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Old Sep 6, 2007, 9:52 AM   #11
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slipe wrote:
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DSLRs are 3:2. 16:9 is a HDTV format available in some current non-DSLR cameras. Many people get their prints in a 3:2 format even with photos taken with a 4:3 camera.
Right you are. Thanks for the correction. As far as printing goes, most services offer prints in 4:3 ratio. If you've framed your shots carefully, that's what you'd want. Even then, you will find that the cheap services slop an awful lot of the photo off the edges of the paper.


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Old Sep 6, 2007, 10:09 AM   #12
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I traveled extensively with a Panasonic FZ-7 in South Amera last year and was very pleased with my over 2,000 photos. Since the new Panasonic FZ-18 now includes a 28mm wide angle setting as well as terriffic 504mm in zoom, I agree with Slipe 100%.

I believe that the FZ-18 would be virtually the ideal travel camera. It is very compact, has a great optical range and is reported to really be a fun camera.

Sarah Joyce
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Old Sep 6, 2007, 11:07 AM   #13
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I have the FZ20, which I really like. However, wide angle has always been the weakness of the FZ series. They tend toward barrel distortion, even at the 36mm equivalent. I would want to wait and see whether the wider lens was a blessing or curse before pulling the trigger on that one. As a secondary consideration, and one probably not that important if you're mostly interested in travel, the 18 is not going to have a hot shoe. Personally, Ionly use external flash so I can use bounce or, if necessary, a diffuser and I want a unit that I can get adequate light out of for any flash work that I do. Other than that, it looks like a camera worth a serious look.
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Old Sep 6, 2007, 11:41 AM   #14
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tclune wrote:
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I have the FZ20, which I really like. However, wide angle has always been the weakness of the FZ series. They tend toward barrel distortion, even at the 36mm equivalent. I would want to wait and see whether the wider lens was a blessing or curse before pulling the trigger on that one. As a secondary consideration, and one probably not that important if you're mostly interested in travel, the 18 is not going to have a hot shoe. Personally, Ionly use external flash so I can use bounce or, if necessary, a diffuser and I want a unit that I can get adequate light out of for any flash work that I do. Other than that, it looks like a camera worth a serious look.
I wouldn't consider barrel distortion in my camera choice. There is a little plug-in called PTLens that reads the EXIF for focal length and corrects the barrel distortion (or pincussion) for any camera in their data base. They will almost certainly add the FZ18 and S8000.

I run my photos through a Photoshop action that includes PTLens. It works in Paint Shop Pro as well. Elements is stunted to the degree that you have to run each photo individually. I'm still running the old free version because my cameras are in the database. But for $15 it isn't worth worrying about barrel distortion unless you use Elements.

The FZ20 is in some ways the pick of the litter for nature photography because of the f2.8 at full zoom. But the external flash setup leaves a lot to be desired. I've read of several workarounds for the dark viewfinder problem but none are really effective. And TTL would be nice.

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Old Sep 6, 2007, 11:42 AM   #15
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tclune-

I use a Slave Flash (the Vivitar DF-200) with my FZ-7 and it gives me full tilt and swivel capabilities and a powerful flash. The same unit could be used with the FZ-18 with ease, and greatly extend the usefulness of the FZ-18.

Sarah Joyce
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Old Sep 6, 2007, 12:39 PM   #16
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The FZ20 is in some ways the pick of the litter for nature photography because of the f2.8 at full zoom. But the external flash setup leaves a lot to be desired. I've read of several workarounds for the dark viewfinder problem but none are really effective. And TTL would be nice.
The viewfinder fails to gain up with external flash if you use manual setting. However, at least on mine, this is not the case if you use aperture priority mode. It does have the odd aspect that it only allows you to set f/2.8 or 4.5 (?). But I control the light from the flash unit, so that is strictly a matter of controlling depth of field, and those choices are perfectly adequate for me. But any camera will have oddities that require you to get used to. The thing that would make me interested in upgrading is higher ISO, but I probably won't upgrade until and unless I decide to go with an SLR. I've never used TTL, but it sure sounds like it would be nice, especially in contexts where you can't take a few test shots first to geta feel for the room.

Sarah: I've never used a slave flash unit. My impression is that they fire off the light from another flash. Does that mean that you have to use the awful on-camera unit to employ the slave flash?
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Old Sep 6, 2007, 1:57 PM   #17
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tclune-

I have found a Slave Flash to be very effective. Yes, the camera's built-in flash triggers the slave flash but, it only provides a bit of frontal fill flash. The primary light comes from the slave. It is very effective.

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