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Old Mar 30, 2005, 8:21 AM   #1
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I have a five year old digital camera and would like to purchase a new one. The most important features to me are the best optical zoom, image stabilization, at least 4 megapixels, and a quick shutter. I take a lot of nature shots (i.e. dolphins, whales, deer, bear, etc) I don't need the camera until July but am going on a trip next week and am trying to decide if I should wait to get the DMC-FZ5 or should purchase the DMC-FZ20 now.
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Old Mar 30, 2005, 12:23 PM   #2
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The FZ20 is a larger camera. It is also a more capable camera, but the extra features might not be worth the size and price to you. The FZ5 is a half stop slower at full zoom. That gives you a little better low light capability and a little better ability to capture motion. Not a big deal though. The FZ20 has a stronger flash and a hot shoe. An inexpensive automatic bounce flash unit can really improve your photography, and the strong built in flash with the long zoom can be handy. My guess is that the FZ5 will be a little noisier.
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Old Mar 30, 2005, 2:31 PM   #3
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Thanks for the info. I spoke to someone at a camera store today and they thought I was wasting my time looking at the Lumix. Not sure if this is because they do no carry the Lumix. They thought I should be looking at prosumer or SLR cameras for what I want to do. As I stated in my first message, I take a lot of nature shot (dolphins, whales, deer, etc) but do take some night indoor shots as well. Any advice on whether I am even in the ballpark with the Lumix or whether I should be looking at a prosumer or SLR. I am really unclear as to the purpose of each.
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Old Mar 30, 2005, 2:36 PM   #4
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If the larger size is not that important to you go with the FZ20 now. I personally like the size. After all the FZ5 is nothing you can stick into your pocket either. I am thinking about getting an inexpensive second camera I can carry around at all times. The FZ5 and FZ20 are very similar. The sensor is the same, I think, so the FZ5 should not be any noisier. The loss of 1/2 an f-stop could make a slight difference when capturing images at full zoom in cloudy weather, but it's not too much of a difference from f2.8 to f3.3. Personally I would not want to give up the ability to use an external flash. It comes in very handy in in-doors situation where you want to zoom in and use the flash at, let's say, a 50ft. distance. So, the missing hotshoe is a big disadvantage for me. The FZ5 supposedly has improved auto-focus, which is already pretty reliable in the FZ20, but not perfect. All-in-all they are very similar cameras. Image quality in 99% of cases is probably identical. Only differences: FZ5 is smaller, loses 1/2 an f-stop in higher zooms, has no hot shoe, but newer auto-focusing technology. Your call.
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Old Mar 30, 2005, 5:45 PM   #5
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mcc0911 wrote:
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Thanks for the info. I spoke to someone at a camera store today and they thought I was wasting my time looking at the Lumix. Not sure if this is because they do no carry the Lumix. They thought I should be looking at prosumer or SLR cameras for what I want to do. As I stated in my first message, I take a lot of nature shot (dolphins, whales, deer, etc) but do take some night indoor shots as well. Any advice on whether I am even in the ballpark with the Lumix or whether I should be looking at a prosumer or SLR. I am really unclear as to the purpose of each.
One of the bigger advantages of dslr is high ISO. This is helpful in low light, but most likely your shots of animals will be done during the daytime. If so, then the FZ's are perfectly capable of taking daytime shots, even at the higher zoom levels.

Night indoor shots will most likely need a flash. The FZ20 does make it a little easier to use an auxilliary flash, but one does not absolutely have to have a hotshoe in order to do this. If you want the smaller size of the FZ5, you can still add a slave flash on an "L" bracket.

If you will be doing a lot of indoor shots in low light and without flash, then you will need the advantage of the high ISO's that a dslr gives. Otherwise, an FZ will provide you with a very good all-round camera for much less cost. For the most part, it just depends on how much money you can spend. The more you spend, the better stuff you get.....

PhilR.


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Old Mar 30, 2005, 7:26 PM   #6
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I am in the EXACT same situation as you. I have been reading countless review and doing hours of research trying to figure out whether to get the DMC-F20Z or the DMC-F5Z.

I am not 100% yet but I am most likely going with the DMC-F5Z since it is essentially the same camera as the FZ20 but more conpact which appeals to me. The FZ20 was a bit awkward when I tested it out as far as the lens being so wide.

