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Shooting non-repeatable events: weddings, recitals, plays, performances...


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Old September 27th, 2013, 08:07 PM   #16
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Re: anyone using the pana DMC-FZ200 for weddings?

Hi Roger

The FZ200 only uses a tiny sensor 1/2.3" as opposed to DSLR's which have APSC sensors so the crop factor compared to full frame is a huge 5.555!!

The lens is actually a 4.5mm at full wide and 108mm at full zoom but when you apply the crop factor it gives you a FF (called 35mm after 35mm film cameras) equivalent of 25mm to 600mm

I guess the 25mm - 600mm sounds a lot more impressive than 4.5mm - 108mm???

Wow! that's quite a healthy zoom! I would suspect that the audio would not be as good as XLR but a lot better than a GoPro audio track? I had a GH1 and even the built-in mic was quite impressive!!

Chris
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Old September 28th, 2013, 05:05 AM   #17
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Re: anyone using the pana DMC-FZ200 for weddings?

Hi Chris,

The figures are fascinating, but I wanted a camera that enables me to take high quality stills and video quickly and easily under the sort of conditions that I usually encounter at weddings. It needs to be able to take long range close ups under normal conditions and without changing lenses, while being able to take shots from short range with a wide enough field of view. It also needs full manual control, RAW shooting and a good battery life. I also like the high speed HD recording for slomo although at 100fps pal the image size is reduced to 1280. The FZ200 fulfills all of these things better than any other camera in the price range that I have tried, but it won't compete on a photographic level with DSLR cameras costing many times more. It will give them a good run for the money though :-)

The audio is 16bit stereo at 48k and XLR is a connection type not an audio quality. XLR sockets on pro gear allows for the much more solid connectors, and will takes heavier duty cable which is less susceptible to transmission and handling noise pickup than the light cables used on most consumer video mics. They are also normally lockable so are far less likely to get accidentally pulled out. It's easy enough though to solder up an XLR lead to connect to the Lumix 3.5mm connector.

For a serious lightweight and quick to use camera at a price less than most decent lenses, it is a great little camera. For someone like me taking both video and stills solo, it is a perfect addition to the kit.

Roger
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Old September 28th, 2013, 07:03 AM   #18
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Re: anyone using the pana DMC-FZ200 for weddings?

Hi Roger

Sounds like a bargain... an equivalent of 25mm for me is quite often not wide enough as I often work close with an 11m (on APSC ) which is about 15mm. However 25mm is perfectly OK for normal video use. My HMC cameras had an equivalent of only 40mm in the older days so 25mm is brilliant!! On my Sony's a 17mm zoom would be pretty close to 25mm (actually 25.5) and I use the stock lens a LOT at full wide.

I know XLR is a connector type only but more often than not they do into a decent audio board on big cameras rather than the direct minijack on the Panny's which tend to have noisy preamps.

Shucks even here the price is good for what you get!! About double the price of a GoPro and a lot more camera indeed. That should be a valuable asset to your gear ..I must look into it!!

Chris
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Old September 28th, 2013, 07:24 AM   #19
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Re: anyone using the pana DMC-FZ200 for weddings?

It's still not clear to me how the wide angle at 25mm on the fz200 compares with a 25mm lens with the 2x cropfactor on the gh3, Fran says it's twice as long as on the FZ200 so if I understand him right it should compare with a 12mm lens on the gh3 which is pretty wide.

The samples I have now seen on youtube do show it seems to be limited in dynamic range especially in high contrast scenes, which could be because of the small sensor, but I think for indoor ceremony like shoots it should be a great camera to have, does it also have the 30 minute limitation in recording time? And how about shallow dof, with that small sensor I take it that doesn't compare with a M4/3th or larger sensor?
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Old September 28th, 2013, 07:43 AM   #20
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Re: anyone using the pana DMC-FZ200 for weddings?

Hi Noa

The GH series have a crop factor of 2 and a sensor like the APSC .. The FZ's have a crop factor of 5.5 (due to the small sensor) hence the very short focal length of 4.5mm on the FZ200 whereas the GH1,2 and 3 would achieve a 25mm equivalent FOV with only a 12.5mm lens.

