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Old Mar 4, 2011, 5:58 PM   #1
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Default Sony HX1 or Panasonic FZ35

During my research on bridge cameras I found this forum last night and found myself reading for several hours. I'm looking for recommendations on merits of these cameras.

Here are some things I would like to be able to do with my new camera. I take pictures both indoors and out. I take actions shots sometimes and probably mostly of my dogs. No grandchildren yet. So fast action shot capability is not a top priority. Although now that I think about it those birds I couldn't take before might be nice. LOL I take a lot of close up pictures of smaller items and would like a decent macro and also decent low light capability. I understand that bridge cameras are not the best in low light but that is something I will deal with.

I am much more interested in still picture photo quality than video. My current camera has a 10x optical zoom and I want more zoom of course since I am looking at bridge cameras. My current camera also has a view finder. I need a viewfinder and a dedicated button to quickly switch from viewfinder to LCD.

I looked at several different models and came up with the Sony HX1 and the Panasonic FZ35. I eliminated the FZ40 when I discovered the problems with the batteries--hard to find and expensive. The Best Buy salesman was really pushing the Canon Powershot SX30IS. I took one look at it and told him it was too big for what I wanted. He continued to push it though LOL

The Panasonic really looks sweet at its current price point. Amazon fulfilled is $218 shipped and at Vann's through Amazon it is $219. It also has the plus of using SD cards. Fulfilled by Amazon the Sony is $309 and at fumfie.com for $289 shipped. Is the Sony really worth the extra money for what I would like to do with a camera?

I was ready to pop for the Panasonic but thought I'd get opinions here first. Thanks in advance for your advice

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Old Mar 4, 2011, 7:14 PM   #2
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The FZ40 batteries aren't that hard to find. When I checked 2 weeks ago, B&H and Amazon both had them in stock. J&R, Adorama, and Buy.com all have them in stock currently. They are expensive but so are all authentic Panasonic batteries. A single battery will give you over 500 shots btw. I haven't had a need for a spare.

Anyway, without a second thought, I would recommend the FZ35 over the HX1. The HX1 IQ is pretty good for a superzoom but no better than the FZ35 and it is weaker than the FZ35 in virtually every other way. Having owned all 4 cameras mentioned in your post, the HX1 went back after 2 days and the SX30 got ruled out for its excessive CA, mediocre handling, and lack of a an option to limit ISO. I decided to keep the FZ40 but the FZ35 was 2nd runner up - both great cams imho.
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Old Mar 4, 2011, 8:50 PM   #3
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I agree, the FZ35 is clearly the better choice.

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Old Mar 4, 2011, 11:21 PM   #4
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Thanks both of you!! I'm glad that you have used the cameras I mentioned too. I have ordered the FZ35 and a sdhc card through amazon. Thought that the price might go up as the supplies dwindle. Now I can't wait to get it!!!! Now to figure out which backpack to buy. LOL

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Old Mar 5, 2011, 8:08 AM   #5
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Congratulations on purchasing the FZ35!

Be sure to stop by the Panasonic P+S folder. We have a large active group of FZ35, FZ45, and FZ100 users. It is a friendly group and helpful as well. I think you would enjoy it and learn a lot.

I have also attached a FZ35 Beginner's Guide that I wrote last summer to help new owners get started.


Panasonic FZ-35/38 Beginner’s Guide

The easiest way to get started is to first read completely through the Owner’s Manual and charge the battery. When you are ready to take your first photos, do this:

(1) Set “P” on the Mode Selector. “P” stands for Programmed Auto Mode. It is an Automatic Mode that allows the user to make adjustments to the ISO/Sensitivity, to the Exposure Compensation, the Flash Compensation, the WB or White Balance, the Burst Mode, the Scene Modes, and the Focusing Options.

(2) Set to ISO to “Auto ISO. You probably want to consider limiting how far the camera can increase the ISO/Sensitivity setting by itself. I would recommend that for outdoor photos that you limit the ISO/Sensitivity increase to ISO 400. For indoor use limit the ISO increase to ISO 800.


