Replacing the camera

Dirk Koopman djk at
Fri Feb 24 13:42:20 GMT 2006

On Thu, 2006-02-23 at 20:58 +0000, Jacqui Caren wrote:
> Toby Corkindale wrote:
> > On Thu, Feb 23, 2006 at 03:49:52PM +0000, Jacqui Caren wrote:
> >>So 9Mp is overkill?
> > There's more than just megapixels at play here. THink of the CPU megahertz
> I am used ot that - the current camera takes a long time just to start
> and has terrible shutter lag, then time to write. Having to ask people
> to stand still for what feels like minutes *after* I have pressed
> the button is embarrassing.

That is one of the things that sold me the Panasonic FZ30. It is very
quick on startup. By the time you have switched it on and brought it up
to look thru the viewfinder it is ready. It is *really* quick - the lens
is fixed (no lens extension on start up) and it remembers where it was
zoomed and focused, unlike my FZ3 which was still otherwise quite fast -
it takes a second and a bit to extend its lens. Also there is no shutter
lag after focusing, I don't mean small - effectively none (I believe
measured at about 50 mS). The autofocus is noticeably quicker on the
FZ30 to the FZ3. 

The sensor on the Fuji is bigger and therefore less noisy. The tradeoff
that needs to be made is a) size of lens / camera (bigger sensor, need
longer lens for same zoom range) and b) noise (smaller sensor, more
noise, shorter lens for same zoom). If you are doing normal shots of
people (and dogs) in reasonable light - the noise issue is not likely to
be much consequence. 

AFAIK both cameras do RAW (the FZ30 certainly does), but I never use it
and even with the correct plugins to photoshop it does not seem to give
me enough more to justify the extra size and thus slowness to save each
shot. The FZ30 seems to have better controls (for me) - it is very easy
and quick to go all manual. It also has a greater zoom range,
particularly if you don't use full resolution (12.5x zoom on 8MB, 19x
zoom on 5MB), with image stabilisation (which I like for doing the
reportage shots).

All these "nearly dSLR" cameras are a compromise. If you look on the site it compares both to the Canon 350D (about £600)
and it is obvious that the Canon is a better camera. But you will need
at least two lens (so add another £200) and be swopping them to do what
either the Fuji or the FZ30 do. And will you actually notice the
difference anyway? I can see it if I bother to look, but do I care an
extra £350?
> > There are issues about lens clarity and CCD/CMOS noise to be aware of.
> With a bridge camera I can screw a filter over the lens and just replace 
> it as it gets scuffed etc. With a compact I know it will get messed up
> real quick. Our APS jobbie has a nice fold-away lens - that is the only
> reason it has survived so long :-)

Neither of these cameras is a foldaway. The nearest one, that I nearly
bought, is the Panasonic FZ5 (don't think the new FZ7 is actually an
improvement), this is worth a look. The trouble with all foldaways is
the extra time taken to unfold. One thing this I particularly like is
that the lens cap on the FZ3/5 is attached with a bit of string (so you
can't lose it), unlike the caps on both the Fuji and the FZ30. 

All cameras are compromises. You have to try them all and see what you
can live with. 

Dirk Koopman <djk at>

More information about the mailing list