Why no replacement to the FZ50 lens yet?

Started Mar 24, 2013 | Discussions thread
DC Alford
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Re: Why no replacement to the FZ50 lens yet?
In reply to John Miles, Mar 24, 2013

John Miles wrote:

http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/panasonicfz50/

The FZ50 has two basic features in combination that put the camera in a class of its own. And when a 4/3" camera system can be conceived and developed simply because the cameras are slightly smaller than a small format DSLR, it is very difficult to understand why it is only Fuji that are exploring the FZ50's territory.

Those two basic features?

  1. Superb non-extending Leica 35-420mm f2.8-3.7 lens
  2. Front wheel set to adjust EV instantly.

The mathematics work out many different ways, but basically if you want a high quality lens to have a wide focal range in a compact form, you're going to be limited to a small sensor. And if you have a small sensor, that generically limits dynamic range. So you're going to want a camera with a 'camera to eye' method of optimising EV shift, per shot, as quickly and smoothly as possible.

Now I don't have to explain why manual lenses are excellent to operate; they dominate the DSLR market. But the FZ50 lens is also non extending. This offers some characteristics of its own that set the FZ50 apart from most other zoom cameras. I personally find it very handy being able to bag and retrieve the camera at 420mm. The lens does not move under its own weight or get in the way when hanging around your neck on its strap. Also the camera is similarly robust and durable at any focal length - it takes the knocks like a quality DLSR:

http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/post/42545059

So given that the FZ50 optics do not need software geometric correction in camera, we can presume that a very good 35-420mm lens design is proven yet missing from today's market place. With advances in development that might mean a 28-380mm or similar; preserving the lack of software correction. Now wouldn't that lens on a decent current 1/1.8" sensored body be just a peach? With the lens would be a current specification small sensor and processing, and the retention of a DSLR style body with front wheel EV adjustment would retain the DSLR ergonomics and the necessary EV adjustment speed.

So where is it? Panasonic might be interested in limiting competition to its 4/3" camera system. But that sounds odd when Canon seem happy to release a G15 and G1-X without a worry. Also why aren't other manufacturers interested in including a quality zoom lens in the recent resurgence of the enthusiast small sensor camera? The modern superzoom camera is, after all, different, with most being of huge focal range, motor zoomed and half way to movie camera in design.

The FZ50, as a design concept, is a supremely versatile, quality photographic tool; perfect for the enthusiast. Such a camera, reborn today, could easily exchange movie characteristics for improvements in still image capabilities. For example I would love to have a control dial that worked in all camera modes, including the regular P.A.S.M., modes that selected 1, 2, 4 or 6 stacked images. Similarly a concentric dial would select degrees of dynamic range - 100, 200, 400%. So instantly there is a possibility of making a camera body to accompany the lens that is a good photographic tool, and a camera that isn't reliant on deep menu special modes.

The enthusiast small sensor camera market is booming, but where is the new body to that FZ50 lens?

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__________________________________________________________________________
The FZ50: DSLR handling of a bright Leica 35-420mm lens that's this good: http://www.flickr.com/groups/panasonicfz50/pool/show (some real gems in there). With the FZ200 performance so good, I live in hope that Mr Ichiro Kitao has triggered the update to the FZ50. Our desire for IQ was taking us in the wrong direction. http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp?forum=1033&message=42366095

I agree with you about the FZ50 John.

The lens concept is(still)brilliant

With the market today though I don't think we will ever see the likes of that FZ50 again.

"Bridge camera" = 24-1200mm "Superzoom" now unfortunately.

Dan.

p.s. With all of that said I still love my little ZS15

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