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FZ18 Newbie Help
Hi there.

I have just ordered a Panasonic FZ18 and was wondering if you kind people would give me some advice on accessories I would benefit from..

Firstly, I have no experience in photography accept for using a simple Nikon Coolpix 3200 camera..

I am going on a Med cruise in 4 weeks and was wondering what to take to get some decent pics..

I have bought 2 spare batteries and invested in a 8GB Transcend HDSC card and a carry case..

I have read these forums for the past week and have to say, I have really enjoyed the posts and pictures and become like a kid at Christmas waiting for this new camera to arrive..

Like I say, I am a true novice and need really to know what lenses to buy for this cruise and of course for other things like taking pics of the Grand Children.

Would I benefit firstly from a UV lens?.

I want to eventually get into using the camera with manual settings but the last thing I want to do is come back from holiday with a load of bad photographs..

Any help would be much appreciated, and thank you all for all the great posts and information you have provided already..

Rob..

Comments (13)

You might consider a UV filter for protection and ease of lens cleaning (much easier to wipe salt water off a filter). Modern digital cameras gain little from UV filtering except at high altitudes and long distances as they are less sensative to UV..

A polarizing filter will also improve water and sky shots..

A good lens cleaning kit..

Other than that you have what you need.RegardsJim.

Http://www.flickr.com/photos/jimboutilier/..

Comment #1

Thanks JimAre there better uv filters? or would a cheapish one suffice?..

Comment #2

As I recall, Panasonic offers a filter kit with a UV, polarizer etc. The filter size on this camera will seriously limit your filter selection (37mm if I recall) so I would not worry too much. If you have a choice choose multicoated ones rather than plain glass..

Http://www.digitaltoyshop.co.uk/...OR_DIGITAL_CAMERA_PANASONIC_LUMIX_DMC-FZ18.

RegardsJim.

Http://www.flickr.com/photos/jimboutilier/..

Comment #3

I think the filter size is 46mm. I personally don't buy into the protect your lens with a filter argument being of the camp that says every extra piece of glass degrades the image. If you do get a clear or UV filter get a good quality multi-coated one..

The only filter I'd get for a Med. cruise (maybe) would be a polarizer as intense specular reflections from the water might be an issue at times. I hesitate making that suggestion as you really haven't learned your camera yet. I have reservations about accessorizing a tool one hasn't leaned to use...

Comment #4

Acsmith wrote:.

..... I personally don't buy into theprotect your lens with a filter argument being of the camp that saysevery extra piece of glass degrades the image..

Totally agree. One needs to bear in mind that with a UV filter (which won't affect a P&S-sized sensor anyway) you have an extra TWO glass/air interfaces to potentially further degrade your IQ  air and glass have different refractive indices..

I've never damaged an exposed lens surface by not using a filter of some sort as "protection", and I've shot in all sorts of adverse conditions. Basic "good housekeeping" will look after your lens perfectly adequately IMHO..

And yes, I agree: a circular polariser is the single accessory you'll need  particularly for the brightly sunlit Med locale..

Have a good holiday ..

Comment #5

Jim Boutilier wrote:.

As I recall, Panasonic offers a filter kit with a UV, polarizer etc.The filter size on this camera will seriously limit your filterselection (37mm if I recall) so I would not worry too much. If youhave a choice choose multicoated ones rather than plain glass.RegardsJim.

I dont have an FZ18 but I think the filter size for the FZ18 is 46mm and Panasonic offers an ND filter (DMW-LND46) and a skylight/UV filter (DMW-LMC46)..

(If filters, Id try to get the best ones available, like B+W MRC coated. Have the B+W MRC UV filter on my UZi all the time, high quality and easy to clean)..

And when you want even more zoom and use a 1.7 teleconverter, like Panasonics DMW-LT55 or the Olympus TCON 1.7 youll need the 55 mm adapter tube DMW-LA3..

But on the UZI I prefer the TCON 14B, magnification only 1.4 but better image quality. 62mm threads, so for the Panasonic adapter tube you would need a step up ring 55-62. (Heliopan rings are nice, brass, not cheap aluminum)..

Sold one of my 14Bs to a friend with an FZ30 and I think he is very happy with it..

Ren..

Comment #6

Maybe confirm your ship has US-type electrical outlets for the charger. I'd skip the UV filter, but if you must, Hoya HMC ones are great..

Also, a Gorilapod or other tiny tripod...

Comment #7

Rob -.

I think you well be very happy with the FZ18. I bought one for my son's family and they really like it. On your cruise, I think you will really appreciate both the wideangle 28mm (which is great for landscape, buildings - inside & out, and group shots) and the telephoto which will let you get close to things that most point and shoot cameras can't reach with sufficient magnification power..

My one suggestion in preparing for your trip is to experiment and practice with the camera BEFORE you leave on your cruise. Step #1 is to read the manual. Start with the simple introductory part and then go through the rest of it as you learn. Bring the manual with you on your cruise as a reference..

Also, the people in dpreview's Panasonic forum are very helpful and if you have any questions, that's the best place to post them. You don't need to be an expert to post questions in the Panasonic forum..