I will be using this camera for a lot of nature photography but I also wanted a camera I can bring out on a night on the town without breaking out a huge piece of equipment. I don't feel that I will need the external flash so the lack of a hot shoe is unimportant to me. I will however miss the manual focus =\ .

I do know that the FZ5 costs about $100 less and has longer battery life which are 2 more pluses in my book.

I believe the release date for the FZ5 is April 10? Not too sure - going to call Panasonic for a confirmation tomorrow.
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Old Mar 30, 2005, 7:40 PM   #7
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I agree that the guy in the store didn't recommend the Lumix because he couldn't sell it to you. It is an excellent camera for the money. You cannot go wrong with the FZ20 or the FZ5.


Here is a thread of pictures I posted playing around with my FZ20: http://www.stevesforums.com/forums/v...mp;forum_id=23.

However, is it the perfect camera? No! It does not live up to a prosumer camera in conditions that could benefit from a higher ISO such as indoor sports. A larger sensor would help a lot to expand the ISO range. But in most conditions this is a great camera. Outdoor action shots in bright light should come out very well.


I sent a letter to Panasonic asking for improvements that could be made. Naturally, if they did all of the below, the camera would probably cost at least $300 more. I'd be willing to spend it.

Dear Panasonic,

I am the owner of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ20. I love the camera, but I wanted to make a few suggestions on how to improve on it.

1) Instead of the fixed LCD screen, make it a swivel screen. Having previously owned a Canon Powershot G5, it was a huge step backward for me not having the flexibility of the swivel screen.
2) Improve on the macro ability. Many newer cameras have a "Super Macro" mode which allow close-ups as close as 1 cm.
3) Get rid of the "dead zone" in tele macro mode. As soon as the zoom exceeds 3x, one has to step back 2 meters (!) in order to be able to focus. That's a unique problem to this camera.
4) Use a larger CCD, ideally 2/3 inch or more. While 8 or more megapixels would be great too, a larger CCD is more crucial to keep down noise and add detail. In my wet dreams, you'd employ the Fovean x3 or similar technology on a 36x24mm CCD. I know this represents a challenge given that the large optical zoom makes it tough to incorporate a large sensor into a relatively compact body. However, the Nikon Coolpix 8800 incorporates a 2/3" 8MP sensor behind a 10x lens. Despite being no technical expert, I am sure it could be done. If it would result in a slightly larger camera, or a slightly reduced zoom (10x instead of 12x), I would accept that compromise.
5) With a larger CCD, you should be able to increase the ISO range up 1600. This would be great for indoor sports shooting.
6) Add a thread for filter attachments in front of the lens without the user having to add an adapter first.
7) Make the LCD's "gain up" in low light conditions. They are pitch black in low light conditions.
8) Strengthen the low light focusing beam, so it reaches past 10'.
9) Incorporate the improved auto focus employed in the new FZ5 model.


That's all I can think of at this time. Would be great to see some or all of these features in the FZ30 model. Other than the above points, I am very happy with your product and have recommended it to many others. I definitely convinced several people to buy it.
Some feedback to my requests would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you for creating fantastic cameras.

Sincerely,

Rainer Duve, Los Angeles


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Old Mar 31, 2005, 10:38 AM   #8
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Rduve;
If you had an FZ5 instead of the FZ20, how much would you miss having manual focus? That is my biggest concern...
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Old Mar 31, 2005, 1:10 PM   #9
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I just got off the phone with Panasonic and it turns out that the silver FZ5's are backordered until May!! The black ones are available now through their website. Looks like I'll be going with black =\
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Old Mar 31, 2005, 1:44 PM   #10
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mgrogan wrote:
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I just got off the phone with Panasonic and it turns out that the silver FZ5's are backordered until May!! The black ones are available now through their website. Looks like I'll be going with black =

I think black looks better and you can see through the viewfinder better in bright sunlight without the reflections from the camera. I try to get silver because the camera gets too hot in the Florida sun in the summer with black. I often carry it in an open boat and that becomes a factor if I want it out for quick shots. I had to put an eyecup on my silver FZ10 because of the reflections. If you aren't going to keep it out in hot summer sun I think black is the better choice.

Jeff has a good review of the FZ5, and I suppose Steve and the others won't be far behind. http://www.dcresource.com/reviews/pa...ew/index.shtml The noise looks good.


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