Panasonic DMC-FZ30 Announced

July 20, 2005 | Mark Goldstein | Digital Compact Cameras | 361 Comments |

Panasonic DMC-FZ30Panasonic DMC-FZ30 is announced today. The Panasonic DMC-FZ30 is an 8 megapixel compact digital camera with a 12x Leica optical zoom lens equivalent to 35-420mm, optical image stabilizer, addition of a manual zoom ring and rotating LCD screen with 235,000 pixels. The DMC-FZ30 replaces the older and very popular Panasonic DMC-FZ20 model. The Panasonic DMC-FZ30 will be available in the UK in September in black priced £549.99.

Panasonic Europe Press Release

Panasonic is proud to introduce the 8-Megapixel, 12x optical zoom¡¡(equivalent to 35mm to 420mm on a 35mm film camera) LUMIX DMC-FZ30 inheriting MEGA O.I.S. (Optical Image Stabilizer) as an up-and-comer to its creative super zoom FZ double-digit line. The DMC-FZ20, released in 2004, has been internationally acclaimed for meeting the needs of the market by realizing the ideals of users.

The 12x optical zoom LEICA DC VARIO-ELMARIT Lens, which has been handed down since the first launch of the FZ series, underwent further development to provide even more superb picture rendering. The other key feature, the Optical Image Stabilizer, MEGA O.I.S. is deservedly continued as Panasonic advanced the theory that it should be standard in all digital still cameras. The newly incorporated Extra Optical Zoom extends the zoom ratio by using the center part of the high resolution CCD, to achieve 15.3x for 5-Megapixel and 19.1x for 3-Megapixel images with minimal deterioration.

Along with CCD size and total effective pixels, the FZ30 also has enhanced its excellence in other features: addition of a manual zoom ring to the manual focus ring, which was very popular in the FZ20; easy-to-see free-angle LCD; and adjustable dials for the aperture and shutter speed controls. Both the LCD and EVF have had their resolution increased by about 180%, offering a sharp, clear view. All these complete the FZ30 in the resulting picture quality and operationality.

The newly developed 8-Megapixel CCD is compatible with the 9-pixel mixed readout¡¡method, so now moving pictures with dramatically increased brightness can be recorded at 30 fps in VGA size, previously only recordable in QVGA. This technology is used for the LCD monitoring to provide a bright and clear view so subjects can be seen easily, even in low-light situations.

Taking advantage of these outstanding features, the LX1 incorporates the high speed, high quality image processing LSI the Venus Engine II. It boasts quick responsiveness that realizes the best-in-class level release time lag of 0.01 sec. Adopting a non-collapsible lens has substantially reduced startup time from about 5 sec to 0.97 sec. AF time in 1-point high-speed AF has been dramatically reduced to a quarter the level* of that of the previous DMC-FZ20.

Furthermore, by adopting a newly developed lithium-ion battery with a capacity increased from 680 mAh to 730 mAh, the FZ30 realizes the shooting of approx. 280** images for one charging.
The LUMIX DMC-FZ30 has the flawless basic specifications to fuel the spark of imagination in high-end users and is destined to join the Panasonic LUMIX high-end model lineup.
* Panasonic in-house comparison with DMC-FZ20 at the tele-end.
** Based on the CIPA standard.

1. 8-Megapixel CCD and 12x optical zoom LEICA DC Lens. The DMC-FZ30 includes an 8-Megapixel high resolution CCD and a newly developed LEICA DC VARIO-ELMARIT 12x optical zoom (equivalent to 35 mm to 420 mm with a 35 mm film camera) lens. The combination of 3 aspherical lenses and 1 ED lens generates high optical performance while preserving the compactness of the unit. The Extra Optical Zoom, made possible by using the center part of 8-megapixel high resolution CCD, further extends the powerful 12x optical zoom when less than 8-Megapixel resolution is selected. The zoom ratio can be extended to 15.3x for 5-Megapixel and 19.1x for the 3-Megapixel image recording. Zoom range can be extended in total to a remarkable 76.5x (equivalent to 35 mm to 2677 mm on a 35mm film camera) when combined with 4x digital zoom, even if the shooting range is as short as 2m.

2. Optical image stabilizing system MEGA O.I.S. and High-speed High quality Image Processing LSI Venus Engine II
What we strongly believe indispensable for every camera, especially for a high-magnification models susceptible to vibration, is MEGA O.I.S.(Optical Image Stabilizer). MEGA O.I.S. has been incorporated in all FZ series since its first launch and is now with all LUMIX lineup released in this year. Every slight hand-shake movement is detected accurately with the sampling frequency at 4,000 times per second and will be compensated to render clear, sharp images. This premier feature is subsumed with 2 selectable modes. In ¡°Mode 1¡±, the O.I.S. lens continuously compensates vibration, and ¡°Mode 2¡±,¡¡the O.I.S. lens suppresses hand-shake only at the moment the shutter button is pressed. In this mode, the lens can move in all directions at the moment to maximize its effect and higher-resolution image can be taken by capturing the image as close as to the center of the lens. Consequently, even without using a tripod, it allows you to reduce the shutter speed more than three steps compared to the conventional cameras without O.I.S., while assuring clear images. Its outstanding effects will be appreciated in all situations easily spoiled by hand-shake, especially telephoto, low light, and macro shots.

For the brain of the camera, high-speed high-quality image processing LSI Venus Engine II is incorporated to render clear images in detail, compensating the color aberration at the edges subject to occur especially in the telephoto shots. It also compensates for vignetting and generates bright image in every detail. This engine boast its high performance resulting in the best-in-class level release time lag of 0.01* sec helping to realize stress-free operation.
* Not including the time for AF.

3. Ring-operated manual focus and manual zoom Two exclusive rings on the lens barrel of the FZ30 provide manual control of zooming and focusing, allowing quick and fine control that cannot be achieved with button operation. This feature will be highly valued by high-end users not only for its precise controllability but also for the feeling of manual operation. MF, AF and Macro AF can be selectable with a switch located by the lens. Using MF you can zoom in the screen on the subject to focus easily. The magnified area is freely movable to realize unconfined framing, which is especially necessary when the camera is on a tripod.

Shutter speed and aperture controls are very easy and quick to adjust with the dials for them. The shutter speed can be selectable from 1/2000 to 60 sec, and the aperture from F2.8 to F11, to meet wider ranging shooting conditions. The AE lock button, a new control, is convenient for taking multiple shots at the same exposure setting regardless of the color of a subject.
¡¡
Panasonic DMC-FZ304. High resolution free style LCD and EVF
The free-angle LCD is angle-adjustable to support comfortable shooting even in high- and low-angle shooting positions. With resolution increased by 180% compared to the FZ20, both LCD and EVF boast 235 k pixels, which realizes more comfortable operation when checking points such as the focus of details. Also, real time histogram and composition guidelines are displayed over the image on both the LCD or EVF. The high-resolution LCD and EVF allow the display of images even in tiny thumbnail size. Playback of 9, 16 or 25 is possible on a multi-split screen in addition to the normal 1 frame playback. This helps you to search for the image you want out of a number stored on the SD Memory Card, even the images are in bulk. The swivel LCD can be stored with the LCD surface on the inside to prevent scratching and damage.

5. Faster AF and enhanced options
The AF method can be selected according to the shooting situation: 9-point, 3-point high speed, 1-point high speed, 1-point normal speed and Spot. In the newly incorporated 1-point high speed AF,¡¡AF time has been dramatically reduced to a quarter the level* of the previous DMC-FZ20 thanks to the increased sampling frequency. Although screen-freeze in high-speed AF is now minimized, to take pictures of fast-moving subjects you can select 1 point normal-speed AF, which does not have any screen-freeze while focusing.

While using 1-point AF, you can specify a point out of 9 AF points. You can thereby enjoy free framing shooting even with the subject not at the center.
*Panasonic in-house comparison with DMC-FZ20 at the tele-end.


6. Quick and smart operationality
The startup time of the FZ30 has been substantially reduced to only 0.97 sec compared to the previous FZ20, which took about 5 sec.

Thanks to the multi-task image processing of the Venus Engine II, response has also been accelerated, resulting in the best-in-class level release time lag of approx. 0.01 sec for achieving more stress-free operation.

Consecutive shooting performance is also exceptional, providing shooting at 3 frames/second at full resolution. The Unlimited Consecutive Shooting function** allows limit-free consecutive shooting up to the capacity of the SD memory card. Burst shooting mode can be¡¡instantly activated with the independent button.
* Not including the time for AF.
** The speed of the consecutive shooting varies depending on the SD memory card.


7. Higher quality moving images
A newly incorporated CCD that adopts a 9-pixel mixed readout method makes it possible to record beautiful full-size movies at 30 fps in VGA size, only possible in QVGA size with the FZ20. The new CCD provides much more luminous signals, enhancing the picture quality not only in size but also in the brightness level, while also suppressing moir¨¦s.

Full advantage is taken of this by increasing the brightness of both the LCD and EVF when monitoring the taking of still images. This is especially effective in providing a clear view in low-light situations.

