Panasonic FZ-30 Zoom Capabilities

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JerArdra

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All,

Detailed below are the zoom capabilities of the FZ-30 digital camera.  Also there are 5 pictures showing zoom photos of a building that is one mile from the camera.  Sorry I had to downsize the photos so much so they would fit on the forum.  The full resolution ones can be enlarged.

JerryF
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Panasonic FZ30-Telephoto capabilities

At 8 MegaPixels (MP)

1X 35mm      Optical zoom only
12X 420mm      Optical zoom only
24X 840mm      Optical zoom + 2X digital
48X 1680mm    Optical zoom + 4X digital


At 5 MegaPixels (MP)

1X 35mm      Optical zoom only
15.3X 535mm      EZ extended optical zoom magnification**
30.6X 1070mm    EZ extended optical zoom magnification + 2X digital
61.2X 2140mm    EZ extended optical zoom magnification + 4X digital


At 3 MegaPixels (MP)

1X 35mm      Optical zoom only
19.1X 668mm      EZ extended optical zoom magnification**
38.2X 1337mm    EZ extended optical zoom magnification + 2X digital
76.5X 2677mm    EZ extended optical zoom magnification + 4X digital
_________________________________
** EZ extended optical zoom magnification:  When you set the picture size to either 5MP or 3MP the 8MP CCD area is cropped to the center 5 million pixel area  or 3 million pixel area allowing a picture with a higher zoom effect.  At 8MP it?s only optical zoom, not EZ, as long as you do not add either 2X or 4X digital zoom.
 

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Ron

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Very impressive Jerry.  I have the approval from the minister of finance so will be getting one soon.  Hoping Fry's has another sale while we are there. ;D
 

joelmyer

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Not to mess with a man who's mind is made up, but,...

I've been wanting one of those (5MP x 12x) for about a year and reading the reviews.

Canon announced their new S3 IS the first of the year.  I had just about made up my mind to buy the S2 IS and did and saved $100.  Not that that is important if you're not happy with ypur purchase.

The main reasons I decided on the Cannon was all the review comments on the Panasonics "noise" and the fact that the Canon uses AA batteries instead of custom.

So far I'm very peased with the Canon.  I'm attaching three shots here.  More at joelmyers.net
 

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joelmyer

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Second try at posting three pictures
 

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Karl

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Jerry,

IMHO, digital zoom is next to worthless (except maybe for image composition). The quality of your original will be degraded by the pixelization, which cannot be undone by any software. I think it's better to shoot at maximum optical zoom if you have to, and do your cropping and magnifying on the computer. 
 

Ned

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Correct, digital zoom is cropping in the camera.  There is no advantage to doing that.  You have more control doing the cropping on the computer.  Digital zoom was created by the marketing people.
 

JerArdra

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Ned & Karl,

Thanks for the info.  With your help I have now learned that digital zoom degrades a photo.  What a revelation!!  Thanks, I really appreciate your comments. I guess I am just lucky that I have always kept digital zoom OFF except when experimenting or demonstrating the features of a camera.

For the record, the two photos below show the 8MP 12X optical only 420mm telephoto picture cropped to match the size of the 3MP telephoto photo that was taken using both optical and digital zoom (76.5x 2677mm).  It's tough to compare because one was taken at 8mp and one at 3mp.

Thanks again for the advice.  Oh, what was that again, digital degrades photos.

JerryF

 

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Karl

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Jerry,

C'mon now, you knew that all along; you're just trying to make us think we contributed something of value :D

Not sure how the "extended" feature operates. Does the lens have an even greater focal length that focuses only on the 3 or 5 Mp portion of the CCD, or is the 3 or 5 Mp portion expanded to fill the 8Mp array? Inquiring minds want to know ???
 

JerArdra

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Karl said:
Jerry,
Not sure how the "extended" feature operates. Does the lens have an even greater focal length that focuses only on the 3 or 5 Mp portion of the CCD, or is the 3 or 5 Mp portion expanded to fill the 8Mp array? Inquiring minds want to know ???

Karl,

The FZ-30 book explains it this way.  When you set the picture size to 3MP the 8 million pixel CCD is cropped to the center 3 million pixel area, allowing a picture with a higher zoom effect.  It's the same for the 5MP picture size. 

That is how they get...

