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-   -   FZ5 v. H1 (

jvinau Jul 12, 2005 9:59 AM

Hi all,

I am definitely going to buy either the FZ5 or the H1. I also had a look at the Canon S2, but I didnt really like how it felt in my hands.

The Fz5 really takes great pictures, and the Image Stabilization works great. That is my main concern regarding the H1. I took some pics at full telephoto, and while the Fz5 was getting full detail, with the H1 it seemed that the stabilization was not as effective.

In all fairness, maybe it was me not waiting enough for the focus to settle, but there was a clear difference between both cameras.

Is there anyone who has tested both cameras? Was it my fault? Any issues regarding image stabilization?

By the way, they are both great cameras... but I dont really know which one to go for.

slipe Jul 12, 2005 3:07 PM

I don't think I have ever had a camera that felt worse in my hands than my FZ10 when I first used it. Of course once I used it for a short while and learned to hold it right I don't even think about it. It feels as good as anything else.

Many years ago I switched my 35mm carry camera from an Oly Stylus 80 to a Konica Lexio 70. Everything was better about the Lexio. It was slightly smaller, had a much nicer lighted LCD and better controls, and most of all had a slightly better zoom range with a 28mm wide. But it didn't feel as good in my hands as the Stylus. With the wide angle and easier to use interface I got much better photos from it. After a day or so it felt like any other camera in my hands. When I decided I had no use for the Stylus and pulled it out to give to my daughter it still felt great in my hands for a little camera, but there was no way that nearly insignificant factor was going to make me switch back to a camera without features I wanted.

I also wouldn't consider judging the shooting qualities of a camera by a few shots in a store. All three of those cameras got rave reviews. All three got a "highly recommended" at dpreview and are on Steve's list of best cameras. I don't think you are going to see much image quality difference. And none of the reviewers seemed to think the H1 stabilization was not up to standards.

The Panasonic has a great burst mode, which is handy for several things. If you want to capture the exact moment something happens you can push the release a tad sooner and the slight LCD/EVF delay won't mess you up. It is also good when you are shooting at the edge of your handholding abilities even with the stabilization. There null moments in hand and subject movement and you are more likely to hit a sharp image. There is only a very short delay before you can shoot another burst and you can do that indefinitely.

I don't like the control setup on the FZs too much. You have to go to the menu for everything. That isn't bad with an EVF, but I would still prefer some manual controls. The FZ5 is slightly quicker than the S2 for full focus shutter lag and considerably better than the H1 at full zoom. It has the fastest cycle times of the group plus the great 3fps burst. The FZ5 had the lowest scores of the three on the dpreview resolution tests, but the difference is small and I doubt you would see it in normal shooting. The FZ5 is the only one of the three with the near useless (IMO) 320 X 240 movies. I recently got a pocket camera with a high quality movie mode and am using my digital camera for movies now. I've never taken movies with my FZ except to test it out when I bought it. I know it isn't a camcorder, but it is often all you have with you. And having high quality mechanically stabilized movies would be nice. Now if only somebody would put a manual zoom ring on these things.

If I were getting one of those three I think it would choose the S2. I really like the articulating LCD. An organization I belong to had a float in a 4th of July parade. I elected to be the photographer rather than throw beads. Moving along behind the crowd I could only guess where the camera was pointed with it held over everyone's heads as I followed abeam the float with the flat LCD in the sun. I also often like to take shots at waist level or lower or from over my head. The perspective is often better. A flip-up LCD would make that much easier. I also like the protection for the LCD when you reverse it for carry. The burst mode isn't bad and the controls are better than the FZ IMO.

The H1 hardly has a burst mode. The LCD is large but no higher resolution than the others, so it would be blocky if you have decent near vision. It is evidently an excellent camera from the reviews. I would prefer SD to Memory Stick Pro. If you compare apples to apples and look at the prices for fast SD cards the price difference isn't that great. I generally get a big card and marry it to the camera anyway. The H1 seems to have agonizingly long cycle times with flash used at full range. Imaging Resource measured it at 9 seconds, and that would be close to a deal breaker for me. That is about the same as the raw cycle times on my Minolta, and I don't use raw much even though it prefer it because I am always missing the next shot.

I don't think you could go wrong with any of them. But I would look at features rather than how it felt for a few seconds in your hand.

jvinau Jul 12, 2005 4:42 PM

Thanks a lot slipe, that was really helpful.

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