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Panasonic FZ-20 Owners

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December 17, 2004 6:38:38 PM

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

Hi,

After reading everyone's comments here, and visiting all of the review sites I could find, I am
on the verge of purchasing one. Many of you by now have had time to discover its strengths
and weaknesses and I was wondering if you have any regrets for having purchased one yourself.
I have a Sony P-10 P&S and have never really been happy with its image quality and don't want
to spend another $400-$500 without a demonstrable improvement in the images I shoot.

Good, bad or indifferent, your comments are welcome.

Cheers,

Ken

More about : panasonic owners

Anonymous
December 17, 2004 6:38:39 PM

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

On Fri, 17 Dec 2004 15:38:38 GMT, "Ken" <ken@ken.ken> wrote:

Hello Ken,
If my FZ20 were stolen today, I'd buy another one tomorrow.
Anonymous
December 17, 2004 6:55:06 PM

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

Ken wrote:
> Hi,
>
> After reading everyone's comments here, and visiting all of the
> review sites I could find, I am on the verge of purchasing one. Many
> of you by now have had time to discover its strengths
> and weaknesses and I was wondering if you have any regrets for having
> purchased one yourself. I have a Sony P-10 P&S and have never really
> been happy with its image quality and don't want to spend another
> $400-$500 without a demonstrable improvement in the images I shoot.
>
> Good, bad or indifferent, your comments are welcome.

Ken, been very pleased with our FZ20. From my tests, the image quality is
equal to the 8MP Minolta A2 and as good as any other 5MP camera. You do
need to set the JPEG noise processing to "Low", though. Absolutely super
lens, good manual focus. About the only thing I miss is the swivel LCD
finder found on some other cameras.

You would find the zoom a major difference to the P10, and the overall
camera will be bigger. It's not heavy, though. Try it for handling if
you can.

David
Related resources
Anonymous
December 17, 2004 9:19:08 PM

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

I "drowned" my FZ10 on a canoe trip last summer...I now have the FZ20..


"Dirk Gently" <drk_gently@yahoo.com> wrote in message
news:ts56s0lv4qltvloq6s4ijjkc9k7qfa7mjk@4ax.com...
> On Fri, 17 Dec 2004 15:38:38 GMT, "Ken" <ken@ken.ken> wrote:
>
> Hello Ken,
> If my FZ20 were stolen today, I'd buy another one tomorrow.
>
>
Anonymous
December 18, 2004 4:35:45 AM

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

Hi David, you say

> [...] been very pleased with our FZ20. From my tests,
> the image quality is equal to the 8MP Minolta A2

I compared A2's and FZ20's sample shots as found in DCRP review (the two
of Chinatown and the one of the white triangular building), downsampling
A2's to 2560 x 1920 to fit FZ20's size with IrfanView, Lanczos Filter and
observing the pictures on the screen.

I found that A2's pictures are noticeably cleaner, sharper and less noisy
than those from FZ20, the latter also displaying artifacts not visible in
A2's. This could be expected from A2's much bigger sensor anyway (2/3" or
58.08mm2 as compared to FZ20's 1/2.5" or 24.7104mm2).

Of course I excluded the church picture from the comparison, since for
unknown reasons I feel strongly biased towards (Konica) Minolta digital
cameras, an inclination which makes me believe that the shot is simply out
of focus.

Best,

Julio
Anonymous
December 18, 2004 4:35:46 AM

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

J.S.Pitanga <jspitanga(@fastimap.com> wrote:
> I found that A2's pictures are noticeably cleaner, sharper and less noisy
> than those from FZ20, the latter also displaying artifacts not visible in
> A2's. This could be expected from A2's much bigger sensor anyway (2/3" or
> 58.08mm2 as compared to FZ20's 1/2.5" or 24.7104mm2).
>

As a Panasonic FZ10 owner I would agree that the A2 is probably
electronically a little superior to the FZs - its ancestry is very good
(Dimage 7, A1...). A good friend of mine finally "went digital" with a
Dimage 7i a couple of years back and the A1 and A2 carry on the good work.

The A series are excellent cameras. Don't judge Konica Minolta by the
cheaper Z range - they're low-budget fun cameras. The A2 is slightly
pricier in the UK than an FZ20 (at least in the UK) and the lens has
less reach, though to some extent you can trade pixels for zoom if you
plan on cropping... If K-M can get the zoom out past x8 (which they've
done with the optically and electronically inferior Z range) they're
going to have a truly formidable camera.

I think most of the good ZLRs (x7 zoom and above) I tried have plus and
minus points:

Olympus C770
+ : small size, style, good interface
- : no stabilisation

Konica-Minolta A2
+ : very SLR-like controls, pixel count, stabilisation
- : styling, relatively limited zoom (x7)

Panasonic FZ-10/15/20
+ : x12 stabilised Leica lens with manual focus ring
- : no "raw" mode :( 

Canon S1 IS
+ : price, size, x10 stabilised
- : limited pixel count, feels flimsier than pricier Canons

Nikon 8700:
+ : pixel count, excellent EVF
- : price, prone to noise (small sensor - the 5700 is actually nicer at 5mp)

Sony F828:
+ : Zeiss lens with *manual* zoom and focus ring, articulated body
- : styling, size, no stabilisation.

(actually for most practical purposes I'd go for a 5700 over an 8700....)

All are fine cameras, and depending on what you're looking for any one
of them is likely to fit your needs. If Nikon can sort out the noise
issues on the 8700 with the 8800VR (x10 stabilised) then they'll have a
truly great camera too, at a price...

