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Old Jul 10, 2006, 12:00 AM   #1
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Hi all..

Well, I got my FZ30 the end of May and have taken just less than 1K images with it so I'm still learning how to put it to its best capabilities (Have >8K images w/my FZ5, though). I received most of my D50 system on July 6th and have <300 images on it so am REALLY just learning it!

I know that I've personally had a lot of interest in how the FZ30 stacks up to a dSLR before making the plunge to bidding/winning my D50 so I tried doing a very non-scientific comparison between the two late yesterday afternoon about 2-hours before sunset.

This was not meant as an exercise for those to belabor the prosumer v dSLR debate... I'm more addressing this post and my experiences towards neophytes/newbies such as myself that have had experience w/a FZ5/FZ20 or lower digi and have entertained dSLR lust as they grew more experienced in their use/experience...

I went looking to try and get some Red Tail Hawk images with both but only saw one uncooperative one that didn't stay around for me. I was able to find a couple of cooperative Ravens, though. Actually, these hard to image birds may be a somewhat better test comparison in some ways, though.

I should preface the following with pointing out that I tried to keep the digis on the ~same focal lengths (432mm on the FZ30 & 450mm on the D50); the same Auto settings letting camera choose aperature/WB/exposure etc.

The D50 images were shot w/the Tamron 70-300mm f/4 - 5.6 LD macro zoom kit lens at full zoom. (Keep in mind the D50 is using a ~$100 Kit Lens... ) The Raven images had the FZ30 Post Processed w/Lvls adjustments and the D50 PP w/Lvls & Shadow lightening adjustments. Other images just resized for post - no PP. No noise processing for any of the images.

Note:

The D50 raven images did have some motion blur due to operator error so I did some Focus Magic Motion Blur corrections ( (6-pixels; Oh, for OIS/VR lenses!).

The images were sequenced by shooting out of the car window first with the D50 and then swapping digis and take the ~same images with the FZ30. Thus, they are within a minute or two of each other at same distance, lighting etc. w/Auto settings. The EXIF is in most all of the images. The originals, cropped etc are at: http://iciclelanding.com/... ...see_as=974&view=album&zoomset=18&ha scaption=9

FZ30 at 12X 432mm (EXIF below last image)







Nikon D50 at 450mm







FZ30 100% Crop





[align=left][/align]


D50 100% Crop




[align=left][/align]


FZ30 No PP







D50 No PP







FZ30 No PP







D50 No PP




[align=left][/align]


Again - not scientific but, FWIW, may be of interest to others. Overall, I'm pleased to conclude that, thus far & in this "test", the FZ30 at 12X seemed to hold its own w/the D50 and a kittie lens at full zoom... (IMHO)

--

Got interupted by the Tennis, World Cup, Golf etc... For the record, I started w/ an Oly D-360L 1.3-MP digi w/fixed 6mm lens a few years ago mostly for closeups at work. Last November (2005) I purchased the FZ5 for pleasure and have thorougly enjoyed it and its great images. It was a hard climb but I'm starting to get fairly proficient w/it, IMHO.

The FZ30/D50 are both new (< 1-month) to me so I'm starting on a new learning curve with both. I'm realizing that the FZ30 will be a lot easier to become proficient but that the D50 will need a lot more time...

The D50 images had the following EXIF settings:
> D50
ISO200 Requested/Used
1/160-sec shutter
Aperture Priority f/10
(Read where smaller aperture assists in long reach sharpness)
AUTO WB
Center Weighted Average - AUTO Exposure
Normal Gain
Normal Contrast
Enhanced High Saturation (Ooops)
Medium Hard Sharpness
AUTO Tone Compensation
0 Hue Adjustment
Noise Reduction off
0 EV
Image Time 19:37 PDT (~20:01 PDT Sun set just below horizon)

> FZ30:
ISO80
P-Mode
f/5
1/100-sec shutter
AUTO WB
Color Effects - OFF
STND Contrast
STND Sharpness
STND Saturation
Noise Reduction LOW
Image Time 19:37 PDT

From what I remember, the setting sun's glow was somewhere between the two but more tending to the FZ30's image. A few of the FZ30 images had the sky somewhat over exposed when metered on the post (probably due to the smaller Spot Exposure area) as the highlights were blinking after those images. The one used didn't have any blinking highlights except for the setting sun images, of course.