8. Easier and more comfortable operationality
By adopting a newly developed lithium-ion battery with a capacity increased from 680 mAh to 730 mAh, the FZ30 realizes the shooting of approx. 280* images for one charging.

In addition to the conventional ProgramAE, FZ30 is equipped with Auto mode, which caters for the entry level users. A total of 14 scene modes including 5 new modes Baby, Soft Skin, Food, Starry Sky and Candle, helps you to take beautiful images easily in wide-ranging situations. Still it is easy to select the one out of them thanks to the newly installed Scene Mode Help Screen that shows the description of each mode and the knack for shooting of each scene and helps users to take beautiful image easily.

Auto angle detection records whether an image was taken horizontally or vertically. This ensures that when playing back on the LCD monitor and displaying images on your TV or on a PC using included software, vertical images are automatically displayed vertically and horizontal images are automatically displayed horizontally. You can still view images in its full size by displaying conventionally.

The external design has also been reworked to move the doors of the battery and SD Memory Card so you can change either of them even when the camera is on a tripod.
*Based on the CIPA standard.

9. Expandability ¨C the proof of a true high end camera
The conversion lens newly developed for the FZ30 is dramatically reduced in both size and weight while enhancing its capability realizing 1.7x (714mm on a 35mm film camera) for a tele conversion lens and 0.7x (24.5mm on a 35mm film camera) for a wide conversion lens. Equipped with a hot shoe, an external flash can be fitted when necessary. The recordable image format is either RAW, TIFF, or JPEG (Fine or Standard). Expandability is the proof of a real high end camera, which is what the DMC-FZ30 also boasts.



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#101 Dr Krishna Raman

Neil and Nighthawk. Stay away from the Fuji 9000. I just had a chance to test it . Shot various angles, shots , indoor outdoor etc. The flash recycling is tooooo slow! The auto focus speed/ accuracy is nowhere near the Sony 828 or Lumix Fz20. Lot of inaccurate shots. Dont buy this camera.

10:44 am - Saturday, September 17, 2005

#102 Neil Armstrong

Thanks Krishna, from reading other forums and the small number of photos I have seen, I would choose the FZ30 anyway and live with the noise. Having said that, I am convinced that there is a better camera on the design table right now that will be the one we are all looking for. Any news on the Samsung Pro815, on paper that looks good but I can't see anyone getting excited about it.

11:15 am - Saturday, September 17, 2005

#103 Neil Armstrong

Full review of FZ30 now available:-

http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/PanasonicFZ30/

11:48 am - Saturday, September 17, 2005

#104 Bazza

Krishna and others- thanks for the advice. I've just read the dpreview article on the FZ30 and ruled it out. Also saw a brief user review on Fuji talk forum by "Anne in Gatineau" a semi-pro in Canada. She bought both FZ30 and S9000. She sent the FZ30 back but kept the Fuji. I've printed a few of her samples at A4 on decent paper and they look pretty good to me. See URL below (don't know if it will appear as a link, but that's technology for you.)

http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp?forum=1012&message=15009015

10:47 am - Monday, September 19, 2005

#105 Bren D Buenaluz

After a read of the spec of Panasonic DMC-FZ30, I would say - this is a very good buy at that price. I am waiting to see exactly what the performance of this camera - picture quality specially. If the review is good, I would like to give this a try. I have presently the FZ20 and it performed very well. I now use it instead of my Nikon Photomic which is non digital. Are there any manufacturer who can match Panasonic on the price and spec ?

11:26 am - Monday, September 19, 2005

#106 Bazza

Has anyone seen user or professional reviews of the Samsung pro 815 yet?

11:37 am - Monday, September 19, 2005

#107 Neil Armstrong

With ref to Bazza post (104). I read the thread from 'Anne in Gatineau'. Its true that she said that she returned her FZ30 and kept the S9000 but later she borrowed another FZ30 from a friend and decided it was much better than the original one that she had. I saw the photos and my opinion is that the S9000 photos were nothing special, to me they lacked a crispness that you can see in the FZ30 photos but the s9000 was better in lower light or higher ISO. It would be interesting to do some direct 'like for like' comparisons with both cameras. Seeing as I have now somehow managed to actually order both cameras. I was gonna stick with the FZ30 but then I saw the S9000 far too cheap (http://www.dabs.co.uk), its probably a mistake in price but it will be interesting to see if I receive it at that price. I thought it would be good fun to do some comparisons at different settings and print size etc. I still haven't received either camera yet, so it may take a couple of weeks until I get the pictures posted. Watch this space !

11:51 am - Monday, September 19, 2005

#108 John

Well seen the full review now at http://www.dpreview.com for the FZ30. Being a FZ20 owner and very happy with it though i am using it along side a EOS 300d so at high iso it is no match for the slr i was curious to c what improvements would be made.

Having now downlaoded a lot of teh test images taken with the camera the noise levels r high there can be no doubt in that. Though if u want to print at 6x4 7x5 10x8 they wont notice and i can recommend if you are worried about Noise which is apparent on nearly all compact digital cameras due to the size of ccd. Try using Neat Image a piece of software that works wonders on noise on compact digital cameras.

I will def be replacing my fz20 for the new big brother well done panasonic.

2:48 pm - Monday, September 19, 2005

#109 NightHawk

Ok I am totally confused! People buy a 8mp camera and live with noise - why not buy a 5mp and have nice images? What is the point of having a camera cost over $600 that is only good for snap shoot or each images need a lot of help to be useable. With people like this around I can understand why the camera manufacters produce such poor cameras.

5:19 pm - Monday, September 19, 2005

#110 Neil Armstrong

Well, I've been out and about with the FZ30. It takes fantastic pictures during the day. I took a couple of photos at night. One of a street lamp and one of car headlights in pitch black (camera set to automatic). It set itself to ISO200 (I thought it might have gone for ISO400). I can't see any noise at all on those photos on the pc afterwards. I'm happy with the FZ30 so far ! I have also played with the S9500 and both of these cameras are physically very similar.

3:45 pm - Thursday, September 22, 2005

#111 Tom

A very interesting exchange; thanks to all who have contributed. You've all clearly been going through the same lists of cameras and the same ups and downs as I have over the last few weeks!

I'm now fairly (75%) resolved to purchase the K-M FZ30; I may remember to pop back and give my opinion. Of all the prosumer cams I've tested in the last couple of weeks, the FZ20 and 30 felt the most like 'proper' cameras - cameras you'd be proud to stick in someone's face when travelling, or spend hours hanging around notable buildings or parks at odd times of the day trying to capture that one special shot... and equally cameras which can pick out people in a crowded room for candid portraits... and whose high-ISO performance isn't THAT bad - I wonder if there's a CCD quality control thing going on here, as there seems to be quite a range of opinions flying around.

I should also say that I have a deep-rooted hatred of the Fuji and Olympus firmwares for some reason, having been a Canon man for several years.

2:02 am - Wednesday, September 28, 2005

#112 Mikey

It is funny how everybody focuses on noise so much to the exclusion of other factors. From what I read so far, it seems that Fuji S9000 has run away from the rest of the market segment in terms of low noise at high ISO settings. This would really move me towards the S9000 since high noise can really ruin an image, and I find that I do most of my pictures indoors, subjects being running kids, and the freedom to pick extra depth of focus or shorter exposure time would certainly be very helpful.

On the other hand, a camera's performance is determined by so much more than just noise. After all, you can get a salvageable 4x6" print with pretty high noise levels. On the other hand, if the AF does not perform well in low light or with moving subjects (my Fuji S602 suffers from both of these afflictions), you may not even get a shot in which you would have the high noise levels to complain about. Also, white balance in less than perfect light conditions - while you can fix all that in postprocessing, I often don't have time for it. Finally, I find manual focus on most prosumer digicams to be basically useless. My S602 was the bright spot for its day - it had a zoom ring rather than a cumbersome wheel or buttons, and it had the maginifcation of the center portion of the LCD to assist in manual focus. However, the response time of the whole system - focus-by-wire ring and the slow-refresh-rate LCD was such that manual focusing was even slower than the AF which was not rocket speed either. I tried MF on a KM A200, and it sucked just as much. Canon PowerShot Pro1 came close, and the best camera I have seen in that regard was the Panasonic FZ20, so I am more optimistic about the FZ30 in that regard.

My point is, however, that the cameras must be evaluated on multitude of performance aspects, and not just in terms of who has the lowest noise as this discussion seems to suggest. I have not even mentioned things like wide-angle limit, lens distortion and sharpness and other things that I am not sophisticated enough a photographer to talk about.

6:27 pm - Thursday, September 29, 2005

#113 NightHawk

I focus on Noise since if it makes you work at salvaging a 8X10 (after time invested) or living with a 4x6 I would buy a $10 disposible camera not a 8mp.