I haven't yet seen a Powershot Pro-1 but it seems to take many good
features from Canon DSLRs as well as compacts. Should be formidable.

The only ZLR I tried that I didn't like was the Fuji S7000. "Only" x6,
and murky, noisy 6-megapixel pictures (the "interpolated" 12 megapixel
ones are a gimmick).

pete
--
pete@fenelon.com "there's no room for enigmas in built-up areas"
December 18, 2004 9:00:05 AM

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

"David J Taylor" <david-taylor@invalid.com> wrote in message news:32gdqrF3k2e5lU1@individual.net...
> Ken wrote:
> > Hi,
> >
> > After reading everyone's comments here, and visiting all of the
> > review sites I could find, I am on the verge of purchasing one. Many
> > of you by now have had time to discover its strengths
> > and weaknesses and I was wondering if you have any regrets for having
> > purchased one yourself. I have a Sony P-10 P&S and have never really
> > been happy with its image quality and don't want to spend another
> > $400-$500 without a demonstrable improvement in the images I shoot.
> >
> > Good, bad or indifferent, your comments are welcome.
>
> Ken, been very pleased with our FZ20. From my tests, the image quality is
> equal to the 8MP Minolta A2 and as good as any other 5MP camera. You do
> need to set the JPEG noise processing to "Low", though. Absolutely super
> lens, good manual focus. About the only thing I miss is the swivel LCD
> finder found on some other cameras.
>
> You would find the zoom a major difference to the P10, and the overall
> camera will be bigger. It's not heavy, though. Try it for handling if
> you can.

Thanks for your comments, David. I read your message and the others posted in this
thread from google groups at work today and had already pretty much decided to buy
one. Having seen no major complaints I picked one up on the way home and have
spent the past hour or so taking sample pics around the house. All I can say for now
is WoW! I don't know if it is the image stabilization or simply a matter of superior
optics, but I can say with certainty that the 30 pics I have taken with it are without a
doubt consistanly sharper than the majority of the 3000+ images I have taken with
the Sony.

It's supposed to be a bright clear and sunny day here tommorrow and I predict I will
spend most of it outdoors putting it through its paces. For the time being count me in
as a regular in this group.

Cheers,

Ken
December 18, 2004 9:03:32 AM

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

"Dirk Gently" <drk_gently@yahoo.com> wrote in message news:ts56s0lv4qltvloq6s4ijjkc9k7qfa7mjk@4ax.com...
> On Fri, 17 Dec 2004 15:38:38 GMT, "Ken" <ken@ken.ken> wrote:
>
> Hello Ken,
> If my FZ20 were stolen today, I'd buy another one tomorrow.

Your positive endorsement duly noted.

P.S. If you would like to have your FZ20 stolen, so you can buy another one....
Anonymous
December 18, 2004 9:03:33 AM

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

On Sat, 18 Dec 2004 06:03:32 GMT, "Ken" <ken@ken.ken> wrote:
>"Dirk Gently" <drk_gently@yahoo.com> wrote in message news:ts56s0lv4qltvloq6s4ijjkc9k7qfa7mjk@4ax.com...
>> On Fri, 17 Dec 2004 15:38:38 GMT, "Ken" <ken@ken.ken> wrote:
>>
>> Hello Ken,
>> If my FZ20 were stolen today, I'd buy another one tomorrow.
>
>Your positive endorsement duly noted.
>
>P.S. If you would like to have your FZ20 stolen, so you can buy another one....
>
We don't wanna go there, besides you alreadu bought one. :-)
Anonymous
December 18, 2004 9:03:33 AM

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

On Sat, 18 Dec 2004 06:03:32 GMT, "Ken" <ken@ken.ken> wrote:
>"Dirk Gently" <drk_gently@yahoo.com> wrote in message news:ts56s0lv4qltvloq6s4ijjkc9k7qfa7mjk@4ax.com...
>> On Fri, 17 Dec 2004 15:38:38 GMT, "Ken" <ken@ken.ken> wrote:
>> Hello Ken,
>> If my FZ20 were stolen today, I'd buy another one tomorrow.
>Your positive endorsement duly noted.
>P.S. If you would like to have your FZ20 stolen, so you can buy another one....
>
My FZ20 has been dressed out a little since I got it, see the following.

FYI:
Here's what I've done with my FZ20;
1st) installed one of these adapters; aluminum, very well made
http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&category=...

2nd) bought one of these semi-fish eye lenses, with a step down ring.
http://www.adorama.com/RXMX3000.html?searchinfo=RXMX300...
http://www.adorama.com/FLD6258.html?searchinfo=FLD6258&...

The adapter lets me use 62mm filters and have a lens hood out in front of the
filter, along with letting me attach the fisheye lens. This Raynox is a pretty
decent lens, much better than I expected.
I've also got one of Raynox's 2.2X telephoto lenses coming for the long end.
(it's here)
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/controller/home?O=produ...
December 18, 2004 9:24:57 AM

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

"Dirk Gently" <drk_gently@yahoo.com> wrote in message news:p qi7s01k9fi46dc6dfa7c9u8pku5ndgu6k@4ax.com...
> On Sat, 18 Dec 2004 06:03:32 GMT, "Ken" <ken@ken.ken> wrote:
> >"Dirk Gently" <drk_gently@yahoo.com> wrote in message news:ts56s0lv4qltvloq6s4ijjkc9k7qfa7mjk@4ax.com...
> >> On Fri, 17 Dec 2004 15:38:38 GMT, "Ken" <ken@ken.ken> wrote:
> >>
> >> Hello Ken,
> >> If my FZ20 were stolen today, I'd buy another one tomorrow.
> >
> >Your positive endorsement duly noted.
> >
> >P.S. If you would like to have your FZ20 stolen, so you can buy another one....
> >
> We don't wanna go there, besides you alreadu bought one. :-)

