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New toy- Panasonic DMC-FZ30


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I'm posting this in gen. discussion because I have no intention of ever bringing this baby on an inspection.

I just ordered a Panasonic DMC-FZ30 digital camera. I'm a little over my head- I did a fair amount of film photography about 25 years ago- but I've been wanting to get back into it for some time. Other than my inspection camera (point and shoot) I have NO digital camera experience. Any tips are welcome and much needed!

I did a lot of research before deciding in this model. The one thing I can't get a handle on is imaging software. What is the best one for "dummies"?

Thanks in advance.

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Chris,

For image "handling" in general, organizing, culling, browsing, there's one called ACDSee. It is "shareware" and is available online for free, but you have to register it.

It doesn't do any editing, though.

For editing the most user friendly and idiot proof one I have used is called Paint Shop Pro, by a company called JASC.

It is reasonably priced and no where near as intimidating as Adobe Photohop, which is what pros use.

camera should come with some kind of editing software, though the ones I have seen and used haven't impressed.

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I don't know much about editing software. Every single one that I've tried, with the exception of Photo Draw, which came with my MS Office program, has frustrated the hell out of me. If you've got office my might already have it. It depends on what version you've got. I've got a 5 year old version of MS Office 2000 Premium.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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I'm about as adept @ PhotoShop as any amateur, and I have a friend who's entire career is retouching photos in PhotoShop for large advertising firms. (He will retouch each individual pixel in an image over a period of 6-8 months.)

First & foremost consideration; you need a good image. Don't bother trying to make a poor image "good" by editing. My friend won't even consider beginning a retouch unless there is a good image to start with.

When you have a good image, editing becomes almost unnecessary. Hence, editing software is not that large a consideration. Learn how to use your camera, & leave the editing to folks that don't know how to shoot.

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Chris...

You will get some software with the camera.

Included software: Lumix Simple Viewer, Photo Fun Studio, ArcSoft PhotoBase, ArcSoft PhotoImpression, ArcSoft Panorama Maker, USB driver

Depending on what you want to do with the photos, these may suffice. Play with them before you go out and spend money on the fancier programs.

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Yes, but the difference between a browser like ACDSee and an editor is that the browser lets you view, shuffle, organize, etc. with much ease, while the editing ones only let you open one image at a time.

Therein, for me, liew the frustration factor.

The browser, however, won't even do the most basic editing like resizing, which is really necessary for uploading, etc.

ACDSee is free and Paint Shop Pro is under $100.

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Originally posted by chrisprickett

I'm posting this in gen. discussion because I have no intention of ever bringing this baby on an inspection.

I just ordered a Panasonic DMC-FZ30 digital camera. I'm a little over my head- I did a fair amount of film photography about 25 years ago- but I've been wanting to get back into it for some time. Other than my inspection camera (point and shoot) I have NO digital camera experience. Any tips are welcome and much needed!

I did a lot of research before deciding in this model. The one thing I can't get a handle on is imaging software. What is the best one for "dummies"?

Thanks in advance.

Where'd Chip Estabrooks go? This is a perfect question for him.

Chris, I don't know much about serious digital photography but I have some friends and family who shoot professionally. It seems like all of them use Photoshop. For them, time is money and they can't afford to screw with lesser programs. I'm told that taking a class in Photoshop is well worth it to reduce the learning curve.

That said, I agree with Richard. Try the stuff that Panasonic includes with the camera. It may do everything you need.

I still shoot digital on my inspections, but when I'm shooting for pleasure, I use another technology that's more advanced. It uses a long strip of polyester coated with silver salts. When you focus light on a section of the strip, it forms an image with much greater detail than you can get with your primitive digital toys.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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Originally posted by Jim Katen

I use another technology that's more advanced. It uses a long strip of polyester coated with silver salts. When you focus light on a section of the strip, it forms an image with much greater detail than you can get with your primitive digital toys.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

Yes, and there's all the really cool chemicals to go w/the silver salts as they swirl down your drain and into the water supply. Don't forget the value of lottsa chemicals in the environment; it's about jobs. Jobs in the mfg., sales, & distribution, and lots more jobs for our kids in cleaning them up.

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Yeah,

That's my favorite one too Jim. I have a Pentax MX that I purchased in 1977 that takes the best danged pictures I've ever taken in my life. I bought it after taking a course in photography as a college elective and used to love to play with it and compose my own shots. For crime scene photography it was every bit as good at the Nikons and Canons that the government supplied us, weighed less than half what they did and took sharper pictures quicker. Alas, it's not as much fun when one doesn't have a darkroom and must rely on what you get developed by the little booth, so I've hardly pulled it out of the drawer for years.

OT - OF!!!

M.

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Originally posted by hausdok

Alas, it's not as much fun when one doesn't have a darkroom and must rely on what you get developed by the little booth, so I've hardly pulled it out of the drawer for years.

That's really the problem. I ran film for years; I had a darkroom, & thought it was great fun. The problem is color; can't really play w/color without spending insane amounts on "color" darkroom.

Digital let's us all play. And, fewer chemicals.

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Originally posted by Jim Katen

When you focus light on a section of the strip, it forms an image with much greater detail than you can get with your primitive digital toys.

