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Old Jun 25, 2007, 6:03 AM   #1
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I am looking at replacing my Olympus C770, which has been a really good camera, but is slow to fire up and I'd like something smaller for travel. Looking at the Panasonic TZ2 or TZ3. Only downside I can see is the lack of a viewfinder. I used a Sony T50 for a few weeks recently and I missed the viewfinder badly, especially in bright light - anyone have any experience with the TZ1 2 or 3 and can say whether that's a big problem or not?

Thanks.
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Old Jun 25, 2007, 9:10 AM   #2
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For the first time ever, I now have a camera without a viewfinder. Several weeks ago I purchased a TZ3. It is not my only camera, as I also have an FZ50 and still have a small DSLR outfit, although the DSLR now seems permanently locked in the closet.

The TZ3 isn't really all that bad to use. There's a Power LCD option that makes seeing the LCD outdoors very easy. This past Saturday I made a trip over to Fort Worth and had no issues seeing the LCD at all in bright light over several hours..

http://gmchappell.smugmug.com/gallery/3047994#165903262

The bigger issue is getting used to holding a camera in a way you've never used one before and finding the way that makes it easy to compose the image and hold it still enough to get a sharp image. Fortunately, the image stabilization Panasonic uses works as advertized. What you've got to figure out is, which is more important, using mode 1 so the screen will stay still enough to make an accurate composition, or using mode 2, which activates Image Stabilization just as you take the picture.

Mode 2 is the most effective in terms of getting a sharp image...at least for me, but when you are zoomed to between 200 and 280mm, the finder can really get to jumping around due to the magnification and not being able to hold the camera to your eye, making it tough to get an exact composition you want. I sometimes have to re-shoot something once or twice to get something just like I want it. I have my LCD set up with the grid screen to aid in keeping things level, and the live histogram so I can make easy adjustments via exposure compensation to keep from blowing highlights.

I pretty much hold this camera like any other I've used, with my left hand below the lens assemby and body, being careful not to interfere with the zooming mechanism, and I hold it as close to my body as I comfortably can yet still see the LCD, making for as steady a platform as possible.

I will say this...it's a fun little camera to use, and the results can be quite good...

http://gmchappell.smugmug.com/gallery/2900447#156043664
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Old Jun 27, 2007, 2:39 AM   #3
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Two thoughs on this.....

1. Daylight backlit (you not subject) LCD can be very hard to see or be critical judging.

2. MUCH more battery drain vs LCD only being active for review purposes.

A sort of dissapointing, minor production cost saving, trend in the P&S's.

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Old Jun 27, 2007, 2:41 AM   #4
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Greg Chappell wrote:
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The bigger issue is getting used to holding a camera in a way you've never used one before and finding the way that makes it easy to compose the image and hold it still enough to get a sharp image.
Yeah that a third thing, in low light, arms length holding it out vs braced against your body is FAR less stable.
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Old Jun 27, 2007, 3:49 AM   #5
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I prefer a good optical viewfinder, the problem is that the P&S cameras usually have truly atrocious viewfinders, and people generally don't use them even if the camera has them. The manufacturers do research about this sort of thing and if 95% of their customers would prefer a bigger LCD at the expense of a viewfinder then that's what happens.


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Old Jun 27, 2007, 4:56 AM   #6
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Trivalve wrote:
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I missed the viewfinder badly, especially in bright light - anyone........can say whether that's a big problem or not?
Since 2002 I've owned4 digicams of my own, and used two others heavily, and I have made much use of both the LCD screen on the back and the eye-level viewfinder on all of them. Only now, with my newest, a Kodak Z712is unbelievably compact & light superzoom, am I feeling as comfortable as I did with my old OM10SLR and Rollei & Olympus XA pocketable 35mm cameras.

On many occasions I'd have been lost without the optical finders, and on some occasions I was lost even with them.

In conditions of strong backlighting, on every screen I've possessed, it's quite impossible to see the screen properly, and especially difficult to the read the setting information & the menus. This applies even to the nice bright screens on my Casio EX-Z750 and my current ZX712, even on 'bright' settings. What you see is a beautiful reflected image of your own brightly sun-illuminatedface, which is much brighter than the underlying LED emission.

On my 2003 Casio QV-5700, you can get around the problem byreading the additional body-top watch-styleblack LED display showing current settings, adjustable with a wheel.

On all the others you have to see the screen for any adjustments. Asan alternative to expensive LCD screen hoods, this is my solution....

http://forums.steves-digicams.com/fo....php?id=102962

...but it's inconvenient in bad weather. Or you can pretend to be a Victorian with a black cloth over your head. It's what everyone should be wearing with their swimsuits on the beach!

My local camera shop tell me people's holiday snaps from sunny places often have parts or the whole of the intended subject missing, because the photographer has pointed roughly in the direction and hoped for the best.

At last, at an affordable price (half that of my first Olympus C3020Z digicam), I have the Z712, with its LCD eye-level viewfinder, pioneered years ago (at a price) in the Minolta Dimage7. Now I can read the settings and menus and view the image clearly, magnified if necessary, in any lighting conditions, and save battery power at the same time.

BTW, when intending to take very dimly-lit subjects using flash, an optical viewfinder is a great boon.

Good luck! Alan T


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Old Jun 28, 2007, 4:00 AM   #7
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Thanks for the tips fellas - don't know which way I'll go here. The viewfinder and the thickness are issues for me that I don't see a way around. No perfect compromise. I'll think about it some more.

Cheers
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Old Jun 28, 2007, 10:35 AM   #8
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I am in the market for a new digicam and am faced with the problem of "Viewfinder or not?"

I am considering use of an LCD shade such as the Delkin Pop-Up Shade. There are similar products made by Kaiser (Digishield) and Jenis.

Does anybody have favourable experience of theses products?

EXERPRIS
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Old Jun 29, 2007, 12:19 AM   #9
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Hayward wrote:
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1. Daylight backlit (you not subject) LCD can be very hard to see or be critical judging.

2. MUCH more battery drain vs LCD only being active for review purposes.

.... Yeah that a third thing, in low light, arms length holding it out vs braced against your body is FAR less stable.
*
This sums it up for me, plus a couple more things....

4. I find it impossible to capture a good panning shot of a fast moving object with an LCD and extended arms. However, using the viewfinder like a rifle scope, its a piece of cake.

5. At concerts, they usually prohibit you from taking photos. In the darkness of the audience, a bright LCD will give you away in second, a viewfinder does not. (also see point 3 to minimize image blur in concerts).
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Old Jun 29, 2007, 3:50 AM   #10
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reppans wrote:
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4. I find it impossible to capture a good panning shot of a fast moving object with an LCD and extended arms. However, using the viewfinder like a rifle scope, its a piece of cake.
Yeah most have VERY slow refresh rate, and really stobe when moved/panned.... hadn't thought about that but notice it every time some one hands me one to take their pic.....

If the LCDis on and I can see it don't even look for a VF an more.... probably not there.
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