Just trying to be friendly :^ }
December 18, 2004 10:00:24 AM

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

"Dirk Gently" <drk_gently@yahoo.com> wrote in message news:o ui7s0p87mnsrlfcd3be39tbi5u863so3g@4ax.com...
> On Sat, 18 Dec 2004 06:03:32 GMT, "Ken" <ken@ken.ken> wrote:
> >"Dirk Gently" <drk_gently@yahoo.com> wrote in message news:ts56s0lv4qltvloq6s4ijjkc9k7qfa7mjk@4ax.com...
> >> On Fri, 17 Dec 2004 15:38:38 GMT, "Ken" <ken@ken.ken> wrote:
> >> Hello Ken,
> >> If my FZ20 were stolen today, I'd buy another one tomorrow.
> >Your positive endorsement duly noted.
> >P.S. If you would like to have your FZ20 stolen, so you can buy another one....
> >
> My FZ20 has been dressed out a little since I got it, see the following.
>
> FYI:
> Here's what I've done with my FZ20;
> 1st) installed one of these adapters; aluminum, very well made
> http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&category=...
>
> 2nd) bought one of these semi-fish eye lenses, with a step down ring.
> http://www.adorama.com/RXMX3000.html?searchinfo=RXMX300...
> http://www.adorama.com/FLD6258.html?searchinfo=FLD6258&...
>
> The adapter lets me use 62mm filters and have a lens hood out in front of the
> filter, along with letting me attach the fisheye lens. This Raynox is a pretty
> decent lens, much better than I expected.
> I've also got one of Raynox's 2.2X telephoto lenses coming for the long end.
> (it's here)
> http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/controller/home?O=produ...

Yep, I read you earlier posting with these links and have since bookmarked the
Raynox site for future reference. Their example photos are pretty exciting and
I will likely get some add-ons before my vacation to Oregon next month.

I almost bought the 8080 for its wide angle capabilities rather than the FZ20
but it was the Raynox add-ons capabilities that swayed me toward the FZ20.
Best of both worlds the way I see it.
Anonymous
December 18, 2004 10:56:05 AM

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

Hi Pete,

Thank you for your thoughtful condensation of qualities and virtues of
different EVFs (I think that all so-called ZLRs have an EVF, and that
there is no camera with a EVF which is not a so-called ZLR, and thus that
EVF is an exact and unequivocal way of calling the inexactly and
equivocally so-called ZLRs).

I agree with your favorable remarks about Minolta A2 (even more applicable
to the new KM A200, which sports besides a very pleasant design): excelent
features and image quality but a zoom which in the long end is a bit short
for us spoiled by those 10x+ megazooms (in days of old I was so happy with
the fixed 135mm telephoto of my long deceased Kowa SETR!).

I also agree that the KM Z range are low-budget fun cameras, but just
because they are low-budget and fun (or in part exactly because of this) I
would no look so much down on them! I would for sure avoid the Z1 with its
high level chromatic aberration. However, judging from the sample pictures
available in the most well-known reviews, I would rate the 3MP Z10's image
quality above the 3MP S1 IS's, at least in terms of detail resolution,
noise and sharpness - for about half the price anyway.

As to the Z2 and Z3, the sample pictures found in most reviews are indeed
often not very appealing, too soft and the Z3's too noisy also. However,
being the happy owner of a Z2 which already came with the new firmware
(1.03), I believe that something changed, and the pictures come indeed
tack sharp straight from the camera, with plenty of fine detail and
beautiful, well-saturated colors, although less compression would be
welcome (I didn't dare to try the RAW hack). I would say that one could
hardly find better for the price, or even for quite a bit more.

Of course I would consider migrating to the enticing 8MP KM A200 (much
less expensive than a Nikon 8800), except for my present attachment to a
longer zoom - although according to my calculations, cropping from 8 to 4
MP (presently enough for me) would roughly correspond to a zoom factor of
1,414 (square root of 2) thus bringing its 200mm long end to 282mm, more
or less the same as the 8x Coolpix 5700 and 8700.

Anyway, for the moment I'm just enjoying my little cute Z2!

Cheers,

Julio.
Anonymous
December 18, 2004 12:12:35 PM

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

On Sat, 18 Dec 2004 07:56:05 +0100, "J.S.Pitanga" <jspitanga(@fastimap.com>
wrote:
>for us spoiled by those 10x+ megazooms (in days of old I was so happy with
>the fixed 135mm telephoto of my long deceased Kowa SETR!).

That brings back some memories, that's what I started with.
Anonymous
December 18, 2004 12:35:50 PM

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

J.S.Pitanga wrote:
> Hi David, you say
>
>> [...] been very pleased with our FZ20. From my tests,
>> the image quality is equal to the 8MP Minolta A2
>
> I compared A2's and FZ20's sample shots as found in DCRP review (the
> two of Chinatown and the one of the white triangular building),
> downsampling A2's to 2560 x 1920 to fit FZ20's size with IrfanView,
> Lanczos Filter and observing the pictures on the screen.
>
> I found that A2's pictures are noticeably cleaner, sharper and less
> noisy than those from FZ20, the latter also displaying artifacts not
> visible in A2's. This could be expected from A2's much bigger sensor
> anyway (2/3" or 58.08mm2 as compared to FZ20's 1/2.5" or 24.7104mm2).

