First shots with Panasonic FZ20

Discussion in 'Panasonic Lumix' started by Ryadia, Jun 17, 2005.

  1. Ryadia

    Ryadia Guest

    If anyone is interested, I shot some low light pics with the new
    Panasonic FZ20 I bought last week. I bought it to shoot silently inside
    churches and for those moments when the DSLRs are just too clumsy.

    I might point out it's performance in good light is not too shabby at
    all. And all the chatter about high noise in low light doesn't seem to
    be as bad in real life!

    Ryadia, Jun 17, 2005
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  2. Ryadia

    Ken Tough Guest

    I can't find the low light examples on your site. I can appreciate
    the audible noise issue, but for low light it doesn't hold a candle
    to the dSLRs IMO (so to speak).
    Ken Tough, Jun 17, 2005
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  3. Ryadia

    Bruce Graham Guest

    You are probably not thinking about a low end DSLR comparison. My guess
    is that a big chunk of 350D owners (just for example) only have the kit
    lens. That is hard to use wider than f8. The FZ20 works quite well at
    f2.8, so score + 3 stops to FZ20.

    Now the FZ20 sensor noise at ISO 100 might be about the same as the 350D
    at ISO 800 (an uninformed guess at this point), so score +3 stops to the

    Now the FZ20 has IS (which works), so score +2 stops to the FZ20 for
    those "inside church" fairly static shots.

    Net result is + 2 stops advantage to the FZ20.

    Now if you buy a 100-400 IS lens for your 350D you now pick up the 2 stop
    IS advantage and another 1 - 1.5 stops of lens speed. Ok so that is
    better than the FZ20, but only by a stop or so. Crank up the FZ20 ISO
    and spend some time with Neat Image and the FZ20 can probably still get
    the shot.

    You need to buy some Canon primes or f2.8 L (IS) zooms to get a long way
    ahead of the FZ20 in "getting the low light shot".

    Of course AF performance is much better with the SLR's, but photography
    was done by manual focus for about a hundred and fifty years.

    Having said all that, I just bought a 350D, because I already own a few
    good Canon primes (but no L zooms unfortunately). My daughter has a FZ20
    but I have not yet shot them side by side.
    Bruce Graham, Jun 17, 2005
  4. Hmmm ... f2.8 and 1/20th second @ ISO 200, (hand held) not low enough?
    You'd need at least 1/125th to do that with a 20D so the comparison is that
    this camera can take a picture well below the shake level from mirror slap
    that would blur a DSLR's shots and at substantially lower ISO values than
    are needed with higher shutter speed.

    I have reason to believe the high ISO performance of Canon's 20D is due to
    image processing, not superior sensors. My early indications are that the
    relatively noise free high ISO shots a Canon takes are at the expense of
    detail... Like they've been de-noised with in-camera software.

    This is like a magician's trick from Canon. I de-noised an Olympus E300 high
    ISO file with neat image a few days ago and got as good results as from a
    20D. This is alarming to me because the Oly is not just a smaller sensor but
    it records smaller files too. I first noticed an oddity about noise when
    enlarging some Nikon D100 files for the local newspaper. Plenty of noise but
    lots of detail after I de-noised them too. Much more than with a 20D's 800
    ISO captures.

    The jury is still out on the FZ. I think it might have a back focus issue.
    I'll find out before I go much further.