Interesting that Panny make also an FZ60 or 62 which is almost the same as the FZ200 but shoots only at 50i and 17mbps not 28mbps BUT is only half the price. I can get an FZ62 here for $300 whereas the FZ200 is a lot more at $799.

Gosh an FZ62 is actually cheaper than a GoPro!! I wonder how the footage compares ...it can also shoot 25p like the GoPro !

Chris
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Old September 28th, 2013, 11:05 PM   #21
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Re: anyone using the pana DMC-FZ200 for weddings?

I bought one some time ago and was bloody impressed. I did have some problems combining my GH2 footage @ 25p to the FZ200 @50p but I've sorted that out (I convert it all now) and I'm now looking for my 2nd.

there's no real manual focus and it seems a but fiddly at times but it's invaluable as a spare. I have it with me all the time and can quickly grab a shot of whatever is happening at the time. I've now shot 2 complete groom preps with it and I usually pick up some bride outside the church, mum, crying, processional etc.

the stabilization is brilliant, low light is pretty average but all in all it's a invaluable camera to have. I always work with a 2nd shooter and I'm getting one for him. He had it with him last wedding and caught the groom & sons ringing the bell while the other camera was still running on the tripod.
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Old September 28th, 2013, 11:30 PM   #22
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Re: anyone using the pana DMC-FZ200 for weddings?

The 200 has a constant 2.8 - the 60 does not, you do get what you pay for, or more accurately don't get what you're not paying for.

I picked a FZ200 up to test, and it's got a lot of good and unique features - the f2.8 from end to end on the lens is refreshing (meaning pretty decent In low light, albeit noisy as the ISO goes up). The slo-mo is pretty slick from what I can see, and there are a fair amount of image filters that CAN be used in movie mode (on Sony cams you can't use things like miniature, toy cam, etc., the Panny you can). With the flip out and rotate screen it feels a LOT like a video camera.

That said, I'm mixed on the stills so far, they aren't "bad", but I am used to shooting higher megapixel sensors, and I do see what "isn't there" upon close examination. And for some reason to my eye the skin tones look "off" (stills and video) - maybe because I've got everything calibrated for Sony cams... I dunno... again, not "bad", but once I noticed it, I can't "un-notice" it. Since skin tones are sort of important, it's left me on the fence on the camera - so much about it says "love it", especially for the price, but the image quality isn't popping for me.

I could easily see it replacing a video camera (on the US model, it doesn't appear to have a clip length limit, there's a limit on EU models if I read the manual correctly). I may have to spend some time trying to tweak the image - it seems "flat" to me, along with a sort of pale look to skin, probably a picky observation, but worth noting.

I'd love to see Sony "borrow" many of the features on the FZ in the high end HX (I'm preferring the results image quality wise from the HX300, which is a similar camera but with little manual control and of course lens ramping as you zoom). I've always liked the way the top end HX cams feel in the hand, and they feel quite natural shooting stills and video, plus the bang to buck ratio is good! The FZ200 very much fits in that same "niche". I'd definitely consider it as an "extra" camera, particularly if you're already shooting Panasonic cameras, where the "look" is more likely to be similar.
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Old September 29th, 2013, 10:04 PM   #23
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Re: anyone using the pana DMC-FZ200 for weddings?

The camera is superior to the Canon XA20 at full zoom. More detail. For under $500 it's a can't miss.

The biggest shortcoming, IMO is the horrible LCD screen. I do not use viewfinders, my eyes are too bad, and it's not easy to set exposure using the LCD screen. It is a brilliant camera. Still photos are not anything special, F/2.8 is too slow for great photos in many cases.

Overall it shoots better video than my XA20, but is not ergonomic and is relatively awkward to zoom with. As long as you do not need a smooth zoom, it's fine.
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Old October 4th, 2013, 08:31 AM   #24
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Re: anyone using the pana DMC-FZ200 for weddings?

Did anyone on here just buy the Panny FZ200 on ebay? Been watching a bidding war all day. It finally went at 322 and 10 p&p. A brand new one can be bought for 370 on DigitalRev. So I decided not to snipe it at that price.

Does anyone want to buy one, so they can show us some footage?? lol
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Old October 4th, 2013, 09:34 AM   #25
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Re: anyone using the pana DMC-FZ200 for weddings?