I'm sure that my lack of familiarity of adjusting the D50 WB and other settings being used contributed to the excess orange hues/tones. Its apparent to me that the dSLR needs more input from the operator to achieve the needed settings adjusted for the exposure -- especially on the White Balance combined w/the other custom settings. I'm of the opinion that, in these images, it was more due to my lack of experience in adjusting the settings for the exposure... operator error... Its not a prosumer, Toto...

I believe it reinforces my view that a newbie is best served w/gaining digi experience with Pany's such as a FZ5/FZ7/TZ1/FZ30 super zooms before moving into a low end dSLR for zoomed wildlife/BIF etc. I'm convinced that my progression with starting out on the FZ5 has served me well to recognize what experience I need to acquire to become somewhat competent on the FZ30 and, for sure, the D50...

Down the road, I'll possibly try a more 'baselined' comparison asothers havesuggested. But, for a neophyte such as myself and others, I feel this is/can be instructive...

I'm pleasantly surprised with the Tamron, thus far. I've had mixed results ranging from poor to pretty good images with it. I've even tried my Oly TCON17 on the Tamron w/ a reducer adapter but somewhat poor/soft images as I half-expected.


I do almost all of my FZ5/FZ30 images outdoors in good light at ISO80 and have had more success than not. The few times I've tried low light and went to ISO100 helped (mainly to get to a higher shutter speed). Their ISO200/400 real low light experiences reinforced what I knew - its not the forte of the FZ line and this was one of the main reasons for my getting the D50.

Genece's comments from his Alaska experiences reinforced in my mind that the D50 wouldn't replace the FZ30 in my main area of long distance imaging-- at least not without a big hole in the pocketbook -- probably more than what the FZ30+D50 body cost me initially.

I'm looking at the combination of the cams more as complimentary... I'm learning the strengths of the FZ30 where I do/enjoy most of my imaging -- outdoors, BIF/Raptors, distant subjects etc. The D50 is for those areas where the FZ30 isn't strong. Until I'm able to afford quality glass for the D50 (read $$$), I'll learn where the reach of the D50 kit lens ends and where the FZ30 reach continues.

The more experienced digi owners - those that have significant experience in and past/current ownership of both prosumer and dSLRs know the inherent differences and needed level of experience/mastery to properly utilize the cam in-hand to get great images.


I would ask that those w/strong opinons, biases and/or substantial experience keep on my original topic theme... illustrate to neophytes/newbie digi owners that there is a lot more to a high end prosumer/dSLR than putting it on AUTO and expecting great images to be had with no experience. If one would like to debate the Prosume v dSLR issues, I'd politely/respectfully ask that you start your own thread...

Thanks in advance to those that would like to contribute to this thread's intent of advancing assistance/knowledge to those looking to move into a bridge/low end dSLR digi......



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Old Jul 10, 2006, 12:53 AM   #2
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Hi Telecorder,

A very nice comparison test. Thanks for taking the time to do it for us.

I don't know if I will everupgrade toa DSLRand as you said, it may be a lack of experence with the camera, but the colors on the FZ30 look more natural to me. It is always things like this, done by users that Ibase my decisions on. For someone on a budget the FZ30 is just hard to beat. If we do use the FZ30it certainly dosen't leave us with second rate photographs.Usually the general public could not tell the difference. It's even hard for me to justify upgrading my FZ20 much less a FZ30.

Don
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Old Jul 10, 2006, 12:59 AM   #3
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Thanks, Don-

Your comments indicate that my intentions behind my posting have an audience out there.

ie -- should I or not? :sad:

Hopefully my experiences going forward will assist others in like frames of mind... Keep what I have, go up to a bridge or splurge and start on the steep, expensive learning curve of a dSLR...

:-)




By the by, I took another D50 image that didn't have the motion blur/Focus Magic correction and also did a color cast correction in PSE4 that might be a better comparison to the FZ30 crop...


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Old Jul 10, 2006, 1:21 AM   #4
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nice comparison. i think i prefer the WB in the FZ30 - the D50 seems to tend toward the yellow, and the FZ images are definitely brighter, especially noticeable in the sunset shot. you're right that long-range work with the D50 - at least if you want images comparable to the FZ's - will set you back a chunk of change. plan on spending $500-750 at a minimum, probably closer to a grand, for good telephoto glass. and if you're like me, the FZ lens has spoiled you for cheap glass, and you won't be happy unless you spring for the good stuff...

good luck with your dynamic duo!
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Old Jul 10, 2006, 1:30 AM   #5
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Thanks, Squirl-

I think that the f/5 and WB of the FZ30 w/its Leica glass had a little bit (lot?)to do with these circumstances over the D50's AUTO WB; f/10 & Kittie Tamron Lens which is reputed to be soft between 200-300 zoom.

