Opinions on Panasonic FZ30K?

Discussion in 'Panasonic Lumix' started by Scott Speck, Oct 29, 2005.

  1. Scott Speck

    Scott Speck Guest

    Hello Everyone,

    Does anyone have thoughts about the Panasonic Lumix FZ30K? I had considered
    buying the FZ20 a ways back, but now that the 30 is here, I'm thinking of
    going with this particular model. It has a super-zoom, a leica lens,
    anti-shake, 8MP, and is rather heavy, which I require, since my wife has
    trouble using cameras that are so light that merely pushing the shutter
    release causes camera wiggle. Also, I don't have the money to sink into a
    digital SLR with lenses, and, with the FZ30K, I can go from macro to 12X
    optical zoom, all in one package. My only concern is about low-light
    performance. I know that the Canon 20D DSLR has good low-light performance,
    but I don't have the money required to invest in such a system. Why are
    point-and-shoot cameras typically noisier, detector-wise? One would think
    that one could fit a low-noise detector into a P&S just as easily as one
    could fit a high-noise detector. Also, if anyone has any thoughts on other
    P&S digitals that meet the following criteria, please send along your

    1) high-zoom capability
    2) anti-shake
    3) at least 6 MP
    4) good optical quality
    5) fast on/off and shutter response
    6) < $900 in price
    7) NOT small in size or super-lightweight

    Thanks for any thoughts,
    Scott Speck
    Scott Speck, Oct 29, 2005
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  2. Scott Speck wrote:
    Scott, it sounds as if the FZ20 or FZ30 would meet your needs.
    (Personally, I have gone for the lightweight FZ5!). P&S cameras have more
    noise at high ISO settings because the detectors are smaller, and so can
    capture less total photons at a given light level. Of course, the smaller
    detector means a smaller lens and a smaller package for the same field of
    view etc. You could use the same size sensor from a DSLR (this is what
    Sony have done), but then everything scales up - including the cost!


    For a fast shutter response, learn to keep the shutter release

    David J Taylor, Oct 29, 2005
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  3. Scott, in case you didn't know, there is a newsgroup focussing on such
    cameras here:


    David J Taylor, Oct 29, 2005
  4. Scott Speck

    Scott Speck Guest

    David, thanks very much for all the info. At this point, I've nearly
    totally NIXED the FZ30, after I heard that it's biggest downfall is its
    image quality and noise levels (which to me are of major importance). When
    I read about the Sony dsc-r1, it sounds pretty nice. With the larger CMOS
    detector, noise is lower, and it has a large-aperture Zeiss lens, so this
    should be good for low-light levels. It has no anti-shake, but does it have
    good macro capability, for closeups of things like flowers and insects? It
    also has a heavy look and feel, a swiveling monitor, etc. It has less zoom
    and no anti-shake compared to the FZ30, but I have a super-light tripod that
    I can carry around with ease when it comes to anti-shake, and I think I
    could do much better evening/city photography with the Sony.

    Thanks for any info,

    ----- Original Message -----
    From: "David J Taylor"
    Newsgroups: rec.photo.digital
    Sent: Saturday, October 29, 2005 7:37 AM
    Subject: Re: Opinions on Panasonic FZ30K?

    "David J Taylor"
    Scott Speck, Oct 29, 2005
  5. Well, I have seen reports from satisfied FZ30 users who think that the
    noise is not as much of a problem as some reviews might lead you to
    believe. Don't be mislead by looking at samples at 1:1 zoom on your
    monitor - it's probably the equivalent of making a print 30 inches wide!
    By comparison with the Panasonic, the Sony is a monster without the 10X
    zoom and image stabilisation which were so important to you - or so I
    thought. Look at the size of the add-on lenses The lens on the Sony has
    a smaller aperture (f/4,8) than the Leica lens on the Panasonic FZ20
    (f/2.8) or FZ30 (f/3.7).



    appeals to you - but it's exactly /why/ I moved away from last century's
    35mm format!

    I thought there was a good evening shot with the Panasonic FZ30 as one of
    the samples? Just don't use the higher ISO settings unless the grain
    (noise) will add to the character of your photo.

    To me, they are two different cameras aimed at different markets. Only
    you can really decide which best meets your aims.

    David J Taylor, Oct 29, 2005
  6. Scott Speck

    Scott Speck Guest


    You have raised a couple points -- that add-on lens is outrageously huge on
    the Sony. I suppose that I'm lamenting that I can't "have it all" with a
    non-dSLR digital camera. Believe it or not, I've even thought of getting
    TWO FZ20's, since they've really come down in price. My wife wants to shoot
    a lot of macro pictures, but I'm wondering if the FZ30 gives you that much
    more beyond the FZ20. For example, can you focus the FZ20 or the FZ30
    manually? In general, I'm not a major "megapixel junkie".

