Is the FZ series dead ?

Started Dec 12, 2013 | Discussions
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inti4444 Senior Member • Posts: 1,039
Is the FZ series dead ?

I don't want to spoil the party.

After seeing some footage with the sony rx10, it seems like there is no competence with the fz series.

Don't get me wrong I especially bought the fz200 (continuous 2.8 aperture), but I knew it was an intermediate step until.....

Can the fz series really improve more with that sensor size, i hope so, but the sensor size has it's limit.

What do you think?

Gaston

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ200 Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10
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Ronomy
Ronomy Senior Member • Posts: 3,736
Re: Is the FZ series dead ?
1

I don't want to spoil the party.

After seeing some footage with the sony rx10, it seems like there is no competence with the fz series.

Don't get me wrong I especially bought the fz200 (continuous 2.8 aperture), but I knew it was an intermediate step until.....

Can the fz series really improve more with that sensor size, i hope so, but the sensor size has it's limit.

What do you think?

Gaston

I don't think so...small sensors will keep getting better and you need the small sensor if you want a small portable super zoom. The RX10 doesn't have the reach that the FZ200 has so its not a super zoom. Its more like a Bridge camera and expensive too. Not in the same market as a super zoom. IMHO.

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trevmar Senior Member • Posts: 2,456
Re: Is the FZ series dead ?

A recent interview with a Panasonic manager named the FZ series as a money-maker for Panasonic. I think it will stay, although I wonder what they are going to do to improve the FZ200. Maybe f2.7

Also, don't confuse the f2.8 of the RX10 with the f2.8 of the FZ200. Because of the larger sensor, the bokeh (and the consequent need to focus carefully) is much more prevalent in the RX10.

sherman_levine
sherman_levine Veteran Member • Posts: 9,966
Re: Is the FZ series dead ?

I'm not sure I have the patience to wait 5 seconds for the RX10 to traverse the zoom range

Sherm

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Robiro Veteran Member • Posts: 5,940
Re: Is the FZ series dead ?
1

All their best engineers have been assigned to micro4/3. Compact cameras are being neglected. Sad but true.

They could make a killer FZ50 mark II camera by putting LX7's sensor into it and using latest viewfinde, lens and touchscreen technology they developed while building m43 cameras and lenses. If they only wanted to. But they would not. Because they can rob you of more money by forcing you to switch to m43. Sad but true.

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Robiro Veteran Member • Posts: 5,940
Re: Is the FZ series dead ?

Ronomy wrote:

I don't want to spoil the party.

After seeing some footage with the sony rx10, it seems like there is no competence with the fz series.

Don't get me wrong I especially bought the fz200 (continuous 2.8 aperture), but I knew it was an intermediate step until.....

Can the fz series really improve more with that sensor size, i hope so, but the sensor size has it's limit.

What do you think?

Gaston

I don't think so...small sensors will keep getting better

But how? You can not possibly increase the pixel size. It is tiny and will remain tiny on a tiny sensor. They could improve the light receiving capability of those sensors by little bit but that's about it. They are hitting the ceiling of what is physically possible. Actually, they already passed it and they know it but keep quiet because people keep buying cameras based on how many megapixels they have.

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LearningForeverIHope
LearningForeverIHope Senior Member • Posts: 1,981
Re: Is the FZ series dead ?
1

So the FZ200 is the work of a lesser engineer ? Way to go Junior!

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GeraldW Veteran Member • Posts: 6,955
Re: Is the FZ series dead ?

I strongly disagreed with I-R comparison to the FZ200.  Just because the RX10 is a similar size and shape doesn't mean they are in the same class of cameras.  If you recall, when the RX10 was announced, DPR referred to it as a "superzoom".  200 mm equivalent focal length does not make it a superzoom.

The small sensor superzooms like the FZ150, FZ200, and SX50Hs are in their own class and valued for their reach.  The original superzooms (think of the Canon S3IS, Sony H1, and the Panasonic FZ7) had fast lenses, small sensors, and focal lengths of around 420-432 mm.  In my mind, that sets the threshold for qualifiying as a superzoom.  They are NOT bridge cameras, even though they look very similar.