7:19 pm - Thursday, September 29, 2005

#114 NightHawk

Mikey -- I totally agree that focusing on one factor is a problem but we have not been. There are things such as the "limiting factor". To some people the camera must have a good manual focus, to others a long zoom, to others produce a useable 18”X24” off tripod. I want a useable 18X24 image - so if noise is the limiting factor so be it. I have already given my wish list and it included a wide range of factors. Why waste your time on a camera discussing lens and speed and such if the noise level "limiting factor" does not allow you to produce an image that you desire. Granted, you may have different limiting facors. If you will live with a 4X6 why are you even looking at 8mp cameras with noise problems? Go to a 5mp or even 3mp - seems simple to me – As soon as you settle for a 4X6 your argument only make sense with a 1 -3mp camera or cell cam not a 8 mp do it all camera.

7:40 pm - Thursday, September 29, 2005

#115 Mikey

Unfortunately I cannot afford to charter Panasonic or anyone else to produce a camera for My needs, so I have to deal with what is on the market. I want to have a movie mode, that rules out DSLRs. I want a usable manual focus, that rules out anything but prosumer cameras. I would love nothing more than a camera with a nice low-noise 4 MP sensor, but that does not seem to sell to the public. I cannot get one of the better old cameras like some of the one-piece Olympus bits because older cameras are tooo slooooww.

So I am forced to wait for some compromise that is still on the drawing board or is about to be released. I am done waiting though - if this current crop of prosumer cameras does not produce a workable compromise, I will forget about the movie mode and get a D70.

I do wonder though why so many people that worry about noise above all don't get a DSLR. An Olympus EVOLT can be had with a pair of lenses covering 14-200mm (28-400 35mm equivalent) for not much more than a prosumer camera, and I am sure a reasonable single lens can be found for most occasions. It is noisy by DSLR standards, but is worlds above anything in the prosumer segment. Plus it has that nifty ultrasonic sensor cleaner feature that gets rid of any dust on the sensor. I know, lugging about two lenses and a brick of a camera is not nearly as sexy as a small camera with a giant lens barrel, but man will that make your wall-sized prints look awsome!

9:30 pm - Thursday, September 29, 2005

#116 NightHawk

Mikey - neither can I have a custom camera or anything made but I have my wishlist -- there always seens to be a fatal flaw hidden and I do look for it. What I want is sooo doable if the components on the market were put together the most advantagous way (for me - smiles).

How often do you use the movie mode? It has been a selling point for me but I just do not use it that much. Why not get a cheap movie camera to do the job. I do want a all in one camera.

4:43 am - Saturday, October 1, 2005

#117 Mikey

Well, I don't use the movie mode much now, but that is because I cannot zoom while in movie mode, at least not on my camera. It was pretty much an afterthought when I bought this one. But now, I think, with the mechanical zoom rings and continuous AF, movie mode could be usable.

I do have a camcorder, but for me I have to choose to take along a camera, or a camcorder, or both but leave the wife at home. And the last choice carries some significant problems as you may understand.

So when I do pick the new camera this fall (probably AF speed and MF response will be more of a deciding factor for me than noise - I rarely venture past 4x6 prints), I will evaluate whether the new and improved movie mode produces acceptable results. If not, I will definitely trade the camera back for a DSLR, most likely a D70 (that kit lens is AWSOME, and D70 autoISO mode is the best in the segment).

8:06 pm - Saturday, October 1, 2005

#118 NightHawk

Thanks for clearing that up for me! I was scraching my head - as to me you were not needing a 8 mp camera. Silly me - you did not want a 8mp camera but had to look for one for the other features that were limiting factors for you. I really appreciate you puttin up with we and am glad you asked the question about noise -- turns out it put alot of light on the subject that I was ignoring. Would love to hear what you find out. My golden egg was spent on other things but I want a replacement for my stolen 8 mp and will get on by next summer - I truly hope -and then look for Grizzly Bears in the wild (the need for 8mp and a long zoom and no goofing around with lenses becomes life saving or at least shot making vs not). Do not want to take a once in a life shot and not have the potential to use every pixel. But it must have image stabilization, be fast, high quality glass, and to reach that need.

12:06 am - Sunday, October 2, 2005

#119 Dr. Bruce

Ahh, but the Olympus E-100RS with the long zoom and the 15FPS speed has been the king of fast photography for a long time. At just 1.5MP though, it was relegated to the closeout shelf after one year when the larger pixel count sensors became available. But the lens is superior to most on the market, with the exception of the strict SLR, that the quality of the photos does not suffer. I don't know how to add a few photos here or I would post a few that have not been retouched just for comparison. I love the FZ30 but I'll never relinquish the E-100 for sports either. Again, just my prefernces.

12:25 am - Sunday, October 2, 2005

#120 bazza

Amateur Photographer (my most trusted review source)has now reviewed the Fuji S9500. They like the overall performance, noise control and the usable ISOs (800 up to A3 prints) but criticise slow refresh on the LCD, slowish autofocus and relatively low burst rate. They gave it a good rating (85%) but say it would be close to 90% if you don't do sports photography. They are doing the FZ30 next week.

1:15 pm - Tuesday, October 4, 2005

#121 NightHawk

Thanks for the info bazza ! --- Soon we will have review from Amateur Photographer Fuji S9500 and FZ30 Now it they did the Samsung Pro815 it would almost be like a side by side comparison. Does anyone know why they did not put true image stabilization in these two cameras (i do not place the FZ30 on my list)?????

10:04 pm - Tuesday, October 4, 2005

#122 Dr. Bruce

The latest review and it's a very good one. Just about what I found from real world use of the FZ30.

http://www.megapixel.net/reviews/panasonic-fz30/fz30-gen.php

1:29 am - Wednesday, October 5, 2005

#123 Mikey

Dr. Bruce, do you own a FZ30? I hope you don't mind answering a couple of questions if you do. My main concerns are the usability of manual focus - is the focus ring and LCD response rate fast enough for focusing on moving kids/animals? and AF performance on those subjects. Also, the megapixel.net review was not terribly clear on the difference between high speed 1-area AF and simple 1-area AF. They mentioned that the high speed 1-area AF has a focus range limitation but did not state what it was. Do you know and would you be willing to clarify?

Currently, FZ30 seems to top my list - S9000 would be nice with the low noise at high iso, but the complaints seem to center around AF speed and LCD refresh rate - both key features on my list. And Pro 815 seems too fishy based on currently available information and my prior experience with Samsung products - I would love to be surprised though. Kodak P880 is also a possible contender, though I am not holding my breath - I have utmost faith in Kodak's ability to dumb the feature set down just enough to make it worthless. I think the FZ30 is too noisy and some controls REALLY should have dedicated buttons, but I can live with the noise and even the mighty D70 hid an essential control in menus - you need to go to menus to switch between S-AF and C-AF - so complaining about the interface of a prosumer camera is useless

6:13 am - Wednesday, October 5, 2005

#124 NightHawk

Is this the link to Amateur Photographer's review for Fuji S9500? cost 3 pound? I will wait for my most trusted site to review the three and hopefully a better one coming out in the next 6 months -http://www.testreports.co.uk/photography/ap/stock/Model.asp?Model=22459&ModelPage=true

my trusted reviews come from : http://www.imaging-resource.com/OTHER1.HTM

and side by side pic comparisons (sister site) http://www.imaging-resource.com/IMCOMP/COMPS01.HTM

8:29 am - Wednesday, October 5, 2005

#125 mediyoga

Neil and Nighthawk
I finally bought the rebel xt with a 17-85 IS lens.The quality of the pics blew me away. I have settled down!
Krishna Raman

2:01 pm - Wednesday, October 5, 2005

#126 NightHawk

mediyoga -- I am happy the you love your choice! It is just not mine - I would be settling (and yes maybe falling in love also - smiles). I am holding out for a all in one camera hopefull 8-9mp plus smiles. As yet there is not a single lens availible for any DSLR or removeable lens camera that comes remotely close to a 14-200mm (28-400 35mm equivalent) zoom with min f-stops in low twos to high 3s at telo. Or even a two lens set --- The 17-85 IS lens is 35mm so not a wide wide angle and the second lens? A 70-200 costing and weighing three times as much as my dream digcam. So the best availible for the canon rebel xt in a equivalent system (28-400 35mm equivalent)requires -- at a minimum two lens with two filter kits plus a super wide angle converter - this system costs and takes up as much space as 2-4 dream digcams. I am glad you love your camera but it is a totally different type of system.

2:37 pm - Wednesday, October 5, 2005

#127 mediyoga

Nighthawk
The lens has a 1.6 crop that makes it 27.2-136mm which is not so bad. I have not decided on the second lens. There is a 70-300 IS that is not as expensive as the L series which is due in Oct. I am waiting for the review. This is half the cost of the L series. But again , the quality of pics is great! Its a good walk around lens.
Krishna Raman

3:44 pm - Wednesday, October 5, 2005

#128 Dr. Bruce

Mikey:
Yes I own an FZ30. I'm amazed at the fast response on the LCD's, both the viewfinder and the display, and how they keep up, with the doom. The ring is the closest to a manual zoom SLR I've seen, and it's intuitive to spin it when you zoom, just like the SLR's. I shoot moving trains, cars, boats and other subjects and have been very pleased with the performance.

