FZ35 vs. FZ200
I have an upcoming photo trip to Arches and Canyonlands National Parks near Moab, Utah. My cameras are the Panasonic LX5 and FZ35 and I am considering an upgrade for this occasion. For a while I was interested in an Olympus Stylus1, but I believe the 300 mm at the long end to be inadequate for bird photography. Now I am considering replacing the FZ35 with an FZ200 and am interested in hearing whether this is a significant step-up in IQ. The vast majority of my photos are related to nature (landscapes, flowers, birds and other wildlife) where light is generally good; I would keep my LX5 anyway and that would be useful in poor light conditions. Any thoughts?
I did the FZ28 to FZ150 stepup a few years back. Perhaps this will be useful:
The FZ200 of course adds f/2.8 out to full zoom.
Hi Theo, the FZ200 will give you a bit more zoom and I think better images at higher ISO levels, but I don't think you'll get any increase in image quality. It will be similar. I base this on the fact that I have the FZ200 and the FZ18, and I'd say the image quality is on a par, except with the high ISO's where the FZ200 is definitely better. The FZ200 has lots of other advantages. For starters, its much faster at everything, faster shutter response, faster focus, faster burst modes and a faster lens. Far superior viewfinder, flexible LCD screen and better video, that doesn't black out first when you press the red button. You can extend the optical zoom by reducing the picture size. The results are still very good. I frequently use mine at 5 and 3 mp. The 3mp size gives the equivalent of about 47x. Still not enough sometimes, but in most cases gets you a good shot. If you were just using the FZ35 for landscapes, then I wouldn't bother with upgrading, as those sorts of shots don't require faster responses and at wide angle you can get F2.8 out of your camera the same as the FZ200, however for birds and other wildlife, the FZ200 will get you shots when the FZ35 won't.
I've owned both. IMHO, the FZ200 is a far superior camera to use vs. the FZ35. Faster, better in lower (not low) light. And fun to use. The lens is amazing. For your trip, I'd pick the FZ200 no question, even though it is larger.
BUT, in its range, and in good light, in MY opinion, the FZ35 can produce good images with less fuss. Check around this forum for settings suggestions, especially if you're a JPEG shooter.
A word of warning, however: Don't overuse the zoom. 600mm is seductive, but at full zoom, the atmospherics can destroy images like crazy (haze, heat, etc.). I found that in my own trip to the southwest.
The other point is to keep either camera at ISO 100 as much as possible and consider shooting at -1/3EV to minimize blown highlights.
Whichever you choose, enjoy!
I have been to Arches and Canyonlands Parks -- most enjoyable. At Arches Park, it is wise to visit Delicate Arch ("maid's bloomers") before crowds arrive. Both parks are on a grand scale. As I recall from the days of film, the vast majority of my photos were at normal and wide focal lengths. There is not much wild life there, especially at Canyonlands Park -- desolate but ruggedly beautiful. Good luck and enjoy.
I would also add to the mix ... consideration of overall form factor.
While I enjoyed the images from the FZ200, who doesn't? I could not get past the honkin" size of the overall camera and additional weight (compared to the fz35). It was not a comfortable camera to travel with (for me). If you travel on planes, trains and ships ... size does make a difference. I returned the FZ200 and will soon be punching the button for the Stylus 1 ... unless Panny comes up with something comparable but with a touch more reach.
It is indeed a tough decision ... go with what will prove most useful, most of the time with the size, weight and convenience best for you.
The FZ200 will certainly help with birding ( fps and shutter speed) and the EVF helps cope with the bright sunlight. Not due the FZ200 will help on landscape If you have an LVF1 for the LX5 I'd certainly take it.. See my Flickr Sets on Arches for FZ150 and LX5 examples. Note I used LWA52 on some LX5 shots.
Also at http://www.flickr.com/photos/dieselgolfer/
Mr Ichiro Kitao, please upgrade the FZ50
Hi Theo, like you I'm mainly a bird/wildlife shooter, with some landscapes thrown in. I'm off to South-east Arizona in April and will be taking my FZ200 as my main camera. I've used a lot of superzooms over the years (Oly 730, FZ1, FZ10, FZ150 plus a loaned Canon) but not an FZ35. The FZ200 is the best I've used for birding by a distance. It is quick and responsive, with excellent AF by superzoom standards and this, allied to the sharp, fast lens makes all the difference. You'll find yourself shooting at either higher shutter speeds or lower ISOs and thus getting sharper results, all other things being equal. From my experience, anything less than 600 mm is insufficient for birding, so I would rule out the Oly Stylus 1 (incidentally, if you read the Cameralabs review of the Stylus 1 it is surprising to see it out-performed at low/medium ISOs by the FZ200, despite having a larger sensor and shorter zoom).
Whatever you decide, have agreat trip!
LX3, FZ10, FZ200 and Nikon D80 + 18-200VR + 70-300VR
Thank you for responding; the information and suggestions you provided are very useful. I have decided to stick with the FZ35 for the time being; the vast majority of photographs during my upcoming trip will be landscapes, and my LX5 should suffice in most cases. I read that Panasonic often announces new products in July; if there is no "FZ250", I will get the FZ200 then. The price is good right now, but I doubt that it will go up in the next few months. Here is an image then with the FZ35 in Rocky Mountain National Park.
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