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alternatives to Panasonic FZ3/FZ15?

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Anonymous
January 22, 2005 9:58:11 AM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

I've done a fair amount of homework through dpreview.com, epinions.com,
and steves-digicams.com and have come to what a physicist would call a
"local minimum": the Panasonic FZ3 or FZ15. However there are things I
don't like about them, and I wonder if I'm overlooking a better solution
because I am stuck in this metastable solution.

What I like are the Leica f2.8 image-stabilized zoom, the manual focus of
the FZ15, the powerful built-in flash, and the reasonably good AF in the
dark.

What I don't like are the proprietary battery, the EVF viewfinder that
does not "boost up" in very dark conditions (most of my photos are
musicians on stage, often very dark), and the lack of superfine JPEG mode
(say 0-2% lossiness, as in the Canon Powershot series). They do offer TIFF
raw images, but the size difference between a TIFF and a 100% JPEG is huge
(something like 14 to 1) with very little benefit.

So, is there something else I should be looking at?

Thanks,

Pierre
--
Pierre Jelenc | New on Home Office Records: Ethan Lipton
| www.homeofficerecords.com www.ethanlipton.com
The Gigometer | Pepper Of The Earth: the HO blog
www.gigometer.com | www.homeofficerecords.com/blog
Anonymous
January 22, 2005 11:15:31 AM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

"Pierre Jelenc" <rcpj@panix.com> wrote in message
news:cssti2$317$1@reader2.panix.com...
>
> I've done a fair amount of homework through dpreview.com, epinions.com,
> and steves-digicams.com and have come to what a physicist would call a
> "local minimum": the Panasonic FZ3 or FZ15. However there are things I
> don't like about them, and I wonder if I'm overlooking a better solution
> because I am stuck in this metastable solution.
>
> What I like are the Leica f2.8 image-stabilized zoom, the manual focus of
> the FZ15, the powerful built-in flash, and the reasonably good AF in the
> dark.
>
> What I don't like are the proprietary battery, the EVF viewfinder that
> does not "boost up" in very dark conditions (most of my photos are
> musicians on stage, often very dark), and the lack of superfine JPEG mode
> (say 0-2% lossiness, as in the Canon Powershot series). They do offer TIFF
> raw images, but the size difference between a TIFF and a 100% JPEG is huge
> (something like 14 to 1) with very little benefit.
>
> So, is there something else I should be looking at?
>
> Thanks,
>
> Pierre
> --

Look at the Panasonic FZ-20. Ninety seven percent of buyers are happy with
that camera. No other camera comes close.
Anonymous
January 22, 2005 11:15:32 AM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

Panasonic FZ-10 & FZ-20.
"Harvey" <hcohenREMOVE@frontiernetTHIS.net> wrote in message
news:D YnId.1349$0a2.564@news02.roc.ny...
>
> "Pierre Jelenc" <rcpj@panix.com> wrote in message
> news:cssti2$317$1@reader2.panix.com...
> >
> > I've done a fair amount of homework through dpreview.com, epinions.com,
> > and steves-digicams.com and have come to what a physicist would call a
> > "local minimum": the Panasonic FZ3 or FZ15. However there are things I
> > don't like about them, and I wonder if I'm overlooking a better solution
> > because I am stuck in this metastable solution.
> >
> > What I like are the Leica f2.8 image-stabilized zoom, the manual focus
of
> > the FZ15, the powerful built-in flash, and the reasonably good AF in the
> > dark.
> >
> > What I don't like are the proprietary battery, the EVF viewfinder that
> > does not "boost up" in very dark conditions (most of my photos are
> > musicians on stage, often very dark), and the lack of superfine JPEG
mode
> > (say 0-2% lossiness, as in the Canon Powershot series). They do offer
TIFF
> > raw images, but the size difference between a TIFF and a 100% JPEG is
huge
> > (something like 14 to 1) with very little benefit.
> >
> > So, is there something else I should be looking at?
> >
> > Thanks,
> >
> > Pierre
> > --
>
> Look at the Panasonic FZ-20. Ninety seven percent of buyers are happy
with
> that camera. No other camera comes close.
>
>
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Anonymous
January 22, 2005 5:51:05 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

Harvey <hcohenREMOVE@frontiernetTHIS.net> writes:
>
>
> Look at the Panasonic FZ-20. Ninety seven percent of buyers are happy with
> that camera. No other camera comes close.

As far as I can tell, the only difference with the FZ15 is the larger
image (5 Mpx vs 4Mpx), which is not significant for my purposes and adds
$100 to the price.

