Seemolf Panasonic DMC-FZ5, Sanyo Xacti VPC-E6, Canon A70, Nikon FM-2

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Special "Trips and Ticks"

In late 2006 Panasonic fired the chief of marketing,
after the desaster with the L1 and venus III (art color).
At christmas 2006 the first 12 MPixel 1/2.5'' cameras were released with
less resolution than former 5 MP models.
Many people refused to take part in the megapixel desease any longer.

At Pansonic the technical crew took over and designed the missing FZ6 - seemolf edition:
- 6 MP, high contrast, ISO 50 sensor
- a Fuji sensor with a Leica optic, a dream came true!
additional features:
- intelligent highlight control (no more clipping)
- raw as raw can be
- full manual control
- same size as FZ5
- metal housing
- perfect configurable buttons
- bulb mode
- full remote control plug
- IR remote trigger - perfect remote functions provided by USB 2.0
- flash connector (no hot shoe)
- preflashes can be switched off (default: manual mode)
- twistable highresolution lcd 3' - top mount!
- metal threads close to the lens
- free achromat
- lifetime fuses
- no dust in the optics
- all parts stay onboard for more than 5 years (pads)
- linux OS with customer interface and SDK
- continous firmware development after release
- perfect dialogue with customers
- flawless technical specs., including entrance and exit pupil
- automatic hotpixel deactivation
- .....

*******alarm bell is ringing *********

------ waking up -------------

What is this!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
The chief of marketing is still working....

- 10Mpixels - late monet edition
- venus III plus
- ISO 6200
and some useless nonsense like
wifi, gps, google earth aware

next dream to come: nikon releases a lightweight dSLR.......

(this was written two weeks before the D40 was announced)

...oh this is real life....
Panasonic is constantly developing "new" cameras (degrading old cameras?).
and they simply forget some features all the time!
There are commercial solutions for brackets, diffusors, RDS mounts and remote releases.
You can save time, weight and money with the following setups.

There is a special section on light on a separate page
--- click on small pictures to enlarge them in a separate window ---
The following suggestion started with a "joke" at dpreviews:
old thread

This page would not exist if Panasonic would follow basic rules of design and information

Problem: Display can't be twisted

You can use a mirror in front of, or behind the camera
Both solutions are cheaper than the FZ50
By the way, the bottom attachment of the screen looks quite stupid to me!
This is Panasonic: stupidity starts behind the lens
In some cases even in front of the lens: look at the plastic "thread" of the FZ5

Universal Mount for the FZ5

Now you can attach most important things to your camera like:


My RDS mount

The FZ5 has a black screen between consecutive shots. It is nearly impossible to follow fast moving objects.

The RDS = red dot sign, designed for weapons, helps in this situation. It is an aiming device for fast moving objects. Many people shoot perfectly centered OOF (out of focus) pictures with this device. The FZ5 is not fast enough without predictive focus. But if you substitute the predictive focus with your own skills, this is a nice tool. The red dot is not visible to the object (no laser!!) But your camera looks more like a weapon now...

I have tried hard to avoid the bricks this time, but there was no chance! The criteria were:

  • - fast mounting
  • - small size "next to nothing"
  • - flash has to be free
  • - shiftable -backward/forward-
  • - can be used together with a tripod
  • - universal mounting point for several purposes
  • - removable
  • - stereoscopic sight with both eyes

  • This is my solution:

    Two LEGO® bricks (the third is decoration) were fixed with a double adhesive "poster strip". This first adjusting procedure is done on a tripod. The "removing trigger" will be covered lateron. The RDS is mounted on a technic beam. At this point the height can be adjusted. There is a screw for horizonal adjustments.

    Two connectors provide the quick release mechanism. The device passed the obligatory BIF seagull test.

    This is my universal mounting point now for: reflectors, torches, hot shoe, santa claus...

    I am still searching for the hot shoe of the FZ5. Panasonic? must have forgotten this part ;-)

    I hope there will be a cooperation of (Panasonic) Fuji?, Leica? and LEGO? (just a dream).

    Wire Release - minimalistic - 6 bricks

    !! The FZ5 like all FZs can be controlled via USB. This function is included in Panasonics alignment software (Tatsujin).
    But unlike Canon the big P. never handed out this function to the customer
    This is part of the customer friendly "take it as it is, or leave it" policy !!
    ..and please don't use the tatsujin software! Some people destroyed their camera in Germany with this software.
    It is an adjustment software used together with a specific hardware!

