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Old Wednesday 16th December 2015, 15:12   #1
mike hawley
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Panasonic FZ330

Bought last week and only used a couple of times but very impressed. I bought it to replace my aging Nikon D 70 and 300mm lens with 2x converter which has done me proud over the years. The obvious advantage of trotting round like a spring chicken instead of lugging a weighty backpack and taking a couple of hours to get set up are apparent. The quality of the Raw images is amazing for such a tiny sensor. Next step is to try the 1.7 tele converter. Has anybody any experience of using this combination? Just one question does anybody really know how Panasonics Intelligent zoom works? I have googled the topic but can find no definitive answers.
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Old Friday 20th May 2016, 00:32   #2
rka
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Just purchased FZ300 and done some very limited testing. I'm coming from MFT + Panny 100-300 lens.

My impressions so far -

Will be great for ID shots if don't care too much about image quality. Usable ID images out to full intelligent Zoom range whether the camera is set to 12Mp, 8Mp or 3Mp (each increasing apparent zoom). However cropping afterwards under these conditions is severely limited as one would expect.

Even at last resort ISO6400, not to shabby - ID pics possible.

Video quality is very good. Actually if didn't do stills, would be a good candidate for standalone video camera.

Not too impressed with the still image quality but have not shot as yet with decent light.

Lens is very fast! Can take poorish pictures in bad light pretty quickly.

I have TCON-17 and C210 teleconverters and will be testing these too.

Is it worth it ? ..... For me this is a definite Yes.

Positives:

1. Even in poor light with the fast lens can get usable pictures at high zoom with High ISO. Need to test more though.
2. Need to fiddle further with the iZoom, Ext Zoom and Digital Zoom functions, but with iZoom and Ext Zoom both available at the same time, can get good range. Why not just take a picture at full resolution and 600mm optical and crop? - Well, it appears when you use any of these crop/digital zoom type functions, light metering only occurs in the zoomed in area which leads to better exposure for the specific subject. In the end for small subjects like birds, the targeted exposure is better.
3. Can add teleconverter. Whether this results in a better image vs cropping to be tested.
4. Good general all-purpose camera (25mm - 600mm)
5. Really usable MF capability.
6. Good EVF.

Negatives:

1. Coming from OM-D E-M5 + Panasonic 100-300 IQ is very poor with pictures in failing light. However expected.
2. Actually not a fan of the grip. A bit big but will get used to it.
3. Haven't figured out if it is possible for lens to remain in 600mm zoomed in position if camera is idle for a while. This could be a big issue for birding if can't resolve since time to zoom in again takes few seconds.

As mentioned before, a good buy unless you really want better IQ. In such case, spend twice as much (budget DSLR $500 body plus at least another $500 for a XX-300mm lens).
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Old Friday 20th May 2016, 18:12   #3
njlarsen
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rka,
when I used a superzoom, I had chosen the setting in the menu to use last zoom setting when turning camera back on. This may cut down the time from reactivate to shoot a little.

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Old Saturday 21st May 2016, 19:03   #4
rka
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Tested FZ300 in overcast conditions with decent light.

Previous comments generally hold.

For me, so far the best zoom settings for birding are Ext Zoom @ 3Mp + Intelligent Zoom (hybrid digital zoom and only use if absolutely necessary)

Manual focus is not as good as I thought originally. The thumbwheel needs to be spinning at a certain rate to register any focus adjustment and it is therefore not precise. The focus peaking is minimal and sub par. Will check if any firmware updates later to address these issues.

Image quality as expected. If you get everything right, can get a decent image.

Good birding kit.
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Old Wednesday 25th May 2016, 20:02   #5
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Tested in good light. This is where the camera shines. The fast lens with EZ makes some pictures that were challenging with my Oly OMD-EM5 + Panny 100-300 much easier with the FZ300.

FZ300 in these conditions tends to overexpose a little but easy enough to adjust.