Pierre
--
Pierre Jelenc | New on Home Office Records: Ethan Lipton
| www.homeofficerecords.com www.ethanlipton.com
The Gigometer | Pepper Of The Earth: the HO blog
www.gigometer.com | www.homeofficerecords.com/blog
Anonymous
January 22, 2005 5:55:26 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

McBeth <mb@invalidbox.net> writes:
> Panasonic FZ-10 & FZ-20.

But they suffer from the same drawbacks as the other Panasonics. Are there
NON-Panasonic equivalents that solve my problems with battery (I really
would like AA), viewfinder (either dark-adaptable EVF or optical), and
image quality (superfine JPEG, ideally 0% loss, but 1 or 2% OK), while
keeping the stabilized zoom and good autofocus in the dark?

Pierre
--
Pierre Jelenc | New on Home Office Records: Ethan Lipton
| www.homeofficerecords.com www.ethanlipton.com
The Gigometer | Pepper Of The Earth: the HO blog
www.gigometer.com | www.homeofficerecords.com/blog
Anonymous
January 22, 2005 6:23:02 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

Pierre Jelenc wrote:
> McBeth <mb@invalidbox.net> writes:
>> Panasonic FZ-10 & FZ-20.
>
> But they suffer from the same drawbacks as the other Panasonics. Are
> there NON-Panasonic equivalents that solve my problems with battery
> (I really would like AA), viewfinder (either dark-adaptable EVF or
> optical), and image quality (superfine JPEG, ideally 0% loss, but 1
> or 2% OK), while keeping the stabilized zoom and good autofocus in
> the dark?

The only image-stabilised zoom I would recommend that takes AA batteries
in the Canon S1 IS. Batteries for the FZ20 (and I presume the FZ3/FZ15)
are widely available.

How are you quantifying the JPEG loss?

You might also want to ask in rec.photo.digital.zlr

David
Anonymous
January 22, 2005 6:23:03 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

On Sat, 22 Jan 2005 15:23:02 -0000, "David J Taylor" <david-taylor@invalid.com>
wrote:

> Batteries for the FZ20 (and I presume the FZ3/FZ15)
>are widely available.

And cheap too......I've got a couple of the Japanese made, China assembled
FZ20 batteries and they're working just fine for me. Being that they're not that
old, I can't comment on their expected life span. In any case, if I were doing
work that required longer battery life I would get one of those external packs
that uses AA and attaches to the camera's tripod socket.
January 23, 2005 12:10:21 AM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

On 22-Jan-2005, rcpj@panix.com (Pierre Jelenc) wrote:

> I've done a fair amount of homework through dpreview.com, epinions.com,
> and steves-digicams.com and have come to what a physicist would call a
> "local minimum": the Panasonic FZ3 or FZ15. However there are things I
> don't like about them, and I wonder if I'm overlooking a better solution
> because I am stuck in this metastable solution.

I have an FZ10 and an FZ20 and I think that you should dismiss your
objections to the battery.
You can find plenty of cheaper non-Panasonic Batteries to supplement the
battery supplied with the camera , besides , battery life is pretty good.
The booklet says you can shoot 240 shots before recharging and I reckon
that's probably correct.
I keep 2 spare cheap batteries with me. They work just fine.

The dimming EVF isn't good.
You can work around it but I agree things should be better.
But you are getting a massive stabilised telephoto lens at f2.8 and nothing
comes close to that unless you go DSLR with a dedicated lens.
Even the latest Minolta can't match that aperture when trying to zoom into a
concert performance.
So basically what I'm saying is that although the viewfinder can be a pain
in low light you can get the image you want.
At ISO400 the image is quite noisy but that can be dealt with by later
processing and you will grab atmospheric shots easily.

I don't miss RAW files.
JPEG Fine is perfectly good for most purposes and I leave TIFF for special
occasions. I prefer TIFF to RAW files as I find them easier to process.

So what's the alternative? I couldn't find one.
The FZ series has shortcomings in low light focusing and EVF performance but
in other areas it's magnificent.
I only see DSLRs as offering a better performance and as I want to travel
light ( that is without a range of lenses ) I've settled on the FZ20 as my
Jack of all Trades Camera.
Image quality can be fantastic for such a cheap device!

