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Old Dec 15, 2005, 7:38 PM   #1
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I originally posted this as a response to another post, but think it was overlooked as just another response, so I will post in separately in hopes of some response:
I'm a newbie here & am trying to choose a new camera for my Xmas present. I am considering the Canon S2 IS and the Panasonic FZ20. Both have deals on them for around $400 right now. I would love a DSLR, but can't afford one right now. Does anyone have any opinions as to which of these 2 would be the best? I have a 1 year old & 5 year old so I take lots of photos of them - so need something with with fast shutter lag. Also, the lighting in my house is not the best so need something that can handle indoor photos better than my little HP 3 MP I'm using currently.

I'm kind of leaning towards the Panasonic, but would like some first hand knowledge since I have no outlet to actually see the cameras in person & am having to order online. Thanks so much for any input!
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Old Dec 16, 2005, 1:20 PM   #2
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I own the FZ20, so for me it was the camera of choice. here are clear differences between these cameras, and each is better for some uses.

The wonderful things about the S2 IS include:

it has a terrific movie mode if you want to take short videos with your digital camera. The FZ20 has an absolutely abysmal movie mode. If this is important to you, buy the S2 IS.

It has a very nice burst mode for taking sequences of photos (if you are analyzing golf swings and the like, or want to have a series of pictues of a horse jumping over an obtacle at a steeplechase, this is a very cool feature. The FZ20 is limited to 3 images in its burst mode.)

The wonderful things about the FZ20 include:

It has the best quality lens available this side of a dSLR. It is very uniform across the lens, has wonderful resolution, almost no chromatic aberration, and is the brightest lens in its class (f/2.8 across the zoom). For me -- and for most folks who choose this camera, I think -- its all about that wonderful Leica lens.

It has a hot shoe for external flash, although the way the Panasonic supports external flash is kind of quirky. Nonetheless, it is quite usable, and I would not consider a camera for my purposes that didn't have one. If you like slave flash as an adjunct to the built-in flash instead, this would not be a deal-breaker.

Beyond these things, there are various nits one can pick with one camera or the other, but these are the biggies to my mind. For some people, the color quality of one or the other is a big deal. Canon color tends to be more saturated with a differentwhite balance (tends toward warm skin tones -- i.e., emphasizes reddish colors) than Panasonic color (tends toward cold skin tones -- i.e., bluish). If you're an old film guy, think of Canon as Kodachrome and Panasonic as Ektachrome.
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Old Dec 16, 2005, 7:06 PM   #3
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I think the FZ20 has a better burst for many things. It is faster at 3fps compared to 2.3fps for the Canon. It can shoot 4 shot bursts. There are only a couple seconds before you can take another 4 shot burst, but the Canon can just keep on shooting. For catching short action like the moment a diving bird hits the water or shooting a burst to try to get a null moment of hand movement when shooting at a slow shutter, I prefer the higher rate of the FZ20. If you want to shoot a long sequence in burst the Canon would be better.
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Old Dec 16, 2005, 8:00 PM   #4
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I also owned the FZ20 and loved it. I upgraded to the FZ30 only because of added features and megapixels, but so far I do not see an improvement in image qualityin the FZ30. I agree with the previous assessments but wanted to add a couple of things. First of all, regarding taking shots of your kids, the FZ20 has a very powerful flash and very accurate focusing assist beam, so that you get spot on shots even in the dark (although it is hard to see much through the viewfinders which do not gain up in the dark). One can also attach an external flash, which I am not sure about with the Canon. I also find that the skin tones are very warm, not cool as the other respondent suggested. I loved this camera and can highly recommend it. Check out my galleries here: http://euromaninla.zoto.com/galleries. Most shots were taken with the FZ20, including the gallery of my family, largely featuring my kids, lots of indoor shots. What do you think?
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Old Dec 16, 2005, 8:48 PM   #5
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I just recieved my FZ20 a week ago. I am supposed to wait till x-mas till I get to really play with it but I was allowed :roll:to make sure it works ok. I took some pics on fully auto modes.

One of the reasons I got the FZ20 is the universal hot shoe. I tried it with my old Sunpak 144 I was incredibly impressed though I prefered to bounce the flash I still need to figure out the settings for using it in the 45o position it blows the highlights, but Im sure if I used the panasonic flash it wouldnt be an issue.

The other reason is that the pics it takes are very impressive have a peek here http://www.treknature.com/photos.php...era&id=264these are all supposed to be FZ20s.

Heres some samples of indoor pics I took during the short time I had to play with it, we havent had a sunny day for weeks so they were either taken on a gloomy day or at night I know the first 2 were at night. Cause Im in my jammies. :lol:

One thing to keep in mind I had to reduce the image size a bunch to host it so it lost some of the character in the tinsel and sparkly stuff as well as softened things a bit.

I wanted to give a comparasen of the zoom and image quality the bulb is cropped from the pic of the tree the flash was bounced so that you could actually see me in the bulb.








This is another one with a bounced flash





The nice thing about bouncing the flash with pets is they arent distracted and dont close their eyes or squint. And the depth of field on auto is pretty good as well. My Fuji had very little if any depth of field.

Also all of these images are 100 ISO.

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Old Dec 16, 2005, 8:58 PM   #6
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I agree that the hotshoe and the ability to use a bounce flash is a very important advantage of the FZ20 when it comes to taking indoor pictures of your kids. And I verified that the Canon IS S2 does indeed not have a hotshoe. Here is a shot of my baby boy I took with my new FZ30 and a bounce flash (the Sunpak 422, same as 383, 423, 433). The result would have been pretty much the same with the FZ20. Can't get a nice naturally lit flash shot like that with the Canon.
PS: Excuse the drool. :-)

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Old Dec 17, 2005, 12:06 AM   #7
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Thanks so much for all the wonderful information & images - They look FANTASTIC! How is the battery life on the Panasonic? I am assuming a spare is pretty much a necessity.
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Old Dec 17, 2005, 1:40 AM   #8
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Battery life is only average. Definitely get at least one spare. I got one for $5 or so on ebay.
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Old Dec 17, 2005, 3:14 PM   #9
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OK, thanks to all your help I think I am set to order the FZ20 (I'm soooo excited!!) One more question, I don't want to be waiting between shots due to my memory card, so what speed card do I need to get? There is a mail in rebate for a free 512 MB card from Panasonic, but I don't know if that is high speed or not, so I thought I would get another 512 MB & have 2 to swap. If there is a particular card/brand you would recommend I would love to hear - I would like to have as fast as the camera will allow, but don't want to pay for overkill that it won't use. Thanks so much for your assistance with this!
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Old Dec 17, 2005, 3:33 PM   #10
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Make sure the rebate is for the FZ20 I was under the impression the rebate for the 20 was limited to 2 retailers one being www.vanns.com and the other I cant remember, so check to make sure.

I got mine through Vanns at $399 it was more than a few others by a few bucks but I trust Vanns more than some of the others they really are about customer service and Ive been in their retail stores since I was first into cameras theyre out of Montana.

As far as the card I cant help you there, Im not sure you will notice the difference there is a chart of card speeds somewhere try google. I do prefer to have more than one card though but thats just me.
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