There are 5 AF Modes, and the two high speed modes operate on a 3 area (left, center and right) or 1 area (center) focus. The only limitation on either of the high speed modes is that the whan you press the shutter halfway, the picture may "freeze" for a moment before focusing. I have not had that happen, but the manual says it can, so that could be the limitation they are mentioning. Also, high speed AF sem to simply focus on the subject faster. I leave mine on the Continuous Autofocus mode and it doesn't appear to matter anyway. Supposedly eats more battery juice but with 240 shots per charge, who needs to count?

I like the Scene 1 and 2 controls to set the controls to how I want for certain frequently used shots, such as sports and scenery. There are lots to choose from and I don't think thre's another camera out there this well appointed for the price. Plus, the display and EVF clarity is awesome.

Noise wise, nothing I can't live with. I've shot grainy prints underwater and in the sky from Mt. Haleakala in Hawaii to The Virgin Islands, Ireland, and Southeast Asia, so no matter how good or bad the camera, film or photographer, you can always do a good or bad photo and it always comes at the worst time. My suggestion is to get an FZ30 in your hand and try it out for yourself. The real proof is how it looks and feels to you and how the final prints appear in YOUR eyes.... Good luck.

10:59 pm - Wednesday, October 5, 2005

#129 NightHawk

Thank you mediyoga - I just wish the could just state true power insted of mm - but that would be to easy - smiles. So since it goes to 27mm all you need is a second len. I agree that the 27.2-136mm 0.5 - 2.75 ish power is a great walk around lens. I would need a second lens at times.


Bruce: You need to get paid for recommendations like above. So did they fix the FZ30 from pre to production models or do we just have less critical reviewers now?

12:02 am - Thursday, October 6, 2005

#130 Dr. Bruce

They couldn't pay me for my comments. Good or bad, I call them as I see them. I liked the Konica Minolta A2, didn't like the A200 but not especially for the quality of the pics. The ergonomics and hot it fit my hand, the display and other issues were just not to my liking. I liked the Olympus E2 lots better than the E1 although they are very similar cameras. Much of what we read and write here is based on personal use and preference and real-world handling of the camera.For instance, as an investigator, as much as I like just about everything about the Konica-Minolta 7D, changing lenses in a fire scene would have dust, dirt, smoke and soot inside the body in a second and make the photos less than perfect, when that is the time I need them to be their best. Even a camera with a wave filter would not be applicable in that atmosphere. So, the non-removable lens on the job becomes a necessity rather than a preference. That's why I tell everyone to hold and try the camera, because the best camera is the one YOU like, not the one some reviewer likes best!

1:29 am - Thursday, October 6, 2005

#131 Dr. Bruce

And, if the production models are different that the pre-production models, I presume they did some minor adjustment to the firmware or filtering. Because it seems the noise issue that everyone, including me, thought would be glaring at low ISO 80-200 doesn't appear to be a problm. At the higher numbers it is still there but I don't see it as a huge problem in my type of shooting. To others it could be.

1:34 am - Thursday, October 6, 2005

#132 NightHawk

Thanks DR. Bruce -- I agree about the KM A200 great camerea if you have small hands. Thats while I would prefer a larger one body. I am glad you are happy with the FZ30. Sorry for the tone of the last letter. It just didn no track with our earlier take.

4:00 am - Thursday, October 6, 2005

#133 Dr. Bruce

No problem with the comments; well taken. Photography and the resultant products are like everything in life. The beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Some beautiful equipment will drive you crazy with idiosyncracies, and make it so user unfriendly it will be relegated to that dark hole in the back of your closet. Other equipment is so ugly, but works so well and easily, that you overlook the ugliness just to use it every day. Enjoy photography and the world, because it's the one place you truly can capture the entire world in the palm of your hand!

11:02 pm - Thursday, October 6, 2005

#134 Mikey

OK, a slovenian website just published what looks like a rather thorough field review of Fuji S9000 vs. Panasonic FZ30 (http://www.e-fotografija.com/artman/publish/article_811.shtml). My knowledge of Russian and Ukrainian is not enough to make much sense of Slovenian :) Anyone speaking the language willing to read and convey the highlights? As these two cameras appear to be the current segment leaders with Fuji winning in noise and Panasonic in usability, this seems like a review that someone should publish in English...

4:56 pm - Monday, October 10, 2005

#135 bazza

Well, guys, the "Amateur Photographer" review of the FZ30 came out today. I guess the FZ's off my Christmas present list now!
Last week I took one of the published samples from the S9500 and printed it. It was an outdoor portrait of a young lady, possibly with some fill-in flash, so I printed it to A4. Quite impressive with good tone gradation and good detail. I was then able to compare it with a similar sized print I made a couple of years ago, also an outdoor portrait with a touch of fill flash but using my Contax 35mm SLR and 200ISO Fuji print film. The Contax print was certainly crisper (Zeiss 50mm Planar)but also had a better "tonality" and handled the out-of-focus background rather better. I printed Fuji's digital sample up to A3 and it held-up pretty well, but I was able to compare it with a 20" x 16" version of my Contax print. No contest. I then printed some A4 samples from a pre-production Sony R1. Absolutely stunning, virtually as good as the Contax film results. OK a much smaller focal length range than the Fuji or Lumix but what quality.
I want one (when it's available,) and I'll buy a "cheapie" FZ5 for the occasional sporting snap where I need a long zoom.

1:43 pm - Tuesday, October 11, 2005

#136 GARY POGODA

Bazza, interesting comment regarding the Sony DSC-R1. I have had
my eye on that camera, as well. Its APS-C sensor is huge, compared
to the 1/1.8" to 2/3" sensors of these other high end non-SLRs (FZ30,
Pro815, S9000). Maybe its lens is not the fastest, or its zoom not the
longest, but it is difficult to argue with image quality.

7:27 pm - Tuesday, October 11, 2005

#137 NightHawk

http://www.letsgodigital.org/en/camera/review/61/page_6.html S9000 review

four cameras compared >http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/F10/F10A.HTM#overview

Gary -- lens speed can be more important the image quality - sad to say. I have missed or not even tried shots due to the slow responce of digcams. But still that is faster than changing or adding lens as you have to do for all DSLRs and most digcams. Seems there are two exceptinons the A200 and the S9000.

the S9000 is the leader for me so far
1) graduated manual zoom ring
2)best ISO,Fstop, and Shutter speed range
3) 28mm wide angle vs 35mm
4) Hot shoe and sync!!!!
5) 300 mm telo with 9mp combine to give ZOOM
6) AA batteries - not another camera battery
7) CF and XD slot (can store to either slot)
8) Size fits larger hands than A200
9) 5th gen sensor (proven in F-10)
10) usable RAW mode and nice appearance

6:48 pm - Sunday, October 23, 2005

#138 GARY POGODA

The S9000 has nice features, but its CCD is minuscule compared to
the R1's. BTW, just so we are on the same page, when I referred to
the R1's slower lens, I was talking about its aperture range, so really
the S9000 is no better off.

9:27 pm - Sunday, October 23, 2005

#139 bazza

Just seen a review of the Sony R1 on a Polish site ("Fotopolis")
Some of the samples are really very impressive and worth a look..
http://www.fotopolis.pl/index.php?gora=4&lewa=3&e=3342&p=7
Also interesting are some sample comparisons versus Canon Pro 1 and Olympus E300 and, for me, the Sony wins hands sown on both definition and high ISO performance.
One possible negative comment is that I noticed what could looks a bit like hot pixels on the flesh tones of a portrait. It might just be tiny reflections from the on-camera flash...I just don't know.

See what you think.

3:37 pm - Tuesday, October 25, 2005

#140 GARY POGODA

Could not find the review. I'll wait for an English one. :)

5:59 pm - Tuesday, October 25, 2005

#141 NightHawk

Thanks!!!! Gary!!! Ya I thought that was what you meant after I sent the note oops "I referred to the R1’s slower lens, I was talking about its aperture range." instead of autofocus or lag time as I assumed at first.

You got me to look at the camera -- Thanks!!! I currently shoot a Sony F707 - after having my KM A200 stolen (I do love my Sony -- its lens and images are great for a 5mp - bought when it first came out as To Me it produced better images than even the $5000 Nikon pro at that time).

WOW ! Now if they make a great 2 power converter with 67 mm threads for filters!!
I sure hope they do think threaded filters are a good thing for a converter!!! Is there one out there?

No movie mode but I rarely use it anyway!!

http://www.dpreview.com/articles/sonydscr1/page2.asp
24mm - 120mm equiv. standard lens

• 21.5 x 14.4 mm CMOS sensor versus
8.8 x 6.6 mm of F828
over 5 times the AREA!!!
Double WOW!!!

• RGB Color Filter Array
• Built-in fixed low-pass filter
• 10.3 million effective pixels
• 3:2 aspect ratio

Images sizes • 3888 x 2592 (10M)
• 3264 x 2176 (7M)
• 2748 x 1856 (5M)
• 2160 x 1440 (3M)
• 1296 x 864 (1M)

Wow!!!


• Electronic Viewfinder with dioptre adjustment
• 0.44" TFT LCD
• 235,200 pixels
LCD • 2.0" TFT LCD
• 134,000 pixels
• Anti-reflective coating
• Flip-up and twist (top mounted)

nice!!!!!!!

