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Thread: Upgrading from Finepix Z1

  1. #1
    dickinsonjon
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    Upgrading from Finepix Z1

    This could be a really daft question, but here goes: I used to do a lot of photography with film-based SLRs, but they'd stayed in the cupboard for a long while - big, clunky etc. I got a Fuji Finepix Z1 a couple of years ago as a 'happy snap' holiday pic-type camera, and a few months ago my interest in photography was re-ignited when I started taking pictures more 'seriously', if you can put it like that. I've taken the time to learn everything I can achieve technically with this camera, and use GIMP to PP my images. I tire of the poor picture quality, and the obvious next step is to go straight to a DSLR such as a Nikon D40 or its contemporaries. However, I came across the Small Sensor Forum here and it seems to typify my photography very well in terms of what I like about the format, and the 'carry everywhere' nature of the smaller camera. I'm concerned that whilst a DSLR offers huge advances in technical image quality, it may still stay in the cupboard as it's not pocketable. So - I've been looking at the types of small sensor camera that would suit my needs, and have come down to the almost inevitable choice of Ricoh GX100, Panasonic LX2 or Canon G9. However, I'm concerned about whether these cameras will offer a significant upgrade in image quality over the Z1 I currently use. Sure, I've pored over many technical review sites and looked at 100% crops etc., but it's possible, very easy in fact, to get totally snow-blinded. I'm happy that these cameras offer the type of physical package and ergonomic handling that floats my boat, but I don't want to end up wishing I'd bought a DSLR; equally I don't want to go the DLSR route and end up with something that's great quality but doesn't get used much. I generally shoot landscape (rural and urban), a bit of street, and some social gatherings, almost exclusively available light, and prefer not to *have* to shoot RAW to get acceptable results up to 8x10 print sizes, except occasionally. Any advice?

    Thanks
    Jon

    P.S. Here's an example of the sort of thing I shoot:

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    Re: Upgrading from Finepix Z1

    First, lets refine the question;
    Do you want the new camera to be able to do RAW?

  3. #3
    dickinsonjon
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    Re: Upgrading from Finepix Z1

    Fair question! Yes, I do - I've only dipped my toe into the water as regards RAW developing but I recognise the potential for it, so I certainly wouldn't want to exclude myself from being able to do so. However, what I was trying to articulate was that I'd like to have reasonable in-camera JPEG as I take a lot of photographs and can imagine doing RAW workflow on all of them would be a bit of a turn-off, as opposed to only when I feel it's necessary. Does that make sense?

    Cheers
    Jon

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    Senior Member Robert Campbell's Avatar
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    Re: Upgrading from Finepix Z1

    There are programs which will do batch processing of RAW files, if this makes it easier for you - I don't know if GIMP does. You can tune the batch to suit the situation.
    Sláinte

    Robert.

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    Re: Upgrading from Finepix Z1

    dickinsonjon in answer to your query, any of the three cameras you cite will produce better image quality than the Z1.
    The folded options of the z are a compromise for compactness.
    As to which is better, that in part is matter of persnal preference.
    The G9 is larger and heavier that the GX100.
    Some might like that though. It also has the fastest RAW wirte times of any small sensor camera.
    The Ricoh user interface is wonderful and intuitive
    It also permits a great deal of image control even at the jpeg level.
    Sadly i am unfamilair with the panaleicas

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    Senior Member Lisa's Avatar
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    Re: Upgrading from Finepix Z1

    If RAW isn't an absolute necessity, also check into the Fujifilm F30/F40/F50/F100 line (whichever is the current model). They have a fantastic sensor, substantially less noise than most any other digicam I know of (see the review of the F30 or F50 at DPReview.com to confirm), and are small enough to fit in a pocket. The F100 is due out next month; I currently have the F30 and plan to upgrade. Other than a lack of RAW & histograms, I'm happy with everything about the F30. The Fujifilm marketing hype claims the F100 has much wider dynamic range than previous digicams, which, if true, eliminates about half the reason I would want RAW. I've made some very good 12"x18" prints from F30 photos.

    What digicam is best depends on what's important to you. Things like the G9 will be more full-featured, but it's bigger and heavier than the F30/F100. I *believe* the F30/F100 is lower noise (but I'm not absolutely positive).

    Just to tell you where I'm coming from, I normally use a Nikon D200, but have the digicam in my purse or car to have it handy for times when I unexpectedly see something to photograph, and for times when I don't want the bulk and weight of the D200.

    Lisa

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    Re: Upgrading from Finepix Z1

    Excellent suggestion Lisa, thats where I'd origianllly meant to go with my RAW question.
    I had a F31fd and rather liked it except the the lack control over sharpness.
    The same sensor is in my S6000fd superzoom with full ontrol and it is great.
    If RAW is not needed a very good option, according one of my friends who has one, is the Nikon Coolpix 5100. Full image controls as well

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    Re: Upgrading from Finepix Z1

    Hi Jon
    From one Jon to another I guess.
    First of all RAW - I think it's worth using one of the new DAM programs - either Lightroom or Aperture - if you do this you don't need to even think about RAW 'processing'. The program holds changes you make in a database, and the RAW original stays intact - in fact, there is no different to the process for RAW or jpg files (I've always found it difficult to have a 'mixed' workflow of raw and jpg).

