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Old May 8, 2006, 3:21 PM   #1
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I have a SLR Canon Rebel w/additional 70-300mm lens. Was going to purchase a Canon DSLR so I could use my telephoto. A friend has steered me towards the Panasonic FZ30 or Fuji S9000 and I'm willing to try.

I use mostly for family shots, outdoor shots, action shots from Regatta or Marching Band,my 2 dogs, 4 kids & their activities, close ups of birds & flowers, landscapes. (going to Sedona AZ in 2 weeks). I'm not an advanced user but would love to learn down the road.

I really don't know which one to choose, I've read about both of them, any suggestions? They both seem great.

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Old May 8, 2006, 4:25 PM   #2
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If taking video is not a must-have features for you when you buy a new DC, then go get a DSLR instead of the 2 models you mentioned.

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Old May 8, 2006, 5:22 PM   #3
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That lens would give ~105-450mm equal tele in DSLR so of course you would still need other lens for wide landscapes.
If wide angle zoom lens you had for SLR is normal for those you might even need new wide angle lens for getting wide landscapes because "consumer" DSLRs have a "crop" factor of ~1.5 so for example 28mm becomes ~42mm which is anything else than wide angle.

Looks like action shots would be in quite good light but in low light DSLR would be best for action shots, also non-SLRs are much slower in focusing (especially if light level isn't best) and have more problems with faster targets. Also thing to count would be how big/heavy bag you're ready to carry with you, best camera is always that one which you have with you when there's that million-dollar/one time only spot and these non-SLRs give equal capability to heavier bag of SLR equipment.
I don't take low light moving target/action shots so myself I'm not going to even consider "d"SLRs before dead weight of 70+something old design made for entirely other sensor format has been taken to museum.
Sure they enable ultimate versatility but price from that would be heavier both economically and physically.
So it's what you photograph which decides much about which one is better compromise.

I would keep S9000 better, it has higher usefull ISO than that Panasonic so it would be better for action shots, also 28mm is much better for landscapes than 35mm. (wide angle is also useful indoors, you can't go farther if you're back against wall) And Fuji has much better tele macro, those wide angle macros cause lightning problems when you cram lens to target.
(While Pana's tele is longer 420mm vs 300mm personally I would chose it only if wild animals/birds would be primary targets)
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Old May 8, 2006, 11:56 PM   #4
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I own an FZ30 and love it. And I'm sure the Fuji is also a great camera. They both have different features and advantages ie, Fuji has the higher ISO but it doesn't have the very important image stabiliser like the Panasonic.

I can only really comment on the 30 though and I think it's great. Take a look at both forums and check out the awesome pictures that the site's members can obtain from both camera's. I access the Internet through my work so I can't post any at the moment sorry.

Read as many professional reviews as you can. I'm sure you'd be very happy with both though.

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Old May 9, 2006, 6:46 AM   #5
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FZ30 Hands down. Although it had slightly more noise, the sheer image quality, sharpness and colour is far better than the fuji in every comparrison i've seen.

Check out this post for a big argument on the two cameras

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Old May 9, 2006, 3:58 PM   #6
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if you are going to takethe DSLR route be ready to invest more (quite a lot more) money into additional lenses.

Between FZ30 and S9000 there is not a clear winner and looser. Both are great capable cameras and it comes down to your personal preferences and priorities, but you can't go wrong with any of them. Your best bet would be to go to a camera store and check both and play with them. That's what I did and found that Fuji suits me better.

RightyInc wrote:
FZ30 Hands down.
I wouldn't be so categorical. If you read that thread to the end, you'll find that Fuji came out OK at the end. There are several similar threads with a lot of misleading info from people who never even saw those cameras but posted their opinions.

The best head to head comparison I could find on these two cameras (with a lot of test pics of the same subjects taken in the same conditions from the same position) was written in Russian. That guy spent two weeks testing both cameras and came to a conclusion that there is no winner here. Both cameras are one of the best in their category, they are just different, which gives us an opportunity to pick the right one forthejob we want it to do. Here is the link (it's about 20 pages longwith lots of pics). If you understand Russian so much the better, if not just look at the images and decide for yourself which one is the best for you:

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Old May 9, 2006, 9:20 PM   #7
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Thanks everyone for your replies.

algold: which on of all those Russian pics did you think did better? (I don't speak Russian so I didn't understand a thing)

For me, be a total amateur, I would say the Panasonic. I have to say I am leaning towards the Panasonic, it seems to take much sharper pictures the only think holding me back is this "noise" issue. For what I would like to use the camera for, I'm not really sure if that would have a big impact or not. Is the noise issue primarily an issue if you want to make large prints?

I will be using the camera for outdoor shots, indoor family gatherings, I like to play around w/ closeups of flowers & birds. One big question to me is how well will this work say in a sports stadium setting? My girls are in Marching Band, we travel to competitions which are in the evening & States are held in a Sports Dome. I use my telephoto to get closeups of them from the stands.