Bridge cameras were first seen around 2003-2004 with the likes of the Canon Pro 1, Nikon 8700, Sony 828, and Olympus 8080.  They had a mini-DSLR look, a larger 2/3" sensor, and fast lenses of very high quality.  They were also expensive ($1000 for the Pro 1 at introduction) and very solidly built.  Sounds a lot like the RX10, doesn't it?  They were called Bridge cameras because they bridged the gap between the point and shoot models and the very expensive DSLR's of that era.  In order to be called a Bridge Camera, they have to bridge between something and something else.  The RX10 does that; but the FZ200 does not.

OK, with my rant out of the way, do I think the FZ200 and similar cameras are doomed.  No way!  They fill a real need for a high quality long zoom at a good price.  The compact travel zooms are creeping into superzoom focal length ranges; but they don't have the lens quality or the image quality of the true superzooms.  I do think there is room for more improvement.  Canon does a much better job of processing in their SX50HS than Panasonic did with the FZ200.  In fact, the FZ150 did a better job.  The FZ200 is unique because of its constant f/2.8 lens, high resolution EVF,, and better ergonomics.  If it had the SX50's sensor and processor, it would be a world beater; as it is, it's the best superzoom on the market today.  It's biggest problem is the relatively high price in its class.

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Jerry

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Ronomy
Ronomy Senior Member • Posts: 3,736
Re: Is the FZ series dead ?

Ronomy wrote:

I don't want to spoil the party.

After seeing some footage with the sony rx10, it seems like there is no competence with the fz series.

Don't get me wrong I especially bought the fz200 (continuous 2.8 aperture), but I knew it was an intermediate step until.....

Can the fz series really improve more with that sensor size, i hope so, but the sensor size has it's limit.

What do you think?

Gaston

I don't think so...small sensors will keep getting better

But how? You can not possibly increase the pixel size. It is tiny and will remain tiny on a tiny sensor. They could improve the light receiving capability of those sensors by little bit but that's about it. They are hitting the ceiling of what is physically possible. Actually, they already passed it and they know it but keep quiet because people keep buying cameras based on how many megapixels they have.

Small sensors with better noise control. Technology gets better and better all the time. Manufacturing processes get better and signal to noise ratios get better.

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Robiro Veteran Member • Posts: 5,940
Re: Is the FZ series dead ?

Ronomy wrote:

Ronomy wrote:

I don't want to spoil the party.

After seeing some footage with the sony rx10, it seems like there is no competence with the fz series.

Don't get me wrong I especially bought the fz200 (continuous 2.8 aperture), but I knew it was an intermediate step until.....

Can the fz series really improve more with that sensor size, i hope so, but the sensor size has it's limit.

What do you think?

Gaston

I don't think so...small sensors will keep getting better

But how? You can not possibly increase the pixel size. It is tiny and will remain tiny on a tiny sensor. They could improve the light receiving capability of those sensors by little bit but that's about it. They are hitting the ceiling of what is physically possible. Actually, they already passed it and they know it but keep quiet because people keep buying cameras based on how many megapixels they have.

Small sensors with better noise control. Technology gets better and better all the time. Manufacturing processes get better and signal to noise ratios get better.

Those are MOS sensors these days. They have AD converters on the chip. There can be only so much photons hitting the tiny pixel. You can't increase the number. Physically impossible.

They could eventually develop better micro-lenses sitting on top of those receiving areas in individual pixels, but by how much better? 5% 10%?

There are optical limits to one can do with such a small sensor area. Once the signal is converted to digital, there are no more noise losses. The noise is a result of not enough photons hitting the individual pixels. And those pixels can not be made bigger because the sensor size is fixed.

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Robiro Veteran Member • Posts: 5,940
Re: Is the FZ series dead ?

LearningForeverIHope wrote:

So the FZ200 is the work of a lesser engineer ? Way to go Junior!

No. From time to time the boss graciously allows 2 or 3 of them to take a leave and spend a few weeks toying with non-4/3 stuff...

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Sir Corey of Deane
Sir Corey of Deane Contributing Member • Posts: 997
Re: Is the FZ series dead ?

trevmar wrote:

A recent interview with a Panasonic manager named the FZ series as a money-maker for Panasonic.

