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Old Mar 13, 2006, 7:09 AM   #1
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A question to the group;
I am evaluating digital ‘superzooms' and I seem to be focusing on the Lumix FZ7.
One issue continues to crop up – noise levels. My question is; in the real world, how bad is this? I know it is supposed to be an issue at higher ISO levels, but in printing and reproduction, how bad is this problem? It is sort of odd, Lumix seems to be getting a beating about noise levels while other cameras in its class seem to have no better results and get a pass. Is this because expectations are higher for Lumix?
Anyhow, from those of you using the FZ5 / FZ7, are you happy, would you buy another?
I should preface this by saying that I have had very good results from my coolpix 995. Primarly I shoot outdoors, landscape ,hiking photos – very little indoors.

Another question is; how is the EVF? This is one of the major reasons that I want a new camera. I am sick to death of not being able to see the darn LCD in the outdoors and the relative uselessness of the optical veiw finder. The idea of ‘through the lens' veiwing is something I have been waiting for and saves me from having to go back to SLR and all the baggage.

Thanks for taking the time.

/john
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Old Mar 13, 2006, 8:58 AM   #2
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jskewes,

I have not printed anything from my FZ7 yet but I have no doubt that anything I'm willing to print will look very good. I have no worries about the noise that seems to be the focus of many reviews. For the most part reviews have clearly stated that their standards for noise in images have been raised in expectation that the manufacturers need to focus on this aspect of their productes.

For the type of images you have listed below the FZ7 or 5 would be a great camera. The EVF is very usable on both. If you can find a smoking deal on a 5 go for it, if the price is even close to the 7 then I would recommend you buy that one.

-Brett
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Old Mar 13, 2006, 11:33 AM   #3
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Hi Brett,
Thanks for responding.
Yeah, the noise issue just seems to be such a hot topic. From the samples I have veiwed it doesn't look like a deal breaker. If it wasn't for all the discussion it sounds like a slam dunk.
EVF is the other subject that gets a lot of discussion. I've had a chance to look at the S2 iS and found it (EVF) to be a bit murky. The one floor model FZ5 I saw seemed to be brighter and clearer.

Pricing doesn't scare me too much – I'd buy the newer camera (FZ7) because it will be my axe for awhile so might as well buy from the top of the curve.

/john
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Old Mar 13, 2006, 12:23 PM   #4
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John-

FWIW, the noise is a non-issue unless one is attempting shots in low light situations. And, even then, is possibly a minimal issue at the higher ISO ranges for some shots. I've had my FZ5 since last November and would recommend it. If your budget allows, I'd recommend going with the FZ7 as the improvements over the 5 are worth it. I paid $323 for my 5 and I just saw that Circuit City had a brief sale on the 7 for about the same price...

I do mostly outdoor shooting of BIF with my 5 + TCON17 +RDS so I don't use the LCD or EVF as much. For those times I do use the EVF, I don't find its bad at all but my eyecup attachment assists in its use. Keep in mind that the EVF will freeze at shutter opening so if action shots/panning for motion are in your array of subjects, the RDS will be a great addition.
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Old Mar 13, 2006, 12:30 PM   #5
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Telecorder wrote:
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John-

I do mostly outdoor shooting of BIF with my 5 + TCON17 +RDS so I don't use the LCD or EVF as much. For those times I do use the EVF, I don't find its bad at all but my eyecup attachment assists in its use. Keep in mind that the EVF will freeze at shutter opening so if action shots/panning for motion are in your array of subjects, the RDS will be a great addition.
For panning type of shots it is very helpful to develop the technique of framing with both eyes open. Focus you attention on what you see with your right eye but keep the left eye open to assist in following the subject. I use this when taking photo's of fireworks. For me it's been hard to develop so I don't do it all the time but if you can it will help in almost all settings. For what it's worth.

-Brett
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Old Mar 13, 2006, 2:53 PM   #6
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Telecorder,
Thanks for the feed back.
Pretty much what I have been gleening from reviews is the higher ISO's are noisy. Same is true with 35MM right? What the big deal deal with digital?
Anyhow, I am a few weeks away from purchase but the FZ7 does seem like alot of camera for the money considering you get a bag full of lens and EVF for under $400.

I got serious camera envy watching someone use an EOS DSLR while hiking last summer. The Nikon has worked really well but it just hit the wall and alot of shot were blown becuase I couldn't friggin' see what I was shooting. I like the FZ7 because it is a one piece unit and can be really accessable while backpacking. IS will be nice for shooting in the woods where I have to hold the camera very still due to low light. When hiking you don't have time to really set up. If you take time to set up, our subject is gone and you have to catch up wearing a forty pound pack.
Hmmm...
/john
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Old Mar 13, 2006, 3:14 PM   #7
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John-

Noise, IMHO, is really relative. For digi photos, the little post processing with Neat Image et al is nothing. And, as you point out, is there in both film and digitals along with the desired details. The photos of the 7 at 800/1600 ISO that I've seenhave lots ofnoise but it also offers photos in situations that may not have been capable of any details had it not been for that option. When one considers the price of the system to get there without the noise...

Agree- You get a lot of range in a all-in-one system for a lot of situations. I, too, sometimes drool over the dSLR's capabilities and image quality. But I've also found that one can approach it with the FZ series, especially if the distance to the subject can be cut down.

As to lugging around equipment in the woods, I recently did that - sort of -- I carried my FZ-5 on a monopod along with my tripod traipsing through the mountainsides and steep slopes trying to get some close photos of Bald Eagles. I did find that the combo of the tripod and the monopod helped to steady my travels and, when the situation allowed, was great to set up the tripod for some additional shots that the monopod wouldn't (http://www.stevesforums.com/forums/v...mp;forum_id=23)

But the OIS and a good monopod works just as great for most circumstances.

It sounds as though you've done some good due diligence and the 7 will be a great digi for you. Just make sure you post soon and often so others can enjoy and offer assistance when/where needed...
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Old Mar 14, 2006, 6:44 AM   #8
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Hi Telecorder,
Yeah, one best things about the digital photo age is the 'digital darkroom'. I always tweak photos in Photoshop. I'll have to give Neat Image a go. People ask, "Isn't photo printing expensive?". I figure, hey, you're getting the results you want, when you want and can print as many revisions as you want.
What the heck, sometimes you ADD noise just to get a more "film" look, like trying for the classic - TRI-X sky.

Funny, that eagle doesn't need a tele-converter to see you clear as a bell.

Thanks for your help,
/john





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Old Mar 14, 2006, 8:05 AM   #9
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jskewes wrote:
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It is sort of odd, Lumix seems to be getting a beating about noise levels while other cameras in its class seem to have no better results and get a pass. Is this because expectations are higher for Lumix?
I've hadmy FZ5 for almost a year now and am very happy with it. It's a great camera. If I lost it I would either get another FZ5 or an FZ7. As to noise, it is with us and has been with us from the start particularly when packing more pixels on smaller sensors. Controlling noise requires in-camera processing. Panasonic has opted forthe retention ofdetail over the use of intrusive noise reduction.
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