    As to the cameras - I don't have a G9, but I do have the previous model (my wife uses it) - I also have a GX-100 and a Leica D-lux3 (largely identical to the Panasonic). I prefer the controls on the GX100, but the Leica is a close second and it has the splendid 16:9 ratio; both were clearly designed to be easy to use . . . . for those who understand photography (which you clearly do). The macro is better on the Ricoh, but the long end of the lens is not as good as the Leica. The Ricoh has the splendid 'snap' (2.5 metre) and infinity fixed focus . . . but the leica shows the depth of field.

    If you haven't already done so, then paying your (whatever it is) for Sean Reid's review site is worth every penny - it probably won't really help you to make your decision, except to make you sure that you want one of these cameras.

    As for the comparison with the Z1 - I couldn't possibly comment (never having had one). But Lili is unquestionably badass, and therefor to even question anything she says would be:
    unchivalrous
    impolite
    unwise
    (some would say positively foolhardy)


    For my money? Get the Ricoh (just)

    Just this guy you know

  9. #9
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    Re: Upgrading from Finepix Z1

    Man, the macro must be pretty darn impressive on the GX100, because the macro shots from my D-Lux 3 have blown me away.

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    Re: Upgrading from Finepix Z1

    First of all RAW - I think it's worth using one of the new DAM programs - either Lightroom or Aperture - if you do this you don't need to even think about RAW 'processing'. The program holds changes you make in a database, and the RAW original stays intact - in fact, there is no different to the process for RAW or jpg files (I've always found it difficult to have a 'mixed' workflow of raw and jpg).

    Hmmmm interesting, one reason I avoid RAW is because I hate the mess. Tell me more So these can do both?

    As to the cameras - I don't have a G9, but I do have the previous model (my wife uses it) - I also have a GX-100 and a Leica D-lux3 (largely identical to the Panasonic). I prefer the controls on the GX100, but the Leica is a close second and it has the splendid 16:9 ratio; both were clearly designed to be easy to use . . . . for those who understand photography (which you clearly do). The macro is better on the Ricoh, but the long end of the lens is not as good as the Leica. The Ricoh has the splendid 'snap' (2.5 metre) and infinity fixed focus . . . but the leica shows the depth of field.

    I have played with the G9, it is far too massive for me, butotherwise nice. I ADORE the Ricohs and defer to your judgement on the Leica

    If you haven't already done so, then paying your (whatever it is) for Sean Reid's review site is worth every penny - it probably won't really help you to make your decision, except to make you sure that you want one of these cameras.

    Ditto!

    As for the comparison with the Z1 - I couldn't possibly comment (never having had one). But Lili is unquestionably badass, and therefor to even question anything she says would be:
    unchivalrous
    impolite
    unwise
    (some would say positively foolhardy)


    LOL, Badass am I!?!?!?!?

    For my money? Get the Ricoh (just)

    ROFL

  11. #11
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    Re: Upgrading from Finepix Z1

    Quote Originally Posted by Lili View Post

    LOL, Badass am I!?!?!?!?
    Well, actually Lili, I see an omission here (as far as I know we haven't actually seen your ***?)
    I wasn't talking literally though

    Just this guy you know

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    Re: Upgrading from Finepix Z1

    Quote Originally Posted by Lili View Post

    [I]Hmmmm interesting, one reason I avoid RAW is because I hate the mess. Tell me more So these can do both?
    Yes - you don't need to save anything as anything else:
    Link to the files in the program (they call it import, but it's better to leave the file structure as it is).
    make your modifications - print / create web pages, whatever
    the changes you made are saved in a database, so you only ever need the original of the file (and a backup of the library of course).
    Clear as mud?

    Just this guy you know

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    Re: Upgrading from Finepix Z1

    Quote Originally Posted by jonoslack View Post
    Well, actually Lili, I see an omission here (as far as I know we haven't actually seen your ***?)
    I wasn't talking literally though
    Another 'wings' type shot then?

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    Re: Upgrading from Finepix Z1

    Quote Originally Posted by jonoslack View Post
    Yes - you don't need to save anything as anything else:
    Link to the files in the program (they call it import, but it's better to leave the file structure as it is).
    make your modifications - print / create web pages, whatever
    the changes you made are saved in a database, so you only ever need the original of the file (and a backup of the library of course).
    Clear as mud?
    Interesting, I will look into it

  15. #15
    Senior Member nostatic's Avatar
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    Re: Upgrading from Finepix Z1

    the only downside to using raw with aperture and my dlux3 is that the import of the raw files is painfully slow (direct from the camera). It is a lot quicker if I use a card reader.

    But after that, as Jono said, there isn't much of a difference in workflow. With raw you have a few different "adjustment" sliders/options but everything else is transparent.

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    Re: Upgrading from Finepix Z1

    Quote Originally Posted by nostatic View Post
    the only downside to using raw with aperture and my dlux3 is that the import of the raw files is painfully slow (direct from the camera). It is a lot quicker if I use a card reader.