Try to test one out - if you can find one! Demand has always exceeded
supply!
Anonymous
January 23, 2005 12:24:20 AM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

rcpj@panix.com (Pierre Jelenc) writes:

> I've done a fair amount of homework through dpreview.com, epinions.com,
> and steves-digicams.com and have come to what a physicist would call a
> "local minimum": the Panasonic FZ3 or FZ15. However there are things I
> don't like about them, and I wonder if I'm overlooking a better solution
> because I am stuck in this metastable solution.
>
> What I like are the Leica f2.8 image-stabilized zoom, the manual focus of
> the FZ15, the powerful built-in flash, and the reasonably good AF in the
> dark.
>
> What I don't like are the proprietary battery, the EVF viewfinder that
> does not "boost up" in very dark conditions (most of my photos are
> musicians on stage, often very dark), and the lack of superfine JPEG mode
> (say 0-2% lossiness, as in the Canon Powershot series). They do offer TIFF
> raw images, but the size difference between a TIFF and a 100% JPEG is huge
> (something like 14 to 1) with very little benefit.
>
> So, is there something else I should be looking at?

Have you looked at the Konica-Minolta Z3 (Z5 was just announced) and Canon S1
(and it looks like Canon will replace it shortly at PMA): Both uses AA
batteries, and have manual focus, but I don't think it is a focus ring.

However, if you can go up to another price level, have you considered a DSLR?
Granted most of them (except Pentex) have propriatary batteries. Focusing is a
lot better, and you have real manual focus. Depending on the lenses, you can
get up to 3-5 f/stops over the range of the Panasonic. I just took handheld
pictures at my church's coffeehouse at ISO 1600/3200 on my E1, and the pictures
were usuable.

--
Michael Meissner
email: mrmnews@the-meissners.org
http://www.the-meissners.org
Anonymous
January 23, 2005 5:27:55 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

David J Taylor <david-taylor@invalid.com> writes:
>
> How are you quantifying the JPEG loss?

Experimentally. I took several 1600x1200 JPEG images that were saved with
zero lossiness, and saved them at 1%, 2&, 5%, 10% etc lossiness, and i
compared the file sizes with that of the "superfine" images from Canon. I
concluded that they are saved with about 1 or 2 % lossiness.

Pierre
--
Pierre Jelenc | New on Home Office Records: Ethan Lipton
| www.homeofficerecords.com www.ethanlipton.com
The Gigometer | Pepper Of The Earth: the HO blog
www.gigometer.com | www.homeofficerecords.com/blog
Anonymous
January 23, 2005 5:33:24 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

Swifty <swifty@notarealaddress.net> writes:
>
> You can find plenty of cheaper non-Panasonic Batteries to supplement the
> battery supplied with the camera , besides , battery life is pretty good.

Thanks, I did not realise there were 3rd party batteries that fit the
camera.

> I keep 2 spare cheap batteries with me. They work just fine.

Do they keep the charge well? Are they in some sort of protective, non-
conducting case?

One more question: What color is the light for the focusing aid? Is it
obtrusive in semi-darkness?

Thanks,

Pierre
--
Pierre Jelenc | New on Home Office Records: Ethan Lipton
| www.homeofficerecords.com www.ethanlipton.com
The Gigometer | Pepper Of The Earth: the HO blog
www.gigometer.com | www.homeofficerecords.com/blog
Anonymous
January 23, 2005 5:51:21 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

Pierre Jelenc wrote:
> David J Taylor <david-taylor@invalid.com> writes:
>>
>> How are you quantifying the JPEG loss?
>
> Experimentally. I took several 1600x1200 JPEG images that were saved
> with zero lossiness, and saved them at 1%, 2&, 5%, 10% etc lossiness,
> and i compared the file sizes with that of the "superfine" images
> from Canon. I concluded that they are saved with about 1 or 2 %
> lossiness.
>
> Pierre

What program did you use to save the images at these loss percentages? I
ask because there are no standard units. For example:

- IJG JPEG library - near no loss: setting 100; some loss: 95, more
loss: 80

- Paint Shop Pro - near no loss: setting 0 or 1, some loss: 3; more loss:
18

And it isn't that PSP and IJG are just the complement of each other
either. If you specify a JPEG loss percent, you need to specify the
program which is causing that loss.

To get a better measure of what you mean, could you see 1-2% loss on an 8
x 10 inch print viewed at arm's length, for example?

