Panasonic DMZ-FZ20, sleeper?

Discussion in 'Panasonic Lumix' started by Bill Crocker, Mar 29, 2005.

  1. Bill Crocker

    Larry Guest

    Steady hands are cheaper yet.. But not everybody has 'em.

    The longest lens Im currently using is 38 - 380mm equivalent and I dont need
    IS or a tripod for anything lit well enough for it to focus on, but Im sure
    if I went beyond that I'de need some kind of stabilization.
    Larry, Mar 31, 2005
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  2. Ron Hunter wrote:
    But many times as inconvenient to carry around as a Panasonic FZ5/FZ20!

    Actually, how much does a decent tripod cost, and how much extra does the
    IS in a small camera cost? The costs might be closer than we imagine...

    David J Taylor, Mar 31, 2005
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  3. Bill Crocker

    Eric Babula Guest

    Thanks! I have not run across this review, so this will be more good
    reading for me!
    Eric Babula, Mar 31, 2005
  4. Bill Crocker

    Eric Babula Guest

    You're right. That might just be a deal-breaker for me. I do want the
    IS, if I'm gonna have 10x or more zoom.

    I'm making a chart of the cameras that I'm interested in, and their
    reported Cons. Time to make a decision, already.

    Thanks for the input, again!
    Eric Babula, Mar 31, 2005
  5. Eric Babula wrote:
    I made my (second) decision this morning - I bought a Pansonic FZ5 to
    complement my wife's FZ20.

    David J Taylor, Mar 31, 2005
  6. Bill Crocker

    Eric Babula Guest

    After you get a chance to use it a bit, let me know what you think of
    it, compared to your wife's FZ20.

    Eric Babula, Mar 31, 2005
  7. I thought you might say that - but no, I hope that you will have already
    bought your camera by then!

    Anyone want a Nikon 5700 in very goood condition (UK)?

    David J Taylor, Mar 31, 2005
  8. Bill Crocker

    Ron Hunter Guest

    Just wait, as you get older, you might find your hands aren't as steady.
    I did.
    Ron Hunter, Mar 31, 2005
  9. Bill Crocker

    Ron Hunter Guest

    Less a problem of carrying, than finding a suitable place to deploy them.
    Ron Hunter, Mar 31, 2005
  10. Bill Crocker

    Eric Babula Guest

    My next big vacation isn't until August. I've got a little time, yet.
    However, I do want to get the camera relatively soon, so I can play with
    it before vacation - get to know how to use it, work out any bugs, etc.

    After going thru my Cons Chart, I'm down to three cameras, now.

    * Konica Minolta DiMAGE Z5
    * Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ5
    * Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ20

    After additional reading last night, I'm still not seeing how the FZ5 or
    FZ20 are $90-$100 better than the KM Z5. Having a hard time figuring out
    why I should pay the extra money for one of the Panasonic cameras.

    With all three, the reviews are critical about their noise levels, even
    at ISO 100 (maybe this is just inherent in 5MP cameras in general?).
    Also, none of the three are great in low light situations, especially at
    the telephoto end of zoom. The KM doesn't have an AF Assist lamp, which
    is a negative. The Panasonics have problems with their LCD and EVF not
    'gaining up' in low light, so you can't see your subject. The KM
    produces soft images, but can be corrected by upping the setting to
    "hard". The Panasonics both have above-average redeye and barrel
    distortion. The KM lens is slow (F4.5) at the long end of zoom (as
    opposed to the F2.8 of the Panasonics). The Panasonics can get only to
    5cm for macro shots (as opposed to the 1cm of the KM). The Panasonics
    have a proprietary battery pack which costs $50.00 (as opposed to using
    rechargeable AA batteries in the KM). The Panasonic FZ5 doesn't have a
    hot shoe (which may or may not be important to me in the future). The
    FZ20 is big and heavy.

    See my point - no camera is perfect at this price range. Ok, after
    typing all this out, I hate all three cameras! Ha!

    Time to call the camera shops and see if anyone has all three in their
    store, so I can actually play with them all side-by-side.
    Eric Babula, Mar 31, 2005
  11. Eric Babula wrote:
    One look at the KM image quality on DC Review might immediately tell you
    why it's a cheaper solution. I would rule it out unless the macro is
    significantly better and critical to you.

    Third-party batteries for the Panasonics are very widely available, at
    much less than $50 - I recommend Hahnel but that may only be available in

    To me that leaves the FZ5 and FZ20 - does the smaller aperture and lack of
    hot-shoe matter? The smaller aperture (at maximum zoom) means that either
    there will be a small range of light levels where the FZ5 doesn't work as
    well as the FZ20, or that shutter speeds will be slightly longer. If you
    are going to carry around a bulky flash you might as well carry around a
    bulky and expensive DSLR and lenses to go with it!

    David J Taylor, Mar 31, 2005
  12. Bill Crocker

    Eric Babula Guest

    Are you talking about the samples at: ?
    I don't see much wrong with the pics there.

    Yes, the macro is VERY important to me. I want to take LOTS of macro
    pics with my digital camera, when I get it. Especially of my coin
    collection. I have some coins that are maybe 1cm in diameter (e.g. US
    Half Dimes) - can the FZ20 get great shots of a coin that size? Quality
    is crucial at macro, and at telephoto.