Julio,

Thanks for your comments.

As soon as you resample pictures you will change the characteristics of
the image, and because the zoom is less on the A2 you would actually need
to crop to match the zoom of the FZ20.

I agree that with a smaller sensitive area the FZ20 will be a little
noisier than the A2, but can you see that noise when taking real pictures
in real circumstances? Do the noise matter? Doesn't it add some
character to low-light shots?

My own comparison showed that the FZ20 brought out detail not visible on
the A2 (taking tripod shots of the same scene), and that the very nasty
JPEG artefacts present on the A2 on certain shots were completely absent
on the FZ20. Other reviewers have also found the JPEG artefacts on the A2
and even on its predecessor, the A1. Couldn't Minolta be bothered to fix
the fault? We discussed this on rec.photo.digital some months ago, and
David Kilpatrick noted that he could only tolerate the A2 in RAW mode
(where the PC RAW to JPEG converter software does /not/ suffer for
artefact production like the camera's own firmware). For me, being forced
into RAW was not an option.

I did buy the A2, but returned it as unusable for my purposes.

Cheers,
David
Anonymous
December 19, 2004 5:23:22 AM

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

Hi David,

> As soon as you resample pictures you will change the
> characteristics of the image,

Sure. Still, the fact remains that the A2 pictures resampled to 5MP looked
in my comparison noticeably better than the FZ20 5MP images (with the
additional bonus that the A2 produces 8MP images).

> and because the zoom is less on the A2 you would actually
> need to crop to match the zoom of the FZ20.

Even with a lot of cropping it would be difficult for the A2 to match
FZ20's longest end. If my calculations are correct, one would need to crop
an A2 8MP picture taken at its longest end (200mm equiv.) down to 1,81MP
to match FZ20's 420mm equiv. On the other hand, A2's wide end (28mm
equiv.) cannot be matched by FZ20's 36mm, with or without cropping.

But this is not actually the subject under discussion: since here we are
just trying to compare the image quality of both cameras, it is reasonable
to compare pictures taken at similar focal distance, which was the case
with the chosen samples.

> I agree that with a smaller sensitive area the FZ20 will
> be a little noisier than the A2, but can you see that noise
> when taking real pictures in real circumstances? Do the
> noise matter?

Well, how much noise matters is a rather subjective issue: my only point
is that the FZ20 is noticeably noisier than the A2, noise being an
important image quality related issue.

> Doesn't it add some character to low-light shots?

Hummm... a very bad character, I would say!

> My own comparison showed that the FZ20 brought out detail
> not visible on the A2 (taking tripod shots of the same scene),
> and that the very nasty JPEG artefacts present on the A2 on
> certain shots were completely absent on the FZ20. Other
> reviewers have also found the JPEG artefacts on the A2
> and even on its predecessor, the A1.

I respect your comparison, and for sure it went into much deeper detail
than mine, which was limited to the three shots taken from DPRC I have
previously refered to.

Still, within the limits of my own comparison, I could find lots of
artifacts (which to my eyes look like typical sharpening and compression
artifacts) in FZ20 samples in places where A2 samples are completely
clean. See for instance around the branches behind Chinatown's gate and
around the Cathay House sun-blind yellow letters.

> Couldn't Minolta be bothered to fix the fault?

I would hope so, but maybe they simply think it adds some character to
compressed shots!

> We discussed this on rec.photo.digital some months ago,
> and David Kilpatrick noted that he could only tolerate the A2
> in RAW mode (where the PC RAW to JPEG converter software does
> /not/ suffer for artefact production like the camera's own
> firmware). For me, being forced into RAW was not an option.

Here is another image quality related department where the A2 has an edge
over the FZ20: its ability to produce RAW files (although the FZ20 has an
uncompressed TIFF mode).

But the need for better or less compressed JPEG files straight from the
camera should indeed not be overlooked by manufacturers. It is a problem
with Kodak 6490, for instance. KM Z2 is not bad, although it could be
better. HP945 is the best I know of as far as artifacts are concerned,
without even a shadow of an artifact even in the normal (below best)
setting.

> I did buy the A2, but returned it as unusable for my purposes.

That's what all these discussions boil to in the end: what is suitable to
one's purposes (and to one's budget, I would add).

Now, talking about to real pictures and real circumstances, I'm joyfully
going back to my KM Z2 & HP945, as I cannot (or don't try too much to)
find fault in their pictures for my own maybe limited present purposes!

Thanks for the nice chat, and happy holidays for all,

Julio.
Anonymous
December 19, 2004 11:27:23 AM

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

J.S.Pitanga wrote:
[]
>> I agree that with a smaller sensitive area the FZ20 will
>> be a little noisier than the A2, but can you see that noise
>> when taking real pictures in real circumstances? Do the
>> noise matter?
>
> Well, how much noise matters is a rather subjective issue: my only
> point is that the FZ20 is noticeably noisier than the A2, noise being
> an important image quality related issue.
>
>> Doesn't it add some character to low-light shots?
>
> Hummm... a very bad character, I would say!

Well, it probably depends on the image, but grain has been used very
effectively in the past as part of the character of a shot. I think that
today's fashion to have everything completely noise-free may pass.

[]>> Couldn't Minolta be bothered to fix the fault?
>
> I would hope so, but maybe they simply think it adds some character to
> compressed shots!

