Panasonic DMC-FZ3

Discussion in 'Panasonic Lumix' started by Mick Breen, Apr 3, 2005.

  1. Mick Breen

    Mick Breen Guest

    Hi all, I have read as many tests and reviews as I can about this camera,
    but was wondering how any of the owners find it. Maybe it's good and bad
    points ?

    Mick Breen, Apr 3, 2005
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  2. I picked one up as a secondary camera because of its stabilized 12x zoom
    and f2.8 throughout its zoom range, to photograph wildlife and other
    things beyond the reach of a 3x zoom. My thought is that the zoom would
    be better to capture what I want instead of cropping an image from a
    higher megapixel camera (larger file size) and possibly losing some detail
    in previous compression. Besides its normal automatic modes, it has
    specific modes to get the right look for things like snow, night scenes,
    fireworks, etc. Included in its resolutions for taking photos is a
    resolution suitable for widescreen HDTV.

    My first test was photos up and down the block at night from a tripod on
    my porch. I was impressed, and could read a street sign 1/2 long block
    away lit by a street light. Even a porch light was enough to get a decent
    photo. 48x at night (12x + 4x digital) was grainy and not as sharp. But
    as long as digital zoom was disabled, the 12x zoom worked great.

    Its flash is not that strong and it has no plug for external flash. But
    it seems to take decent photos indoors even without flash, so that is not
    that much of an issue unless people are moving (which can be an
    interesting effect). Shutter speed is slower without the flash indoors,
    but as long as you hold the camera steady (and not overly rely on image
    stabilization) it takes sharp photos.

    Per the reviews it can get grainy if something (like shutter priority)
    pushes it to ISO 400. Although, that may depend saved resolution, or what
    size the image is viewed or printed. But if the camera compensated for
    that, images would not be as sharp as they are (which under brigher
    conditions is sharper than other cameras).

    It does not have manual focus. But it does have an IR light to help it
    focus in low light.

    It is light weight, but a bit bulky. But it seems to be the best in its
    price range to reach out for sharp photos without decreasing f-stop at
    higher zoom. So it suits my needs (my other camera is a Nikon 990).
    David Efflandt, Apr 3, 2005
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  3. Mick Breen

    cyclone Guest

    I love mine.

    Bad points? I have no specific criticisms. I know the limits of small
    sensor non dSLR cameras and I stick to situations my FZ3 excels at. Some
    say it is noisier at higher ISOs than other similar cameras. I can't
    confirm because I shoot almost exclusively at ISO80 and hardly ever shoot
    indoors or in low light situations unless I use a longer exposure and a
    tripod. (I do remove noise in software afterwards with longer exposure night

    If pushed I guess I could name a few desired improvements :-

    - 1.5" lcd could be larger (and is on the newer FZ5 I think),
    - I would like an AE lock button,
    - their should be a thread on the end of the lens rather than having to use
    the included plastic lens hood that is not capable of supporting heavy tele
    converters (there is a replacement metal yoshida adaptor that is on my
    shopping list
    - I would like the camera to be available in black (personal preference)

    Three out of these four criticisms are not applicable to the FZ20, but I
    like the compact size of the 3 and I'm happy with the trade off.

    But forget the bad points. This is an excellent camera packed with features
    that make it amazing value for money. The 12x image stabilised leica lens
    is f/2.8 even at the tele end. It is equivalent in 35mm terms to 35-420mm
    and can be handheld with ease (and good technique). It is a very compact
    camera. It has all the modes that I need at the moment (aperture priority
    f/2.8 - f/8) , shutter priority (8secs - 1/2000, M & P modes, macro etc) as
    well as scene modes that my wife likes (landscape, portrait sports etc.)

    If you want to see what the 12x can do, I took the 2 photos in this link
    handheld at 35mm and 420mm. :-

    Here are some examples of longer exposure night shots (tripod mounted)

    And a few bird shots :-

    And a few golf shots :-

    I'm sure there are better cameras out there and my photos can probably be
    picked to bits but I'm happy with the camera and the pix it takes :)

    FWIW, 6 months ago I didn't even know what aperture was and only had a fully
    automatic camera. I've done a *lot* of reading and learning with the help
    of many of the excellent forums and resources on the net, and the FZ3 has
    been a great companion on that journey.

    Hope this helps.
    cyclone, Apr 3, 2005
  4. + features of the FZ3

    Small size, light weight

    Looks cool with lens hood

    Price - I paid $285

    Works with hi-speed memory

    12X zoom lever and shutter controlled with one finger

    Continuous 2.4 zoom

    Many, many features

    Robert Morrisette, Apr 6, 2005
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