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Old Dec 20, 2005, 6:12 PM   #11
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mnosbor wrote:
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Is there a reason you are looking at the 30 over the 20? The lens on the 20 is much more impressive with a constant 2.8 apeture across the zoom range. The advantage to this is gaining 2 f-stops which enables the user to keep the ISO low as well.

mnosbor: I am a former FZ20 and current FZ30 owner. I agree with most of your assessment. However you are incorrect with your statement above. The FZ30 still has a maximum aperture of 3.7 at 12x zoom which is less than one f-stop away from 2.8.Two f-stops would bring it down to 5.6. f-stops go like this: 1.4, 2.0, 2.8, 4.0, 5.6, 8, 11,16.0, 22 (the FZ's go from 2.8 to 11, I think). With each step up (meaning reduction in aperture width) you have to double exposure. So, while the FZ30 lens does not keep it's full 2.8 aperture across the zoom range, the difference is not as stark as you make it out to be.
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Old Dec 20, 2005, 6:15 PM   #12
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I actually found Neat Image to be a bit harder to use because of all the extra controls, but maybe that was just a matter of needing to learn more. Basically, I was able to get very good results with Noise Ninja more quickly out of the box than with Neat Image, but in the end they produced identical results when used correctly. I believe Neat Image is a bit cheaper, so that might factor in. I was going to get some licenses at work, and Neat Image is significantly chaper for multiple licenses, but I then decided that the built in noise reduction feature of CS2 was good enough for work since I was using a Digital Rebel and rarely saw any noise.
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Old Dec 21, 2005, 7:10 PM   #13
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The fz 30 has a huge advantage over many other cameras (possibly even the fz 20) and one that is nearly always overlooked. It's the fun factor. Noise...shmoise. If you are going to spend all your photographic adventures in the 400 and higher iso range, and that's all you care about, cut to the chase and immediately grab the best DSLR you can afford. I personally care not one iota about the noise issue of these FZ's. My fz 30 has...from day one...right out of the box, given me the best shots I've had in years. I could never get close enough to wildlife, and was always lamenting low light blurry shots in that category, because that's when they start to come out to play, and my Minolta 5 MP could not perform the way I needed it to. I'm by no means the best wildlife photographer, but I really have fun trying, andthe very first time I had a chance, I not only shot, I scored! I'm not saying they're the best, but for me, and my skill level, I could not be more thrilled. Getting these shots, being really happy with them...T H A T is what it's really all about. That's the fun factor of this camera. It shouldn't be overlooked, while you blow the noise issue out of proportion. I have repeatedly posted this opinion whenever I see questions like this. My obvious bias is rooted firmly in my own positve experience. I think it is a real shame that camera buyers sometimes lose sight of the enjoyment offered by many fine cameras, while being distracted fathoming minor flaws. Good luck, best regards,

KennethD
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Old Dec 21, 2005, 7:48 PM   #14
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Thanks Kenneth, that's exactly the kind of reply I've been looking for amongst all these "too noisy" wet blankets (not in this thread, just in general).

I too am looking at the FZ30 and I doubt I'd even use the ISO 400 setting. I'm certainly no professional, but have managed to take many shots I'm proud to show off with my Canon G2, which doesn't perform well over ISO 200.

The FZ30 looks to have a great array of preset modes, which should produce excellent results at the preset lower ISO.

I've spent countless hours researching the Oly C-8080, Nikon CP8800, Canon 350D, Nikon D70, Oly E-500 and Fuji S9000, and Have decided the FZ30 is the right combination of compact / SLR feel camera for me, and at a price that makes the others blush.

Now I just have to find the best deal :-)
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Old Dec 21, 2005, 9:09 PM   #15
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Thanks Kenneth. I appreciate your point of view and perspective. My goals are similar, namely travel shots where the zoom factor is critical.

Do you have any examples of your wildlife photos that you could post for me to see?

Dano
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Old Dec 21, 2005, 10:56 PM   #16
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I've only had my FZ30 for 2 weeks so I'm just starting to figure it out. I've been very pleased with it, the zoom is great. Today I took some photos at an office retirement party and was pleasantly surprised at how good they came out (I hate doing things like this - I'm more into landscapes and flowers). I had been using a Sony F717 (which had developed some problems) and there isn't all that much noise difference between the 2 at ISO 400. It does seem like the Panasonic has a very slight bit more noise at lower ISO, but the Sony's pictures always seemed a bit soft to me (almost always used a bit of unsharp mask with them where I don't as much with the Panasonic).
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Old Dec 22, 2005, 12:41 PM   #17
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Dano wrote:
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Thanks Kenneth. I appreciate your point of view and perspective. My goals are similar, namely travel shots where the zoom factor is critical.

Do you have any examples of your wildlife photos that you could post for me to see?

Dano
T H O U G H T you'd never ask! Stay tuned, here they come! Best regards, (ViS_Aust, might find these of use too...)

KennethD
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Old Dec 22, 2005, 12:44 PM   #18
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The ram....I am so lucky to live so close to where these fellas often come out to play. I can honestly...frustratingly say... that I have had the opportunity to get this shot and shots like it, many many times, B U T have had to hang my head muttering to myself about lack of zoom, no image stabilization and...and...and on and on. These gorgeous creatures are cooperative to a degree, but you can only get so close. They will either take off in a cloud of small rocks and hen poop...or you'll be taking to your heels in great haste if they decide to use your photographing butt for butting practise. (No, they weren't shot in a zoo) A L O N G comes the Panasonic FZ 30 to the rescue! THIS shot was taken using their wonderful zoom lense, 8 MP's (it's cropped but still has enough pixels to make it eye catching) and even more amazing it's hand held, and still very sharp! Now you know and can see for yourself what I mean when I mention fun factor! I am overjoyed to get this kind of shot...even once. But it just gets better. These results are no fluke. Even a hobby photographer like me can repeat these results. ( assuming he's in the right place at the right time of course.) So the thing I am most grateful to Panasonic for, is that never mind the noise issue (non issue for me) you C A N get out and expect these kinds of results because they've made just the camera for you to do it. And that, my friend is priceless...fun! Ha, ha...please excuse the rant:lol: but I waited a L O N G time for a camera like this one.

KD
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Old Dec 22, 2005, 1:06 PM   #19
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same guy...
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Old Dec 22, 2005, 1:07 PM   #20
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my favorite hawk shot...I might be a little simple, or whatever, maybe just a crappy photographer...who knows...but you know, all these shots were taken within a few weeks of when I bought this camera. Maybe it's just that I get too easily excited...but man, I was just thrilled to finally see these kind of results from my little excursions. To me, this is just plain fun. My old 5 MP 7i was twice the cost of the FZ 30, and never in four years using it did I ever get shots like these.
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