No - the fault I'm speaking of is the arithmetic overflow (perhaps) which
turned an edge into a harsh mottled line. To me it made the camera
usuasble.
[]

> Now, talking about to real pictures and real circumstances, I'm
> joyfully going back to my KM Z2 & HP945, as I cannot (or don't try
> too much to) find fault in their pictures for my own maybe limited
> present purposes!
> Thanks for the nice chat, and happy holidays for all,
>
> Julio.

Thanks,
David
Anonymous
December 20, 2004 2:37:37 AM

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

Hi David, you wrote,

> Well, it probably depends on the image, but grain
> has been used very effectively in the past as part
> of the character of a shot.

Digital noise is just electronic garbage, period.

But, of course, sometimes it is possible to make art even out of garbage.
From my side, I prefer to add noise in Photoshop, with nice control of
amount, color, and distribution, if I want noise at all, than to have
electronic garbage thrown in a picture because of faulty electronics.

> I think that today's fashion to have everything
> completely noise-free may pass.

Never heard about this fashion. Just heard about technological efforts to
develop CCDS producing less electronical garbage.

> No - the fault I'm speaking of is the arithmetic
> overflow (perhaps) which turned an edge into a harsh
> mottled line. To me it made the camera usuasble.

The point is, how much this A2's harsh mottled line can be seen in a 5MP
resampling, as compared to a FZ20 5MP picture, both observed on the screen
(or how much the harsh mottled line can be seen in A2's 8MP picture in
print as compared to a FZ20 5MP picture, both printed at the same size).

However, as far as I could understand, your comparative procedure did
*not* involve downsampling A2's 8MP pictures, and thus you just compared
two completely different things - roughly the same as to compare an A2's
10x8" print with a FZ20's 8x6".

If so, your comparative methodology was flawed, and could hardly say
anything meaningful about the relative merits of A2 and FZ20 in terms of
image quality.

Best,

Julio.
Anonymous
December 20, 2004 1:58:01 PM

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

J.S.Pitanga wrote:
> Hi David, you wrote,
>
>> Well, it probably depends on the image, but grain
>> has been used very effectively in the past as part
>> of the character of a shot.
>
> Digital noise is just electronic garbage, period.
>
> But, of course, sometimes it is possible to make art even out of
> garbage. From my side, I prefer to add noise in Photoshop, with nice
> control of amount, color, and distribution, if I want noise at all,
> than to have electronic garbage thrown in a picture because of faulty
> electronics.

No, you are wrong. It is small sensor size and not any faulty electronics
which produces these higher noise levels. It is the larger pixel size on
the sensor which allows DSLRs to work at ISO 800 without producing as much
noise as P&S cameras.

[]
>> No - the fault I'm speaking of is the arithmetic
>> overflow (perhaps) which turned an edge into a harsh
>> mottled line. To me it made the camera usuasble.
>
> The point is, how much this A2's harsh mottled line can be seen in a
> 5MP resampling, as compared to a FZ20 5MP picture, both observed on
> the screen (or how much the harsh mottled line can be seen in A2's
> 8MP picture in print as compared to a FZ20 5MP picture, both printed
> at the same size).
> However, as far as I could understand, your comparative procedure did
> *not* involve downsampling A2's 8MP pictures, and thus you just
> compared two completely different things - roughly the same as to
> compare an A2's 10x8" print with a FZ20's 8x6".
>
> If so, your comparative methodology was flawed, and could hardly say
> anything meaningful about the relative merits of A2 and FZ20 in terms
> of image quality.
>
> Best,
>
> Julio.

I actually viewed the two images both resampled down to screen size and at
1:1 zoom. It wasn't just the poor image quality (for an 8MP camera) which
caused me to reject the Minolta A2, though. Built quality of the swivel
LCD, lack of IS at low shutter speeds, plain lies about the viewfinder
were other factors. It did have some nice points as well, of course.

Comparing the FZ20 with the A2, you would only get a 1.7MP image of a
subject at the maximum zoom of the FZ20, as the maximum focal length is
432mm versus the A2's mere 200mm. Whereas the wide-angle on the FZ20 is
only 36mm versus the 28mm of the A2 (or the wonderful 24mm of the Nikon
8400). I think the two cameras have somewhat different application areas.

Cheers,
David
December 20, 2004 8:06:36 PM

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

On Fri, 17 Dec 2004 23:31:40 -0700, Dirk Gently <drk_gently@yahoo.com>
wrote:

>On Sat, 18 Dec 2004 06:03:32 GMT, "Ken" <ken@ken.ken> wrote:
>>"Dirk Gently" <drk_gently@yahoo.com> wrote in message news:ts56s0lv4qltvloq6s4ijjkc9k7qfa7mjk@4ax.com...
>>> On Fri, 17 Dec 2004 15:38:38 GMT, "Ken" <ken@ken.ken> wrote:
>>> Hello Ken,
>>> If my FZ20 were stolen today, I'd buy another one tomorrow.
>>Your positive endorsement duly noted.
>>P.S. If you would like to have your FZ20 stolen, so you can buy another one....
>>
>My FZ20 has been dressed out a little since I got it, see the following.
>
>FYI:
>Here's what I've done with my FZ20;
>1st) installed one of these adapters; aluminum, very well made
>http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&category=...
>
>2nd) bought one of these semi-fish eye lenses, with a step down ring.
>http://www.adorama.com/RXMX3000.html?searchinfo=RXMX300...
>http://www.adorama.com/FLD6258.html?searchinfo=FLD6258&...
>
>The adapter lets me use 62mm filters and have a lens hood out in front of the
>filter, along with letting me attach the fisheye lens. This Raynox is a pretty
>decent lens, much better than I expected.
>I've also got one of Raynox's 2.2X telephoto lenses coming for the long end.
>(it's here)
>http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/controller/home?O=produ...

