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Full Version: New 27-486 equivalent 18x zoom - why not go for broke?
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Panasonic announces Lumix DMC-FZ28 with 27-486 equivalent 18x zoom. Why not go fo broke and anounce a new camera which goes from superwide to telescope? That way, you will be able to take photos of living room interior and than go to the window and take shots of distant stars? Preferably include a 2" LCD and no optical viewfinder and make the camera 500 megapixel instead of mere 10 megapixel? Also make it real small. A perfect camera I think. Pavel
I have the FZ5 and it takes great photo's. It is also small enough to carry in a safari jacket pocket, and weighs a lot less than my wife's handbag. Big Grin I wanted a bit more resolution (that word again Rolleyes) so got the Canon. I wish the Canon weighed the same. Sad
I am not knocking FZ5 or FZ28 as a whole. I question the evergrowing marketing of superzooms, which few people really need (unless you are into wildlife or sports or some other specialised application requiring 500mm lens). The implication is (and I hear it from friends all the time) that the bigger the X in zooms and the more pixels are crammed on the tiny wafer the better. It is a clever marketing that sells cameras but I have to explain to my friends (not even always successfully) that having more pixels and longer zoom is not how to evaluate quality of cameras.

I am guessing that if you liked your Lumix, it was not primarily for the long lens, although it is possible that you or your wife need it for something. When you went for more pixels, you went DSLR route, which gives you more pixels, but on a bigger sensor. Your "pixel density" in DP Review jargon may in fact be lower on your Canon than on your Lumix. That makes sense to me. I think that for most of us unless you crop a great deal or blow up your photos to enormous sizes, having a low noise camera even at higher ISO settings is more usefull than cramming more than 6 to 8 megapixels on a tiny pocket camera wafer. Most people never print bigger than 4"x 6" with mate finish. All those extra pixels are wasted. If you do need higher pixel count, you should consider cameras with sensors the size you find in most DSLRs. If you still need more pixels, go for full frame cameras or even medium format (you may have to rob a bank first). There may be some people who are good enough and who take photos which need more pixels, but most of us are not in that league. People are not aware that they are trading low noise for high pixel count. High pixel count cameras are not a free lunch and nor are superzooms. It is harder and more expensive to achieve the same optical quality the wider your zoom range is. If you do not need the enormous zoom range you are better off having a more restricted zoom range and walk away with a cheaper camera with better optical performance. I guess I am resentful that marketing is misleading consumers and that was the purpose of my post. Pavel
People will continue to buy cameras that they think they need, and longer zooms can play into that. But Panasonic(a) also introduced the LX3, a 2.5x zoom with a 24-60mm-e lens, and the FX37, which is a replacement for the FX35 and its 25mm lens. The LX3 is going to be a tough sell, being more expensive than a G9 or many SLRs, but joins my list of Three P&S Cameras I Would Buy. But I'm most excited about the FX37, because the FX35 was a really nice camera that was very easy to sell.

It's also worth noting that Panasonic has stepped out of the megapixel race, and has left all three cameras at 10mp. And the FZ18 also had an 18x zoom, 28-504 mm-e. So Panny has experience both in marketing and designing these cameras, and I think they've made a number of good decisions.

Pavel Wrote:It is harder and more expensive to achieve the same optical quality the wider your zoom range is. If you do not need the enormous zoom range you are better off having a more restricted zoom range and walk away with a cheaper camera with better optical performance. I guess I am resentful that marketing is misleading consumers and that was the purpose of my post.
This is meant in a friendly way, but I do feel a need to call you out on this: you're using the best small-sensor digital camera ever made with an 11x lens that is designed for versatility and convenience over optical excellence. It's very popular with people who never want to change lenses; it's not what people reach for when they want the highest image quality. Isn't that the same compromise -- and everything is a compromise, that's not pejorative -- that people buying superzoom compacts make?
Dreamingpixels Wrote:Why not go fo broke and anounce a new camera which goes from superwide to telescope?
Lol, that had me in stitches... Big Grin
Hello Matthew, you did catch me out. I want to stress I have nothing against Panasonic per se. I am against certain marketing practices, which seem to be industry-wide.