BIF is challenging due to the small boxy shape of the camera. However, will be testing with the TCON-17 teleconverter this weekend which will add a nice sized barrel to hold for better stability in BIF aiming and shooting.
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Old Wednesday 25th May 2016, 21:51   #6
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Thumbs up

Quote:
Originally Posted by mike hawley View Post
Bought last week and only used a couple of times but very impressed. I bought it to replace my aging Nikon D 70 and 300mm lens with 2x converter which has done me proud over the years. The obvious advantage of trotting round like a spring chicken instead of lugging a weighty backpack and taking a couple of hours to get set up are apparent. The quality of the Raw images is amazing for such a tiny sensor. Next step is to try the 1.7 tele converter. Has anybody any experience of using this combination? Just one question does anybody really know how Panasonics Intelligent zoom works? I have googled the topic but can find no definitive answers.
I have had this camera for around three months now. It is the best superzoom camera I have tried. Have previously owned (and still have) several of the earlier FZ models and have also used (and later sold) Sony models. There are a number of things about this camera. One is the in-camera sharpening which gives photos taken in some conditions an appearance like a painting with some smudging. Tweak the in-camera sharpening and take LOTS of test shots until you are satisfied with the results. Once you are happy you can start shooting using M, S or A modes (I never use P mode and only extremely rarely iA mode). The results are good, and shooting in RAW gives really good results. But try and avoid editing in SilkyPix (Panasonic's own raw editing software) but instead use Lightroom (with RAW converter which can be downloaded separately if your version of Lightroom doesn't support the FZ300/330).
You asked about intellegent zoom. I think this option is only available in iA mode, and only if you turn it on in the menu.
The 1.7 teleconverter is good. It doesn't affect image quality, merely magnifies the image as it is. It satys om my camera for wildlife shots, and easily detaches for close-ups / family / landscape shots. A cheap and worthy accessory in my opinion.
SW
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Old Thursday 26th May 2016, 00:53   #7
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Hi Mike
I use an FZ200, the predecessor of the FZ300/330 ( same lens) and am more than happy with the results I am getting. Check out Graham Houghton's blog site online if you want any recommendations re getting the best out of the camera.( www.grahamhoughton.com ) He has done extensive testing of Panny's and publishes all his results online.
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Old Thursday 26th May 2016, 17:18   #8
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Just tested FZ300 with TCON-17 teleconverter and a couple accessories and also played with RAW pictures. My thoughts below:

1. If you shoot RAW, should always have the teleconverter close by to get reach beyond 600mm. All of the FZ300's non-optical zoom options are not available in RAW (i.e. Extended Zoom, iZoom, Digital Zoom). With TCON-17 you will get out to approximately 1000mm.
2. The pictures through the TCON-17 are only slightly degraded (very acceptable). However, autofocusing takes a bit longer.
3. Focusing on a target with TCON-17 < 20 feet was challenging at times. Therefore don't recommend TCON-17 if most of the birding is close by. For longer shots where you have a bit of time to aim and adjust settings, TCON-17 is just fine.
4. The TCON-17 adds a lot of weight to the camera. Depending on the payload you are accustomed to, this may or may not be an issue.
5. The Panasonic DMW-LA7 lens adapter is excellent and the TCON-17 easily screws in. Even without the TCON-17 attached, I will probably leave the DMW-LA7 attached as provides better stability when holding the barrel with the left hand.
6. For me, I will always walk with the TCON-17. However, will only attach it when necessary and if time permits.
7. Also tested a camera holster accessory - Spider Black Widow Holster kit. Just perfect for the FZ300 once you dont intend to use the camera with a tripod quickly after removing from holster.

Will do more testing with the TCON-17. This was just my first day out.
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Old Saturday 11th June 2016, 04:17   #9
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So have tried many different camera settings and many different camera configurations with the TCON17.

So far:

1. Will not bother too much with TCON17. The IQ hit nullifies the increased range. Just not worth the bother.
2. The sweet spot for close range birding is 8mp and iZoom.
3. Longer range is more difficult. 8mp or 3mp can work with iZoom. If only they had a 5mp option, that would have worked well.
4. I reduced Sharpening and NR significantly.

