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PostPosted: Thu Jan 07, 2010 2:26 pm 
I recently got my new Panasonic FZ38 and have been trying it out with a few test shots. Despite the rave reviews I read on this camera, I have to say I am very disappointed with the overall image quality, and in particular the amount of noise at all ISO settings. I am comparing the image quality with the camera the FZ38 replaced : A 5-year old Kodak Easyshare DX7590 which has only 5mp to play with. On a side-by-side comparison (using the same ISO settings) the 12mp images from the FZ are incredibly noisy by comparison to the 5mp ones from the old Kodak. Indoor (fairly low light) shots from the FZ38 are lacklustre and grainy by comparison. My test may be a little unfair as I haven't yet compared the 5mp setting on the Panasonic to that of the Kodak, but I wonder whether I am expecting far too much from the tiny sensor on the FZ to achieve the same image quality without noise as that of the 5mp sensor on the Kodak. I am fortunate in the respect that I only need to end up with quality shots at 72dpi (all my work is for the web), but so far I cannot achieve anything like the image quality of the Kodak.

Would appreciate any thoughts/comments, particularly with regard to 'tweaking' the settings to improve things. I really want to like this camera, and maybe I haven't given it enough time yet, but first impressions are not so good.

Mike


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 Post subject: FZ38
PostPosted: Thu Jan 07, 2010 4:57 pm 
Mike, I’m no expert in comparing the FZ38 to the +5 year old DX7590 except to say that despite what some people may say, don’t believe that the FZ38 is best used as a simple P&S camera. In fact I think it’s “Intelligent” iA mode is a bit wanting at best. Suggest you read the posts in the FX38 forum section and also try making use of the P mode. Also suggest that you try experimenting with the Sharpness, Saturation and Noise settings too. I assure you that the FZ38 is a gem of a camera, just that it needs a little “tweaking” to get the most out of it.
Another tip: Set a limit on the max ISO value to 800 (I don't even go past 400).


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jan 07, 2010 6:12 pm 
Hi dbnnet,

Thanks for your reply. I have been playing with all the settings in various modes, 'P', and full manual included. I use a P&S a lot (400-600 pics per week) in my work (an SLR is simply too much kit to carry around, though I do own a Canon 40D) and have used the Kodak for many thousands of shots. I think I am perhaps expecting too much from the FZ38 and it's small sensor. It seems to me that 12mp crammed on to a very small sensor is going to create more noise than 5mp on the same sensor would. I'm no expert, but the difference in image quality of the two cameras under the same circumstances is very noticeable. I think I'm perhaps surprised that whilst pixel count on these cameras has gone up, it seems to me that the final image quality has gone down. My old Kodak at 140ISO has FAR less noise than the FZ at 80ISO. I appreciate that if I wanted to print high quality large images, more pixels is better, but achieving a decent result at 72dpi for on-screen use I would have thought should be easy.

Thanks for your input and I appreciate your points.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jan 07, 2010 6:44 pm 
Mike, I travel a fair amount, and this was the main reason I wanted the FZ38. I certainly am not prepared to lug anything bigger or heavier than this around, but have a requirement for a decent zoom.
Interesting that you mention the MP rating - I have mine set permanently at 8MP.... this as I never print anything (only backup to CD). I am more than satisfied with using 8MP.

Regards


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jan 08, 2010 12:18 pm 
racer

I dont know that , but I think you are doing something terribly wrong :)

its true , I own it only few days but so far image quality is matching its price.
This wont be something very helpful , but try switching aspect ratio to 16/9 . I use that , image size iz 9 mph and really I cant complain . I dont know what kind of camera is that glorified Kodak :D must be something really good If it makes so good pictures @ max 5 mpx.

bear in mind that classic compact cameras have even smaller sensors..and same or little less pixel count.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jan 08, 2010 1:23 pm 
Hi hrvoje_xyz,

Great image quality is not only dependent on pixel count. I don't print anything so 5mp is plenty for images that end up at max 1024x768 at 72dpi and are viewed on-screen only. The Panasonic is a great little camera I'm sure (certainly as far as its features are concerned), but so far I'm struggling to achieve the same overall quality (in my opinion of course) as my old Kodak. Noise level at all ISO settings is a lot more than I would like or would have expected. I'm still experimenting with the camera, but overall results have so far been fairly disappointing.

The Kodak, by the way, isn't a Box Brownie! - It's a super zoom style camera that has an excellent Schneider lens and at the the time of purchase got the same rave reviews as the FZ35/38 is getting now. Sadly it's now getting tired after much use over the past few years.