Cheers,
David
January 23, 2005 6:13:10 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

"Pierre Jelenc" <rcpj@panix.com> wrote in message news:ct0cjk$8tt$1@reader2.panix.com...
> Swifty <swifty@notarealaddress.net> writes:
> >
> > You can find plenty of cheaper non-Panasonic Batteries to supplement the
> > battery supplied with the camera , besides , battery life is pretty good.
>
> Thanks, I did not realise there were 3rd party batteries that fit the
> camera.
>
> > I keep 2 spare cheap batteries with me. They work just fine.
>
> Do they keep the charge well? Are they in some sort of protective, non-
> conducting case?

I have a replacement and it holds a charge very well. The batteries are plastic
cased and the contacts are recessed to prevent accidental shorts. You could
easily carry it in your pocket with keys and loose change and not have to worry
about it shorting out.

> One more question: What color is the light for the focusing aid? Is it
> obtrusive in semi-darkness?

The focusing aid is red. Obtrusive would be a subjective matter based on intended
use. It's not a bright laser beam if that helps.
January 24, 2005 1:41:25 AM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

On 23-Jan-2005, "Ken" <ken@ken.ken> wrote:

> > One more question: What color is the light for the focusing aid? Is it
> > obtrusive in semi-darkness?
>
> The focusing aid is red. Obtrusive would be a subjective matter based on
> intended
> use. It's not a bright laser beam if that helps.


On the FZ10 there is no focusing light but even on the FZ20 it can be
switched off.
The focus system relies on the contrast between vertical areas of the image
so the focus light is purely an aid when contrast/light is very low.
Sometimes in poor light and when focus is difficult , it helps to turn the
camera 90 degrees to ensure contrasty image edges are vertically presented
to the CCD.
Anonymous
January 24, 2005 5:45:13 AM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

David J Taylor <david-taylor@invalid.com> writes:
>
> What program did you use to save the images at these loss percentages?

Specifically in that case, PMView, but all the OS/2 graphics programs that
I use let me save JPEG with a continuously selectable "quality factor"
from 0 to 100%, and the file sizes and visible artifacts at a given QF are
quite similar for all the programs (PMview, Embellish, PhotoGraphics,
Impos/2. Only PMView is available for Windows AFAIK: www.pmview.com )

> To get a better measure of what you mean, could you see 1-2% loss on an 8
> x 10 inch print viewed at arm's length, for example?

I did not print anything, only compared the images on screen. The 1-2%
ones are totally indistinguishable to my eye from the original BMP
(especially, no fringe artifacts along sharp boundaries) though if I test
on an especially tough case that's not meant for JPEG anyway, a red strip
next to a green strip, I do see intermediate colors along the boundary
when I zoom in. Presumably the result of the mathematical rounding-off
errors.

Pierre
--
Pierre Jelenc | New on Home Office Records: Ethan Lipton
| www.homeofficerecords.com www.ethanlipton.com
The Gigometer | Pepper Of The Earth: the HO blog
www.gigometer.com | www.homeofficerecords.com/blog
Anonymous
January 24, 2005 5:49:27 AM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

Ken <ken@ken.ken> writes:
>
>
> The focusing aid is red. Obtrusive would be a subjective matter based on
> intended use. It's not a bright laser beam if that helps.

Red is good. My main use will be for musicians and other performers on
stage; there's practically always a red spotlight already, so the extra
red beam will not be very noticeable.

Pierre
--
Pierre Jelenc | New on Home Office Records: Ethan Lipton
| www.homeofficerecords.com www.ethanlipton.com
The Gigometer | Pepper Of The Earth: the HO blog
www.gigometer.com | www.homeofficerecords.com/blog
Anonymous
January 24, 2005 5:56:02 AM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

Swifty <swifty@notarealaddress.net> writes:
>
> On the FZ10 there is no focusing light but even on the FZ20 it can be
> switched off.

I'm looking most intently at the FZ15 (I don't need the extra 1Mpx, and
the $100 would be better spent on batteries and memory cards...) and it
appears to be identical to the FZ20 with respect to the focusing help
light.

> The focus system relies on the contrast between vertical areas of the image
> so the focus light is purely an aid when contrast/light is very low.
> Sometimes in poor light and when focus is difficult , it helps to turn the
> camera 90 degrees to ensure contrasty image edges are vertically presented
> to the CCD.