    Using this part: bracket - remote release and remote flash

    The FZ5 - a "pocket camera"

    I have a small bag, but this vest is better for my excursions.
    The c-180 was replaced by the non vignetting B-300 (=tcon17)
    The remote release is much smaller now
    The light box is bigger now, containing LED lights and backgrounds
    Some equipment was added: eg. cokin graduated grey filter, RDS, reversed lens, macrorail
    There will be a light weight "bean sack" soon the inner pockets are used too
    24 to 730mm (35 equiv.), full macro equipment and ext. flash in your pockets!
    No more searching in bulky bags of 500g and more
    Simply compare this to SLR equipment ;-) This is not a chance to get better pictures,
    but my way to carry this camera very often.
    My Nikon (FM2) stayed home, most of the time

    Remote release and changing SD and battery on a tripod

    The central parts are glued!

    This is my "bird feeder" release, pneumatics has an old tradition:
    FZ5 retro V2 
    (this one is called: give me steam, a bigger version: sledgehammer)
    The pneumatic release is much better than a mechanic wire release.

    Minimalistic pneumatics (Hama), velcro tape, plate with drilled hole below

    Next step: an electric release of the late sixties!
    Nobody will ever understand why the FZ1,2,3,4,5,7 does not have an electric release plug!
    Basic functions of all former cameras simply got lost
    on their long way through the marketing departments.
    This could only happen if the people there don't have the skill to use such a camera!

    Macro Setup

    The universal connector helps with many problems:
    (the small part in the middle is the camera!)
  • - cheap tripod (weight)
  • - pneumatic release as a compensation
  • - I can use my lcd again !!!!!!
  • - macrorail (old east german production)
  • - reversed 50mm SLR lens, mounted on cokin system A
  • - flash diffusor (if needed)

  • More ideas about macro and light with the FZ5: LIGHT

    Avoiding flash lights is even better

    A german forum told me to avoid flashing with my macros.

    The best members use tripods that cost much more than my "camera" - the Fz5.
    Manfrotto, Giotto, Novoflex, Berlebach (wood!) are the names of their drugs.
    So I had to search for a cheaper solution again.
    I needed a tripod for shots above and (!) below the normal tripod level.
    Covering the whole range from 1cm to appr. 1.70m.
    Macro shooting often means: flying at grass level.
    I had to work at Hannover lately. In a nice store filled up with old analogue and
    timeless LEICA equipment there was this little jewel from the late 60s:

    A LINHOF tripod with a reversible central column. (price 5 - 30 euros, used)
    Very stable and extremely adjustable.
    The cental coloumn can be moved up, down and back and forth to some degree.!
    In many occasions the macro rails can be left at home now!
    The white beam was added by me.
    This could be the beginning of a long friedship!

    There are new cheap tripods with a similar functionality:
    All of them have a reversable central column and can be used close to the ground.
    Prices around 40 to 60 Euros.

    Attaching big lenses with plumber parts

    The front lens of a binocular (microscope) MBS-10 LOMO
    This lens was used by Cerambyx - Latvia - for his excellent macros

    Attaching anything with cokin system A

    I am tired of searching adapters for adapters, or even reverse adapters......
    But I needed a fast system to attach special lenses to my cameras. Fast and centered of course!
    This is my solution:

    I am using a cokin system A, designed for square filters and various threads.
    The A and P system cover the whole range of threads 40,5 - 62mm or 49 - 82mm!
    This versatile system will be your friend for many generations of cameras.

    I did cut a round opening into the cap and fixed a 39mm thread for enlarging lenses into it.
    Reversed lenses are surrounded by a compressable but stiff foam.  (there is a 28mm takumar)
    They are stuffed into the sun shade and have a "firm grip".
    The equipment is centered and can be changed fast!

    Advanced solutions:
    - componon 4 /50mm reversed mount in f-adapter (minimal vignetting at 12*)
    - 35mm takumar reversed mount, cokin and part of a modified sun shade
    - microscopic objectiv in f-adapter (used for amber shots)

    Eye shade

    Take a tube, think a little bit and start to cut

    Sizes are variable as the light.
    Avoid the commercial eye pieces: no fantasy - round, such a nonsense!


    a working combination: Leitz microscope (1890), Lumix (2005), F-adapter

    Some jokes:

    This is dedicated to Goldberg and Storm:

    For those who are tired of combining teleconverters: 500mm mirror Tele, orthoscopic ocular, F-adapter. A spotting scope would be better!

