Replacing Olympus D-560

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Dec 5th, 2005, 09:31 AM
  #1
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Replacing Olympus D-560

Hello

Now that I've done some research on this site and dpreview (yes, just enough to be both dangerous and obnoxious), I'm asking for some input.

After using my old Olympus D-560 for a week trip over the holidays, I've decided that it can NOT be our primary camera over our first Kenya safari. Things I would like to improve on: shutter delay (currently 5 seconds or so), higher zoom (currently 3x), no false 'low battery' freeze-ups. What I DO really like about this camera is its size and weight (under half a pound).

Based on what I've read, I've narrowed it down to the Canon S2 and the Panasonic FZ5 and Fz20. I'm thinking probably not the FZ30 due to the increased size (we'll be riding horseback).

Here are my questions: on dpreview, I can't figure out which of the 40 specs would actually indicate shutter delay. I assume that all three would be significantly faster than my current '03 camera??? Do all have high-spped auto focust?

Second, I haven't found a significant diff between the FZ5 and FZ20 other than weight....

Understand that, other than the occasional night shot, I'm a point/zoom/click person.

Thanks!

Cheryl
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Dec 5th, 2005, 11:54 AM
  #2
bat
 
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Cheryl:
Have you seen the 2 cameras in a store as opposed to looking on-line only? The reason that I ask is that I spent alot of time looking at specs trying to decide which one to get but as soon as I saw them and handled them in the store I knew which way to go. The FZ5 is much smaller, not just in weight but size and feel.
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Dec 5th, 2005, 12:02 PM
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bat
 
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BTW, there is one substantive difference I was able to discern. The FZ20 has a manual setting the FZ5 does not.

Re what I was talking about before, if you look at the dpreview you will see the FZ5 listed as "compact" and the FZ20 listed as "SLR-like."
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Dec 5th, 2005, 02:02 PM
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CherylC-

First, some comments about Fz5 vs Fz20:
1. To clarify bat's comment, Fz20 (and S2 IS) has manual focus. Both cameras have a manual mode where you select both exposure time and aperture.
2. Fz20 has a faster lens (constast f/2.8 versus the Fz5 dropping to f/3.3). The upshot is that when the two cams are fully zoomed, the Fz20 collects more light and thus allows a shorter exposure time (hence the IS doesn't work as hard and less chance of blur from subject motion).
3. Fz20 has flash hot-shoe and more readily accepts conversion lenses. You could buy an adaptor and a teleconverter to boost zoom 1.4x or 1.7x. See http://www.cs.mtu.edu/~shene/DigiCam/User-Guide/FZ-10/
4. Fz5 has new high speed focus modes which Fz20 lacks. I think this has advantages for wildlife photography.

I own the Fz20 but in many ways the Fz5 would have been a better fit. Given what you mentioned I would say don't even consider the Fz20. However, when do you need the camera? I ask because there's a decent chance Panasonic will release the Fz5 successor in early February. This could push Fz5 prices further south and if you were inclined to spend a bit more the new camera might have the improved movie mode, hi-res EVF, and extended zoom of the Fz30.

In terms of comparing Fz5 and S2, if a movie mode is important then it's a no-brainer: the Canon has double the resolution, stereo audio, and zooming during filming. For photographs, the Fz5 probably has a slight edge. The dcresource review of S2 says it's focus times are slower than Fz5 or Sony H1 (see 'how does it compare' section). The Fz5 also has live histogram and a slightly faster lens (3.3 vs 3.5). Points for Canon include EVF gaining up in low light, more shots per battery charge (plus AA's versus proprietary), and a much quicker start-up (1.2 vs 3 sec). Often the start-up delay is more significant in missing shots than shutter lag.

Try handling both, as the feel of the camera to you probably outweighs the slight differences I've outlined. Let us know what you decide.

-Matt
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Dec 5th, 2005, 02:39 PM
  #5
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I just came back from two local camera stores to find that neither sell Panasonic. I'll break down and get to a Circuit City tomorrow. It sounds like the technical differences between the two cameras are probably too small for someone like me to notice. (Heck, I forgot that my current camera could do shoot video until I pulled it up on dpreview!)

Big groan about the new release... I'll be going to Kenya 1/18; buying the camera now gives me plenty of opportunity to get to know it before the trip. The local zoo's only a mile away!


As a follow-up, my husband and I agreed that we would each carry a camera. (I told thim that I'm tired of cut-and-pasting myself into our travel pics!!!!) From what I've read here, neither of us would be happy being the sucker stuck with the camera with only 3x zoom????

Cheryl
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Dec 7th, 2005, 06:57 AM
  #6
 
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Cheryl-

I consult several sites for digicam reviews, and in looking at a few that I haven't consulted in a while I found the quantitavie info you were seeking. Dave at Imaging Resource has tables on camera performance times. They have a separate page in the older reviews, and a "picky details" link on his newer, quick reviews (Canon S2). Here are the links for S2 IS and Fz5:

Canon: http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/S2IS/S2ISDATA.HTM

Panasonic:
http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/FZ5/FZ5A8.HTM

They look pretty close on his mesaurements.

-Matt
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Dec 19th, 2005, 06:29 PM
  #7
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Many thanks! I've played with the FZ5 at the zoo on a cloudy afternoon. I definitely need to return before my trip, but, I must say, I am very impressed.

Cheryl
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