My Pentax point & shoot has the same problem, so I'm used to that.
--
Pierre Jelenc | New on Home Office Records: Ethan Lipton
| www.homeofficerecords.com www.ethanlipton.com
The Gigometer | Pepper Of The Earth: the HO blog
www.gigometer.com | www.homeofficerecords.com/blog
Anonymous
January 24, 2005 1:00:11 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

Pierre Jelenc wrote:
> David J Taylor <david-taylor@invalid.com> writes:
>>
>> What program did you use to save the images at these loss
>> percentages?
>
> Specifically in that case, PMView, but all the OS/2 graphics programs
> that I use let me save JPEG with a continuously selectable "quality
> factor" from 0 to 100%, and the file sizes and visible artifacts at a
> given QF are quite similar for all the programs (PMview, Embellish,
> PhotoGraphics, Impos/2. Only PMView is available for Windows AFAIK:
> www.pmview.com )

Thanks. I suggest you always quote the program when giving numerical JPEG
compression factors.

>> To get a better measure of what you mean, could you see 1-2% loss on
>> an 8 x 10 inch print viewed at arm's length, for example?
>
> I did not print anything, only compared the images on screen. The 1-2%
> ones are totally indistinguishable to my eye from the original BMP
> (especially, no fringe artifacts along sharp boundaries) though if I
> test on an especially tough case that's not meant for JPEG anyway, a
> red strip next to a green strip, I do see intermediate colors along
> the boundary when I zoom in. Presumably the result of the
> mathematical rounding-off errors.

Thanks again - you seem to be saying that "JPEG fine" gives no noticeable
degradation when viewed at "normal zoom", so perhaps that will also be
true with a print held at "normal" viewing distance.

The intermediate colours are possibly due to the fact that the colour
(chrominance) information in many JPEGs is only sampled at half the
spatial frequency which the brightness (luminance) information is. This
is typically done because the eye is less sensitive to detail in colour
information. If you take the same detailed picture and save it in a JPEG
with equal luminance and chrominance resolution, these edge colour
artefacts can disappear.

Whether it's worth doing so for a typical Bayer sensor image is another
question!

Cheers,
David
January 24, 2005 8:33:59 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

I bought a Panasonic FZ3 recently and my friend bought a D300 at the same
time. I lent my friend a Canon 75 - 300 mm lens from my 35 mm kit, to try
out. There is no comparison between his pictures and mine, in resolution
and noise. If you are after really good quality pictures, a DSLR has to be
the way to go. If you want a long zoom with minimum size and weight, for
home and family use, the FZ3 seems pretty good. By my reckoning, the
Panasonic FZ20 falls between two stools: it's not really small and light but
nor does it have the sensor size of a real DSLR.

If you are comparing offerings from Minolta, Canon and Panasonic, either try
them out beforehand, or if you can't do that look carefully at some of the
detailed reviews that give direct comparison of similar pictures from
different cameras. In my opinion there are significant differences in noise
and resolution. Also the wide aperture at the long end of the zoom is a
significant advantage of the FZ3, since you may find that you have to shoot
at 100 ASA to get acceptable noise performance. Another also: the image
stabilisation systems may not be equal. I've tried both the Minolta Z3 and
Panasonic FZ3. Neither is completely consistent but the Minolta seemed more
erratic in performance to me. YMMV!

--
Tony W
My e-mail address has no hyphen
- but please don't use it, reply to the group.
Anonymous
January 24, 2005 9:05:49 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

David J Taylor <david-taylor@invalid.com> writes:
>
> Thanks again - you seem to be saying that "JPEG fine" gives no noticeable
> degradation when viewed at "normal zoom", so perhaps that will also be
> true with a print held at "normal" viewing distance.

Actually that's the "superfine" mode from Canon. "Fine" is more like
85-90% but I did not do a precise comparison (and I don't have any longer
the loaner A60 that I was using at the time) when I found that "superfine"
was practically as good as lossless and I still had room for over 200
shots on one memory card.

Pierre
--
Pierre Jelenc | New on Home Office Records: Ethan Lipton
| www.homeofficerecords.com www.ethanlipton.com
The Gigometer | Pepper Of The Earth: the HO blog
www.gigometer.com | www.homeofficerecords.com/blog
Anonymous
January 25, 2005 12:53:21 AM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

In article <ct0cjk$8tt$1@reader2.panix.com>, rcpj@panix.com says...
> One more question: What color is the light for the focusing aid? Is it
> obtrusive in semi-darkness?
>
I think the focus assist light has a short range - not for concerts.
Anonymous
January 25, 2005 12:53:22 AM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

Bruce Graham <jbgraham@nowhere.com.au> writes:
> In article <ct0cjk$8tt$1@reader2.panix.com>, rcpj@panix.com says...
> > One more question: What color is the light for the focusing aid? Is it
> > obtrusive in semi-darkness?
> >
> I think the focus assist light has a short range - not for concerts.