(3) Set the WB to White Balance to “Auto WB” when shooting out doors. If you are shooting with flash indoors you can keep the Auto WB in place. If you are shooting indoors without flash, use tungsten or incandescent WB, it is indicated by the small logo symbol of a light bulb. Set the Flash mode selector to the Auto Flash position. This is not a perfect mode and there are two instances where the camera can be confused on when to deploy the flash.

(4) Set the focus point initially to center point focus. This allows you to select
exactly where the camera will focus. Focus is attained by gently pressing the
shutter release to the half way point. When the camera locks focus, it will signal
that focus lock to you. Now, while holding the shutter release at the half way
point, re-frame your photo as necessary, using the EVF, or Electronic View
Finder.

(5) When you at pleased with the photo framing, gently depress the shutter to its full length. The emphasis here is on the word gently. Some users refer to the action as squeezing the shutter slowly. The main thing you want to avoid is jabbing at the shutter, as this will cause sudden camera movement overpowering the IS or image stabilization system and blurring the photo.

(6) After the photo has been recorded, check how the exposure looks on the cameras LCD screen. If it is to light, it is over exposed. If it is too dark, it is under exposed. You are looking for the midway point where the properly exposed photo looks like are properly tuned TV set. A photo that is too light can be correct by using Minus Exposure Compensation. Make the initial Minus Exposure Compensation setting EV-0.7, take the photo, and check the result on the camera’s LCD screen. Then increase or decrease the Exposure Compensation to attain the proper LCD screen appearance. If the photo is too dark, you will have to apply Positive Exposure Compensation. Begin with a setting of EV+0.7, and then again adjust the Exposure compensation again, as required to attain the proper LCD screen appearance.


(7) After the photo is taken, you will notice that a flashing red light will blink on the camera’s LCD screen. This is an indication that the camera is recording the image to the camera’s flash memory card.

(8) If you are indoors and desire to take a flash photo using the camera’s built-in flash unit (a) check that the Flash Selector is still selected to the Auto Flash mode. (b) recheck that the WB is still set to Auto ISO. (c) Keep the camera to subject distance at 11.5 feet or less to achieve the proper exposure. If you are photographing a group and you must increase the amount of light projected from the camera’s built-in flash unit so that the Flash Range can be increased from the normal maximum Flash Range of 11.5 feet, to a greater value. The adjustment on the Flash Compensation scale works in the same way as Exposure Compensation did. Positive Flash Compensation increases the flash output and the Flash Range. Negative Flash Compensation reduces the flash output and the Flash Range.


(9) If you want to take a close up photo, where the camera to subject distance is 30 cm (.99 feet) or less, you will have to select the Macro or Close-up Mode whose symbol is a small Tulip logo. Again the same photo taking procedure will apply. Gently depress the shutter release to the half way point, the camera locks the focus and give you the focus locked signal. Re-frame your focus as necessary after allowing the camera to focus on the exact point desired. If the photo environment’s lighting is low, select the flash, WB , and Auto ISO, as previously described. The built-in flash unit will reduce the light output of the flash due to the reduced Flash Range between camera and subject in this Macro or Close-up mode. After taking your close-up photo check the camera’s LCD screen for proper exposure. If the exposure is too light or too dark you will use the Exposure Compensation procedures outlined above. If you are taking the Macro or Close-up photo while employing flash, once again check the LCD screen for proper exposure. If the result is too light or too dark, you will use the Flash Compensation feature as described previously.

(10)As lighting conditions change you will have to adjust your camera’s WB to get
the correct color in your photo. There are fixed WB settings for bright sunshine,
cloudy or foggy conditions, tungsten or incandescent lighting, and for fluorescent
lighting (several varieties).

(11)Keep in mind that there are indeed minimum focus distances for each lens
position. In the Macro or Close up mode, the minimum focus distance is 2.5
inches. In the normal focus mode, without any zooming, the minimum focus
distance is 36 inches, or 3 feet. As the camera zooms out further, expect the
minimum focus to also increase. So, if the camera will not lock focus, the
problem is most probably that you are at less than the minimum focus distance
for that lens setting.

(12) The better the light, the better your photos will be. As the light level decreases
measurably you will find the photo quality will fall and the camera will have a
harder time recording your photo. So good light is essential to good photos.

(13) Photographers are like concert pianists: the more you practice and learn, the
better your photos will be.

