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Old Jul 26, 2004, 3:11 PM   #1
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I am thinking about buying a 5 megapixel camera with a 12X optical zoom (Panasonic FX20 when it's available). I want to take some pictures when I'm birding and I really like the12x zoom. I would buy a teleconverter to get an even closer image. My question is would I do better to buy one of the cameras with 8 megapixels and a shorter zoom lens plus a converter lens? It wouldn't get me closer but because it's 8 megapixels perhaps I would be able to enlarge and crop the photo to get a really close up photo with better detail than a 5 megapixel. I'm not looking for anything larger than perhaps an 8x10.

As you can see, I am at the bottom of the ladder on the learning curve when it comes to digital photography. I'ven taken tons of photos with my old Olympus C2100 but reproduction and printing is something new to me. I'd appreciate any help you can give me.
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Old Jul 26, 2004, 3:35 PM   #2
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To make an image look like you used twice as much optical zoom by cropping, would require 4 times the resolutionto get the same subject detail. This is because resolution is computed by multiplying width x height.

So, even a 2 Megapixel Model with a 35mm equivalent focal length of 400mm, would have just as much subject detail (number of pixels representing the subject), as an 8 Megapixel Model with a lens having a 35mm equivalent focal length of 200mm.

So, you can't crop as much as you think.

Here is a chart prepared by digital_ray_of_light, comparing many popular models.

Note that even the 2 Megapixel Panasonic DMC-FZ1 model (with it's 420mm equivalent focal length) will be able to capture more subject detail (pixels representing the subject) at full zoom, compared to the 8 Megapixel models with 200mm equivalent focal lengths (like the Canon Pro 1, Minolta A2, and Sony DSC-F828 ). Of course, the longer lens of the new Nikon 8700 is a different story.

http://www.geocities.com/digital_ray_of_light/zoomzoomv5.html

As far as a teleconverter, that would get you closer. Also, consider how many of your photos would need to be a max focal length on a camera like the new Panasonic. You may take less photos at it's full zoom than you think -- throwing the advantage back to the 8MP models with shorter focal length lenses.

However, takeImage Stabilization into consideration, too -- since it could help to get sharp photos, in conditions that cameras without this feature would not be able to without blur from camera shake.


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Old Jul 26, 2004, 8:34 PM   #3
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:-)Thanks, Jim. I think I'll be happy with the FZ20
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Old Jul 28, 2004, 5:27 PM   #4
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Great question CGirl, I was wondering the same thing. I am also looking at the FZ20. What's your second choice? Have you heard as to when the FZ20 is going reach the stores?
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