So still very impressed with camera as a good portable bird ID device.

If only the lens would stay extended.
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Old Saturday 11th June 2016, 09:46   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rka View Post
So have tried many different camera settings and many different camera configurations with the TCON17.

So far:

1. Will not bother too much with TCON17. The IQ hit nullifies the increased range. Just not worth the bother.
2. The sweet spot for close range birding is 8mp and iZoom.
3. Longer range is more difficult. 8mp or 3mp can work with iZoom. If only they had a 5mp option, that would have worked well.
4. I reduced Sharpening and NR significantly.

So still very impressed with camera as a good portable bird ID device.

If only the lens would stay extended.
The lens will stay extended (whether with the TCON on the camera or if removed) if you select the converter settings in the set-up menu. I have used the TCON since January and find the IQ to be good. At higher magnifications you will always be magnifying things like haze, camera shake, bird movement etc. The TCON is in my eyes a useful and cheap accessory. And I avoid using the iA setting and the iZoom at all costs those settings almost never give satisfactory results. SW.
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Old Saturday 11th June 2016, 15:38   #11
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rka, when you talk about 8mp option, I assume you are talking about the setting that only uses the center of the sensor? My guess is that the TCON will replace doing things like that: either one of the two gives an IQ hit, and if you combine two things that give a hit the combined hit is too big.

Niels
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Old Sunday 12th June 2016, 04:09   #12
rka
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The only issue with the converter setting is it does not allow f2.8. It starts at f4 which is fine if sufficient light for the required shot. Tomorrow will do some more testing. Thanks for the feedback.

Quote:
Originally Posted by seawatcher View Post
The lens will stay extended (whether with the TCON on the camera or if removed) if you select the converter settings in the set-up menu. I have used the TCON since January and find the IQ to be good. At higher magnifications you will always be magnifying things like haze, camera shake, bird movement etc. The TCON is in my eyes a useful and cheap accessory. And I avoid using the iA setting and the iZoom at all costs those settings almost never give satisfactory results. SW.
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Old Sunday 12th June 2016, 04:16   #13
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Playing with different combinations to determine if 12mp with TCON up to effective 1000m is any better than 8mp or 12mp with iZoom up to same 1000m. From my experience so far, the results weren't really much different and if that continues to hold true, might as well shed the extra load of the TCON.

But not finished testing as yet.

Agree fully that TCON in addition to any type of camera crop or digital zoom leads to sub par pictures generally.

Appreciate the feedback.

Quote:
Originally Posted by njlarsen View Post
rka, when you talk about 8mp option, I assume you are talking about the setting that only uses the center of the sensor? My guess is that the TCON will replace doing things like that: either one of the two gives an IQ hit, and if you combine two things that give a hit the combined hit is too big.

Niels
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Old Monday 2nd January 2017, 09:47   #14
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Thanks for posting your initial impressions of this camera. Any newer insights you care to share?
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Old Saturday 7th January 2017, 21:43   #15
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Finding the 330 very good best in a good light but fair image in poor light notice the rain on the jay taken at Titchwell Norfolk last week in tree cover and heavy rain
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Old Saturday 7th January 2017, 22:59   #16
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Finding the 330 very good best in a good light but fair image in poor light notice the rain on the jay taken at Titchwell Norfolk last week in tree cover and heavy rain
Peter:

Was that image processed in camera? How does the original appear compared to what is posted here?
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Old Thursday 12th January 2017, 21:46   #17
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The image was cropped jpeg and altered a little bit with windows ten photo edit
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Old Friday 13th January 2017, 16:34   #18
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Finding the 330 very good best in a good light but fair image in poor light notice the rain on the jay taken at Titchwell Norfolk last week in tree cover and heavy rain
I notice the jay is ringed ... Got any shots that make the ring readable?
Thanks
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