I just ordered one of those adapters for my FZ20 a few days ago.
Shipment should arrive sometime just after the first of next year from
China. <g> Probably should have asked him to include a step down
adapter ring so I could later mount an Olympus TCON-17b 1.7x
teleconverter.
December 21, 2004 10:36:43 AM

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

In article <32nphqF3o11q1U1@individual.net>, david-taylor@invalid.com
says...
> Comparing the FZ20 with the A2, you would only get a 1.7MP image of a
> subject at the maximum zoom of the FZ20, as the maximum focal length
> is 432mm versus the A2's mere 200mm....

Huh? I think you've got your facts a bit mixed up. The FZ20 is a 5MP
camera over the full optical zoom range (36..432 mm). You don't start
loosing resolution until you push the zoom over into the "digital zoom"
(a.k.a. "cropping") range which is when you go -beyond- 432mm zoom.
Using the FZ20 at maximum optical zoom, it's still a 5MP image...

-Joe-
Anonymous
December 21, 2004 12:14:44 PM

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

Joe wrote:
> In article <32nphqF3o11q1U1@individual.net>, david-taylor@invalid.com
> says...
>> Comparing the FZ20 with the A2, you would only get a 1.7MP image of a
>> subject at the maximum zoom of the FZ20, as the maximum focal length
>> is 432mm versus the A2's mere 200mm....
>
> Huh? I think you've got your facts a bit mixed up. The FZ20 is a 5MP
> camera over the full optical zoom range (36..432 mm). You don't start
> loosing resolution until you push the zoom over into the "digital
> zoom" (a.k.a. "cropping") range which is when you go -beyond- 432mm
> zoom. Using the FZ20 at maximum optical zoom, it's still a 5MP
> image...

Let me express it differently:

If you have a subject taken at maximum 432mm zoom on the Panasonic FZ20
you will get the full 5MP. If you now change cameras to the A2, becuase
its zoom is limited to just 200mm, the subject will only occupy a small
fraction of the available image area, and that area is covered by just
1.7MP. So the 8MP resolution of the A2 will only produce a 1.7MP image
covering the same subject area, whereas on the Panasonic FZ20 you will get
5MP.

Thanks for the opportunity to clarify this.

Cheers,
David
Anonymous
December 21, 2004 2:43:09 PM

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

"Ken" <ken@ken.ken> wrote in message news:24Dwd.60630$QJ3.31044@newssvr21.news.prodigy.com...
> Hi,
>
> After reading everyone's comments here, and visiting all of the review sites I could find, I am
> on the verge of purchasing one. Many of you by now have had time to discover its strengths
> and weaknesses and I was wondering if you have any regrets for having purchased one yourself.
> I have a Sony P-10 P&S and have never really been happy with its image quality and don't want
> to spend another $400-$500 without a demonstrable improvement in the images I shoot.

I bought one about a month ago and love it. The 12x optical zoom with IS really is amazing. The point that others have made about being able to get closer to you subject (with the zoom) so you don't need to crop is valid. This can result in higher resolution pictures then you would get with a camera that has more megapixels but less optical zoom. Yes, there is some visible noise in the photos if you examine them on a computer, but not more than other digital cameras I've used, and it is easily removed with software (NeatImage, etc.) before printing.
December 22, 2004 7:40:57 AM

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

"Swingman" <sbt@silcom.com> wrote in message news:10sgv61b8cf8881@news.supernews.com...

> I bought one about a month ago and love it. The 12x optical zoom with IS really is amazing.
> The point that others have made about being able to get closer to you subject (with the zoom)
> so you don't need to crop is valid. This can result in higher resolution pictures then you would
> get with a camera that has more megapixels but less optical zoom. Yes, there is some visible
> noise in the photos if you examine them on a computer, but not more than other digital cameras
> I've used, and it is easily removed with software (NeatImage, etc.) before printing.

I am now on day 4 and loving every minute of it so far. I cannot begin to describe how much
better it is than the little Sony it replaces. There is quite a bit of noise in the higher ISO ranges
but I have found much to my enjoyment that you seldom need to go above 100 for well exposed
images with this camera.
Anonymous
December 23, 2004 8:10:30 AM

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

Hi David,

> It is small sensor size and not any faulty
> electronics which produces these higher
> noise levels.

No at all! The sensor size does not produce any noise! What produces noise
is just the sensor's electronic activity, and what makes noise more
visible is a higher noise to signal ratio -- which is dependent on the
quality of the circuitry (more or less faulty electronics) and on pixel
size, not on sensor size.

A sensor of small size can even produce *less* image noise than a bigger
one, provided that its pixels' noise to signal ratio is lower (because of
either pixel size or less better electronics)!

Anyway, the gist is that noise is indeed just electronic garbage, and thus
that FZ20's high noise levels do detract from its image quality as
compared with Minolta A2, which was the original point!

> It is the larger pixel size on the sensor which
> allows DSLRs to work at ISO 800 without producing
> as much noise as P&S cameras.

That's why it is said that DSLRs do provide better image quality, which
again makes my original point!

> I actually viewed the two images both resampled down
> to screen size and at 1:1 zoom. It wasn't just the
> poor image quality (for an 8MP camera) which caused
> me to reject the Minolta A2, though.