• Auto
• ISO 160
• ISO 200
• ISO 400
• ISO 800
• ISO 1600
• ISO 3200

dreamland!!!!

Auto: 1/8 sec
• Program AE: 1 sec
• Aperture Priority: 8 sec
• Shutter Priority: 30 sec
• Manual: Bulb (3 mins)

nice a day and night digcam !!!!!

USB 2.0 (Hi-Speed)

6:43 pm - Tuesday, October 25, 2005

#142 bazza

Gary & Nighthawk - the Polish site is well worth a look.
Unfortunately the link I supplied insists on taking you to the magazine's home page, not the review - and I can't fix it!
Go to the home page (my link), then click "testa cyfra" on left hand side. This lists all the tests.
Scroll down to the Sony ("test aparatu Sony Cyber...etc") then click on the little orange "weicej" link on the right hand side after the photo.
This takes you to the DSC-R1 review. Page 6 is the comparison shots with Canon pro 1 and E300, page 7 has a summary in English and page 8 is the samples. I've printed a couple of the samples on a Canon S200 and they are good.
Looking at the portrait print I think the hot pixels I referred to are actually tiny reflections of perspiration from the on-camera flash.

9:36 am - Wednesday, October 26, 2005

#143 NightHawk

Gary - 138 - after looking at the facts the Sony R1 camera is Slow !!! I was right in my assumption there are lot faster cameras than Sony! The only way to take fast shots is "prefocused". So it is still nothing like a 35mm film camera or even a fast digcam. Sony must look at improving the speed of its internal processor or it will never be a good choice for an action camera !!! Now it is good only for taking pics of stationary things with patience or dead stuff where timing is not a problem -- that rules out pic near sunset or sunrise where lighting and mood chances dramatically - fast.

2:12 pm - Wednesday, October 26, 2005

#144 GARY POGODA

Never claimed the R1 was perfect, just THE best image sensor of all
non-dSLRs. The only R1 performance spec I have seen was its 3fps
Continuous Shooting. From your comment, I assume you have seen
other less favorable performance specs.

10:37 pm - Wednesday, October 26, 2005

#145 NightHawk

Yes just found a review in my favorite site where you can compare it side by side with other images of different cameras-- saddly the s9000 has not been reviewed.

http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/R1/R1A8.HTM

This site was were I fell in love with the Sony F-707 and have hated its slowness for four years. The R1 takes almost a secound to -- power on, shutter lag, full autofocus so just average with prosumer cameras but stacked up against a D-SlR they state "timing performance leaves much to be desired" At full power flash takes 6 sec to recycle!

12:30 am - Thursday, October 27, 2005

#146 bazza

Nighthawk - good comment and I agree that I would never use the R1 for serious sports photography, not just because of its speed but with a maximum focal length of 120mm (equivalent) it was never intended for it. A camera obviously needs to be considered in the context of the type of photography you want it for and also for the usual conditions where you live. Here in the UK we don't often get California blue skies and bright sunshine, so high ISO is more important for us.
For the most part a relatively poor burst speed is not an issue for me. Power-up to first shot is about a second, which is about the time it takes me to lift the camera up to eye level to start framing. Single shot speed is governed by the autofocus, as is my Contax G2 35mm kit - and they are roughly equivalent in speed - typically three quarters of a second or less.
I am seriously considering replacing my Contax outfit with an R1. Why? (i) I want to stay with Zeiss glass because it gives sharp and extremely natural images which correspond to what my eye sees in real life.(ii) I want a fairly big sensor so the focal lengths on the new camera are much closer to 35mm ones and my portraits can have out of focus backgrounds, good bokeh and none of the electronic nasties which cameras with small sensors have to resort to to simulate out-of-focus.(iii) I want image quality which approaches my Contax kit but with the convenience of digital.(iv) It is a good performer at ISO 400 and 800 so is appropriate to typical UK conditions.(v) I dont want to carry interchangeable lenses and have a clattery mirror.
I'll stick with medium format film for serious stuff until such time as I can afford a digital back for my Rollei kit (or can afford the new digital Hassleblad when it arrives)
Right now the R1's winning and being advertised in the UK for around £700.
I'll keep watching the forums, reviews and blogs though, just in case someone comes up with something better.

10:35 am - Thursday, October 27, 2005

#147 NightHawk

I want a do it all camera -- fast enough not to miss action shots and without the requirement lots of lens changes and mirror issues. The R1 is close if they fix the noise at over 400 ISO just slow. The ISO to me would be used to reduce blurr do to camera shake. ( knocking knees in front of models or grizzlies). Ever tried to take pics of aspiring models ? I miss a lot do to shutter lag and more if the subject is a bird. I love the glass too as I still do. Now if someone would offer a 2 power converter with threads for flters it would be a good deal. AS it is in just does not fit my needs -- by the way the Pacific North West gets is not always sunny.

So what is Sonys intent? It could have be a D-Slr killer but they put artificial limmits on it. So did they just not want to cut into D -SLR sales!!!

I want a camera to do it all. From Grizzly - in the wilds of Canada - so speed is a need to still lifes. The "prefocused" method may work if I get one in a zoo or can tell the animal where it will be. Otherwise I just hope it is still there when the image is captured.

1:50 pm - Thursday, October 27, 2005

#148 bazza

I think you need 2 cameras, Nighthawk. One with stunning optical performance for the aspiring models (yes, I get camera shake as well with those, but a high flash synch speed helps)and one with a long lens and Image Stabilisation for grizzlies. I wouldn't want to get near enough to a grizzly to use a 120 lens!

For model work I use 80mm on medium format or anything between 80mm and 135mm for 35mm film. Studio flash lets me use a high shutter speed on medium format (synch up to 1/500) but I have to live with lowish synch speeds on 35mm. So the R1 would be a good 35mm replacement for me.

Now there's a thought, the R1 DOES have a flash synch socket -doesn't it?

2:03 pm - Thursday, October 27, 2005

#149 NightHawk

I have lots of cameras -- film cameras include --- a Century Box camera (5x7in film neg.), A 6x7 Pentax with 4 lens (fast), and a Minolta Maxxum 400si with a 35-70 af zoom. So large to small format. I had a KM A200 8mp (stolen) and a now relie on an old Sony F-707 5mp. In studio I shoot with hot lights. Outdoor I use natual lighting with a touch of fill in. So I do not need another camera! I know what I want and will use and that is a digcam !!! I do not use the other cameras so why have them?

I want a all in one digcam. You ignored my mention of a 2 power converter 120 X2 = 240 mm ok with usable dig zoom 240x2 = 480 mm at 5mp equiv using a 10mp camera. So all the R1 needs is a 2 power converter and some speed. Image stabilization would be great but by being able to go to 400 - 800 ISO - I could use shutter speed to anti blurr.
my gallery > http://nighthawkpm.deviantart.com/gallery

5:23 pm - Thursday, October 27, 2005

#150 GARY POGODA

Nice website, but why no grizzlies?

How about a 1.7x teleconverter?

http://www.dpreview.com/articles/sonydscr1/page4.asp

5:58 pm - Thursday, October 27, 2005

#151 NightHawk

Blind -- went right past it -- thanks for pointing it out - No one mentioned it and just stated 120mm not the option for 204 with converter and then 408 with dig zoom ( 5mp equiv) -- I have not went hunting Grizzlies with a camera yet - smiles. Planning on going to a friends place in Canada next year (it did not work out this year hopefully next). She saw a huge one (the butt was as high as the 4x4 hood) -- and then measured the prints -- 14 inches. So hopefully by then I will have a new camera. Maybe the R1 and a assistant that runs slow too.

12:14 am - Friday, October 28, 2005

#152 NightHawk

This is the fatal flaw of Sony R1 in my book --

http://www.kenrockwell.com/sony/dsc-r1.htm

You cannot zoom with the converter on, plus the weight, the slows, and cost of extra lens make it more expensive for less of a camera than going for a Nikon D50. So the Sony R1 is a poor chioce for me.

So why did Sony choice to have serveral custom lens made when it could have made just one -- a 24 - 300ish ???????????

4:17 am - Friday, October 28, 2005

#153 bazza

I don't know what it costs in your part of the world but the R1's 1.7 tele and the 0.7 wide converters for the R1 are about £250 each plus £ 35 for a plastic looking adapter.

Hopefully they are quality glass designed by zeiss to be a perfect match..but time will tell.

Nighthawk - I'm envious of your Pentax 6x7

9:48 am - Friday, October 28, 2005

#154 NightHawk

the cost it not just for the lens - it is also preformance and other speciality Sony only items - Plus it does not ZOOM. It Becomes a fixed power lens! The Pentax cost is speed of use (slow and requires a tripod) and due to large mirror you need to flip it up after framing and shoot in th blind to reduce mirror vibration - blurr of images. and it weighs a ton

4:30 pm - Friday, October 28, 2005

#155 GARY POGODA

If you are thinking D50, that's an entirely different ball game.

For the money, I do not think you can beat the Digital Rebel XT. Like
the R1, it also uses an APS-C CMOS image sensor, which is really the
main thing that I like about the R1.

