Thursday, September 13, 2007

Panasonic FZ18 vs. Fujifilm S8000 or Olympus SP-550; Compare 18x SLR-likes

Run for 18x ultra zoomWhat will happen if you stick a prefect Leica lens to the 1/2.5 inch sensor? You will waste $400 for a doubtful pleasure to have an 18x zoom on the small and noisy sensor. Besides you can participate in new SLR-like camera race with Fujifilm S8000 (look through my next post), Olympus SP-550 UZ (look at my previous post) and cool-and-clever Panasonic FZ18. If you think that taking up the race is for your shooting accommodation it’s a wrong idea. This is running for your money. But if some time before we were running for mega pixels, now we are running for the ultra-mega-super optical zoom.
Run for your money
Moreover, the same story takes place with some compact cameras. However, there are mega pixels races instead of ultra zoom fights. For more details look through: Nikon Coolpix P5100 vs P5000: it’s better to look at Canon A630 and Canon Powershot G9, SD950 and A650: can 12MP make SLR from compact.
Some Olympus’s and Fuji Film’s progress in selling their 18x ultra-zoom cameras has pushed Panasonic for making FZ18. Unfortunately DMC-FZ18 uses not the same as Lumix DMC-FZ50 1/1.8 inch sensor. For no apparent reason Panasonic has taken 1/2.5”sensor size. Maybe it has happened not to stand out for FujiFilm S8000 with 1/2.35 inch sensor or Olympus SP550 with the same 1/2.5 inch. I don’t know. But I am sure that manufacturers try to make us to be in need of exaggerated figures such as extra pixels, ultra zooms, high ISO etc. Do we really need it?
Come back to Panasonic FZ18. What do we have on board? It’s so lucky. We have a RAW format! In my opinion it is "а must" for shooting in FZ18’ High Mode with ISO 6400. Just think where the sensor noise has got to? In return Panasonic FZ18 can shoot 30 fps 848 x 480 movies. But how it can capture films with all of this18x’ splendor I don’t know. Panasonic has forgotten to give notice that lens for photo is not the same as lens for video. But it is ‘incidental’ for selling SLR-like cameras which can shoot a movie. Instead it’s possible to save your money and not to buy a camcorder. As for face detection I can distinguish face from ass myself, even without Lumix FZ18.
Comparing Panasonic FZ18 with Olympus SP-550 and FujiFilm S8000 it’s hard to find actually important distinctions. For comparing with new Olympus SP-560 look at Olympus SP-560 vs SP-550; 18x SLR-like with E410’ processor and 826mm Tele converter. SP-550 has 7.1 MP 1/2.5” with image stabilization sensor, 30 fps 640 x 480 movie, 1.2 fps continuous drive, 2.5 inch LCD, awkward xD Picture Card with 20 MB internal storage. S8000 is luckier. It has ‘a whole’ 1/2.35 inch 8MP sensor, ‘Dual Image Stabilization’; a brand new combination of mechanical sensor shift stabilization with Fujifilm’s Picture Stabilization Technology which utilizes a combination of higher ISO levels and faster shutter speeds, 2.5 inch LCD, 1.3 fps continuous drive, the same as Olympus movie mode and xD Picture Card with 58MB internal storage. It is ‘reasonable’ that these cameras have a RAW format and say ‘NO’ to external flash. What solely I’m interested in is Panasonic’s lens optical image stabilization system. Maybe it can work just a little better than CCD shift systems. At any rate Canon’s stabilized zoom lens allows me much more than Sony Alpha’s Sensor shift. But this lens costs much more than these entire 18 x SLR-likes cost.
Apropos, I had much trouble with zoom lenses shooting in Thailand this August. I was in need of faces, Thai girls, and funny situations in real life, not a performance for my Thaitramp blog. It was truly hard to shoot on the beach, on the Walking Street, especially in low light. I had although a speedy SLR with a large sensor. Before the trip I had already had some practice with shooting by SLR-like camera from Nikon. It’s good for landscapes and family not for afoot shooting. Of course you can try to ask dancing girls to freeze. But how can they do it? A high aperture lens such as 300mm f2.8 or external flash could have saved my situation. But who can save FZ18? Only large CMOS sensor can. But it won’t happen before Canon, Sony and other manufacturers finish their new CMOS sensor factories. For more details look through Canon vs. Sony: 5 billion more for better ultra-zoom with CMOS sensor and Canon PowerShot with CMOS sensor: SLR-like vs. SLR or instead? Maybe it’s better to wait. Or else you will write something like this: ‘I just bought a DMC-FZ18 and I am a bit upset when using the wide angle lens. Pictures taken in wide angle position are not as clean and crispy than when I took with a bit more zoom. It is a good camera. I hope someone can tell me what I should do to get clean pictures from DMC-FZ18 while I am using the wide angle lens’.
I’m really interested what this Panasonic FZ18’s user will write after using 18x zoom position. And why it seems that: ‘it is a good camera’?
As for our SLR-like camera comparison I would choose 12x Panasonic FZ50 with 1/1.8 inch sensor or even Sony DSC-R1 with 21.5 x 14.4 mm CMOS sensor. In my opinion Bolivar cannot carry double. 18x zoom and 1/2.5 sensor is an excess.Almost the same excess as 12 megapixels in 1/1.7 inch sensor at the Canon Powershot G9 (look through Canon Powershot G9, SD950 and A650: can 12MP make SLR from compact).
For more details look through The summary table of the best SLR-like camera specifications.
I collect info about all digital cameras. Tell me what you need and we will find the one together. Feel at ease at Comments directory.