Resampling down to screen size (1024x768) is a deceptive procedure,
following which images from a HP Photosmart 945 (38.17sqmm 5MP sensor) and
even from a KMZ2 (24.72sqmm 4MP sensor) showed way better resolution and
less artifacts as compared to those from a DSLR KM Maxxum 7D (368.95sqmm
6.1MP sensor)!

Therefore, no wonder that your images from a FZ20 appeared worse than
those coming from an A2, - the fault is in the procedure!

On the other hand, resampling A2's 8MP images to 5MP, and comparing them
to FZ20's 5MP images, the result was clearly favorable to the A2, in terms
of detail resolution, noise and artifacts, as already discussed.

> Whereas the wide-angle on the FZ20 is only 36mm versus
> the 28mm of the A2

In the short end small differences of focal distance make a huge angle
difference!

> (or the wonderful 24mm of the Nikon 8400).

Which is meanwhile limited to mere 85mm equiv. on the long end, as opposed
to A2's 200! In this sense, the A2 appears to be more versatile than
either the FZ20 or the 8400, with its useful range of 28-200mm equiv..

Personally, for the moment I stick happily to my little cute KMZ2 which,
being about half the price, size and weight of either the A2 or the FZ20,
provides me with twice as fun as both together would, and features more
than enough to produce whatever pictures I may dream of!

Thank you again for the nice conversation, and again happy solstice
commemorations to you an all,

Julio.
Anonymous
December 23, 2004 8:19:01 AM

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

> [Julio:]
> (because of either pixel size or less better electronics)!

Please ignore the "less" (and feel free to ignore the rest as well).

Julio.
Anonymous
December 23, 2004 10:35:46 AM

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

J.S.Pitanga wrote:
> Hi David,
>
>> It is small sensor size and not any faulty
>> electronics which produces these higher
>> noise levels.
>
> No at all! The sensor size does not produce any noise! What produces
> noise is just the sensor's electronic activity, and what makes noise
> more visible is a higher noise to signal ratio -- which is dependent
> on the quality of the circuitry (more or less faulty electronics) and
> on pixel size, not on sensor size.

In fact the simple act of detecting the light produces noise. The amount
of noise is proportional to the square root of the number of
photo-electrons detected. Because the sensor with small pixels can hold a
smaller number of photo-electrons in each sensor well, small pixels mean
more noise. Even a perfect sensor will have a finite noise level. Of
course, this is not the only noise source, and electronic noise is in
addition to any photon-limited noise.

> A sensor of small size can even produce *less* image noise than a
> bigger one, provided that its pixels' noise to signal ratio is lower
> (because of either pixel size or less better electronics)!

Other things being equal, a smaller sensor will only produce less noise
per-pixel if the individual pixels are larger, and therefore there will be
fewer pixels in the sensor active area.

> Anyway, the gist is that noise is indeed just electronic garbage, and
> thus that FZ20's high noise levels do detract from its image quality
> as compared with Minolta A2, which was the original point!

No, image noise is also due to photon-limited noise, a fundamental
physical aspect of the sensing process.

Far better to a get a picture with a slightly higher noise level than to
get either no picture at all, one where the subject only occupies half the
frame (because of limited focal length range), or one where the
camera-shake destroys the image quality (either because of limited
aperture lens forcing a longer shutter speed or because of the lack of
image stabilisation).

[]
> Therefore, no wonder that your images from a FZ20 appeared worse than
> those coming from an A2, - the fault is in the procedure!

You have this the wrong way round, the FZ20 images were better than those
from the A2. As I already explained, I looked at the images at 1:1 zoom
as well. The fault is quite specific, and has been reported on the review
sites as well. What was really disappointing was that the fault had first
been reported on the Minolta A1, but Minolta hadn't bothered to fix it on
the A2. I do not like that sort of attitude.

[]
>> (or the wonderful 24mm of the Nikon 8400).
>
> Which is meanwhile limited to mere 85mm equiv. on the long end, as
> opposed to A2's 200! In this sense, the A2 appears to be more
> versatile than either the FZ20 or the 8400, with its useful range of
> 28-200mm equiv..

What camera you need depends on what photographs you are trying to take.
For architectural photography and indoor shots of rooms the Nikon 8400 may
be a better choice. If you are photographing animals in the wild the
image stabilised 432mm zoom of the Panasonic FZ20 would be better. For
other reasons, I would not purchase the Minolta A2 myself even if appears
more versatile on paper.

> Personally, for the moment I stick happily to my little cute KMZ2
> which, being about half the price, size and weight of either the A2
> or the FZ20, provides me with twice as fun as both together would,
> and features more than enough to produce whatever pictures I may
> dream of!

Z2 weight 10.8oz
Nikon 8400 16.6oz
FZ20 weight 19.2oz
A2 weight 22.4oz

I envy you the weight, but not the lack of image stabilisation.

> Thank you again for the nice conversation, and again happy solstice
> commemorations to you an all,
>
> Julio.

All the best to you and yours!

Cheers,
David
December 29, 2004 4:50:58 AM

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

"David J Taylor" <david-taylor@invalid.com> wrote in message news:32gdqrF3k2e5lU1@individual.net...

> Ken, been very pleased with our FZ20. From my tests, the image quality is
> equal to the 8MP Minolta A2 and as good as any other 5MP camera. You do
> need to set the JPEG noise processing to "Low", though.

