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Old Dec 16, 2005, 9:38 PM   #1
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I currently own a Canon G3 and I love everything about it except the lack of telephoto. It's great in low light, has super battery life,and is relatively compact.



I travel a lot and don't want to carry a tripod or extra lenses. I 'd like to get the FZ30 because of the 12X zoom and IS, but there have been a lot of complaints about noise at anything over ISO100.


Other than the higher megapixels on the FZ30 (which don't really mean much if the noise is higher), is it fair to compare the Canon IS2 with it in terms of picture quality and features?

Has anyone done a comparison and can you give me any results?

Thanks

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Old Dec 16, 2005, 9:56 PM   #2
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If you scroll down you will find a thread very similar to yours except the FZ20 they are similar cameras so check it out.

As far as noise which for me is somthing I cant stand I own the FZ20 and find the noise negligible, or in comparasin not any worse than any other non SLR camera.

It seemed to be a bad bit of reputation that dosnt seem to be true especially after comparing it to other cameras that have worse noise at the same ISO as well as having less sharp images.

Here is a link to the Cannon ISO samples scroll down http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/canons2is/page5.asp

Heres the link to the FZ30 ISO images http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/panasonicfz30/page6.asp

If you look at the other thread below this you will find the FZ cameras can produce a much more impressive portrait using a bounce flash in the hotshoe than the canon can without a hot shoe.


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Old Dec 16, 2005, 10:05 PM   #3
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Thanks, I've checked the thread on the FZ20 and read a lot of comparisons on the DPreview and other sites.

However, the "critics" claim that the noise issue is much greater on the FZ30 than on the 20.

Supporters say it's no worse than other non-DSLRs, but that's not the conclusion on DPRreview.

Others say that you can fix the noise using NeatImage, but is that the best way to make sharp, noise-free pictures?

I hope there are some FZ30 owners out there who can give me some solid advice.

Thanks
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Old Dec 16, 2005, 11:02 PM   #4
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I have found after hanging out here a while is that a lot of people use noise editing software not the panasonic owners all owners its just a fact of high ISO.

I dont like what any of the software does to any image from any camera which is softens it, it kind of makes it look dreamy. My way of addressing this is making sure I get a camera that has sharper images which the FZs produce, the reason Ive come to believe is they use less in camera noise reduction, the others have heavier in camera noise reduction making the images have less noise but not as sharp so if you happen to have to fix a high ISO image it then becomes even softer or almost blurry. One complaint of the Fujis.

You asked for FZ30 owners advice one of the members in the thread below went from a 20 to a 30 and gives images in that thread as well as discusses the differences. Im not sure you read it though.

As far as dp review open the images up sidexside and really look at them. Compare noise vs sharpness.

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.

If you want to hear from actual FZ30 owners then go to the panasonic forums and have a look around, a search worksas well. Look at their pics, that forum seems to have more posted than any other as well as remarks as to how great the camera is.
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Old Dec 17, 2005, 1:59 AM   #5
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I'm going to be getting the FZ30 soon. Before I decided that I wanted it, I did a lot of research, particularly into the noise issue. A lot of camera review sites let you download full resolution JPGs right out of the camera, so that came in real handy. I got as many as I could, especially those at ISO 400 and in bad lighting.

What I found was that the noise could be quite terrible, but that it still retained a lot of detail at that setting. Playing around with Photoshop and Noise Ninja, I found that you could drastically improve the image quality without much effort (though I put a lot of effort into finding the best way to do this). If you run Noise Ninja and set it to reduce only the color noise, you get a very fast and effective cleanup of the image. It'll remove all the color blotches without seriously affecting the original colors, and not only will it not smudge out detail, it will oftentimes appear to reveal detail since you are leaving all the luminance noise alone. You can do also do the same thing with the reduce noise filter in Photoshop, but it isn't as good at preserving original colors.

For removing luminance noise, I find it's best to determine how much to remove on an image to image basis. Some images look good with a lot of noise reduction, some only require a little, and some are best left alone (I like to leave some luminance noise in since without the chromatic noise it looks more like natural film grain). I almost always turn off any sharpening functions, though if you use the reduce noise filter in Photoshop, a bit of "preserve detail" can be useful. Overall I prefer the way Noise Ninja reduces luminosity noise, but the Photoshop filter does offer a bit more control and is sometimes a better choice.

I took one of the ISO 400 images from DP Review and ran Noise Ninja with medium luminosity noise removal and medium color noise removal. Here are some before and after images cropped at 100%.


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Old Dec 17, 2005, 2:01 AM   #6
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Another;
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Old Dec 17, 2005, 2:04 AM   #7
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One more. Basically, the effect is pretty consistent throughout the image.
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Old Dec 18, 2005, 6:34 PM   #8
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Thanks, Corpsy. The last one is the sharpest. Did you do anything differently or was the original just sharper?

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Old Dec 19, 2005, 5:22 PM   #9
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Those are all 100% crops taken from a single image. I copied the image from DP Review, applied Noise Ninja once, and then used the marquee tool to copy portions of the image into new documents, before and after using the filter, to demonstrate how it works. So to answer your question, I did nothing different to any of the images since they were all one image to begin with.

Here's the original image: http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/Pana...Z30_ISO400.JPG

Noise Ninja automatically preserves the edges that separate areas of different tone and hue. The camera likely appears sharper because it was so high contrast that it was easier for Noise Ninja to maintain the finer details. I think you see the same detail preservation in the 2nd image if you look at some of the text elements.

The filter has an option for removing luminosity noise which can be set from very low to very high. On this example I used a medium amount of luminosity noise reduction which blurred out most of the luminosity noise, but also removed a bit of detail. You can preserve more detail by lowering that setting if you choose, but you'll end up with more grain.

The Reduce Noise filter that comes with Photoshop CS2 (I don't know if it's in CS1) works similarly, but provides a separate slider for controlling how it preserves detail. Though it allows for more fine control, I typically find that Noise Ninja does a better job overall and is quicker to use.
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Old Dec 19, 2005, 6:08 PM   #10
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Thanks, again, Corpsy. I appreciate the explanation.

Have you tried NeatImage and how does it compare to Noise Ninja? My initial look tells me that NeatImage is easier to use, but it might be less advanced.

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