    But after that, as Jono said, there isn't much of a difference in workflow. With raw you have a few different "adjustment" sliders/options but everything else is transparent.
    You tempt me

    Edit, I use XP Pro, I cannot easily find anything saying if Aperture works there. Does it?
    Last edited by Lili; 10th March 2008 at 12:47.

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    Senior Member Robert Campbell's Avatar
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    Re: Upgrading from Finepix Z1

    Quote Originally Posted by Lili View Post
    You tempt me

    Edit, I use XP Pro, I cannot easily find anything saying if Aperture works there. Does it?
    She tempts everyone!

    Surely Aperture is Mac only?
    Importing from a card reader always is much quicker than by direct connection - this isn't really worth it.
    But I would suggest downloading from a card reader to a file, then importing - you keep control.
    Sláinte

    Robert.

  18. #18
    dickinsonjon
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    Re: Upgrading from Finepix Z1

    Thanks for the suggestions folks - I handled a G9 the other week in a shop, and was very happy with the size and weight - I have pretty big hands (you know what they say - big hands - bass player... ho ho) which is one reason the G9 might get the upper hand. I haven't handled the other two yet though, hoping to check them out later this week if I can get away from work.

    Love the control layout of the Ricoh, and the 24mm. Liking the 16:9 of the Pan/Leica. A bit wary of all the new fangled 'pet detection' and 'auto mirrorball' type features on the Canon.

    I suspect it's down to a handling test to be honest, they all cost roundabout the same, give or take a couple of rounds and a curry, and I see plenty of nice looking images from all three cameras.

    Have looked at Aperture et al, they do look rather interesting. Aperture is Mac only btw, :-( however I believe Lightroom and LightZone are both cross-platform. Having checked out both of them this evening, I have to say I rather like the look of the way LightZone works, especially for B&W processing. I'll be downloading the demo for a little try-out when I get enough time.

    See - great educational fun - and I'm still none the wiser :-)

    Cheers
    Jon

    P.S. Here's another Z1 shot I just about got away with:


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    Re: Upgrading from Finepix Z1

    Quote Originally Posted by Lili View Post
    Another 'wings' type shot then?
    Assbolutely - no doubt about it.

    Just this guy you know

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    Senior Member Robert Campbell's Avatar
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    Re: Upgrading from Finepix Z1

    Quote Originally Posted by jonoslack View Post
    Assbolutely - no doubt about it.
    Control yourself Jono - stiff upper lip and all that: have another cold shower
    Sláinte

    Robert.

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    Re: Upgrading from Finepix Z1

    Quote Originally Posted by dickinsonjon View Post

    Lovely Jon - I wish I was going skiing . . . oh, hang on, actually, I am, up at 3 in the morning and off to Geneva by plane.


    Just this guy you know

  22. #22
    dickinsonjon
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    Re: Upgrading from Finepix Z1

    I'm jealous - I'm done for this season :-(

    Enjoy!
    Jon

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    Re: Upgrading from Finepix Z1

    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Campbell View Post
    Control yourself Jono - stiff upper lip and all that: have another cold shower
    Just packing for the plane, so, unless I'm a sadder bastard than I think, I won't see the result anyway.
    Just setting it up for you guys


    As for the cold shower - 'another' is not a possibility, are you telling me I should have my first one?


    My only current problem is that I have to get up at 3.00am

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    Re: Upgrading from Finepix Z1

    Quote Originally Posted by jonoslack View Post

    My only current problem is that I have to get up at 3.00am
    And your next one is working out that Geneva is in Switzerland, and that you need garlic to drive a car on the wrong side in France
    Sláinte

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    Re: Upgrading from Finepix Z1

    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Campbell View Post
    And your next one is working out that Geneva is in Switzerland, and that you need garlic to drive a car on the wrong side in France
    Don't give a toss where Geneva is (we've got Emma's TomTom, and I know where La Rosiere is).
    As for the Garlic . . . . the bits of me that aren't made of burgundy, ARE made of garlic

    Just this guy you know

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    Senior Member Robert Campbell's Avatar
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    Re: Upgrading from Finepix Z1

    Quote Originally Posted by jonoslack View Post
    Don't give a toss where Geneva is (we've got Emma's TomTom, and I know where La Rosiere is).
    As for the Garlic . . . . the bits of me that aren't made of burgundy, ARE made of garlic
    Off to bed with you, Jono. Bon voyage!
    Sláinte

    Robert.

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    Re: Upgrading from Finepix Z1

    Quote Originally Posted by dickinsonjon View Post
    P.S. Here's another Z1 shot I just about got away with:

    Where?
    Sláinte

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    Re: Upgrading from Finepix Z1




    Nice shot Jon, the little Fuji Z series are not bad at all, they still have the Super HR CCD sensors after all

  29. #29
    dickinsonjon
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    Re: Upgrading from Finepix Z1

    It's near Le Grand Bornand, French Alpies - very near to the Col de la Colombiere, which is used by the Tour de France sometimes. Nice place.

    Cheers
    Jon

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