Anyone have any comments regarding this? Maybe someone could offer their opinion on which camera would be best for these situations. Also, going to Sedona, AZ in a few weeks, would love some beautiful vacation shots.

Thanks again!!!
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Old May 9, 2006, 10:40 PM   #8
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What problems are you seeing in your images now using ISO 1600 film other than some grain? Are you getting any motion blur? With your existing lens, you probably should be, unless you are keeping print sizes so small you don't notice it. I'm assuming that it probably stops down to around f/5.6 on it's long end (most of the 70-300mm lenses are not very bright).

Are you using Fuji Superia X-Tra? If not, I'd give it a try.

Neither one of these cameras would be ideal for low light conditions of non-stationary subjects (especially taking photos on the long end of these lenses).

For one thing, the Fuji loses a lot of light as more zoom is used. It's lens is approximately 3 times as bright at f/2.8 on it's wide end, versus it's long end (where it's down to about f/4.9).

So, even at higher ISO speeds, you may get some motion blur (and it's somewhat limited in the ISO speeds it has if you want usable images).

The Panasonic's lens is brighter on it's long end (f/3.7). But, you still lose almost half the light compared to it's wide end. Also, it doesn't have as good of high ISO performance.

ISO speed is also important, since each time you double the ISO speed, the camera can use shutter speeds twice as fast for the same lighting and aperture.

Given ISO speed, noise, and lens limitations, I'd strongly suggest a DSLR instead for low light conditions like a stadium at night (those stadium lights are not as bright to a camera as they are to your eyes).

If you already have good lenses that are compatible with any of the DSLR models on the market, I'd suggest going that route instead. But, for best results in low light, you'll want a lens capable of maintaining f/2.8 throughout the focal range. Your 70-300mm probably isn't very bright. So, when used on a DSLR, you probably won't see any improvement as far as blur from camera shake or subject movement at equivalent ISO speed (ISO 1600).

For your low light shots (stadiums, etc.) something like a Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 would make a good choice (available in popular camera mounts for Nikon, Canon, Pentax and Konica Minolta DSLR models).

This lens runs around $800 (although if you shop around on the used market, you may find a bargain).

Because of the difference in sensor sizes, a 70-200mm lens on a Canon DSLR would give you the same angle of view (apparent magnification) you'd have using a 112-320mm lens on a 35mm SLR. On Nikon, Pentax or Konica Minolta DSLR models, it would be like using a 105-300mm lens.

Even though you'll have much lower noise with a DSLR (their sensors are dramtically larger than the sensors in non-DSLR models, so they can generate a stronger signal for a given lighting level), they'll still have some noise (similar to film grain, only it can be worse).

But, they are able to give you higher usable ISO speeds than the models you're looking at, and when coupled with a decent lens, you'll get faster shutter speeds to help reduce the amount of motion blur in low light conditions.

The downside is that it's a larger, heavier, and more expensive solution (especially with a brighter lens).

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Old May 10, 2006, 1:00 AM   #9
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Here is the solution that worked for me. Get a Konica Minolta Maxxum 5D DSLR, add a Tamron 28-300 XR lens to it, and you have an all-in-one image stabilized DSLR for about $750. Can't beat that. And although the lens has only a maximum aperture of 6.3 at the tele-end, it still gives you MUCH better results at ISO1600 than the FZ30 would at ISO400, therefore it more than makes up for it. And you can always add faster lenses to your line up. I have a very fast 50mm 1.7 lens and a 70-210-2.8-4 lens which cost me $50 and $80 respectively.
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Old May 10, 2006, 7:25 AM   #10
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JimC wrote:
What problems are you seeing in your images now using ISO 1600 film other than some grain? Are you getting any motion blur? With your existing lens, you probably should be, unless you are keeping print sizes so small you don't notice it. I'm assuming that it probably stops down to around f/5.6 on it's long end (most of the 70-300mm lenses are not very bright).

style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #000000"My 70-300mm lens for my Canon SLR is a Vivitar. I see it does says F4.5-5.6. I do not use a tripod either when in the dome as I can't turn the camera "sideways" to take a more "vertical" shot. I usually print 4x6. It depends on the lighting in the dome but usually pics are somewhat grainy, some a little blurry, but then again I'm not using a tripod. It just seems useless to use one when I'm moving aroundmyself trying to find the kids on the field.

style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #000000"For the rest of your reply, it sounds like *awesome* info. I just wish I understood it more. I clearly need to take a class and learn all about these settings of F stops and such.

style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #000000"I guess I just don't like lugging around all that heavy equipment & changing lenses. Maybe if I were a more advanced user and knew what I was doing more it would be worth it.I also can't justify the expense you mentioned at this stage of the game when I'm such an amateur.That's why I would like to try one of these 2 cameras that have the longer lens and maybe I can grow into it and learn more capabilites and settings of the camera.
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