BTW, the R1 was originally slated for a 24 - 300 mm lens, along with
wheels, so you could move it around. :)

7:22 pm - Friday, October 28, 2005

#156 NightHawk

so you mean The Carl Zeiss cannot make a 24-300 lens that is under the weight of the converter Sony had him make (950g converter more almost the weight of two s9000 with the same power lens!!!!!)? and Fuji and the rest can? Poor poor carl that is truly sad.
I truly think they can just did not.

2:14 am - Sunday, October 30, 2005

#157 GARY POGODA

They can, just not for the R1's under $1000 price point.

BTW, did you happen to catch Mike Scott's comment #12 in the 20D
vs. FZ30 thread?

http://www.photographyblog.com/index.php/weblog/comments/7682/

6:08 pm - Sunday, October 30, 2005

#158 NightHawk

So they make a 3rd of the camera they could have and then add on gadgets to make it seem it is what it could have been. By the time you add the gadgets (converers and such you are close to $2000) So why not make the complete camera $1500 ! It would sell! It is silly pricing and making more money on gadgets that sound good but are poor substites. Speed alone makes it a poor choice.

8:16 pm - Sunday, October 30, 2005

#159 NightHawk

http://www.letsgodigital.org/html/review/fujifilm/finepix/fuji_s9500_s9000_EN3.html

plus downloaded the s9000 manual skimmed it reviews of th F10.

that resulted in three more reasons to buy the s9000.

1) high speed auto focus mode (have not seem the speed for the s9000 but in F10 it cuts the time of shutter lag by about half from full auto focus of 0.55 sec to high speed 0.29sec -- sony R1 0.76sec) but take extra power. It is great that they make it an option!
2) Can shoot up to 40 consective images and save the first or last 4 - not just the first couple like many other cameras. It selects the last 4 as soon as you release the shutter button.
3) can put voice memos to still image files.
4) all in one -- they are not selling ad ons to make it the camera it could be. does not need a wide angle or telo to have most of what you wish for in hand.

1 and 2 above are really great! Fuji seem to cater to my wants instead of there pocket books (sony).

Now just waiting for a review in http://www.imaging-resource.com so I can see what they find out. This site was were I fell in love with the Sony F-707 and have a love hate relationship. Love the pic but hate the SLOW.

7:22 pm - Monday, October 31, 2005

#160 GARY POGODA

Seems you've definitely made up your mind this time ... again. :)

Due to the S9000's low noise at high ISOs, its lack of IS is somewhat
more tolerable than for the Pro815; however, you know that as soon
as you buy one, Fuji will announce their enhancement, with IS added.

If you can live with that, then maybe you have made the right choice.

9:23 pm - Monday, October 31, 2005

#161 NightHawk

Thanks for putting words in my mouth "definitely made up your mind this time ... again" I have not made up my mind but gettin more focused on what I WANT. So what is the problem with the Pro815 have no heard one person talk it up. I am waiting for a review and cash to buy it so I have time - smiles.

9:41 pm - Monday, October 31, 2005

#162 Mikey

OK, a question to all you happy and satisfied owners of the FZ30. I read in one review (in Russian, but otherwise quite good) that the movie mode on the FZ30 fixes focus at the start of the movie and does not adjust it. They contrast it with the Fujifilm S9500 that does track AF while in movie mode.

That makes no sense to me whatsoever. The FZ30 already has a Continuous AF mode that is actively tracking focus in standby mode - why turn it off when it is most needed?!! I could understand not tracking focus if the AF mode is set to Single AF (an oversight perhaps, but an acceptable one - know thy equipment). But to suspend Continuous AF in movie mode when it is crucial? To me that would ruin the whole point of a movie mode and with it the whole reason to not get a DSLR.

I am hoping that the reviewer simply kept both cameras in Single AF when testing the movie mode. I know my Fuji S602 does not have a Continuous AF mode yet it does adjust AF continuously in movie mode. Could someone with a free minute and an available FZ30 try movie mode with Continuous AF on, then move the camera between objects near and far and perhaps try zooming? If you could try that experiment and post results I would be most appreciative - I cannot find the FZ30 (or for that reason any decent prosumer camera) in stock anywhere in the rathole that I call my hometown. It would suck to order the whole FZ30+memory+flash and then have to return the whole thing because the movie mode is useless.

6:19 pm - Tuesday, November 1, 2005

#163 NightHawk

response to 162. this is an example where the FZ30 seems to have shot itself in the foot! My question is why are you considering it anyway? I think that you should think about another choise to me the s9000 is that choice -- you can look at the full 144 page manual -- http://www.fujifilm.com/JSP/fuji/epartners/ServiceSupportProductContent.jsp?dbid=837502&prodcat=836805&sscucatid=664271

a rathole -- some of the best places are and some of the best people live in small towns -- You state "I cannot find the FZ30 (or for that reason any decent prosumer camera) in stock anywhere in the rathole that I call my hometown." but what is the market for that camera there ? Why not find a store that has them and go there -- I would have to make that a day or two trip myself

6:40 pm - Tuesday, November 1, 2005

#164 GARY POGODA

The S9000 review at DPReview probably will not help you make up
your mind, particularly because of the conclusion that its high ISOs
are not as good as the F10's, and don't completely make up for the
lack of image stabilization.

Waiting is a good thing. :)

6:54 pm - Tuesday, November 1, 2005

#165 Mikey

Boy, NightHawk, you are just a full throttle person, aren't you? It is not that easy to just dump everything and go 200 miles to gawk at a camera when you have a full-time job and a family. I could, but am not quite that desperate. I would rather buy one online and pay the shipping back - that would be less pain for me.

What I don't like about the S9000 is that it is painfully slow - according to reviews, waay too long to store a RAW image, and the continuous mode (as rarely as I use it, I like it) is just about useless at 1.5 fps. Also, all reviewers agree that S9000 ergonomics are inferior to FZ30. I read the manual and know that they cut away some two-button shortcuts that I love on my S602. Finally, and most importantly, the review that I read (in Russian that is) said that the focus ring on the S9000 is too slow and makes manual focusing difficult while the FZ30 manual focus is basically spotless. I know that for this reason using manual focus on my S602 (implemented similarly) is almost useless, and that on an FZ20 that they do still have in stock at a local CircuitCity the manual focus is MUCH better and is supposed to be improved still on the FZ30.

So here are my reasons for wanting an FZ30 vs. S9000 - MF functionality, ergonomics (this based on other's opinions, I would have to form my own), and raw processing/playback speed. Most people agree that the FZ30's Leica lens is sharper, and I could use the Mega O.I.S. mode in movies, but those are less important factors for me. I would much prefer to have the extra dynamic range and sensitivity of the S9000, but I could live without them. I definitely want the usable MF and speed of handling though, and Mega O.I.S. won't hurt.

So, does your comment regarding FZ30 shooting itself in the foot based on you having tried the experiment, or are you just presuming that it sucks in this respect as well because it is already so noisy and all and you just hate it for stuffing so many pixels into such a small sensor?

7:02 pm - Tuesday, November 1, 2005

#166 Mikey

For those interested in S9000 vs. FZ30 image quality comparison, I would recommend the head-to-head comparison review at http://www.videozona.ru. It is in Russian, so you will have to endure the torture of the Babelfish to read it. However, the link strings contain camera names in English and each page contains tons of head-to-head shots that you can compare with camera settings also in English. So, overall I think looking over the review would be very useful. The review consists of two parts, so find the two different links at the top left corner of the page with the camera names in them. Hope this helps someone. It did help me a lot, but then I could read the text natively...

7:35 pm - Tuesday, November 1, 2005

#167 NightHawk

I am waiting for both cameras to be compared in http://www.imaging-resource.com so I can see what they find out Hopefully they will get IM by the time I get the cash to buy it. So many reviews that contridict each other - ya I can live with the image of the f 10 in the s9000 it compared great to my KM A200. About a 200 mile trip plan for it and multi task -- 200 miles is not far in the West. Better buy one of each and send one back - and use the refund to buy the extas for the one you keep. A camera is generally less than half the cost of extras anyway.

8:09 pm - Tuesday, November 1, 2005

#168 NightHawk

I contacted the editor of imaging-resource he states " We've recently started assigning reviews to more of the
staff, so things should pick up shortly. I see the S9000 is in the
queue, so we're working on it.
-- "
:::::::::::::::::::::::::::
Mike Pasini
.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
http://www.imaging-resource.com/IRNEWS/

8:45 pm - Tuesday, November 1, 2005

#169 Mikey

Awright, I am satisfied. For those who may be interested - the Video mode in FZ30 DOES NOT suspend Continuous AF according to several notes in DPReview forums. So I guess this is my choice - time to pick the cheapest vendor with a return policy.

10:16 pm - Tuesday, November 1, 2005

#170 bazza

Following Nighthawks comments on Carl Zeiss, it's unlikely that CZ actually make the lens for the R1 (just as Leitz don't actually make the lens for the FZ30.)
The Zeiss foundation designs the lenses then applies their quality control and inspection to whoever is subcontracted to manufacture them. So Rollei make some of the Zeiss lenses on Hassies, as well as their own MF cameras, and Kyocera used to make the T* lenses for the Contaxes, although I believe it's Cosina now.
Sure CZ can probably design a 24-300 equivalent but to meet their own performance standards it would cost a fortune. And is it worth it when the lens design is specific to a sensor size - considering there is so much sensor variation between different models from the same camera manufacturer?