It certainly seems a money-maker for Wall Street Photo!

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Hatstand Senior Member • Posts: 1,241
New sensor technologies
2

Robiro wrote:

But how? You can not possibly increase the pixel size. It is tiny and will remain tiny on a tiny sensor. They could improve the light receiving capability of those sensors by little bit but that's about it. They are hitting the ceiling of what is physically possible. Actually, they already passed it and they know it but keep quiet because people keep buying cameras based on how many megapixels they have.

With these technologies, for a start:

Panasonic-Fuji organic sensor

Panasonic microsplitters

There will doubtless be more developments in future to improve sensors. These (or similar) will end up in all types of cameras of course, not just superzooms - but the benefits to superzooms (and other small-sensor cameras) are greater.

RX10 is a non-starter as a competitor to the FZ200, due to max focal length of only 200mm.

To achieve bigger focal lengths the camera/lens either has to become a LOT larger and heavier, or the sensor has to become smaller. Which is precisely why superzooms have such small sensors in the first place.

Ronomy
Ronomy Senior Member • Posts: 3,736
Re: Is the FZ series dead ?

Robiro wrote:

Ronomy wrote:

Ronomy wrote:

I don't want to spoil the party.

After seeing some footage with the sony rx10, it seems like there is no competence with the fz series.

Don't get me wrong I especially bought the fz200 (continuous 2.8 aperture), but I knew it was an intermediate step until.....

Can the fz series really improve more with that sensor size, i hope so, but the sensor size has it's limit.

What do you think?

Gaston

I don't think so...small sensors will keep getting better

But how? You can not possibly increase the pixel size. It is tiny and will remain tiny on a tiny sensor. They could improve the light receiving capability of those sensors by little bit but that's about it. They are hitting the ceiling of what is physically possible. Actually, they already passed it and they know it but keep quiet because people keep buying cameras based on how many megapixels they have.

Small sensors with better noise control. Technology gets better and better all the time. Manufacturing processes get better and signal to noise ratios get better.

Those are MOS sensors these days. They have AD converters on the chip. There can be only so much photons hitting the tiny pixel. You can't increase the number. Physically impossible.

They could eventually develop better micro-lenses sitting on top of those receiving areas in individual pixels, but by how much better? 5% 10%?

There are optical limits to one can do with such a small sensor area. Once the signal is converted to digital, there are no more noise losses. The noise is a result of not enough photons hitting the individual pixels. And those pixels can not be made bigger because the sensor size is fixed.

Never say never!

Plus there was an announcement this year the Panasonic had new sensor technology to improve dynamic range.

Technology gets better and better all the time.  They probably already can make these sensors better but its too expensive.  Give it time.  

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Ronomy
Ronomy Senior Member • Posts: 3,736
Re: New sensor technologies

Hatstand wrote:

Robiro wrote:

But how? You can not possibly increase the pixel size. It is tiny and will remain tiny on a tiny sensor. They could improve the light receiving capability of those sensors by little bit but that's about it. They are hitting the ceiling of what is physically possible. Actually, they already passed it and they know it but keep quiet because people keep buying cameras based on how many megapixels they have.

With these technologies, for a start:

Panasonic-Fuji organic sensor

Panasonic microsplitters

There will doubtless be more developments in future to improve sensors. These (or similar) will end up in all types of cameras of course, not just superzooms - but the benefits to superzooms (and other small-sensor cameras) are greater.

RX10 is a non-starter as a competitor to the FZ200, due to max focal length of only 200mm.

To achieve bigger focal lengths the camera/lens either has to become a LOT larger and heavier, or the sensor has to become smaller. Which is precisely why superzooms have such small sensors in the first place.

DOH!  

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Aberaeron Senior Member • Posts: 4,454
Re: Is the FZ series dead ?

inti4444 wrote:

I don't want to spoil the party.

After seeing some footage with the sony rx10, it seems like there is no competence with the fz series.

Don't get me wrong I especially bought the fz200 (continuous 2.8 aperture), but I knew it was an intermediate step until.....

Can the fz series really improve more with that sensor size, i hope so, but the sensor size has it's limit.

What do you think?

