Considering those cameras
Back in November 2015 I posted about trimming down all the weight I carry. One of the items that I couldn't let go of was my Leica/Lumix FZ-18 and its 18X zoom. It takes good photo's, mainly used for wildlife, but also uses up a lot of room in my backpack. Then there's my really old FX-10.
After 20 months of umming and aahing over it, I finally took the bull by the horns and decided to do something about the cameras I carry.
The last year has seen me using my Samsung Galaxy S2 smartphone camera and getting publishable results. Nearly all the photo's, except for the Pamplona Walls, were done using it. The walls I did with my Leica/Lumix FX-10. A couple of hikes (like the Dreary Winter walk) I had the FZ-18 with me for images.
What about the DMC FX-10?
Four and a half years ago I saw it in a shop window, along with a bunch of other used junk and grabbed it for the princely sum of 24 UKP. This was while I had the old Torn Dot blog, a lot of it's imagery came from the camera. It just took great photo's. Then the screen did a nasty on me so I bought the FZ-18.
A foray into London to a speciality camera repair place, saw the FX-10 raised several slots on the scale. The guys there examined the lens first, to see if the thing was worth repairing, "Whatever you do, don't lose this lens!" It had a 100% optically perfect lens, no wonder my images came out nice. This is very rare in mass produced lenses, I've been told. I had the entire unit overhauled and have not regretted it one little bit.
Surely the FX-10 is no good for wildlife?
Well, almost. I only have 3x zoom. However, if I zoom out a little at 3mp, 2X zoom and crop it, then I have an equivelant of 8X zoom (12X zoom if the camera is at 3X zoom). That's passable for me. But then wildlife is not really my thing. Should I go somewhere knowing that I will shoot some animal shots, then I would use the FZ-18.
... and the FZ-18?Even though bulky, it takes good photo's.
My photographs are for a blog, not for a magazine or TV. They are never huge, because I want them to load fast.
Suppose I have the best of both worldsI decided to try out a Panasonic Lumix DMC TZ60. It too has a Leica spec lens and zooms to 30X. Fits in my pocket okay and would take up just a little more room in the pack than the FX-10. There's not a huge amount of difference in the TZ60-TZ80 range. Looking at all three, the 60 has a larger viewfinder, but other than a few megapixels (which often don't make that much difference), they're pretty much the sameand my budget is limited.
Is the TZ60 worth it?
Immediate downside to the TZ60 is the battery charging. I can only charge it in the camera. It takes 3 hours and says you'll get around 250-300 shots max per charge. I almost rejected the thing right there and then because of that. Everything is just too fussy on it for me and the image quality is not up to spec. Reviews had said that, but then you could have 5 of the same exact camera and all of them have different quality.
A test (Set at Scene and 3mp image)
Trafalgar Square is a good place to check out this kind of camera (but watch out for the thieves *). You have a lot going on and things like women's hair is a good test of the clarity on a zoom. I had to do more work than normal on these pics and still they are a bit down on the overall quality side for my liking. I processed them my usual way.
The Lens is fine, the zoom starts to falter on higher settings. Plus the other stuff that kills it for the TZ60. The back right hand side of the camera has too little room left after the buttons and dial, one handed shots are almost out of the question (I do a lot of those in places like this). The power button turns on way too easy, I nearly broke the camera putting it into a protective bag because of the thing turning itself on. Final straw was that I cannot delete images on the camera from my laptop (big time and power saver), deletion could only done on the camera. I doubt I would get more than 100 photo's from a fully charged battery doing shots like this. Oddly enough, on another test, my Galaxy SII gave me better images than it. I got a refund.
* Camera thievesJust after these photo's 3 Africans (by their accents) decided to try and steal the camera. First they split up, the third one hanging back as two walked toward me. The guy and girl passed me asking me to take his photograph, moving so my back would be toward the second guy. I said No, turning into open space, as the third one was closing on me. The camera was in my pocket by then and he walked by, taking a swipe at me. So there you are, this is one way a camera heist takes placeremember it when you are out and about.
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As for usage on the roadI'm back to where I was and have decided to stick with my old cameras (if it worksleave it alone). The FZ-18 will be used more, bulky or no. On really long trips, the FX-10's carried.
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