    It started as a joke...
    But a different setup gives some hope:

    My new toy is a relict of those ancient SLR days. I started to test my 1,8/50mm pentacon lens as reversed lens (covered in the square-cokin sun shade). - Very good results up to now! But looking at the moon, I had to attach my beroflex 8/500mm in front of this lens. 500/50 = 10* Converter. The wide aperture of the reversed lens is essential for this setup. The exact distance of the two lenses has to be tested. Extension tubes and extenders can be used. All this is cheap material, but the tripod has to be extremely good! There is little purple fringing which can be removed easily.
    This is my first test: FZ5 8x zoom, f:3.3 t:1/100 full frame to enlarge!

    One last word on external power supplies:

    Any experiments are at own risk!
    Please remove the internal battery. You don`t want to charge the internal battery with your external battery!
    Auto power off is disabled with external batteries and (!) there is a small current even if the camera is switched off. So disconnect the battery pack after using it.
    A stabilized power supply with 7.5V works great. Actually you can use a range near 6V up to 8.4V.
    This is the normal range of the internal battery between full charge and discharge.
    The commercial DSP9000 is first choice as external battery pac - attaching to the tripod mount.
    I am using 6 (not 7 as mentioned in some tricks and tips!) standard AA NImH 2400 mAh accu cells for my FZ5. The camera cooperates even with 5 fully charged cells, but I don't know how long....
    The power consumption is stable: 2W (lcd, no zoom activities) over the whole range of voltages (6 - 8.4V)
    Currents: 8.4V 0.23A; 6V 0.34A
    The external power plug seems to work primarily as charging plug!
    This explains the strange voltage printed in the camera body.
    8.4V slightly exceeds the voltage of a fully charged battery.
    If the internal battery is inserted still, these are the currents:
    8.4V 0,12A camera switched on (looks like charging only)
    8.4V 0.10A camera switched off (again charging)
    7.8V 0A camera uses only the charged internal battery!

    These are the official values of power consumption:
    2.1W LCD; 2.0W View finder; 1.2W playback LCD; 1.1W playback View finder
    The external power supply should provide more than 2.1W!
    Reloading the flash and using the zoom needs more than 3W.
    Please check the exact voltage with and w/o load!

    ..the next version will use the brick box at the right side.

    MORE !

    Here are some themes handled by others - recommended!
    --please don't use the alignment software!!!--
    Some super clever german FZowners destroyed their cameras with this tool!
    The lucky ones lost their german setting forever and had to struggle to
    convert from the japanese version to the english menues.
    Adjustments need special tools and skills which we don't have!
    Even "killing hotpixels" is safer in postprocessing (there are photoshop filters!)
    Remote USB functions in a diagnostic mode show us the capabilites that are not handed
    to us by Panasonic!
  • Fun with the FZs - Maurice -ISO1600, Aligning, ..
  • Depth of field FZ1,FZ5
  • The Manuals!

  • ALL DMC MANUALS! (use show all rows!)

  • English Manual FZ1
  • English Manual FZ2
  • English Manual FZ3
  • English Manual FZ5,FZ4
  • English Manual FZ7
  • English Manual FZ10
  • English Manual FZ15
  • English Manual FZ20
  • English Manual FZ30
  • English Manual FZ50
  • English/Spanish Manual L1

  • I have seen French and German manuals on the Swiss - Panasonic server
  • German Manuals eg:"DMC-FZ8"

  • ..FAQ

    ps. We don't have a FAQ for the FZ5, but will I try to add some answers here.
    But the other FZ FAQs help us too:
    FZ1 FAQ
    FZ3 FAQ
    FZ10 FAQ

    Let's look at our problems (FZ5, FZ7):

    Q: Max. capacity of the SD card:
    A: 2 GB SD FAT16(not 1GB like the manual says)

    Q: Are there incompatible SD cards?
    A: Some lots of highspeed cards are not compatible.
    But there is no general rule. Use sources with a good return policy!

