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Old Nov 21, 2004, 5:53 PM   #1
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My Olympus has 2 MP and 10X zoom without IS. The Panasonic is 3.2 MP with 12X zoom and IS. I've got the bug to buy it. Some reviews also say that it's very fast. Should I just hold off and hope this feeling goes away? Or is the Panasonic that good?
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Old Nov 21, 2004, 8:19 PM   #2
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I have the c700 and just bought a nikon5700 and you cant even compare the two . my opinion , the c700 is junk , every pic i took indoors was grainy ,I tried everything even called olymups and got nowhere, so i bought the 5700 and love it . i know this does not help you but , what did you think of the c700?
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Old Nov 21, 2004, 8:34 PM   #3
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The Olympus was my first digital, so I'm not a good critic. Of course it seemed slow to respond since I was used to a 35 mm camera. I love the zoom, but got really blurry photos at a concert. I didn't notice the graininess you're talking about, but you sure can't enlarge much with 2 MP. I'm very much an amateur, so I probably have lower expectations than a lot of people. I think 3 MP with zoom will be enough for me. I'd really like to have shorter lag time, image stabilization and no bigger size than the Olympus.




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Old Nov 21, 2004, 10:30 PM   #4
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I think you should hold off... the difference between 2MP and 3MP isn't THAT big. The zoom difference (10x vs 12x) isn't that big of a deal either. The only key difference is IS... as far as FZ3 being fast, I'm not familiar with the old cameras but it isn't anything spectacular. Also, keep in mind that sometimes people refer to the FZ3 as having a fast lens (which actually means that it has a low aperature i.e. it lets in more light) and has nothing to do with camera operation speed.

I don't think you will really see much of a difference and be impressed by upgrading. So I recommend that you just wait.

I predict that the ultra-zooms will have good video in 1 to 2 years (right now only the Konica Minolta, Canon, and Olympus seem to have good videos). The LCD size will also increase from the puny 1.5" (on the FZ3) to something larger. Furthermore, the electronic viewfinder has to be significantly improved for the lower end ultra-zooms (FZ3/Canon S1 IS/etc) because they all suck!!! All you see through the EVF are highly pixellated images How is your Olympus? Does that have an EVF or an optical viewfinder?

Upgrading when one or more of the features above become a standard is best... in particular, you really want larger LCD and better EVF... (of course, you can also consider the higher-end ones, like the Panasonic FZ20 which has 2" LCD, good EVF, 5MP, etc)...
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Old Nov 21, 2004, 10:40 PM   #5
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Thanks for the honest opinion. You're right. I thought they meant short lag time when they said fast. I just looked at specs for the two, and it looks like the Panasonic is about the sametime from "push the button" to photo taken. What I "really" want is a big, quick, zoom in a tiny camera. Maybe they'll get to those some day. In the meantime, you are probably correct in telling me to wait. Now, I'll really try to be objective about the whole thing and sit tight.
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Old Nov 24, 2004, 1:42 AM   #6
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I am looking to replace an Olympus C700UZ that I sent with my son off to college. It was an ok camera, that took ok pictures (not bad for 2mp, but not great). Here are the things I didn't like about it:

* shutter/focus lag
* no Image Stabization
* noisey images at long shutter speeds
* short movies (just 15sec at 320x240)
* no optical zoom during movies
* focus motor sometimes loud during movies

When we first bought the Olympus, the movie mode was just a novelty. However, it has become just as important of a feature as still images. I have been looking at theKonica-Minolta Dimage Z3 and the Panasonic FZ20. Here's what I have come up with for the advantages/disadvantages between the two (from my perspective of course):

Minolta Z-3
PRO's:
(in order of my priority)
* zoom during movie mode
* quick focusing
* AA batteries
* 640x480 movie mode
* less expensive
* physically smaller
CON's:
* fuzzier pictures (4MP and not a Leica lens)
* more digital-noise in long exposures
* SD card instead of microdrive

Panasonic FZ-20
PRO's:
* sharper pictures (better lens and 5MP)
*faster lens (f/2.8 ) at full zoom
* manual focus ring
* less digital noise in long exposures
* CF or microdrive
CON's:
* no zoom in movies
* slow focusing
* proprietary batteries
* no high-res movies (320x240 only)
* more expensive
* physically larger

I am leaning toward the Z3. The sample pics I've seen look better than anything my Olympus has produced. It will be good enough for my needs (beyondnormal snapshots, I take pictures of R/C model airplanes... during construction,static upon completion, and while flying in the air. Lots of pics on my website below).

I wish Panasonic would come out with an FZ25 or something with a better movie mode and faster/quieter focusing and zoom. I do like the Lecia lens.

Andy Steere
http://astro.umsystem.edu/andy/rc/
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Old Nov 24, 2004, 11:20 AM   #7
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Thanks, Andy. Those cameras are a little bigger/heavier than I want. Besides my Olympus I have an "altoids tin" Pentax Optio S. I don't even know if I can force myself to carry my Olympus when I'm traveling. But then, of course, I miss the 10X zoom.
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Old Nov 24, 2004, 11:22 AM   #8
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Andy Steere wrote:
Quote:
[size=2]
I wish Panasonic would come out with an FZ25 or something with a better movie mode and faster/quieter focusing and zoom. I do like the Lecia lens.
lol... just wait until next year. The FZ20 and FZ3 are this year's models and they just came out in the latter part of the year. So don't expect anything soon.... however, I think Panasonic will likely increase the movie mode in the next version. I'm just guessing here and don't have any facts from Panasonic, but 640x480 will become a standard next year in the ultra-zooms.

The interesting thing will be to see the reaction of the competitors, assuming Panasonic can incorporate 640x480 movie. Once that is done, the Panasonic Lumix line will totally dominate the ultra-zoom market (there is nothing else other cameras offer more). It will be interesting to see what Canon does with its S1 (newer processor should reduce the focus problems but can it improve its lens to 12x zoom at F2.8 throughout?) Will Olympus and Fuji add image stabilization? I guess Konica Minolta will have an edge in video, and probably incorporate 800x600 video (possibly with MPEG4 compression), but is that enough?
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Old Nov 24, 2004, 11:57 AM   #9
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I'm not fully in agreement about upgrading unless the movie mode is important to you. 2Mp gives 150PPI at 8 X 10 where 3.2Mp is over 180PPI. You can see the difference in a modern photo printer. The difference is more obvious if you have to crop.

And stabilization is a great help. Combine the faster lens at full zoom with stabilization and you can shoot without a tripod in many more lighting situations. The stabilization is also great for available light at wider angles.

The FZ3 does have a decent continuous focus mode. With that on you can pre-focus in most situations, which makes the shutter release pretty fast. It does use a little more battery though.

The Z3 with f4.5 at full zoom loses some of the advantage of stabilization. Stabilization is worth a little over two f-stops and the Z3 is over an f-stop slower.



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Old Nov 24, 2004, 6:10 PM   #10
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I didn't realize the FZ3 has continuous autofocus. Exactly what does that mean?

Thanks again for all advice.

Edit: Slipe, check your messages. Do you highly recommend this feature? Is it good for taking pictures of little children? (I never seem to get the photo - takes too long with shutter lag)

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