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Old Jan 29, 2005, 2:07 AM   #1
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OK, I have decided on the FZ20. New questions:

I see that I can get a very good price online vs. local. I'm sure we are not allowed to mention specific sites here, but if I research and look for user feedback, are these sites OK for a purchase of this nature?

If I use an internet site to buy, will I be able to go to a local store for any warranty problems, maintenance, etc?

Please explain the difference between interchangeable lenses and a lens that will take another, say wide angle, with an adapter (such as the case with the FZ20).

Besides the bigger SD card and a second battery, what other accessories are recommended for initial use/protection?

(This may belong on another thread...) What options are available for the external flash besides the Panasonic FL28.

Thanks...I'm a newbie (duh) and I appreciate all the kind responses and great information I have recvd.
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Old Jan 29, 2005, 11:09 AM   #2
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MissMelly wrote:
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OK, I have decided on the FZ20. New questions:
Good camera... best ultra-zoom IMO...

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I see that I can get a very good price online vs. local. I'm sure we are not allowed to mention specific sites here, but if I research and look for user feedback, are these sites OK for a purchase of this nature?
I'm not really familiar with online stuff (although I bought my camera online from zipzoomfly.com) so you should see what people say in other threads... I think you should read the user opinions from sites like shop.com, resellerratings.com, amazon.com, etc...

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If I use an internet site to buy, will I be able to go to a local store for any warranty problems, maintenance, etc?
If the online store has a physical store then you may be able to return to the physical store. But you should read their conditions to see if that is the case... if the online store has no physical store then returning is more cumbersome. You have to physically mail it back and stuff like that. The good online ones take back defective products without questions but the smaller no-name stores may be a risk. In the worst case, you will have the manufacturer warranty. So you can always go back to Panasonic, in this case, and see if they will fix the defect... Usually you will be at the mercy of the manufactruer warranty since the store return period is generally very short (a few weeks to one month)...

If you buy online and want to return a non-defective product (eg. you don't like the camera even though it is working properly), then online purchases are a bit risky. I think people still get away with it but you may get rejected...

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Please explain the difference between interchangeable lenses and a lens that will take another, say wide angle, with an adapter (such as the case with the FZ20).
With interchangeable lenses, which are only available for DSLRs, you can physically remove the (main) lens and replace it with another. With add-on lenses, you can only alter the existing lens on the camera (eg. increase telephoto distance by 20% or increase wide angle by 20%). With interchangeable lenses, the camera can be made into anything (eg. an ultra-zoom camera, a wide angle camera, a macro-oriented camera, etc) by simple changing the main lens. With the add-on-only cameras, you are limited by the main lens. For example, the Panasonic you are buying will pretty much be an ultra-zoom camera. It would be very difficult to make that into a wide-angle camera, with very large wide-angle.

Furthermore, the add-on lenses have limitations and "shortcomings". For example, wide-angle add-on lenses often have warping problems; telephoto lenses may have vignetting (darkened corners) or darker pictures (less light coming in). The interchangeable lenses, on the other hand, are far superior and don't have these issues.

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Besides the bigger SD card and a second battery, what other accessories are recommended for initial use/protection?
Don't know about the Panasonic but typically you would have to buy a camera bag (lol, I know that sounds obvious but still allow some room in the budget )

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(This may belong on another thread...) What options are available for the external flash besides the Panasonic FL28.
Don't know...

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Thanks...I'm a newbie (duh) and I appreciate all the kind responses and great information I have recvd.
You are welcome
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Old Jan 29, 2005, 12:19 PM   #3
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Thank you for your in-depth explanation about the lenses. I saw they sold a wide angle lens for the FZ20, now I understand how that is different from my Pentax. I also appreciate your other information, even the bag! duh, totally forgot that. Since I have lens pockets for my Pentax, I'm sure that bag would be too big.