    One camera I've read rave reviews about, but it's hard to find and it's
    internal electronics might be outdated, is a Panasonis/Leica collaboration
    that Leica marketed for about $1900 and Panasonic for about $1500 that every
    reviewer claimed gave awesome pictures. Of course, no high-zoom,
    anti-shake, etc.

    Maybe the low-light issue really isn't that much of an issue for me.

    As you can see, I'm a bit confused...


    "David J Taylor"
    Scott Speck, Oct 29, 2005
  7. Scott Speck

    Paul Allen Guest

    Both the FZ20 and the FZ30 have "fly-by-wire" manual focus rings on the
    lens barrel. The FZ30 adds a mechanically-linked zoom ring on the lens
    barrel. I've actually used an FZ10 with that manual focus system, and
    it seemed really nice to use compared to the clunky manual focus on my
    old Olympus C700. (The FZ30 has higher resolution in the EVF and the
    LCD, which should help with manual focus accuracy.)

    The review sites have done a pretty good job of enumerating the
    differences between the FZ30 and its predecessors. The consensus
    seems to be that Panasonic mostly fixed things that were sore points
    with the previous designs. It's just too bad that they felt they
    had to take it to 9Mp. It would have been a slam dunk if they
    could have increased the pixel size a bit and the pixel count a
    bit at the same time. I could have lived with 6 or 7 megapixels
    and less talk about noise.

    Paul Allen
    Paul Allen, Oct 30, 2005
  8. Scott Speck

    Bob Williams Guest

    Don't be spooked by the noise mantra regarding the FZ 20/30.
    Noise can be a problem for ANY small-sensor camera in low light/high ISO
    situations. However the FZ15/20, for instance, have a very respectable
    f2.8 aperture at ALL apertures. That means good light gathering
    ability, especially at 12x Zoom. (No other camera matches it) Also,
    image stabilization will let you shoot at 1/8th the speed that you would
    need for a camera w/o image stabilization. That means the Image
    Stabilized FZ 15/20 can collect 8X as many photons as a non-image
    stabilized camera at the same f-stop and ISO setting.
    I've had a FZ 15 for nearly a year and it is the most versatile digital
    camera I ever owned.
    Bob Williams
    Bob Williams, Oct 30, 2005
  9. Unless you regularly crop to small parts of the image 3, 4 or 5MP will
    probably be enough. I've seen excellent A4 (about 11.5 x 8 inch) from my
    wife's 3.2MP Nikon 990. No problem in getting more than one camera - I've
    settled on the Panasonic FZ5 for general and telephoto use, and a Nikon
    8400 for wide-angle use. I've given up manual focus in the FZ5, but the
    auto-focus is more than adequate. My wife went for the FZ20 to complement
    her Nikon 990, though, as the FZ5 wasn't available when she purchased.
    The FZ5 has the ability to do macro at full zoom, so giving you a working
    distance of about 1 metre.

    Decision, decisions, decisions!

    Best, try different cameras in the store and see which suits best.

    David J Taylor, Oct 30, 2005
  10. ecm wrote:
    Which DSLR would you recommend. The original specification included an
    image-stabilised 10x zoom, and a budget of USD $700. Can't be done!
    Likely the lens alone would cost that much, if there was such a beast
    available (although the DSLR is catching up).

    David J Taylor, Oct 30, 2005
  11. Well, the Sony I would have ruled out in any case, even if it were not for
    the price, as a 10:1 zoom was required.
    Sounds good - albeit 50% overbudget!
    "A much better camera" - or just a "different" camera with different
    characteristics and different target market place.
    You are again confusing me with the OP, but you are right that there are
    other brands to consider. I'm still of the opinion that for a 10:1 zoom,
    not too small, the Panasonic FZ20 will take a lot of beating, particularly
    when the limited budget is considered. Thanks for your input.

    David J Taylor, Oct 31, 2005
  12. Scott Speck

    HornBlower Guest

    Based on what you said you were looking for I don't think you can go wrong
    with either the Panasonic FZ20 or the FZ30. I own both of them and have
    never been so happy with a digital camera as I am with these.

    I sold my Canon 20D and 4 lenses to buy the FZ20 and then the FZ30. I have
    never been sorry I did. The Canon just got to the point that I couldn't
    trust it or Canon. With their first firmware update killing many of them and
    requiring the owners to send them to Canon for repair I just couldn't bring
    myself to trust them.

    I also didn't like the noiseless images the 20D produced. I like a bit of
    noise in my images it helps them look more real. The ones form the 20D
    looked like they were rendered in a 3D program. They looked fake.

    HornBlower, Oct 31, 2005
  13. Scott Speck

    ThomasH Guest

    But unfortunately the examples posted suggested otherwise:
    ISO 800 and 1600 on the R1 were completely useles!
    ThomasH, Nov 2, 2005
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