    Q: Some manufaturers have updates for SDHC Fat32 card - Panasonic too?
    A: Panasonic does not need any updates, they have got enough customers!
    A2: The last update was for the FZ1 firmware of japanese customers.

    Q: Is there a different adapter for the additional lenses?
    A: FZ5: Not at standard sources (perhaps in china), but the Panasic plastic part is quite cheap.
    Some use an empty filter as "starter"
    (There are adapters for the FZ7)

    Q: OEM or compatible batteries?
    A: Panasonic batteries are the best (capacity and life time), but batterybarn has good batteries too.

    Q: Do I need an extra -speed- charger?
    A: Our part is charging faster than the camera is consuming the energy. This should be enough.

    Q: Good wide converters?
    A: Raynox DCR6600 or the equivalent with 55mm threads. Both need modifications of the adapter!
    There are good Olympus and Schneider Kreuznach Converters too.

    Q: Best Telecoverters?
    A: Factor: less than 2* !! Olympus tcon14b, tcon17, Ricoh. Superb: Nikon ED converters - but do you really need a tcon????
    Try to get closer, teleconverters are useless in many cases.

    Q: Do I need a red dot sight (RDS)?
    A: No!! You need a camera which has no dark phases while shooting.
    By the way the autofocus is too slow for good RDS shots in many cases.

    Q: Do I need filters?
    A: Yes! A linear (or circular - for later use) polarising filter
    If you like it: a lens protector (or UV filter).
    A graduated gray filter (cokin), would be nice.
    A dream: a gray filter with a factor of more than 8 for water falls (B&H ..)

    Q: Are there special grayfilters?
    A: Yes, but not so easy to find sometimes: - these numbers can help -
    B&W filters and Neutral Density factors
  • • B&W 101 ND.3 (exposure adjustment = 1 stop, reduces ISO 1/2)
  • • B&W 102 ND.6 (exposure adjustment = 2 stops, reduces ISO 1/4)
  • • B&W 103 ND.9 (exposure adjustment = 3 stops, reduces ISO 1/8)
  • • B&W 106 ND 1.8 (exposure adjustment = approx. 6 stops, transmits 1% of light,)
  • • B&W 110 ND 3.0 (exposure adjustment = 10 stops, transmits 0.1% of light)
  • • B&W 113 ND 4.0 (exposure adjustment = 13-2/3 stops, transmits 0.01% of light)
  • • B&W 120 ND 6.0 = (exposure adjustment = approx. 20 stops)
  • and Baader sun foil ND 5.0 (exposure adjustment = 16 1/2 stops, transmits 0.001% of light)
    usage: look at these fine photos:
    long exposures - Reichert

    Q: Resolution of the camera (center)?
    A: FZ5 - 1350 LPH (Lines per Picture Height) horiz. - close to some 6MP cameras
    FZ10: 1000 LPH
    Fz20: 1350 LPH
    FZ7:  1400 LPH
    Fz30: 1750 LPH
    Fz50: 1850 LPH
    This is the resolution of some dSLRs with kit lenses.

    Q: Noise?
    A: I would prefer to talk about the weather....
    We had to live with "grain" all the time.
    But we did not smear this grain to an aquarell-like venus III-art.
    I am using ISO 100 all the time. Indoor shots are taken with a tripod.

    Q: Dead pixels?
    A: Can be removed (deactivated) by a very good service technician.
    I love my "blue" pixel that appears when the camera is real warm.
    There is a photoshop plugin - removing dead pixels, this is the safest way.

    Q: Infrared Photography?
    A: no way, use a FZ1v2...

    Q: If the lens is stuck, can this be fixed?
    A: Sure, Nashimir (many thanks to him!) has written an instructible.
    This includes the disassembly of the FZ5
    FZ5 Disassembly  
    Q: Should my next camera be a Panasonic too?
    A: Why! Panasonic is perhaps leader in class (at least the optics), but wait for the end of the megapixel race!
    We all need photos and not paintings with reduced resolution.
    This is my opinion.... .But take your own choice!

    Q: Would you like to buy a new camera now?
    A: Sure, but none of the pixel-monsters is attractive enough to leave the FZ5.
    There is no ideal dSLR at the moment too.
    So let's hope for a marriage of Fuji sensors with Leica optics sometimes....
    It is not necessary that Panasonic appears in this dream any longer..

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    Thanks for visiting my pages! Have a nice day - Sven

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