I bought my FZ200 from Wex Photography in Norwich who are a well respected shop and web based photographic company. Cost me 395 and it is good to have the backup if I have any problems.

I've used it at a couple of weddings so far, but still experimenting with the best settings. To upload the highest quality is a bit much for my internet connection, but might try in a few weeks.

You could of course visit a stockist, take your own SD card and do some test shots in the shop to get a real idea of what the camera can do. The alternative is to buy it, try it for a few shoots and eBay it if you don't like it. If it makes as much as the one you saw, you won't lose very much, although I doubt that you will want to get rid of it.

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Old October 5th, 2013, 03:33 AM   #26
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Re: anyone using the pana DMC-FZ200 for weddings?

Buy it from Wex or Amazon. Do some test shots & if you don't like then return within 7 days for a full refund under the Distance Selling Regulations.
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Old October 5th, 2013, 11:21 PM   #27
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Re: anyone using the pana DMC-FZ200 for weddings?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff Harper View Post
The camera is superior to the Canon XA20 at full zoom. More detail. For under $500 it's a can't miss.

The biggest shortcoming, IMO is the horrible LCD screen. I do not use viewfinders, my eyes are too bad, and it's not easy to set exposure using the LCD screen. It is a brilliant camera. Still photos are not anything special, F/2.8 is too slow for great photos in many cases.

Overall it shoots better video than my XA20, but is not ergonomic and is relatively awkward to zoom with. As long as you do not need a smooth zoom, it's fine.
Testing a FZ200 a bit myself, and that's a pretty good assessment - the thing does have a wicked slo mo capability, FWIW. I've had a couple instances where what I set on the LCD changed when I hit record, which makes me a little nervous, but I was trying to push the camera in horrible light just to see what it might be able to do... to me the ergonomics are similar to the Sony HX300, I actually like the overall handling for handheld.

Bang for buck ratio is pretty high, I feel the same way about the HX300 (which takes better stills). These are small sensor cameras, but the video is getting to where it rivals a video camera - used to be the video was a "bonus" that worked "OK", but you wouldn't want to rely on it, now I feel like some of the P&S cameras are almost better because they are low cost and so you can have a couple of 'em for "extra angle" or whatever!


I don't walk out the door with a video cam (or an SLR) anymore for "casual" use, it'll be a still camera at my side, and I don't feel like I've missed anything if I shoot stills or video with a small "consumer" camera - an HX300 or FZ200 paired with an RX100 makes a potent "pocket imaging solution". Really can't think of much that pair won't do if you know how to use 'em...

It'd be a bit much to do a paid "pro" shoot with cameras this small and "cheap", but I would probably not think twice if it were a low budget affair - I could deliver quality that most people would think was great, without feeling terribly limited technically - plus it's a small light "package" that would never fatigue you! The cameras aren't the limiting factor, it's knowing how to shoot them to the best results.
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Old October 6th, 2013, 03:08 PM   #28
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Re: anyone using the pana DMC-FZ200 for weddings?

Cheers for the advice and info folks.

Out of interest, is there any f2.8 zoom lenses available under 400?

I'm in the position of using prime only. I'd love on occasions like ceremony and speeches to be able to crop in close on guests candidly.

But if theres no lens option for this price, I may as well buy a lens at under 400 that happens to have a camera attached to it!
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Old October 7th, 2013, 12:20 AM   #29
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Re: anyone using the pana DMC-FZ200 for weddings?

Physics of a large sensor prohibits it (APS-C or FF 2.8 lens @ a low price point), I believe... The Panasonic gets away with it because it's a small sensor!
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Old October 7th, 2013, 07:18 AM   #30
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Re: anyone using the pana DMC-FZ200 for weddings?

You know Dave, video images are indeed flat and dull looking. The good news is there are occasions where this will not be as noticeable as others. I recall that reception footage I shot with it awhile back looked awesome. Great lighting will help overcome the camera's weaknesses, but sadly, as an event shooter I do not have as much control over lighting as I would like, so I use the camera cautiously. I find the camera very useful for wedding work, particularly when used for it's zoom capabilities from the back of a church.
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