Story: Adventures in Digital Photography With LinuxTotal Replies: 2
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Jun 21, 2007
8:53 AM EDT
>The DMZ-FZ20 has manual focus and an optical viewfinder

Carla, I have the FZ10 and FZ30 (skipped the FZ20) and they do have a remarkable set of features for the money. However, they do not have an optical viewfinder. It is an EVF with a tiny LCD which gives an almost unusable image. The main problem I had with the Panasonics was "noise" (especially in underexposed areas).

I have since moved on to a DSLR and couldn't be happier with it (Nikon D50). 1. Great optical viewfinder. 2. Extremely low noise )better at ISO 1600 that the Pany at ISO100 although I try to stay with 200 or 400 when possible). 3. Very pleasing out-of-focus backgrounds (bokeh). This is a function of sensor size.

In the long run, though you will spend more money on a DSLR, it will not be as bad as you might think. I was buying a new super-zoom every year or two and that adds up. Now my money goes for lenses. If I get a new body the lenses will still work on it.

Good luck with your new DSLR. You will love the image quality.

Jun 21, 2007
11:55 AM EDT
Mmm, Nikon. I grew up with Nikon, Canon, Minolta, and Leica. My dad still has a very old Leica 35mm SLR. I think he keeps a F1.4 35mm lens on it. When was the last time you saw a 1.4 lens? I bought the Canon EOS 30D body after WEEKS of shopping and researching and agonizing. Probably would have been happy with any number of different cameras.

This whole business of image quality is a whole new world. In the olden days getting high-quality images was pretty simple. A decent camera with a sharp bright lens, a middlin' darkroom, and there you were. Now there's all this sophisticated digital guff, but the end product has several different forms. If you're making images for a Web page they're going to lose quality, and you have no control over what conditions people will be viewing them. If you're making prints you're at the mercy of your printer, printer drivers, and editing software. I hope there is room in my head for all this new stuff!


Jun 21, 2007
3:20 PM EDT
>When was the last time you saw a 1.4 lens?

I am holding one at this very moment. A Nikkor 50 mm f/1.4 mounted on a Nikon F2 film camera (which I have not used in probably 20 years. That lens would work fine on my D50, except it would become a 75 mm lens and operate in only manual focus and manual exposure.

>If you're making prints you're at the mercy of your printer, printer drivers, and editing software.

I have never used a printer. Some swear by them, but I have seen pretty poor results from some, and there is no denying that printing your own is expensive. Try some of the online printers like Winkflash (there are many, just google). I have had good results from them. Sometimes they don't look quite right so I make adjustments and try again. $.12 for 4x6 and $1.99 for 8x10 s hard to beat. Quality can vary a lot between the different vendors so try several out. I have been happiest with those who use the latest Fuji print machines.

I use GIMP for all my post processing and it meets my needs just fine. I keep a spreadsheet with a row for every image I process with every change I make (cropping, levels, etc.). Then I know what I did and can make adjustments from there. You will not regret the time it takes to do this.

A good source of information and ideas would be the Canon forums at DPR Review (I monitor the Nikon forum of course). http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/forum.asp?forum=1019

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