    I'm not sure if the hot shoe is a big deal. I'm guessing not, really. At
    least not initially. Maybe never - I don't know. We don't use an
    external flash with our Nikon film SLR.
    Eric Babula, Mar 31, 2005
  13. Eric Babula wrote:
    No. There was a site reviewing the KM Z5, and it presented comparison
    images from a Panasonic FZ5 (possibly FZ20). The Panasonic images were
    much better at higher ISO. Perhaps it was:
    Neither the KM or the Panasonic is good for macro making a 1cm coin fill
    the frame. My reference for that would be something like a Nikon Coolpix
    990. The KM covers 45 x 34 mm, whereas the 990 has a stunning 19mm frame
    width at maximum macro.

    By the way, I don't know if they were joking, but someone suggested a
    scanner as the best way to photograph coins.

    David J Taylor, Mar 31, 2005
  14. Bill Crocker

    Eric Babula Guest

    The KM can get as close as 1cm to the coin, in Super Macro mode. Can't
    get much closer than that. The FZ5 or FZ20 can get to 5cm. I wouldn't go
    with the Nikon 990 - it only has 3x zoom. I still do want the 10x zoom,
    minimum. I know the Nikon Coolpix 5400 can take some stunning pics of
    coins (have seen the pics), but, again, not enough telephoto. I want the
    best of both worlds.....within my budget, of course.

    I'll check out that comparison and see if I can find some more direct
    comparisions between the KM Z5, the Panasonic FZ5 and the FZ20. If I can
    see direct comparisons from professional reviewers (not just some guy
    with a bias toward or against one or another camera), I might be
    convinced. I've seen many absolutely beautiful pictures in the forums
    from all three of these cameras. At least, they look beautiful on my PC,
    and when I print them out!

    FYI - Scanning is acceptable for circulated coins, with little to no
    luster remaining. But, for Mint State (uncirculated) coins with lots of
    luster, or beautiful toning (natural color), scanning cannot do the job.
    That's where the macro digital photography comes in.

    BTW - thank you, David, for continuing this dialog with me. It's been a
    big help to know I'm on the right track - just gotta pinpoint the right
    one for me, and go for it!
    Eric Babula, Mar 31, 2005
  15. Eric Babula wrote:
    To judge by the images at:

    you will not get what I would call "good quality" macro that close from
    the KM Z5 (45mm wide field), nor from the Panasonic FZ20 (43mm wide
    field). I know it's easy to say, but I think that demanding both a long
    zoom and good macro is making your decision far more difficult than it
    should be. Get a Nikon 990 (or similar model) for the macro, you won't go
    wrong with that, then concentrate on the long zoom requirements to choose
    between the other cameras. If you really must stick with one, consider
    how on earth you are going to maintain good lighting with the Minolta -
    the macro working distance is just 10mm! At least the Panasonic gives you
    50mm working distance.
    Lab tests aren't prints on the wall, although you would hope that the
    provided good guidance to quality. All of these cameras are pushing the
    sensor size, and will work best at low ISO (50, 80, 100). Hence the
    importance of image stabilisation.
    Thanks - it's not my area of expertise at all...
    Well, you've managed to talk me into ordering the Panasonic FZ5 today, so
    I guess we've both found it beneficial to express our ideas and have them
    criticised. These are very capable cameras, have lenses that we could not
    have dreamed of a couple of years ago, and are excellent value for money.
    What will we see next year!

    David J Taylor, Mar 31, 2005
  16. Bill Crocker

    paul Guest

    paul, Mar 31, 2005
  17. Bill Crocker

    Deep Reset Guest

    Which mount does it use for the lenses?
    Is it a proprietary Panasonic one, or one of the more usual Canonikonax
    I couldn't find any info on this?

    Deep Reset, Mar 31, 2005
  18. Bill Crocker

    Larry Guest

    You cannot change lenses on this camera, it is not a DSLR
    Larry, Mar 31, 2005
  19. Bill Crocker

    Eric Babula Guest

    Maybe I am demanding too much by wanting good macro AND good telephoto.
    But, for $600.00 US (once you factor in another $80.00 for a decent SD
    card), I deserve to get something fairly good at both ends of the zoom!
    And, I won't be able to buy two cameras, so I have to find the best
    single camera to do all I want, within my budget. I'm close, with these

    I'll check out those links you gave me, too. I feel that I'm slowly
    leaning toward the Panasonic FZ5, myself, just because of this thread. I
    think the FZ20 is probably too big and heavy for my wife's taste (She
    was originally hoping for a little pocket camera! Ha! Not gonna
    happen!), so that's probably out. I have to see them all in person,

    Ok, I'm going to call a few camera stores right now!
    Eric Babula, Mar 31, 2005
  20. Bill Crocker

    ThomasH Guest

    Why not to take than some of the more comprehensive
    reports, such as

    This camera was the only non-Canon and non-Nikon to be
    for months in the top-ten hit count on dpreview. Seemingly
    this is an attractive package. This Elmarit lens is indeed
    extraordinary. It provides excellent result throughout its
    entire focal length. Many people do not realize what was
    the tradeoff they made at Leica: Its the aperture. If this
    lens is identical to the lens used with FZ-10, than the
    max. aperture is f/5.6. Very unusual.

    ThomasH, Mar 31, 2005
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