I don't do arenas, I tend to be on the front row in 50-200 seat rooms, so
that's usually OK. Big rooms tend to have more brightly lit stages anyway,
so there's less need for an auxilliary focus light.

Pierre
--
Pierre Jelenc | New on Home Office Records: Ethan Lipton
| www.homeofficerecords.com www.ethanlipton.com
The Gigometer | Pepper Of The Earth: the HO blog
www.gigometer.com | www.homeofficerecords.com/blog
Anonymous
January 25, 2005 1:00:01 AM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

In article <m3pszw288b.fsf@tiktok.the-meissners.org>, mrmnews@the-
meissners.org says...
> However, if you can go up to another price level, have you considered a DSLR?
> Granted most of them (except Pentex) have propriatary batteries. Focusing is a
> lot better, and you have real manual focus. Depending on the lenses, you can
> get up to 3-5 f/stops over the range of the Panasonic. I just took handheld
> pictures at my church's coffeehouse at ISO 1600/3200 on my E1, and the pictures
> were usuable.
>
but unless you spend a *lot* of money on lenses, you probably don't want
to use faster than a f5.6 or preferably f8 aperture on your DLSR, yet the
panasonics seem to allow good quality at f2.8, so 2-3 stops of the speed
advantage of the DSLR disappears unless you use pro lenses (or at least a
collection of primes like 85mm f1.8's). My daughter picks up her FZ20
tonight and I look forward to checking it out to see if this promise is
realised.
Anonymous
January 25, 2005 2:21:19 AM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

In article <cstpgu$arp$1@reader2.panix.com>,
rcpj@panix.com (Pierre Jelenc) wrote:

> But they suffer from the same drawbacks as the other Panasonics. Are there
> NON-Panasonic equivalents that solve my problems with battery (I really
> would like AA), viewfinder (either dark-adaptable EVF or optical), and
> image quality (superfine JPEG, ideally 0% loss, but 1 or 2% OK), while
> keeping the stabilized zoom and good autofocus in the dark?

I've just moved from a AA celled Canon S1 to a Panasonic FZ20 and
haven't found either of your concerns to be of concern. Check out the
cost of charger(s*) plus 3 or 4 sets of NiMH AA cells v's the 2hr
charger + 1 battery provided with the Panasonic and you'll find that
there is a lot less difference that first thought, even if you do buy
the extra couple of Li-ion batteries needed for safety.

I was forever finding that the NiMH cells were quietly draining even
when the camera was turned off, to the point that almost every time I
turned it on, I would have to replace the batteries within a dozen shots
irrespective of how long the cells had been in use.

I find that if the scene is too dim in the viewfinder, cranking the
exposure up by a couple of stops improves things, as the viewfinder
image brightens, without any effect on the finished image.

The Panasonic Autofocus Assist light works well most of the time,
certainly the FZ20 is much faster and more accurate focussing than the
S1.

--
YAnewsreader
<I do solemnly promise to trim all quotations appropriately before
replying>

* I needed to buy two chargers for the Canon, a conventional slow (8
hours or so) because NiMH cells are better charged slowly and a fast 90
minute charger for those occasions when travelling when I found i have
only narrow windows of opportunity to through them on charge. Daughters'
cell phones take precedent over Dad's camera batteries.
Anonymous
January 28, 2005 1:30:26 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

"Pierre Jelenc" <rcpj@panix.com> wrote in message
news:ct1nnn$ogo$1@reader2.panix.com...
> Ken <ken@ken.ken> writes:
> >
> >
> > The focusing aid is red. Obtrusive would be a subjective matter based on
> > intended use. It's not a bright laser beam if that helps.
>
> Red is good. My main use will be for musicians and other performers on
> stage; there's practically always a red spotlight already, so the extra
> red beam will not be very noticeable.
....

Please note that the autofocus assist light is only effective at relatively
short ranges. I doubt that it would be any use at all for performers on
stage. That said, I've been able to get perfectly focused photos from
my FZ20, even in almost total darkness. (Again, only with targets within
about 6 feet.)

Just for the record, I love my FZ20; its the most capable camera I've
ever owned. }:) 


--
Dan (Woj...) [dmaster](no space)[at](no space)[lucent](no space)[dot](no
space)[com]
===============================
"I see you coming / To the end of the day
And was it worth it? / No one can say
I see your face / It is ghostly pale
Into the sunset / We are watching you sail"
!