Zeiss are a very succesfull organisation, largely due to professional MF users paying thousands of dollars for their lenses, and to their spectacle lens business and their scientific lenses and equipmant. I don't believe they'll risk their reputation with dodgy glass. They have too much to lose.

Leitz/Leica, on the other hand, are reported as struggling for survival and possibly need to take risks with "extravagent" designs. Having said that, the lens on the FZ30 is reputedly an exceptional performer so the risk was probably worthwhile.

1:36 pm - Wednesday, November 2, 2005

#171 GARY POGODA

I see what you mean about contradicting reviews. TrustedReviews
absolutely loved the S9000.

The good thing is, it has had no bad reviews. Its biggest negative is
the lack of OIS, for which there are several workarounds, depending
on the situation.

(1) Use higher ISOs to achieve faster shutter speeds.
(2) Take multiple shots.
(3) Use a tripod.
(4) Get closer to those Grizzlies. :)

If I had to make a choice between lack of OIS and higher noise, with
all other things being equal, I would definitely choose the former. My
first choice, however, would be to wait, for as long a possible.

7:08 pm - Wednesday, November 2, 2005

#172 NightHawk

Thanks Gary !!! It will be next fall now before I need it for grizzlies. But I got an idea. If Sony wants to stay with a 5 power lens then just build another camera "a long camera". They have the short range one 24 mm - 120 mm. Now need long range one 60 - 100mm - 300-500mm. Plan get clost to Grizzly and if get too close I remove the card and throw the short range camera at him or give to assistant - and use the long range camera with a 60mm ish - 300 mm ish zoom. Teasing but better than a 950g telo converter that would take time to take off and does not zoom. So seriously -- a two camera kit that would weigh less than a two lens kit.

8:40 pm - Wednesday, November 2, 2005

#173 GARY POGODA

Your dilemma has inspired me. You know how if you flip binoculars
around, everything appears far away? Well, how about a fixed lens,
5x optical zoom camera, where one of the internal lens elements is
motorized to flip around, thereby transforming the camera from a 5x
wide angle zoom (i.e., 24mm - 120mm) to a 5x telephoto zoom (i.e.,
60mm - 300mm)?

8:43 am - Thursday, November 3, 2005

#174 NightHawk

Now if we can just inspire sony to understand there are needs for a faster camera ( fuji understands that at least in autofocusing ) and one lens camera with a wide - telo lens (all of its major competitors understand that ). I hear some complain about slow Raw capture speeds -- I did find that a problem with the KM A200 and used that mode spaingingly - saddly. I wish it could be the speed of light like a film camera - they are improving as my sony F 707 takes a minute to record a full size tiff file - I USE THAT SELDOM. I do like s9000 first or last 4 capture of continuous pics mode and wish they had Image Stabilization like Minolta ( move the chip (eye) not the lens element - if they would merge to make a camera - WOW). Plus the s9000 has thumb reachable button to zoom in to assist manual focus - I do not understand why anyone would say that it did not have a workable MF - Please would someone explain that to me in English I do not read Russian. Thanks

3:33 pm - Thursday, November 3, 2005

#175 Mikey

The Russian review (you can translate by entering the URL http://www.videozona.ru in the appropriate box on the page babelfish.altavista.com) said that the response of the manual focus ring was very slow, e.g. you turn it 1/8 turn and it takes half a second for the focus optics to adjust to the new position. I understood immediately what they meant because I have exactly the same problem with my Fuji S602. It too has a manual focus ring and a magnified center of the screen, but that functionality is only useful for focusing on stationary objects because of how long it takes to translate the ring movement into the change of focus distance. For stationary objects, I can happily use autofocus. I only want manual focus for things that are in motion, like my kid running around, because AF has a hard time (at least on the S602) locking on moving objects, and for that it is useless. The reviewer made the same comment, and said that focusing the FZ30 manually is a no-brainer like focusing an SLR.

4:38 pm - Thursday, November 3, 2005

#176 NightHawk

makes no sence -- manual focus should be instant -- why the wait?

5:52 pm - Thursday, November 3, 2005

#177 GARY POGODA

A "manual" focus ring is different from a "mechanical" focus. It is an
electronic control (i.e., fly-by-wire). The movement of the ring has to
be measured by the camera's microprocessor and then converted to
an electrical signal, which drives the focus motors. The focus motors
must not be driven too quickly; otherwise, overshoot will occur. Some
cameras perform this measurement/conversion better than others, so
as to provide a more responsive focusing system. According to Mikey,
the S9000 is NOT one of those cameras.

Any chance there was an error in your Russian translation. :)

6:26 pm - Thursday, November 3, 2005

#178 Mikey

Remember, all the P&S on the market that have a focus ring (and there are very few of those, the rest use utterly useless button or joystick) are not mechanical but fly-by-wire. I could not tell you the reason for the delay without spending a year reverse engineering the camera, but the result is that the manual focus on Fuji cameras is too slow to be truly useful, and the FZ20 does a much better job of it and FZ30 improves upon it futher with crisper LCD and better response time. I actually looked at all of these at one time, and found Canon PowerShot Pro 1 and Sony F828 to be significantly better than my Fuji S602, but not quite usable. The only one that I thought would let me catch my kid running towards me was the FZ20 (FZ30 was not available yet). In fact, the FZ30 announcement just about stopped me on the way to the store to buy a DSLR, and I am glad it did because I want a video mode.

6:32 pm - Thursday, November 3, 2005

#179 Mikey

GARY, YOU can read the translation, I read the original :) So no, there was no translation error. And I find it hard to believe that controlling the motor without overshoot is the problem with Fuji MF. The motor moves at least 10x faster in AF, and does not overshoot, at least not much. I am pretty sure they have some deficiency in how they handle the ring decoder input, either a low-priority ISR or a time-starved MF task. Just a speculation though.

6:43 pm - Thursday, November 3, 2005

#180 GARY POGODA

I do not know enough about Fuji cameras to say what is causing the
focus delay. It may even be something as stupid as having the focus
motor continually clutch/declutch. Your speculations sound plausible,
as well.

I hate reading those Babel translations. They never make sense. :)

7:06 pm - Thursday, November 3, 2005

#181 NightHawk

drats I assumed it was mechanical !!! I understand now as the sony F707 has "manual focus" that is usable 75% of the time.

8:05 pm - Thursday, November 3, 2005

#182 GARY POGODA

Drats. Now there's a word you don't hear every day. :)

BTW, if the cause of the problem is a low priority interrupt or starved
task as Mikey suggests, or just a poorly written conversion algorithm,
the good news is, this is certainly something which can be corrected
with a firmware update.

9:53 pm - Friday, November 4, 2005

#183 Mikey

Right, we'll fix it in software... :) where have I heard that before? Seeing how they have not fixed it in a 4 year old S602 design, I am not optimistic about a S9000 FW update. Especially since they apparently improved their autofocus speed and low-light capability so much, according to the reviews. The manual focus is going to be even less of a priority for them. Unless all the reviewers riff them about it, nobody is going to reengineer the system. Rebalancing task and interrupt priorities in a system that complex is not a trivial task. And most reviews praise them for having a ring-type manual focus in the first place...

Not that we can even be sure this problem can be corrected - I think fuji is known for stuffing 10 lbs. into a 5 lbs. bag better than anyone else, so it is not entirely unlikely this is as much time as they can dedicate to MF without impacting other more important performance metrics.

4:14 pm - Sunday, November 6, 2005

#184 NightHawk

Drats = Dam rats ruined it again - smiles Well - I seldom use manual focus since that was not a good option with the Sony F 707 unless on still life - smiles. But I can live without that since they did half the autofocus time and make 800 ISO plus images useable with the new larger sensor. I just found out that competition added a OIS ( FZ30k). OIS would be a priority for them over fixing the manual focus.

6:27 pm - Sunday, November 6, 2005

#185 NightHawk

the equivalent to manual focus can be done by prefocusing with autofocus on an object the same distance away.

6:33 pm - Sunday, November 6, 2005

#186 GARY POGODA

Mikey's right, it would be wishful thinking to expect a firmware update
from Fuji addressing the manual focus problem if it were more than a
simple bug fix, i.e., continual clutching/declutching of the focus motor,
etc. Fortunately, it seems you have found an acceptable workaround
to the problem, so it's a "mute" point. :)

As for your "just finding out" about the FZ30 adding OIS, you lost me
there, since we had discussed that FZ30 feature before. :question:

9:07 pm - Sunday, November 6, 2005

#187 mediyoga

Seems that we still dont have a satisfactory camera
Krishna Raman

12:38 am - Monday, November 7, 2005

#188 NightHawk

Gary the FZ30 lost my interest - after I reallized the main problem - the small sensor that had problems even with 5 mp pics. I am not going to settle for a 8 mp camera with a eye that has a history of problems with 5mp. I want crisp 8mp fully useable pics not what I could get with a 5mp. It seems that that may happen soon. The s9000 comes close and if I had the money I would even buy it without the OIS.