BTW, I see you are from Toronto. My husband's family is from there. We spent Christmas (beautiful snow!) there and go to Stoney Lake every summer. Nice break from Texas, lol.
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Old Jan 29, 2005, 12:19 PM   #4
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Sivaram made some great points. There are good and bad on-line dealers. Resellerrating.com isa great place to get a review. As for maintenance, maintenance isalmost always performed by the manufacturer anyway so I don't think that's a big consideration. The big one is making sure that the company you are dealing with is respectable, will give you the exact product you ordered and will take it back no-hassle if there is something wrong with it. The safest on-line store is BH Photo & Video - they have a huge brick-and-mortar store in NY. But, their camera prices still tend to be a bit high. Beach Camera and Buydig.com are great sites and I have also had great results from DigitalPhotoClub and Butterfly Photo. You also want to make sure it is a USA camera and not grey-market (manufactured for sale outside US) - grey market cameras will not be covered by warranty. And make sure when you look on-line that they list all the contents of the box - verify those contents against the manufacturer's site. A common trick by many unreputable companies is to remove items and sell them as separate accessories. Also, many stores that sell cameras at a good price will make up the money on the accessories - so you may save $50 on the camera but they may overcharge for a camera bag and most certainly for a CF card. Zipzomfly.com and Newegg.com are absolute great places to buy memory cards from - perfectly reputable, fast and great prices. Good luck with your purchase and welcome to the forum.
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Old Jan 29, 2005, 1:15 PM   #5
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Interesting...did not know you could mention names on this site. Anyone know anything about Broadway Photo? My husband has used them in the past, but when I read feedback there are one or two complaints about extra charges for USA warranty (don't have specifics, it may not apply to my purchase) abd receiving an overseas version (again, no specifics on product). Worrisome, but FZ20 listed at $150 less than retail.
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Old Jan 29, 2005, 1:32 PM   #6
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Well i agree with everything said. Great choice! my dad just purchased that same camera from a online vendor and had no problems. I would also recommend getting a good tripod along with the bag, memory, battery deal. Hth
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Old Jan 29, 2005, 1:51 PM   #7
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Some of those cut rate sites make buying a real drag. They try to bully you into buying overly expensive accessories, tell you your camera will not come with a manual or warrantee unless you pay extra, etc. etc. etc.

I'm suprised the Federal Trade Commission hasn't shut down some of these sites as fast as they arise. The way the names change, I think some operators are shutting down and springing up under other names as quickly as they can.

I've always had good luck with B&H Photo Video in New York. They have very knowledgeable staff. They aren't always the cheapest price on the net, although their prices are much more competitive these days. They ship well, and will return their items without a hassle. They don't try to upsell you on overly expensive accessories either.

I've found the web usually much cheaper than a Best Buy or a Circuit City or a Staples. The retail stores mark up prices by 20-30 percent without adding any real value. I've overhead the salespeople at these stores trying to answer a customer's question, and it's obvious they have little knowledge.


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Old Jan 30, 2005, 12:46 AM   #8
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MissMelly,

Before you buy from any place online or other, Check this out..

http://www.reselleratings.com

There are a lot of good ones and a lot of bad ones and a lot of just plain thieves. Any place you want to look at, look them up at that link. If most people were happy with them you can probably feel somewhat safe. If most were unhappy, you run the risk of joining that crowd.

You can send me a private message if you want to know where I bought mine.

Re your flash question, A lot of people are using the sunpack 383 and most that I've seen swear by it. I haven't tried one yet so I'm only passing along what I've read.

Re your question about the add on lenses, check the panasonic forum and do a search on "adapter" and you'll have enough info to read for the next several weeks. For right now though, the camera, card, battery will give you plenty to experiment with..


Jeff
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Old Jan 30, 2005, 1:49 AM   #9
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After purchasing 3 Digi cameras from B &Hphoto, Icanrecommend them. They were international purchases from NY USA to New Zealand. All arrived promply in good condition.

Quite amazing, but goes to show their B&H service is the best.
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Old Jan 30, 2005, 3:14 AM   #10
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Jeff and "Baz"

This is the second time I have tried to post this, hope it doesn't show up twice.

I have purchased my FZ20 at B&H. Thank you for the excellent recommendations, and thank you to everyone who has given me such excellent advice on the purchase of my camera.

I loved the ratings site, and have forwarded it to several online shoppers that I know. I was extremely pleased with everything I saw about B&H, plusI got an online price much lower that what was originally posted. Now I can get pics of a dance competition this Saturday!I'm off tofind advicefor the best 512 MB SD memory card...

Baz...your pic reminds me somewhat of Mt. Fuji in Japan. I was there back in the dinosaur days. ( :
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