You're such a romantic Jim. [;)]

And while true, it's only a matter of time before technology shuts that gap as well. Either they'll find ways to get 100 megapixels out of the existing stuff or some other new system will come along and totally displace what we call "digital" now (the way of the 8 track). The way technologies have leap-frogged themselves in my mere half of a lifetime is amazing to me. If I match the typical lifespan of most in my family trees I still have just as far to go as I've already come. Who knows what things might be like by then?

Congrats on the new camera Chris. I have Photoshop Elements, but can't do much with it. I do most of my photo stuff with the Microsoft photo software the computer came with "Picture It", I think).

Brian G.

Digitally E-ficient, But Not Overly Pro-ficient [:-boggled

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Originally posted by hausdok

Yeah,

That's my favorite one too Jim. I have a Pentax MX that I purchased in 1977 that takes the best danged pictures I've ever taken in my life. I bought it after taking a course in photography as a college elective and used to love to play with it and compose my own shots. For crime scene photography it was every bit as good at the Nikons and Canons that the government supplied us, weighed less than half what they did and took sharper pictures quicker. Alas, it's not as much fun when one doesn't have a darkroom and must rely on what you get developed by the little booth, so I've hardly pulled it out of the drawer for years.

OT - OF!!!

M.

Ah! A fellow Pentax user. I still shoot with a small stable of Spotmatics dating from 1964-1974. The Spotmatics are a joy to use and the Takumar lenses are sharp as a razor and smooth as silk.

I'm not familiar with your MX -- I never got into the K-mount models. But my Magic Lantern guide says that the MX came with 8 optional accessory focusing screens. I've never heard of such a thing before. Cool idea.

Next time you're in Portland, you've got to check out Blue Moon Camera and Machine. Go to the web site, click on "galleries" and take their brief photo essay. It's fun.

http://www.bluemooncamera.com/index.php

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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Kewl!

Thanks Jim. Now I've got three places to go down there. Blue Moone Camera & Machine, that danged construction bookstore - which name I can never remember, and that big-A**ed bookstore downtown that takes up about 3 square blocks. Can't remember the name of that one either but it's gonna be the first place I go when I'm down there.

OT - OF!!!

M.

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Originally posted by kurt

Yes, and there's all the really cool chemicals to go w/the silver salts as they swirl down your drain and into the water supply. Don't forget the value of lottsa chemicals in the environment; it's about jobs. Jobs in the mfg., sales, & distribution, and lots more jobs for our kids in cleaning them up.

Pshaw! I live near one of Intel's production facilities. The manufacture of computer chips involves the use of massive amounts of nasty chemicals. Then there's the huge problem of disposing of the computers when we're done with them every three years. I could argue that the use of digital cameras is contributing an ocean of waste compared to the puddle created by film photographers.

Besides it seems like there are only about 10 or 15 film photographers left in the U.S. anyway.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

M42 rules!

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Thanks all for the tips! When the thing gets delivered, I'll have 100 more questions.

FWIW, One of my main reason for going digital is that I lack the patience for for waiting to see my pictures, and if I gotta build a dark room to process them myself, and learn all that... well let's just say that I know me better than that!

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Yep,

Now I remember. That's the one. Awsome place. I could browse that place for days. In fact, if they'd let me, I'd bring a pup-tent and reading light and stay there over night (Like that's going to happen, right?).

Hey, that's an idea. Maybe they're looking for a night watchman.

The other place is Building Tech Bookstore. Not very big place but it's like the motherload of construction-related stuff. As I recall, Jim's not a fan of the folks who run it for some reason.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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Yeah; Powell's is awesome. We've actually got an offshoot here in ChiTown, but it's nothing like the Portland store.

If you ever make it to Chicago, we should go to Bookman's Alley in Evanston; it's a rambling collection of garages & old industrial buildings (in an alley, of course). I spend a few hours in there each week perusing the books.

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Sounds like a plan, but you might not want to go book browsing with me. I once took off for a week and bumbed all up and down the east coast looking for old issues of woodworking magazines to round out my collection. My wife thought I'd driven to DC to visit the Smithsonian. I found a mint Volume 1 Issue 1 of Fine Woodworking in a little store off an alley next to Port Authority in Manhattan and some really old issues of American Woodworker in Philly. All in all, I put 2,000 miles on the car and increased my collection by about 50 issues. For me, that was fun. For most people?.......

Whoops! Er, sorry Chris. Kinda drifted a little there. I'll have to send you some Starbucks to atone.

OT - OF!!!

M.

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Originally posted by Neal Lewis

Chris,

I just bought the FZ5. It is a great camera, but without the manual focus and much smaller than the FZ30. I have taken some very clear handheld moon shots at 48X ; the image stabilization really works. Here is the best forum for all things Panasonic.

http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/forum.asp?forum=1033

Sweet! I'll be asking LOTS of questions!

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Pixel's, silver salts, editing software, hardware, & accessories.

Good God, WHAT ABOUT ART?

Are we so inured to the mechanics & frills that we have eschewed the admonitions of Stieglitz? Is Henri-Cartier Bresson's decisive moment lost in the titillation of equipment acquisition?

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