Gaston

I think it is an incremental upgrade at a different price point. They do make more than one model you know. 

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Robiro Veteran Member • Posts: 5,940
Re: New sensor technologies

Hatstand wrote:

Robiro wrote:

But how? You can not possibly increase the pixel size. It is tiny and will remain tiny on a tiny sensor. They could improve the light receiving capability of those sensors by little bit but that's about it. They are hitting the ceiling of what is physically possible. Actually, they already passed it and they know it but keep quiet because people keep buying cameras based on how many megapixels they have.

With these technologies, for a start:

Panasonic-Fuji organic sensor

Panasonic microsplitters

There will doubtless be more developments in future to improve sensors. These (or similar) will end up in all types of cameras of course, not just superzooms - but the benefits to superzooms (and other small-sensor cameras) are greater.

RX10 is a non-starter as a competitor to the FZ200, due to max focal length of only 200mm.

To achieve bigger focal lengths the camera/lens either has to become a LOT larger and heavier, or the sensor has to become smaller. Which is precisely why superzooms have such small sensors in the first place.

Still, the number of photons hitting a tiny pixel on a tiny sensor SHALL STAY THE SAME. We are only talking about better ability to capture them and count them. Of course, there will be improvements with this new technology. The question is - by how much.

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Greynerd Senior Member • Posts: 5,536
Re: Is the FZ series dead ?
1

I think you will find the party for the RX10 is for pretty rich kids and probably is a different one to the one where you find many of the FZ200 owners. We are in the UK talking about a £1,000 camera versus a £400 camera. I am at a loss to see any basis for comparison.

This is an enormous premium to pay for what is still only a middle size sensor and with not particularly long reach. The RX10 is very much a luxury item in my view. Lottery win kit for me I am afraid.

inti4444 wrote:

I don't want to spoil the party.

After seeing some footage with the sony rx10, it seems like there is no competence with the fz series.

Don't get me wrong I especially bought the fz200 (continuous 2.8 aperture), but I knew it was an intermediate step until.....

Can the fz series really improve more with that sensor size, i hope so, but the sensor size has it's limit.

What do you think?

Gaston

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Me Tarzan
Me Tarzan Senior Member • Posts: 1,392
Re: Is the FZ series dead ?

Gaston, I own the FZ150 and it's a gem although I still drool over adding the FZ200 to my sack of tools.

Maybe I'm just easily satisfied, but the 150 along with the Panasonic G1 and the LX5 are keeping me content for the moment.

I haven't looked at the Sony you mentioned, but the last Sony I bought is a BOMB. Water color issues among multiple issues. Made me trust Sony less. I've never been disappointed with a Panasonic.

Cheers, Gaston and happy holidays.

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Frank

Aberaeron Senior Member • Posts: 4,454
Re: New sensor technologies

Robiro wrote:

Hatstand wrote:

Robiro wrote:

But how? You can not possibly increase the pixel size. It is tiny and will remain tiny on a tiny sensor. They could improve the light receiving capability of those sensors by little bit but that's about it. They are hitting the ceiling of what is physically possible. Actually, they already passed it and they know it but keep quiet because people keep buying cameras based on how many megapixels they have.

With these technologies, for a start:

Panasonic-Fuji organic sensor

Panasonic microsplitters

There will doubtless be more developments in future to improve sensors. These (or similar) will end up in all types of cameras of course, not just superzooms - but the benefits to superzooms (and other small-sensor cameras) are greater.

RX10 is a non-starter as a competitor to the FZ200, due to max focal length of only 200mm.

To achieve bigger focal lengths the camera/lens either has to become a LOT larger and heavier, or the sensor has to become smaller. Which is precisely why superzooms have such small sensors in the first place.

Still, the number of photons hitting a tiny pixel on a tiny sensor SHALL STAY THE SAME. We are only talking about better ability to capture them and count them. Of course, there will be improvements with this new technology. The question is - by how much.

Are billions of photons either way, significant? I don't believe anyone has seriously claimed a shortage of photons hitting a sensor, have they? The trick is, surely, to make efficient use of all those photons.

Who knows what the future holds. The trend is to miniaturisation in most things though, packing more bang for the bulk [and the Buck].

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