Build complex toys and simple tools
by Tony Karp

My new Panasonic DMC-FZ35 - Part 2
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 - The Artist's Muse, ready for her screen test - Panasonic DMC-FZ35 - Tony Karp, design, art, photography, techno-impressionist, techno-impressionism, aerial photography , drone , drones , dji , mavic pro , video , 3D printing - Books -
The Artist's Muse, ready for her screen test
Panasonic DMC-FZ35 - processed in LightZone 3
It's been about five days since I got my FZ35, and I'm starting to get a feel for the camera. I've shot some caterpillars to test the macro facility, been on two night walks to test the low-light capabilities, and shot some pictures of my six-year-old granddaughter to test the responsiveness of the camera.

I'm happy to report that the FZ35 performed admirably in all of these situations. After about 1500 pictures I'm starting to get a feel for this camera, and I like it very much. It's handled just about every situation beautifully, from full sunlight to almost total darkness and produced beautiful images.

I think that the first thing that struck me about the camera was the new LCD. I've never been a fan of using the camera's LCD for composing, usually sticking to the viewfinder. But, as I mentioned in part 1 of this series, The FZ35's new and improved LCD is spectacular.

The next thing that got my attention, and this took several days of shooting to verify, is the great responsiveness of this camera. It's fast, and it's accurate. The focusing, exposure, and auto white balance, seem almost instantaneous, when compared to the earlier models.

Let's start with the autofocus. Panasonic claims that the focusing speed of the FZ35 is about 2.5 time faster than the previous FZ28, and I believe that they're right about this.

To get the fastest speed, I've also set the camera for Continuous Autofocus, and the focusing mode to a matrix pattern (11-AREA) that looks for something anywhere on the screen. With this combination set, the camera seems to lock on target almost instantly, with almost none of the back-and-forth hunting I've seem in previous models.

I think that the FZ35 gets its focusing "DNA" from using the same processor (Venus Engine HD) used in the DMC-G1 and DMC-GH1. And I was impressed by how quickly the camera focused in low-light situations that are usually difficult for cameras like the FZ35. On our night walks, the camera was able to lock focus on things that I could just barely see.

The auto exposure works very well. I used the "spot" metering for tricky situations, which also worked out very well. The FZ35 has the same annoying bug as the FZ28, where the "exposure lock" will unlock if the camera is zoomed even a tiny bit. More abut this in a future post.

The Auto White Balance also seemed to work better than on the previous models. It wasn't fooled by the fluorescent lights in my studio or in my kitchen. I used the custom white balance in some of the night situations, and that yielded good results as well.

 - Truck crossing Bull Run at night - Panasonic DMC-FZ35 - Tony Karp, design, art, photography, techno-impressionist, techno-impressionism, aerial photography , drone , drones , dji , mavic pro , video , 3D printing - Books -
Truck crossing Bull Run at night
DMC-FZ35 - 1/15 sec @ f3.7 - 800 ISO - 255mm equiv.
Here's an item for the "What were they thinking" department.

Most every digital camera that camera that shoots video has had to cope with the fact that different countries use different video standards, but this is the first camera I've ever seen that has actually used two different model numbers to differentiate between them. Other manufacturers have either built their cameras to work with both systems, or have used the same model number for both versions, marking the boxes clearly to say which video system the camera was for, and making sure that each country got the right version.

It appears that the difference is that the FZ38 can be set to NTSC or PAL video output, but the FZ35 (North America) is NTSC only.

From the Panasonic online specifications: "AV Output (NTSC / PAL, NTSC only for N. America)."

On the FZ38's SETUP menu, there is an setting labeled VIDEO OUT that lets you "Set to match the colour television system in each country." This setting is missing on the FZ35.

There may be other differences between the two models, but that's all I've found so far.

Whatever the thinking behind this, it's caused a bit of a mess. People posting on the online forums refer to "my FZ35" or "my FZ38." At least you know what countries they might be posting from.

This has also caused a problem for the people who shoot raw format. Usually, they have to wait some time before the third-party makers of raw software support their new model. In the meantime, they come up with creative workarounds. (In testing the raw files from the new Olympus E-P1, they used a hex editor to go into the E-P1's raw files and change the camera model to an older one so the files would be recognized.)

Although the FZ18, FZ28, And FZ35 are basically the same camera, each has its own raw file format, and requires separate support from every maker of raw-processing software.

But the two-names thing may cause another problem. Adobe has announced its new version of its raw-processing software and it supports the FZ35, but not the FZ38. Maybe they don't realize that the same camera now has two model numbers and they'll eventually get around to fixing it. Or maybe the people with the FZ38s can use a hex editor to patch the model number in their raw files.

Certainly, Panasonic has created an interesting situation for the other makers of raw-processing software, as well as for anyone who wants to refer to this new camera.

Panasonic, what were you thinking?

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