In responce to the you stating "D50 being an entirely different ball game" from that of the sony R1 #155. Not at all based on price as all three R1, D50, and Digital Rebel XT are close on price.

4:42 am - Monday, November 7, 2005

#189 GARY POGODA

I was referring to SLR vs. SLR-Like. If you are willing to consider a
D50 SLR, that opens up an entirely new line of cameras to consider.

My impression was that you did NOT want an SLR, but you do want
SLR-Like performance. The R1 comes closest to that because it is
the ONLY SLR-Like with an SLR CCD; however, because it is not a
true SLR, it is lacking in certain aspects, as we previously discussed.

Ditto on losing interest in the FZ30. :)

7:03 pm - Monday, November 7, 2005

#190 GARY POGODA

Breaker NightHawk :). Curious what you thought about the S9000
review at PCMag.com, and their comparison of it with the FZ30, their
Editor's Choice. I noticed they pointed out all of the expected S9000
flaws, like lack of OIS and sluggish manual focus. They also pointed
out all of the FZ30's superiorities, like greater zoom range, maximum
telephoto aperture, resolution, and performance. However, one thing
they conveniently neglected to point out was the FZ30's higher noise.

http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,1895,1885224,00.asp

8:18 pm - Saturday, November 12, 2005

#191 NightHawk

Gary Poorly written article to me as it jumped around to much and left out a lot. They skip over the 28 versus 35 mm wide angle --that is a big deal to me. They just noted the 300 versus 420. It is had to follow there logic. I am sadden that the resolution is not better in the s9000 it should be signifiacantly higher. Seem that Panasonics lens is a good one and there production model is far better than the preproduction model. They did not compare the speed of the autofocus either. So, I will wait for the review by imaging-resource.com. Hope the s9000 does better there or it is off my list.

2:47 am - Sunday, November 13, 2005

#192 NightHawk

Clueless why the took a very biased view on noise in the PC mag review. For the FZ30 they say "The 1,750-by-1,800 resolution in our PC Magazine Labs tests is very good, but there was noticeable noise in the images even at the relatively slow ISO 80 default"
For the s9000 "Although we saw very little noise in our simulated-daylight and flash test shots, it became more noticeable as we went up to 1,600 ISO... The downside (Anti Blur mode) is that the photos display more noise—the speckled dots that may appear in your photo's darker tones. On 4-by-6 or 5-by-7 prints, you won't notice much. But if you plan on making large prints, you might need image-editing software to reduce some of the noise."

without showing pics there is no clue if noise of the FZ30 is a problem -- very biased. Imageing resources is far more proffesional in its treatment of the matter and lets you see the images so you make the choice. Does not keep you in the dark and make you think lines per inch says it all.

5:00 am - Sunday, November 13, 2005

#193 Mikey

Don't you get it? Panasonic has a much larger ad budget than Fuji at PC Magazine or whatever its parent publisher is. ONLY trust independent reviewers that depend more on their reputation than the ad revenues.

10:47 pm - Monday, November 14, 2005

#194 NightHawk

Mikey - well I thought I bet that bush pretty hard when they mentioned noise being a problem at 1600 Iso with the one and not at 80 Iso with the other. How stupid do you think we are? I will not use a review in PC mag to tell me the time of day. It would depend on the speed of clock they were getting paid to review. If the clock did not work they would say time stood still for a price - smiles. how fitting the pass word to submit this entery was "truth" - definately lacking at PCmag.

11:39 pm - Monday, November 14, 2005

#195 GARY POGODA

Now I'm eager to see the imaging-resource.com review of the S9000.

3:30 am - Tuesday, November 15, 2005

#196 Simon S

Nighthawk, Neil, Krishna - been following your blog since the beginning - July. I have a Canon 35mm camera and range of lenses from 28mm to 300mm. I also have a Kodak DX6490 - it was my first foray into digital and it was the first with a decent lens & zoom.....but is it slow or what. The kids, whales (and grizzlies) all disappeared before the camera was ready. So I thought, I'll get a canon xt to use with my lenses. But the changing is such a pain, so I'm with Nighthawk on that. Short story - went whalewatching with them both - canon 35mm with 80-200 and Kodak 6490 (10x zoom). For brightness, speed and manual focus, can't beat an SLR (digital or film), but want to get close, big zoom (10x) beats the lot - I put the canon away and took my chances with the Kodak.....but toooo slow. So I was debating FZ30 or s9000 - read the lot of your blog here.
So its horses for courses - my needs: no changing lenses, big zoom (10x +), good viewfinder (FZ30 twice as good as s9000), fast (both seem pretty good), good manual focues (why can't they learn from years of fils SLRs?), but also good ISO range (even 200 would be OK), so s9000 could be better at viewing and manual focus, FZ30 would be the one if noise was right - s9000 can do it?
So in summary..........wait for the FZ30 update - they have to fix that noise next time!
That's what I'm doing - in the meantime, stick with 35mm for the kids and DX6490 (good pics for stationary objects) for anything not moving.

BTW Nighthawk, where are you going for the grizzly pics?

3:49 pm - Tuesday, November 15, 2005

#197 suresh

Hi All
From the discussion I believe you are all far more experienced in photography, while I do not know much about it. For some time I have reading the reviews in almost all the websites.
I would like to buy something like Canon S2 SI / Sony DSC H1

After Intensive checking I find these two cameras provide most for a normal family man (Not Proffesional Photographer).
Zoom - 10X+, Image Stabillisation , Video, Full auto / Manual Controls. etc.

Canon understands images while sony excels in electronics and consumer products. Yet I find a great difference between the two. for example
Canon pictures look pale and lack depth while sony picture has more depth (zoom a resolution chart to 400% in adobe ) and you will understand what i mean.

Sony image looks sharper/ with most of the colors (in this case Black) much darker than that of Canon. But the curves on the resolution chart shows jaggered edges while that produced by canon is much more smooth.

as for noise sony shows less noise than that canon.

Colors on most of the sample pictures shows more of a blueish tint. Canon colors seems to more natural.

Samples pictures shown on Steve-digicams expecially that of bookshelf - The letters on the Book/ clock etc is sharper on sony than canon. (almost as if contast has been reduced and brightness increased)

Canon offers much more features than sony.

from most of the user reviews canon has far less problems than sony (like ccd being dead etc).

The effective pixels from canon seems to be far less that of sony.

My dilema is which is better Canon/sony

Since photography is all about images I should consider canon (It has more compatable lens options for future upgrade than sony), yet I find sony produces much more lively pictures.

Another point why is most of samples from canon are of 180 with the 2592 X 1944 ( 11" X 8") while that of Sony and most others are of resolution 72 and same pixel size yet image size is of 37" X 27"

Does this difference in any way affect the quality of the picture ?

while some noise could be removed using software image quality cannot be improved much (in terms of depth etc which i believe would a problem for printing large sizes). but then you dont spend a hefty amount for printing 6X4 printing.

with all your experince which camera would you suggest sony or canon

I have purposefully excluded
kodak (7590) - less features and overdone images from the camera
Panasonic Z30 - noise / price
konica - zoom problems , again palish looking pictures
Nikon/Olympus - lack of IS (Olympus produces great pictures with far less noise)

Canon 350D is a great camera - but huge and would be a pain to carry around with all the additional lens etc apart from the cost factor.

Your views regarding this would be much of much help.

Thanks in advance
regards
suresh

7:11 pm - Tuesday, November 15, 2005

#198 NightHawk

Suresh you are in luck http://www.imaging-resource.com comapares them side by side. To me the selection comes doewn to if you can live with poorer pictures or if you can live with the slows (sony captures great images but will not do action shots).

If you have small hands I would recommend another look at the KM A200 - I love the images produced by my sony 5mp - just tried of the slows.

http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/S2IS/S2ISA.HTM#conclusion

http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/H1/H1A.HTM#conclusion

http://www.dcviews.com/reviews/Sony-H1-Canon-S2/Sony-H1-Canon-S2-review.htm

8:35 pm - Tuesday, November 15, 2005

#199 NightHawk

Simon S - "So in summary..........wait for the FZ30 update - they have to fix that noise next time!" There is a simple fix use the s9000 sensor and throw away the outdated 5mp eye of the FZ30 and the logic (fuzzy) of trying to fix the problem with software.


I have a chat friend that has land in Canada and is starting a guide service (not for grizzly) but moose etc. I want to visit her and help out for my keep and try to find the grizzly she saw. At the shoulder and rump it was taller than the hood of the 4x4 see was in (she did not get out and measure it - smiles) and had 14 in prints.

Looking for an assistant - smiles - to carry the close in camera - ok a decoy!!!

8:53 pm - Tuesday, November 15, 2005

#200 Neil

It's a great camjera with the OIS, had a FZ20 but upgraded last week from http://www.camerastores.com.au

My wife is still bugging me that I spent too much money on cameras

2:55 am - Wednesday, November 16, 2005