Enjoy your new camera and your vacation ....

- Simon.

Http://scpics.smugmug.com/..

Comment #8

I would not have only one large card but several..

If the card fails you have the others while is the card you have fails in the first day of the cruise where you get another one until get to a port?And if it fails in the last day?VictorBucuresti, Romaniahttp://s106.photobucket.com/albums/m268/victor_petcu/http://picasaweb.google.com/teodor.nitica/..

Comment #9

Thank you for all the replies, I do appreciate the help..

Right then, I have bought a Hoya multi coated UV filter and a Kood polorising filter, a lens cleaning kit, a Transcent 8GB SDHC and a 4GB SDHC card and 2 spare batteries..

I will probably invest in a better polorising filter eventually unless anyone suggests otherwies..

My camera will arrive tomorrow and I intend to use it extensively and familiarise myself with it before I depart on my cruise..

I will go out to the coast and try differnt settings and try and see the difference between the filters etc..

The next question would be about a tripod, I have seen the article saying don't waste money on a cheap one and suggest paying 800 USD or someting like..

Well that would be way overboard for me, I would imagine this would be geared towards enthusiasts using very heavy equipment?.

Once again, thanks for all the help..

Rob..

Comment #10

Rob1966 wrote:.

Thank you for all the replies, I do appreciate the help..

Right then, I have bought a Hoya multi coated UV filter and a Koodpolorising filter, a lens cleaning kit, a Transcent 8GB SDHC and a4GB SDHC card and 2 spare batteries..

I will probably invest in a better polorising filter eventuallyunless anyone suggests otherwies..

My camera will arrive tomorrow and I intend to use it extensively andfamiliarise myself with it before I depart on my cruise.I will go out to the coast and try differnt settings and try and seethe difference between the filters etc..

The next question would be about a tripod, I have seen the articlesaying don't waste money on a cheap one and suggest paying 800 USD orsometing like.Well that would be way overboard for me, I would imagine this wouldbe geared towards enthusiasts using very heavy equipment?.

Once again, thanks for all the help..

Rob.

Good choice rob. i'm happy with mine. i'd take lots of practice indoor shots before the cruise. indoor and low light shooting is more difficult with all of the ultra zooms not just the fz18. i'd go to the panasonic talk forum here. people there are very receptive to newbie fz18 users.

If nothing else i'd look at the "my settings" chapter for setting up the cameras settings. I found the IA feature works very well when in a hurry. here's the link http://www.digicamhelp.com/camera-logs/9/..

Comment #11

Rob -.

The FZ18 is a light camera (under 1 lb.) and has an excellent image stabilization system (OIS). At this point, I would suggest that you do NOT get a tripod. It defeats the purpose of getting a small portable camera like the FZ18. You might consider getting one of those small or very light tripods if you like to take pictures that include yourself by using the camera's built-in timer. (Personally, I haven't found the mini tripods to be very useful in that type of situation. Often there is no properly located object that is at the right level to put the tripod/camera on.



That said, there are some circumstances that a tripod is necessary even with a camera like the FZ18 ... night photography, for example. Also, some people may have more difficulty holding the camera steady at the long end of the zoom range. My suggest is that you give the FZ18 a try without the tripod and then make the determination whether one is useful to you. Whatever you do, don't spend more on the tripod than you did on the camera. If you do, you've got your priorities mixed up..

- Simon.

Http://scpics.smugmug.com/..

Comment #12

I would just get the basics since this is your first trip with the camera. You'll know better what to get for the next time, and with such a well-featured camera as the FZ18, you may not need a lot of the accessories you're considering..

Having owned a FZ1 and now an FZ50 (with an Olympus DSLR in between), I would recommend just getting a good case, a couple extra 3rd-party batteries, at least three extra memory cards (about 2GB-4GB size), and make sure that your destination uses the same AC plug as you do at home..

I've used UV filters as protection in very sandy, salty, windy, rainy, etc. environments, but I can probably count those times using the fingers on one hand. I used them more on the FZ1 (which has a similar lens design to the FZ18) than the FZ50 (which has a rigid, enclosed lens that doesn't slide in and out). Except a couple of times with my FZ50, more often than not I ended up messing up a shot using a polarizer. The pano in my signature (Marseilles, France) was taken WITHOUT a polarizer, and the blue sky and water is pretty much how it looked in real life. Sometimes all these accessories aren't worth the trouble of carrying them or the time consumed (miss opportunities) installing them..

That being said, along with my FZ50 I carry a Nikon TC-E15ED 1.5x (better IQ than the popular TCON-17), a Panasonic LW-55 wideangle adapter (which the FZ18 really doesn't need), a Vivitar 285HV external flash, and a FotoSharp rain bonnet. More than I use any filter I use the OEM lens hood. The FZ18 may not need any converters though you may end up wanting one, but you might be fine with the "stock" lens..

Have fun on your trip!.

ChrisEffzeeone now has a Effzeefifty!(Gear in profile)..

Comment #13

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This question was taken from a support group/message board and re-posted here so others can learn from it.

 

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