    [email protected], Jun 17, 2005
  5. Ryadia

    Ken Tough Guest

    No, I'm thinking compared to D70 (which is low end). I had recent
    experience shooting head-to-head with a FZ20 owner on safari (I
    was using a 70-210 AF f4-5.6 and was able to catch hippos and
    a rarish sight of a brown hyena at dusk where he got naught.
    I was not impressed with the FZ20's ISO400 which is much on par
    with the D70's ISO1600.
    Yes, the IS and the big optical zoom does make for great wildlife
    shots in good light. There's no doubt, for the money it's a good
    performer in daylight. Not in bad light though.
    Not true, with a D70 anyway. You're better off even at f5.6 ($200
    lens). An f2.8, and of course the 2.8 VR would leave the FZ20
    light years behind, but that's $1500 worth of lens.
    Shutter lag is also a bit more of a bugbear compared to the D70,
    according to shooter I was with anyway.
    Given what you say about the 350D, I'm surprised you didn't splurge
    just a bit further and get the D70. The kit lens is great too,
    and if you don't need tele- at low light, you can't beat the
    $100 50mm f1.8 for value.
    Ken Tough, Jun 17, 2005
  6. Ryadia

    Ken Tough Guest

    Depends what you're shooting. If it's animals, 1/20th will get you
    a blurred critter, and 1/125 at ISO 800 RAW will be a decent shot.
    Image stabilisation stabilises the image, not the subject!
    Also depends on the focal length. I can take 1/20 shots with my
    wide angle zoom on the D70 (say at 25mm) and they're decent. The
    mirror slap isn't so much the problem as wibbly hands.

    No, the sensor is larger and more sensitive. (Nikon dSLRs are the
    same) The sensor size also means you have the benefit of a shallow
    depth of field where you need it.
    It's very good value in decent light, make no mistake.

    The lack of real raw output will also bite you if you're looking
    for top quality, since post-processing is limited for adjusting
    contrast, USM, or other optimising.
    Ken Tough, Jun 17, 2005
  7. My experience with the FZ is less than 50 shots so far. I bought it because
    a few weeks ago a priest refused to let me shoot a wedding ceremony in his
    church saying the "noise" of the shutter was disturbing. OK, that's his
    call. This camera can shoot silently and I'll use it for only that purpose.

    On the subject of Canon's sensors... Canon have confirmed that much of their
    low noise at high ISO is obtained with the "processing engine" (Digic?), not
    specifically the sensor design. So far that's all I can get out of them but
    in any case, the 20D is not something I would consider comparing a consumer
    camera with. The lens I use on the 20D most of the time cost three times as
    much as the FZ!

    The TIFF capture mode of the FZ is as close to RAW as it gets. 14.5 megabyte
    files mean lots of information available to edit but the images are quite
    different than ones from the 20D and I am still working on the concept.
    Maybe over the coming weekend I will get some time to explore it further.

    [email protected], Jun 17, 2005
  8. ---------------------------------
    I just made a couple of shots in what I consider quite low light. In my
    workroom which has no windows but a roller door one end. No direct light,
    just dawn splashing in. For the those who demand full size images before
    passing judgment... I've made some crops without resizing. These new pics
    are all in jpg mode and show some nasty artefacts at high magnification but
    these are (thankfully) missing from TIFF images.

    [email protected], Jun 18, 2005
  9. Ryadia

    Ken Tough Guest

    Were you able to shut off all the beeps it generates? The FZ shooter
    I know couldn't seem to, but I didn't have a try myself. It's true
    that the dSLRs make a lot of noise. You tend to be more aware of
    it in the dark with bushes closed in all around and a lion somewhere
    as yet unseen about 10 feet away. I could see the attraction of a
    Leica at that point.
    Is it raw sensor data then? I was under the impression it was just
    processed but uncompressed image, since I didn't see the ability to
    change exposure settings on import.
    Ken Tough, Jun 18, 2005
  10. Ken Tough wrote:
    You should be able to - my FZ5 and my wife's FZ20 produce no electronic
    sounds when shooting. (There is obviously a very slight mechanical
    sound - perhaps Leica-like?).

    David J Taylor, Jun 18, 2005
  11. The only advantage is it's silent operation and low light performance -
    quite the opposite from what a lot of people who don't own one will probably
    say after this post. I did some research in a church today. The weather is
    overcast tending to rain. The Church has very moderate lighting with a few
    tungsten lights. Most of the light inside is through the stained glass

    My 20D needs 1/125th with lenses over about 60mm to avoid fuzzy images from
    shutter shudder so ISO 800 ~ 1600 is the order of the day with this camera
    to ensure sharp images under such conditions. The trade off is noise in the
    picture and loss of fine detail.