Hi David,

Out of curiosity, why the suggestion to keep the JPEG noise processing set to "Low"?

Ken
Anonymous
December 29, 2004 11:29:34 AM

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

Ken wrote:
> "David J Taylor" <david-taylor@invalid.com> wrote in message
> news:32gdqrF3k2e5lU1@individual.net...
>
>> Ken, been very pleased with our FZ20. From my tests, the image
>> quality is equal to the 8MP Minolta A2 and as good as any other 5MP
>> camera. You do need to set the JPEG noise processing to "Low",
>> though.
>
> Hi David,
>
> Out of curiosity, why the suggestion to keep the JPEG noise
> processing set to "Low"?
>
> Ken

Ken,

I read somewhere that the "normal" or "high" settings were rather
agressive and could be detrimental to picture quality. Yes, I should test
this for myself! Comments welcome!

Cheers,
David
December 29, 2004 6:00:04 PM

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

"David J Taylor" <david-taylor@invalid.com> wrote in message news:33f87fF41131iU1@individual.net...
> Ken wrote:
> > "David J Taylor" <david-taylor@invalid.com> wrote in message
> > news:32gdqrF3k2e5lU1@individual.net...
> >
> >> Ken, been very pleased with our FZ20. From my tests, the image
> >> quality is equal to the 8MP Minolta A2 and as good as any other 5MP
> >> camera. You do need to set the JPEG noise processing to "Low",
> >> though.
> >
> > Hi David,
> >
> > Out of curiosity, why the suggestion to keep the JPEG noise
> > processing set to "Low"?
> >
> > Ken
>
> Ken,
>
> I read somewhere that the "normal" or "high" settings were rather
> agressive and could be detrimental to picture quality. Yes, I should test
> this for myself! Comments welcome!

David,

I did do a limited amount of testing prior to posting and, to be honest with you, I found
the "std" setting to have a noticeable improvement on image noise with no noticeable
degradation in image sharpness, which was my primary concern. Admittedly, 6 test
pictures is not a valid test make. I'll fire up the camera again tonight when I get off
work to see if I can narrow down the plus and minuses of using more aggressive noise
processing with the FZ20. Coming up with a valid test methodology will likely be the
most challenging part of this exercise.

Ken
December 30, 2004 7:47:21 AM

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

"Ken" <ken@ken.ken> wrote in message news:UDzAd.3658$wZ2.3439@newssvr13.news.prodigy.com...
>
> > > Hi David,
> > >
> > > Out of curiosity, why the suggestion to keep the JPEG noise
> > > processing set to "Low"?
> > >
> > > Ken
> >
> > Ken,
> >
> > I read somewhere that the "normal" or "high" settings were rather
> > agressive and could be detrimental to picture quality. Yes, I should test
> > this for myself! Comments welcome!
>
> David,
>
> I did do a limited amount of testing prior to posting and, to be honest with you, I found
> the "std" setting to have a noticeable improvement on image noise with no noticeable
> degradation in image sharpness, which was my primary concern. Admittedly, 6 test
> pictures is not a valid test make. I'll fire up the camera again tonight when I get off
> work to see if I can narrow down the plus and minuses of using more aggressive noise
> processing with the FZ20. Coming up with a valid test methodology will likely be the
> most challenging part of this exercise.

So much for experimentation. I can't see much difference between any of the three
available noise processing modes. I tried several different shots with varying amounts
of lighting/shadows, contrasting color combinations, hard edged and soft edged objects
as well as shooting in macro mode and long zoom and at this point in time I can't see
any loss of image sharpness in any of the three modes and only a slight improvement
in noise reduction in the "high" mode. I think I'll leave it on "std" for now until I get a
better feel for what it is really doing.
Anonymous
December 30, 2004 12:23:29 PM

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

Ken wrote:
> "Ken" <ken@ken.ken> wrote in message
> news:UDzAd.3658$wZ2.3439@newssvr13.news.prodigy.com...
>>
>>>> Hi David,
>>>>
>>>> Out of curiosity, why the suggestion to keep the JPEG noise
>>>> processing set to "Low"?
>>>>
>>>> Ken
>>>
>>> Ken,
>>>
>>> I read somewhere that the "normal" or "high" settings were rather
>>> agressive and could be detrimental to picture quality. Yes, I
>>> should test this for myself! Comments welcome!
>>
>> David,
>>
>> I did do a limited amount of testing prior to posting and, to be
>> honest with you, I found the "std" setting to have a noticeable
>> improvement on image noise with no noticeable degradation in image
>> sharpness, which was my primary concern. Admittedly, 6 test pictures
>> is not a valid test make. I'll fire up the camera again tonight when
>> I get off work to see if I can narrow down the plus and minuses of
>> using more aggressive noise processing with the FZ20. Coming up with
>> a valid test methodology will likely be the most challenging part of
>> this exercise.
>
> So much for experimentation. I can't see much difference between any
> of the three
> available noise processing modes. I tried several different shots
> with varying amounts
> of lighting/shadows, contrasting color combinations, hard edged and
> soft edged objects
> as well as shooting in macro mode and long zoom and at this point in
> time I can't see
> any loss of image sharpness in any of the three modes and only a
> slight improvement
> in noise reduction in the "high" mode. I think I'll leave it on
> "std" for now until I get a better feel for what it is really doing.

Ken,

Many thanks for the tests and your update. I've just been trying to find
the original reference and I can't - it may be buried in a forum not
indexed by Google.

I'm really interested to know what your eventual findings and conclusions
are.

Cheers,
David
!