(14) Take your time and learn how the changes that you make to your camera,
directly affect how your camera records your photo.

(15) Here is a quick review of the options on your Mode Selector:

IA= Intelligent Auto. Keep in mind that the ISO/Sensitivity range can be selected in the camera menu as well.
P=Programed Auto. This works just like Full Automatic only it allows you to make some changes to ISO/Sensitivity, flash options, Exposure Compensation, Flash Compensation, White Balance etc.
S=Shutter Priority. You select the shutter speed and the camera adjusts for the proper exposure by adjusting the aperture.
A=Aperture Priority. You select the aperture and the camera automatically sets the proper exposure by adjust the shutter speed.
M=Manual Mode. You select the shutter speed and aperture and the camera reports if your selection will produce the produce the proper exposure, by displaying the wrong exposure in red color and the correct exposure in green color. So understand that using the Manual Mode will require some manual adjustments on your part.

Important Note: This guide is not intended to replace the Panasonic FZ35/38 Owner’s Manual. It is only an informational guide to facilitate new owners getting started with their FZ35/38 cameras.
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Old Mar 6, 2011, 12:50 AM   #6
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Thanks mtclimber for the beginner's guide. I have printed it out in anticipation of the camera's arrival!!!
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Old Mar 9, 2011, 7:15 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FiveO View Post
The FZ40 batteries aren't that hard to find. When I checked 2 weeks ago, B&H and Amazon both had them in stock. J&R, Adorama, and Buy.com all have them in stock currently. They are expensive but so are all authentic Panasonic batteries. A single battery will give you over 500 shots btw. I haven't had a need for a spare.
I agree the FZ40 battery isn't too hard to find. However, the biggest issue is the price. Yes, OEM batteries can be a bit pricey. However, the FZ35 battery is almost half of what the FZ40 battery costs. That's just uncalled for. I actually prefer OEM batteries, but there is no way I am paying $60 for a tiny battery. Since the FZ35 battery is unchipped there are numerous alternatives to OEM batteries like Lenmar brand. Lenmar seems to be the leading aftermarket battery manufacturer. I know there are a couple aftermarket FZ40 batteries out there, but they are unchipped causing issues with the FZ40.
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Old Mar 9, 2011, 7:36 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JayC_783 View Post
I agree the FZ40 battery isn't too hard to find. However, the biggest issue is the price. Yes, OEM batteries can be a bit pricey. However, the FZ35 battery is almost half of what the FZ40 battery costs. That's just uncalled for. I actually prefer OEM batteries, but there is no way I am paying $60 for a tiny battery. Since the FZ35 battery is unchipped there are numerous alternatives to OEM batteries like Lenmar brand. Lenmar seems to be the leading aftermarket battery manufacturer. I know there are a couple aftermarket FZ40 batteries out there, but they are unchipped causing issues with the FZ40.
Well Panasonic chips all of their current model batteries (as do many other manufacturers) so while I agree with you that they are pricey, it won't stop me from purchasing any new Panasonic cameras. You can still find 3rd party batteries that will work in the FZ40 and I think there will be more in time, just like with the ZS7. None of them last as long or hold a charge as well as the OEMs, but they are far cheaper in this case so it's probably still beneficial.
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Old Mar 9, 2011, 9:13 PM   #9
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The issue with using third party batteries in the FZ40 is they are unchipped. This results in the battery indicator disappearing and other erratic behavior. I've read numerous posts over at the DP Review forums about it. Maybe in time chipped batteries will drop in price. For now I will stick to unchipped. I think Sony uses chipped batteries in some of their cameras, but I am unaware of who else may be using them.
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Old Mar 10, 2011, 2:12 AM   #10
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3rd party batteries for the FZ40 don't work any better or worse than the same 3rd party batteries for the FZ35. It makes no difference to me though as I won't use them in my cameras, though there's really no point in discussing that.

In addition to Panasonic and Sony, Canon uses chips in some batteries as well. Several companies also use them in printer cartridges. I'm not fond of the practice but I'm not going to p*ss and moan over a 1-time purchase of $50, nor will I let it dictate which product I purchase. It's hard enough choosing the right camera based on IQ, features, etc. - I'm not going to let something like an extra $20 for a battery sway me. To each his/her own though.
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