I'm realizing that I'll need to get a WB calibration card for the D50 and do some more tweaking of the settings. Then, too, I may just go back to set the 'custom' settings off and see how the basic in-camera processor does on its own for my outdoors style of shooting for a while...

Sigh, yea, it looks like the FZ30 will be my go to for the distance-subjects with its EOZ and ability to do OK w/the Oly TCON17. The Tamron + TCON17 just doesn't seem to like each other...and I just can't forsee any good source of disposable income in the near future (unless the slots are once again good in AZ next month...):G
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Old Jul 10, 2006, 9:01 AM   #6
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Telecorder,

I have always been interested in photography, but with raising a family and all, I could never justify, to myself, spending the bucks to get a good camera and lenses. After you had allthe gear (which is never) there was the developing. Keeping in mind, the learning curve, that would have been outragious in itself, at least for me. So I just never scratched my itch to enjoy photography.

Then along came digital! I knew what I was interested in shooting (wildlife & scenery). I looked and compared for two or three years, but found nothing that would do what I wanted, at least in my price range. THEN ALONG CAME THE FZ1!!!Finally, a big zoom,image stabilization,fast continious shooting and low price was a combination I could not resist. Ibought it, was able to use it right out of the box,and have been hooked on Panasonic FZ's ever since. I'm not a brand nut, that does not even look at other cameras, but I honestly, have not found another camera to match the FZ's except for DSL's and a "not so small" fortune in lenses.

There's a lot ofcriticismof the FZ's for noise, but along with the noise comes more detail, and with just a little time, and a good program,I can fix that. In all honesty, except for the forums, I have never had anyone even mention noise, or question the quality of my photo'swhen they look at them.In fact, people are always asking what camera I use and where I got it.

I guess I said all that, just to say this, If it were not for the FZ's, I would not have started with photography when I did. In the last couple of years other cameras have come on the market in competition with the FZ's but I personally, don't think they can match them. For my money there is no upgrade on the market right now. The quality, ease of use, long list of features and the pricehas actually, finally, made it possible for me to scratch that itch.

Hope my ramblings have helped,

Don
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Old Jul 10, 2006, 9:10 AM   #7
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Very well done, Telecorder. It was posts such as yours and others, that helped me make up my mind to buy the FZ30 also. I do really love using it. I am learning that shooting at full zoom without a tripod is a challenge only for the very stable. :-)See how I skake. LOL.

Jerry
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Old Jul 11, 2006, 12:33 AM   #8
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Yes, this is a very useful comparison and so is the information. All who have replied also have added to the value of this thread. Thank you Telecorder for creating it and foryour valuable info. It just makes me even more happy that I did decide on getting the FZ30 for many if not all the reasons that everyone who has posted in this thread has already stated.

Thank you all and happy shooting!

Teree :-)
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Old Jul 11, 2006, 12:55 AM   #9
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Don/Jerry/Teree...

Many thanks for the posts and comments. Its interesting how its so hard sometimes to just look at a slice of specific issues on forums without others jumping in to muddle the intent of the post. Historically, the Pany forums have, to me, seemed to be less of a confrontational forum with the troll-like posts of "...yea, but put a $1,200+ lens on the dSLR and it'll kick butt..."

For those of us like me who are in it as a hobby and favorite past-time on a budget, its more of an issue to realize that image quality also has a lot to do with the operator of whatever digi we have in our hands at the time. Factor in one's experience level and history of a few months or a year with ANY digital camera and the debate grows tiresome real fast.

I'm more interested in working with my limited budget and the gear that I have/can afford. As Clint Eastwood, I believe,once said, "...a man must know his limitations..." This is the intent of this thread, to illustrate that it isn't easy to just pick up a bridge or dSLR and get great imagesas easy asa point and shoot gives one good images with little to no effort....

I chose my FZ5 because its was acclaimed as the biggest bang-for-the-buck in super zooms. I chose the FZ30 because its acclaimed as the best super zoom bridge camera. I chose the D50 because its acclaimed as one of, if not the best, entry-level dSLR. Most, if not all, of my due diligence was reading on forums such as this one and learning which posters had the experience and learning from them...

Practice, patience and perserverance...:G



By the by, I wanted to post a recent D50 image to somewhat counter the idea that the D50 is a bear... (Its the operator that is to blame, thus far...) This is a handheld image at 300mm (450 EQ) at 1/500-sec f/10 100% cropped and resized -- NO PP...





Practice, patience and perserverance...:G

Dave
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