    The Panasonic, because it doesn't shudder when the mirror slaps up, can cut
    the shutter speed down to about 1/30th and still not produce fuzzy pictures.
    Add Image stabilization and it is quite practical to use 1/15th and close
    the aperture down to f4 or f5.6, use ISO 200 and take some very nice
    pictures, without any camera noise or double imaging (fuzz) associated with
    the shot.

    When I add a monopod to the kit, I think it is probably practical to be
    looking at shutter speeds of 1/3 rd of a second and get photographs of the
    ceremony inside a church which I could never hope to capture with a 20D,
    given the ban on noisy cameras and flash guns in many churches. The Priest
    today had no idea I was taking photographs of him and agreed after he saw
    the shots, to me shooting weddings he conducts, inside in the future with
    this camera.

    The problem with 'Gallery' the program I use for the gallery is that the
    cart part of it applies to every image. It's principal use is to allow
    relatives and friends buy photos of weddings and the like without needing to
    go through the bride and groom. Of course there is no public assess to that
    part of my server without a URL, username and password.

    Thanks for your order, there was no need to over pay me so much but it's
    welcome anyway... The 43 prints will be on their way just as soon as I
    finish processing your payment!

    [email protected], Jun 19, 2005
  12. Ryadia

    Paul Furman Guest

    LOL! easy money <g>.

    Hard to believe shutter/mirror slap could explain that much improvement
    in low light shooting, I'd think the difference in high ISO performance
    should overcome that but there was another thread about the reporter in
    Iraq who only uses P&S digicams & he said they were better in low light
    too. I recall my P&S did better in low light, I'll have to do some
    comparisons also.

    OT tangent: That house in the shots must be some kind of manufactured
    home? Really, it looks pretty cool, I'm curious. How the heck do you
    drain water off that valley between the peaks? I've got three valleys &
    peaks & the bugger leaks in winter, fortunately it's sold but I'd be
    interested in something like in that pic.
    Paul Furman, Jun 19, 2005
  13. The house is a replica of a 80 year old boat house at Portsea, a
    bay-one-side, ocean-the-other location in Victoria, (Australia) where the
    rich and famous mingle with the riff-raff. Well that's the tale but when you
    see the actual boat house, you begin to realize the 20 years since seeing it
    and drawing it can morph the memory just a mite! Each of those gables in the
    real thing, allowed a mast to stay up when the yachts were housed.

    Massive drainage channel. The front section is only 25 feet deep and then a
    terrarium joins the front living area to the rear sleeping area. Not a
    factory house in any way, shape or form. Believe it or not, this was built
    from the ground up, on-site in nine months by three people... Then came the
    interior which is still not finished. The ceilings are the same shape as the
    roof... Supposedly to provide acoustic harmony. The walls are sound proofed
    too but the acoustics still don't match the Sydney opera house!

    The house is on a small block of land I sold off to fund the Techno Aussie
    digital print centre. Unfortunately it is right next door to my house and is
    the reason I will be moving soon. What I didn't realize when I sold the
    block was that I'd lose control over what got built. The outdoor area and
    all the windows face directly into my bedrooms and the lovely garden setting
    I used to photograph portraits and hold the occasional Wedding in, now has a
    glaring white plank wall behind it! The owner starts his truck up at 4:30 AM
    every morning and rattles it past my bedroom window. So bad, I'm moving just
    as soon as I find a more appropriate home.

    The rant is over now,
    the cat is coming back!

    [email protected], Jun 19, 2005
  14. Ryadia

    Alain Guest

    Did you use the AF or the focus ring?
    For FZ5 users, how does it auto focus in low light conditions (aka when
    using flash)?
    For example when using it inside with tungsten light's (a "normal"

    Alain, Jul 9, 2005
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