It is true that I bought a lens for a convenience and to protect camera from dust over sharpness. I would suggest though that 300 mm equivalent versus 500mm equivalent is still quite different and I have no intention of getting a lens in that range and would not get a zoom covering that range all the way from 27 equivalent. I consider 500 mm equivalent a highly specialised lens. But you are quite right. I know that I am not getting the best out of the camera with my default zoom lens. The other lenses I have are of good optical quality (Tokina, Nikkor 18-70, Nikkor micro prime). I felt that as long as I am not good enough photographer to get most from the 18-200, I can as well use it. I do plan to make better use of my other lenses and perhaps round up my equipment with the purchase of 50mm 1.4 for its sharpness, shallow depth of field and close to a portrait focal length (75mm equivalent). I intend to learn and do portrait photography in about a year from now as an amateur volunteer.

In summary you did catch me out. I am preaching about smaller ranges of zoom in consumer cameras, yet I use a superzoom on my advanced camera. Good for you for pointing it out. Pavel
I guess my point, as much as I have one, is that everything is a compromise. A large zoom ratio induces optical issues, prime lenses have great cost-for-quality but sacrifice versatility, high-end 2x and 3x zooms can be as good as primes but cost a fortune. For compact cameras this decision is even more pressing because this is the only lens that camera will ever use, and most people don't buy two different P&S cameras to do different things. The FZ28 and LX3 is going to be a very interesting comparison, as they embody completely different philosophies.

But I also find it funny that people react only to what they're comparing. Canon Elph/Ixus cameras typically have a 3x zoom, 36-108ish, and that's not a big deal. People who like Canon still buy Canon. Sony's W series cameras mix it up with zooms ranging from 3-5x, some starting wider and others going longer. People who like Sony still buy Sony, but the W300 is less appealing because it only has a 3x zoom, despite being the best camera that Sony makes. Image quality is intangible, and most people buy from the spec sheet. (A surprising number do buy based on recommendations from salespeople, which is a very mixed bag of advice.)

I know I'm rambling by now, but I've also noticed that people on internet forums seem much more interested in The Gear than other enthusiasts, and enthusiasts care far more than the average user. Online people get into heated 'brand wars' - elsewhere, fortunately - but the people in my photography club hardly ever do more than an occasional good-natured jibe, and those who buy P&S cameras for more immediate uses not only don't have much of a brand preference, many can't even remember what camera they use when they need to buy a replacement battery. What I've seen of audio and home theatre is the same, with pages and pages written on-line in defense or criticism of a certain directional twist in wiring, while most people happily listen to clock radios. We simply care more, and part of that is that we're more finely attuned to the nuance of what "good" is, but ultimately most people simply don't se it the same way we do.

At least I started this message by admitting that I don't have much of a point.... Big GrinBig GrinBig Grin
Hello Matthew,
I also do not quite know what you are trying to say on a whole, although it is an interesting read and I agree with the individual points you make on the way. I am committed to Nikon, because I own Nikon lenses and accessories. I do not have a particular preference for any brand, although I would stay with Canon and Nikon for DSLR, simply on the gorunds that these are the most popular brands and this has advantages. For fixed lens cameras, I would go based on features and quality as I perceive them, regardless of brand. As the photo purchases are expensive and you live with them for a long time (especially the lenses), I try to make an informed decission, both in terms of features and in terms of performance (which I can not evaluate and depend on websites that I trust). The "brand wars" leave me cold. My rant of yesterday was about my iritation with what I perceive as misleading advertizing. I strongly beleive that great photographers can deliver great photos using cell phone cameras and poor photographers are not going to produce great photos even with Hasselblad. Most of us, I suspect (me certainly included) have better camera equipment than we have skills to fully utilize. So, if I do get your points, I think we probably agree.