Mike


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Feb 14, 2010 2:00 pm 
Hmm... I'm waiting for my FZ35 to arrive and wondering if I'll get the same results as Racer? I too have a 5-year old 7MP Casio EX-750 with a 1/1.8" sensor (a good camera that served me well). But FZ35 has a 1/2.33" sensor.
Does that mean pictures made under the same lighting conditions will look noisier on FZ35?

Here is an example photo made with ISO 50 and 3.2 sec exposure and I'm quite pleased with it:

Image

100% crop:

Image


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Feb 15, 2010 2:49 am 
Hi,
I too have been checking on the new fz35 my cousin bought. Though it is a very good camera overall, the noise problem is very much there. I haven't compared it to any other camera, but even my almost 4 year old Panasonic lz2 has significant noise.
The fz35 has noise right from iso100, and sometimes even in bright light. One solution is to disable the in camera noise reduction, and process your photos with Noiseware. Though minor details are lost, it is still a good alternative. Alternatively, use the manual or shutter priority mode, and set the shutter speed manually to around 1/250, basically on the higher end, that is slower shutter, depending on the light conditions. Accordingly, you can use the lowest iso. You can try to slightly overexpose photos and make up for it by increasing contrast or reducing brightness on the computer. We found the noise somehow increased as the zoom increased, though we didn't use digital zoom at all. I cannot explain that, but you can test this point for yourself.
Though reducing resolution can reduce some noise, I have not found significant difference. I haven't really tried night photos except the moon, and I was quite happy with that. Once I have tried the starry sky at 30sec and 60sec at min iso, and got good results.
But you can be happy since this camera still has competitive noise levels for its competition and is one of the finest superzooms available!

As for you, vitalyx,
From what I have read, a smaller sensor in general does mean more noise, but there is a lot of other technologies and variables involved. So, there is no saying that for sure. And if you are considering the fz35, there is only the Canon sx20is in real competition, which has its own problems. If you haven't purchased this camera already, try considering the Fuji s200exr. It has 14.3x optical zoom, and will take the noise part properly. Again, it has its own limitations like only 640*480 video capture, but image quality is very good. It has a special low light mode, which seems to be really good considering the reviews I read. If you are considering Night photography seriously, maybe this could as well be the best option for you. There is no review available at cameralabs, so you may have to Google it... If you are still considering the fz35, the noise will be there, little or too much, but it will be there. It wasn't a deal breaker at all for my cousin, so it just depends on how much is too much!
Jinay.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Feb 15, 2010 7:21 am 
jinay, thanks a lot for your detailed answer. Looks like FZ35 will make up for average low light performance in other areas, especially for the price. Though, I wouldn't mind paying $100 more for a bigger sensor compared to that of Fuji.

-- Vitaly


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 Post subject: CMOS Sensor
PostPosted: Mon Feb 15, 2010 12:22 pm 
I'm not so sure that this CMOS sensor is going to be the answer to all your prayers. We are told that the new Fuji has the same CMOS sensor as the Sony DSC-WX1, yet that camera has not been a success by any stretch of the imagination. Whilst the introduction of CMOS sensors in P&S cameras is to be welcomed, it is probably going to take quite some time before the technology has had time to mature.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Feb 16, 2010 5:57 am 
Hi,

I believe you are talking about the Fuji HS10. It does use a BSI CMOS sensor like Nikon P100 and even perhaps the Sony you mentioned, but Fuji claims that they have redesigned the pixels so that they can be closer to each other and larger in size, lowering the noise. Fuji also has a special low light more, where shooting takes place at half the resolution and 2 pixels fuse to become 1, thus the pixel size is larger and noise is much lower. Of what I read, low light shooting is much better with that technology.

I think that though the technology may be similar, each manufacturer will have their own way of making it better. Since Fuji has been working on pixel redesigning and low light shooting and image quality comparable to DSLRs for some time, I hope that this camera (HS10) comes as a breakthrough! However, Fuji has been using CCDs for the same, calling their technology Super CCD, but I believe this may be the first time a camera will carry a 1/2.3" CMOS sensor, since CMOS sensors are more popular for larger sizes.

Jinay.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Feb 16, 2010 7:10 am 
Jinay, Hi.
The problems reported with this new Sony CMOS sensor has not been in
poor light but rather when used outdoors. This is what has been reported
by some users when used outdoors in good light:
1. General outdoor performance is poor.
2. Lack of contrast.
3. Photos are dull compared to a CCD point and shoot camera.
4. The color saturation is low.

Whilst this all cannot be blamed only on the CMOS sensor, clearly there are issues here related to this technology.
Regards


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