DPReview of the new Pana FZ8
Panasonic just released a newer version of the camera I’ve been using. I was very happy to see not much had changed.
They added another pixel and an upgraded processor but the sensor, lenses, and body are all the same. I’m not so crazy about cramming tons of pixels into a tiny sensor anyway. The new camera is called the FZ8, I’m using it’s older sister called the FZ7, still the best thing I could find in it’s category called super zoom, or sometimes “SLR like“. With enough batteries and a couple huge memory cards it set me back a little over three hundred US. Empty it weighs around 300 grams, too light to bonk somebody over the head with when they steal my bus seat. I protect it because it’s the only camera I have not because it’s worth anything.
My pana (that’s shutter bug language for a Panasonic) doesn’t have interchangeable lenses but that’s just fine by me. I spent years switching from my telephoto zoom to the wide angle while shielding my camera from desert dust and mountain snow. Now I have the equivalent of a 38mm wide to a 430mm zoom all in a very good Leica lens. The image stabilization is nice too, now I can hand hold shots of almost everything. It helps that I can’t use the tripod because it’s at home.
My favourite mode is program mode. I can change any setting I want and other things will sort themselves out automatically. The other mode I use a lot is Manual because it allows me to adjust the lighting the way I want. Sometimes things just have a light filled background and I still want a shot.
One weird thing is that if I leave the camera to it’s default wide angle setting I can get real close, move the zoom to get a little closer and I have to jump back to a couple meters or things aren’t in focus. Don’t know why. The super VGA movie mode was broken from the get go. Oh well. I’ve tried taking some movies, don’t know how to get them up on the blog anyway.
All in all I’m very happy. My last and only other real camera was a Pentax Manual SLR. It had a light meter. It was sturdy but I had to work to get a good shot. I used to shoot with very slow Fuji slide film and I liked the colours better than this camera, I don’t care if they weren’t real.
This camera also has a scene mode that I often use for food. It also has a “simple” as in stupid, mode. Has a big red heart on the dial just to let you know. I’ve never been able to get a good picture out of it, always seems to be some kind of compromise.
Now that I can half way figure out these cameras I look at other peoples equipment when I’m traveling with them for any length of time. They usually use scene mode.
For fixing up the pictures after I shoot I’m still a neophyte. Let me preface by saying I used to think that doing things to an image after shooting was cheating. I don’t have photo shop, but use the stuff that came with the Google picture management software I downloaded off the net. Mostly I use it to crop or to add fill light. Some of the really bad shots have already been sharpened and everything else I could think of. There is also a feature called, “I’m feeling lucky”.
I realize not all the photos are that great, often they are used to move the story along. Sometimes they are just all there is of a person or situation I wanted to tell about. I keep thinking about going back to the villages I first visited and bringing them copies of the pictures. It looks as if I’ll be headed in that general direction Monday.