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Old Nov 26, 2005, 4:02 PM   #1
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Hi all, I am about to buy a new camera and was thinking about either the FZ30 or the 5d. Currently I own an FZ10 and have become very use to having a 12X stabilized zoom lens. If I bought the 5d is there a lens that would go from 35 to 400mm and what would I have to pay for it? I really like the low noise levels of a dslr. The FZ30 has high noise levels above 100iso. I really don't want to have to change lenses a lot so If I could find something in that range that would be great. I really would not want to spend more than $400 to $500 on the lens though.
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Old Dec 4, 2005, 5:57 PM   #2
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Get the 5D. Or, even better, get an SLR with an APS-sized sensor (10D, 20D, Rebels) so that you get more out of your long lenses. The full-frame 5D will need a 400mm to get the kind of zoom you get on a Panasonic FZ, but the smaller-sensor SLRs will only need a 300mm lens, so you can save some money there or get a faster or better lens.

The smaller-sensor cameras may be a tad more noisy than the 5D but they are still MUCH sharper than the FZs, especially if you use a nice lens (which you will have money to get, if you save $2000 by getting an APS-sensor SLR instead of the 5D).

I was recently in the same position - wanting to go from a Panazonic FZ10 to an SLR. I loved the big, fast, image-stabilized zoom in the Panasonic, and I knew that I would eventually be spending a good deal of money to buy lenses for my SLR that could approach that kind of performance. If you have a budget of $3000 and you want to get nice zoom shots, I'd recommend spending around (or less than) $1000 on the body and around $2000 on the lenses, rather than the other way around. For example, I'd recommend the Canon 100-400L-IS lens to get the kind of stabilized zoom you get with the Panasonic. (The lens is a tad slower, but you can use higher ISOs than with the Panasonic. My FZ is always set at 50, but my 10D is usually at 100, maybe 200 if it's not too bright out).

I do a lot of aviation photography, and go to about 10 airshows a year. Last year I went to Nellis with my FZ10, and this year I had the 10D with the 100-400L on it. I happened to take a shot that was very similar to one I took last year, so you can REALLY see the vast improvement that even a low-end SLR can offer relative to a Panasonic FZ, especially when a nice lens is used:



And while the one taken with the FZ can't really be cropped too much or at all, the one taken with the 10D can be cropped and enlarged, since it's so much sharper.

So as lovely as the Panasonics are (I still have my FZ10 and use it regularly), they won't match the sharpness that an SLR offers, especially if you buy a nice lens with all this money you want to spend on a 5D.
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Old Dec 4, 2005, 6:35 PM   #3
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Hmmm. It just occurred to me you might have meant the Minolta 5D, not the Canon 5D. All my SLR experience is so Canon-oriented that to me "5D" just means "EOS 5D". Sorry.

I (clearly) don't have enough experience with the Minolta 5D to be able to say that an image-stabilized Minolta SLR with a long lens is better or worse than a Canon SLR with an image-stabilized long lens. I guess it does sound about the same in terms of how effective the IS would be, and the Minolta combination (IS camera and non-IS lens) might end up being cheaper than the Canon way (non-IS camera, and IS lens).

But I stand by what I said: SLRs will give you better shots!
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Old Dec 5, 2005, 2:01 AM   #4
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Airshowfan, i tend to agree, a good DSLR will almost always give you better image quality than a "prosumer" like the Panasonic FZ's. but i have to say in looking at your photos of the Oracle stunt plane, the difference is really not worth the cost of a DSLR and lenses. the Nellis shot is just a smidgen clearer, but for the $2500 difference in price between my FZ20 and any decent DSLR with top-grade glass, i can put up with the small incremental loss of clarity. for the kind of thing you do (airshows and the like) the biggest problem isn't noise... it's the lack of a TTL optical viewfinder. the Panasonic EVF "freezes up" when you snap a picture, which makes panning shots, especially multiple frames in sequence, difficult if not impossible to achieve. and the focus distance isn't displayed anywhere, so it's a matter of guesswork and relying on DOF to ensure your subject is in focus, whereas with a DSLR, that's much easier to nail down.

the issue with noise in the FZ cameras is relative. yes, they're noisier than a DSLR, but they are no noisier than anything else in their class. part of the reason for the perceived "noise problem" with the FZ'sis that Panasonic chose to avoid overly aggressive noise reduction in the camera. excessive in-camera NR reduces noise, but also results in a softer, less detailed image. Panasonic apparently felt the photographer should be able to make the decision how much noise is tolerable, and reduce it in PP if necessary, rather than destroying detail with in-camera NR. i guess that noise is the price one pays for having a 35-430mm zoom lens with superior opticsall in one package, and not having to mess with changing lenses, carrying a bagful of stuff, etc. noise is often visible on a monitor when viewing an image at full size, but it's seldom noticeable on a print. if you're concerned about it, there are plenty of noise-reduction software programs out there that will clean up the images very nicely.

PS - nice avatar!! :G
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Old Dec 5, 2005, 4:41 AM   #5
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PS - nice avatar!!
Thanks! You too... :lol:

Bigger version (of mine) is at


More where these came from can be found in the "My favorite airplane pictures" button off the main AirShowFan.com homepage.

And in response to the FZ-vs-SLR debate... Yes, the 10D+lens was MUCH more expensive than the FZ. Something like 5 or 6 times the cost. But I find it very rewarding to take pictures of airplanes that are so sharp, I can fill my computer screen with them, make huge enlargements from them, zoom and crop to the point where I can read the numbers on/under the tail. Only the rarest shots with the FZ are so clear. I'm just an aviation junkie - My photography hobby is an offshoot of the desire to be able to capture the beauty and speed of these machines and the skills of their pilots. I don't just want to take a picture that reminds me of what the airshow was like - If possible, I want to take a picture that puts me right back there when I look at it. So I saved up money for months to get a 10D, and then for months after that to get a 100-400L. I guess I'll admit that this was driven by a not-too-normal obsession with airplanes. But you can't deny the fact that this means I went from taking web-quality pictures of airplanes to taking calendar-quality pictures of airplanes.

And as for the grain issue on the FZs, I totally agree with you. That grain gives the photographer more information to work with, and you can get rid of it if you want. That's a good thing. (It would just be better if the sensor did not produce a grainy image to begin with, but that too is obvious). Panasonics are still my favorite non-SLR cameras. I still have my FZ and use it all the time (sometimes walking around with a 10D hanging from my neck just looks too conspicuous...)

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