At 8MP it's 12X using the entire 8MP CCD for  a pure optical only picture (420m).
At 5MP it's 15.3X by using only the center 5MP of the 8MP CCD (535mm).  It's cropped as to how much area of the CCD is used for the photo. 
At 3MP it's 19.1X by using only the center 3MP of the 8MP CCD (668mm).  It's cropped as to how much area of the CCD is used for the photo.

In the ultra telephoto that was in my original post  I used the 3MP (19.1X-668mm) and also added the old standard 4X digital on top of that to get the 76.5X-2677mm ultra telephoto.

It appears that the 3MP portion of the photo is NOT expanded to fill the entire 8MP CCD size so this method may just be less damaging to resolution of the photo than using the regular old fashion digital telephoto or cropping in the computer.

The question that I have not been able to get answered, even in some of the high-power camera web sites, is:  "with regard to resolution is camera cropping through-the-camera's lens (CCD cropping) better than, exactly the same as, or worse than cropping using your computers software?" 

JerryF
 

Karl

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Jerry,

Well, that kinda answers my question but I'm still not understanding it entirely. Let me ask it another way: If you select a subject and focus on it at full optical zoom @8Mp, then switch to 5Mp (or 3Mp) without changing anything else, does the image in the viewfinder appear larger? If so, does it do so immediately or does the lens re-adjust itself to the new setting? 
 

Ned

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Jerry,

That is exactly the same as if you cropped the 8MP photo in your favorite editor.  It's nothing but another form of digital zoom.

TANSTAAFL :)
 

JerArdra

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Karl,

The lens does NOT run any motors inside the lens and here is why I say that. 

First I turned off both the continuous auto focus and the auto stabilization because these functions move lens elements in the lens barrel.  Then, using the LCD screen, I sighted in some flowers across the room at 8MP (12X) with the telephoto ring at full telephoto.  Then I accessed the MENU and changed it from 8MP (12X) to the 3MP EZ (19.1X) and by the time I cleared the menu from the LCD screen the image in the LCD was closer (more telephoto).

Then, second, I did the same thing but this time my ear was against the lens barrel (touching it) and I could NOT hear any faint noise like something was moving in the lens.

Another point, when you look at the telephoto ring on the lens barrel the markings go from 35mm to 420mm (12X).  On the other hand, as you turn the telephoto ring it shows, in the lower right corner of the viewfinder or LCD, 1x, 2X, 3X, on up to 12x when you're shooting at 8MP.

But when you're shooting at 3MP it shows 1x, 2x, 3x, on up to 19.1x when the telephoto ring is at full telephoto.  At 5mp  it only goes up to 15.3MP. 

Again, we know that digital telephoto uses cropping but what would be "fun" to know is, if you could use the same resolution, let's say 8MP, which gives a better photo, through the lens cropping or in the computer cropping.  If there is a diference I don't think you could see the difference.  You would have to magnify each one by 100% to see any difference.

JerryF
 

Karl

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Jerry,

Email me one full size pic. of the same subject at the three different 'full zoom' settings. I have some sftw. that will allow enlargement up to 1500%. It will be interesting to see what, if any, difference there is in pixelation for the same area of the pictures. Email is
karlkolbus at escapees.com.

Tnx.
 

JerArdra

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ALL & especially Karl too,

Ron Ruward just bought an FZ-30 and there was a sticker on the outside of the camera.  This sticker said that the camera has 12X Optical Zoom and 19X Extended Optical Zoom.  Panasonic calls it Extened Optical Zoom.

Also I sent Karl two photos of some flowers.  One was 3MP at 12X zoom and the other was 3MP at 19.1 zoom and the following is what Karl found.

I cropped out a small portion of both pictures, expanded them to 1000%, and counted the pixels that comprised a small section - the stamens. The 12X  one  sized out at 33x22 (HxW) while the 19.1 was 46x30 for the same area. That comes out to 726 pixels and 1380 pixels respectively, or the larger  magnification used almost double (1.900) the pixels to resolve the same area.  This corresponds almost exactly with the difference in the full frame picture sizes of 726kB and 1410kB (1.41MB) respectively. That says to me that the camera is cropping the optical image at 19.1 internally and then expanding it to cover a larger portion of the CCD RGB layers. However it does it seems to work well, as I can see no degradation in image quality!

JerryF

 
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