18 comments:

Kirill said...

I'm not sure about 18x zoom but my 12x zoom at the Sony DSC-H5 is really useful. As for sensor I think that small size allow manufacturers to make digicams smaller.

fototramp said...

Yes, I'm agreeing, the law of physics is inexorable and a bigger sensor needs a bigger lens. But I don't know why my old Nikon 8700 has the same as modern 1/2.5 inch sensor cameras dimensions but bigger 2/3 inch sensor. And what do you think about tele-converters? Maybe it's better to use a 2x converter with 8x SLR-like camera and to have 16 xs zoom without buying a new camera.

Anonymous said...

Any SLR-like camera is only a Compact with a big lens. No more

fototramp said...

Yes, but early compacts and SLR-likes used bigger sensors such as 1/1.8 " (7.18 x 5.32 mm) in Canon A95 and 2/3" (8.80 x 6.60 mm) in Canon Pro1. Modern Canon S5 has only 1/2.5" sensor but 36-432mm zoom lens.

SiR said...

I speak, that it is impossible strictly to approach to a choice such as a camera and lenses. In this case all world will use cameras of the same manufacturer and same model. Actually there is a wide spectrum of tasks on photographing objects under different conditions. Probably not all photoamateurs like a cool cameras. The camera Panasonic FZ18 has advantages. For example, opportunity of photoshooting of a rainbow in the complete size (wide angle) is necessary.
SiR

fototramp said...

Yes, Panasonic FZ18 has a wide angle but if your picture: ‘are not clean and crispy' this isn’t an advantage, this is only a marginal ability.

Kirill said...

I was trying to shoot my doggy in 432mm ultra zoom position and all pictures were blurry. Is it a bad image stabilizer system work?

fototramp said...

No, a small Sony H5 sensor works badly with your smart doggy.

Anonymous said...

Hi guys
I think that all of you are a little freakish. And it’s impossible to have all-in-one device which can satisfy all of you needs although I’m agreeable with one: my old Fuji S7000 shoot better than new S8000. But 18xs zoom… I think it’s great to have one.

fototramp said...

I'm not freakish. Still I don't like the tendency when some marketing's innovations make harm to picture quality. As a result older model as Fujifilm S7000 has better image quality than newest Fuji S8000.

Anonymous said...

Olympus 550's etc. 18 x optical system is a very complex extended zoom lens and more complex lenses has a less image quality with a set of aberrations.

fototramp said...

To Anonymous
I think so. It's impossible to put all lenses in one body and to wait for great pictures. No good will come of it.

chief said...

Maybe you are right but I like the lens range of 28 - 500mm and I think the stabilization system is amongst the best around.

Anonymous said...

Hi, I am readig this blog to find out which is the best (meaning of all available and not future or upcoming) of the current ultrazooms, but cannot find the answere here. All of the cameras have their cons and pros but still which of the few ultrazooms is the best buy? Please don't tell me that there isn't and that SLRs are better. I am an amateur/begginer and would be satisfied with an ultrazoom. Thanks in advance for the answer that matches the question.

fototramp said...

To chief
In my opinion, it is better to use a tripod for big zooming. As for 28 – 500mm, this universal device is not good for image quality. It is preferable to use 170 – 500mm lens.

fototramp said...

To anonymous
Unfortunately, the differences between 18x ultra zoom SLR-likes are so small that FujiFilm S8000 may be just a little better. Nevertheless, there are some useful features such as Tele and Wide-angle converters for Canon’s compacts (look at Canon PowerShot G9, digital compact camera with RAW, Hot-shoe, Wide and Tele). I think that with these features you can choose the Canon Powershot A630 and have fun.

Nap zhong said...

Personally, i recommand Fuji S8000. It comes with a long lense. I know, different users may use for different purpose. I love to shoot landscape pictures, therefore i pick Fuji s8000.

fototramp said...

To Nap zhong
Thanks for your recommendation. The Fujifilm S8000 is a good ultra zoom camera. However, I should prefer the Fujifilm S9600.