration. You will experience some great photo opportunities that fail to produce any usable shots. As long as you can be patient, you will get some good results eventually.

If you plan to use a tripod, the Fuji may be the better choice. But if you plan to hand-hold your shots, or if you need maximum telephoto, you probably need the FZ20. Noise will be present in your low-light shots, and you need to be prepared to deal with that.
Robb is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Mar 13, 2006, 12:04 PM   #4
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 134
Default

How can the noise factor be reduced on FZ20?
mckennma is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Mar 15, 2006, 9:31 PM   #5
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 141
Default

mckennma wrote:
Quote:
How can the noise factor be reduced on FZ20?*
You can avoid most of the noise by shooting at low ISO settings in good light. That's not always an option, as in the situation the original poster described.

However, when I say that one needs to be prepared to deal with the noise, the first line of defense I have in mind is simply accepting whatever noise is present.

I am of the opinion that far too much attention is paid to 100% crops, which are often used to mislead the gullible. If noise does not detract from your prints or images viewed on screen, the noise is irrelevant and should be ignored, no matter how bad it may appear when viewed at 100%.

But sometimes noise does have an impact on image quality, and in that case some form of noise reduction needs to be applied to the image. You will find many, many software tools for this job discussed in this and other forums. I will not attempt to list them, other than to say that Neat Image seems to get the most votes from users. I use the noise reduction options built into Paint Shop Pro.
Robb is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Mar 15, 2006, 9:38 PM   #6
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 134
Default

I usually don't crop pictures.
mckennma is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Mar 16, 2006, 4:27 PM   #7
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 14
Default

Dear Robb

Thanks for the advice. I plan to use a tripod, you said the fuji may be better. How do you think it will perform at full telephoto 380mm or more (with 1.5 converter)? Many photoes will be taken during the day , hopefully, although that depends on when the otters decide to show up!

Cheers

Julian
Julian Flavell is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Mar 16, 2006, 5:26 PM   #8
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 10
Default

Here are a couple of pics that I took last week on vacation in Las Vegas. The first is a full wide, 2.8, 1/14 sec @ ISO 80, handheld
Attached Images
 
sosawdust is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Mar 16, 2006, 5:28 PM   #9
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 10
Default

Here is another picture, also in Las Vegas at about 7x zoom, 2.8, 1/4sec, alsp handheld, taken through a glass window on the walkway across the strip. Both pictures were just sized, but otherwise no PP
Attached Images
 
sosawdust is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Mar 16, 2006, 9:37 PM   #10
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 141
Default

Julian, first of all I want to be very clear about one thing: I have no experience with the Fuji 5200. I base my opinion on the reports I have seen from users. I do, however, have a Panasonic FZ20, and I like it very much. But I have to acknowledge that many people object to the noise in FZ20 images, especially at its most sensitive setting, ISO 400.

The Fuji has less reach than the FZ20, and lacks image stabilization, but allows two extra stops of sensitivity, and many people seem to find it more satisfactory AS AN ALL-AROUND CAMERA. Pardon me for shouting, but I wanted to emphasize that I think the 5200 may be the better camera in a general sense, but not necessarily for specific purposes. If you need maximum telephoto and/or image stabilization, the FZ20 is clearly better suited to your needs.

To put it another way, the Fuji 5200 is a very good camera that also zooms in to an effective 380 mm (35 equiv.) at the telephoto end. The Panasonic FZ20 is a great camera for extreme telephoto work (432 mm, 35 equiv.) that also performs well for other uses.

I think you have said elsewhere that you expect to print photographs at 8x10, perhaps larger. The larger your print (or the more you crop), the more likely it is that noise in the images will become a problem.

This is how I arrived at my original statement: IF the zoom of the 5200 is adequate, and IF you use a tripod (eliminating the need for image stabilization) you will probably get more satisfactory low-light pictures from the Fuji 5200.

I have no experience with teleconverters, so I can't offer any useful advice. One question worth asking is: does the teleconverter effect the exposure? Some do not, but if the teleconverter forces you to use a slower shutter speed or higher ISO, it is probably not an advantage. Otherwise, I think you can safely assume that the combination of lens and teleconverter will be less sharp than a good lens of equivalent length.

In the end, we have circled around to my original statement again. If you need the teleconverter, that means the reach of the Fuji's zoom lens is not adequate for you. In that case, the FZ20 is probably the better camera for you. And in THAT case, you need to be prepared to accept and/or deal with the noise you will encounter in FZ20 images.

Either way, there are compromises involved. Only you can decide which compromises are right for you.

Please remember, too, that I am speaking of the most difficult situations: full zoom in low light. In full daylight, either camera should perform very well.
Robb is offline   Reply With Quote
 
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off



All times are GMT -5. The time now is 12:29 PM.