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Old Jan 20, 2008, 8:53 AM   #1
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I've spent the last month or two reading this and other forums on picture quality of the super zooms with some mixed reviews. I had decided to get either the FZ 18 or the Oly 560. I have a Oly 765C and it's been a great camera. At 10x optical it does a good job but I have shots that are quite often 150 yards and at 4mpixels and 10x it just doesn't cut it. Does anyone have some zoomed in distance shots I can see that will give me an idea of which camera to go with? I realize a DSLR is the real way to go but I don't want to carry around bulky lenses. Will either of these cameras give quality shots at longer distances?
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Old Jan 20, 2008, 9:38 AM   #2
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You can get more "magnification" with some of the super zooms by using a teleconverter lens which attaches to the front of the existing lenses (certainly Canon and Sony superzooms and probably the two you are looking at).

Two things to consider:

1 - 18x zoom is not 1.8x the "magnification" of your existing 10x zoom. The important thing is the long end 35mm equivalent (486mm of the Ollie compared to 504mm of the Pannie compared to 380mm of your Ollie 765).

2 - At these focal lengths (and say 670mm with Teleconverter), it gets more difficult to get sharp hand held pictures of small subjects like birds because there is less light getting on the sensor and the shutter speeds are too slow. Image Stabilisation is a great help but without a tripod, the number of sharply focused pictures can be low.

As you rightly say, DSLRs and fast expensive lenses offer the best IQ but the cost and size of the equipment is very high compared to the new superzooms. And you will have less reach unless you have a very large and heavy lens.
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Old Jan 20, 2008, 10:18 AM   #3
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eharrim wrote:
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At 10x optical it does a good job but I have shots that are quite often 150 yards and at 4mpixels and 10x it just doesn't cut it.
I'm going to be honest here. 150 yards is a tremendous distance. No digicam is going to get detailed results at 150 yards. You would need about 1200mm equivelent to get detailed shots at 150 yards or roughly about 42x zoom (assuming a 28mm equivelent at the wide end).

You need to be much closer to your subject.
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Old Jan 20, 2008, 10:36 AM   #4
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Take a look at the Panasonic forum. People are posting pics with an FZ18 using teleconverters.

I think you would like this camera. It has image stabalization.
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Old Jan 20, 2008, 11:55 AM   #5
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eharrim wrote:
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I've spent the last month or two reading this and other forums on picture quality of the super zooms with some mixed reviews. I had decided to get either the FZ 18 or the Oly 560. I have a Oly 765C and it's been a great camera. At 10x optical it does a good job but I have shots that are quite often 150 yards and at 4mpixels and 10x it just doesn't cut it. Does anyone have some zoomed in distance shots I can see that will give me an idea of which camera to go with? I realize a DSLR is the real way to go but I don't want to carry around bulky lenses. Will either of these cameras give quality shots at longer distances?
Unless you're doing this as a pro, a DSLR is not necessarily the "REAL" way to go.

I recently divested myself of a very nice, but very heavy and expensive Olympus DSLR outfit because, quite frankly, it was a royal PIA to take anywhere. I kept the FL50 flash and bought myself a Panasonic FZ50 that's compatible with the flash because you really do need an external flash to do good flash work, and dedicated units make doing that so easy.

Go to the Panasonic forum at DPReview if you have any thought about the quality of the tele end of these type cameras. You quickly get over that. Most of those guys seem to be into bird shooting. I use mine for much more traditional type stuff...general, travel and family. This folder is typical..

http://gmchappell.smugmug.com/gallery/3547385#200886345

If you don't get good results with an FZ at the tele end of the zoom with these type subjects, it will be due to a problem with your technique, not the quality of the lens.

The tele end (420mm) is fantastic. Here's a shot I took of the Opera Garnier in Paris..



then zoomed to 415mm to capture detail up close..





I didn't go all the way to 420mm alot during this trip, but did here..



and here in shooting through the clock face at the Orsay Museum, where you can see atmosphericeffects you'll sometimes getin shooting at distance...



and others..








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Old Jan 20, 2008, 12:13 PM   #6
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Thanks for the help guys. You're right 150 yards is a long ways to expect great reults without spending big money for the right DSLR and lense. I guess what I was concerned about is with all the push on getting big zoom on these advanced point and shoot cameras , I was concerned about losing the quality. Regardless with my camera at 4 megapixels vs. the 8 with these others I have to believe at my limit of around 380mm these two will both outperform mine at the same distance. I would like to be able to print a good not perfect but decent quality shot up to the 11x17 range. I do know mine doesn't have IS and I can see that alone makes a huge difference at longer shots. Thanks again.
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