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Old May 16, 2013, 11:44 AM   #1
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Default Fast help with indoor photos on Lumix TZ3?

Hi Folks - this is my first ever post - I hope someone can help me solve this problem with my Lumix - or tell me to get a newer/better point and shoot. I have a brand new baby (5 weeks) and I am missing precious moments of her tiniest time until I figure this out!

I have a Lumix DMC-TZ3. It takes fabulous scenery photos OUTside during the DAY and I love it for that - in fact I bought it for the 10x zoom.

It seems to stink for indoor shots of any kind. It seems to me that if iphones can take these my stand alone camera should be able to! I get extremely noisy photos using every one of the "cheater" settings including "low light" (which seems to set the ISO up to 3200) I find the simple mode just a tad too simple especially in that it invariably seems to add flash which then washes out the foreground and plunges the background into artificial shadow.

I'm sure I have the manual somewhere but I moved recently - I am wondering if anyone can either give me some fast tips or tell me this is a known problem with this slightly old camera and tell me to move over to the "what camera should I buy" thread for advice on cameras for new parents. Or just get an iphone?! I have an Android now that also is doing a better job indoors but this is my first child and I really want to take the best photos I can.

thanks in advance for any advice. I have tried to attach two examples - not sure if it worked.
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Last edited by sharaz; May 16, 2013 at 11:48 AM. Reason: attachments
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Old May 16, 2013, 12:08 PM   #2
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First, here's the DMC-TZ3S Owner's Manual (English).

Second, the images you posted are reduced to 1024x768 from the original 3072x2304, so the noise you mention isn't very apparent from them. (See Why a resized photo is no use in showing camera quality .)

Third, there's no EXIF data in the images you posted, so we can't determine the exposure settings you used, so it's hard for us to tell you what to change.

There are three settings that affect exposure:
  1. Aperture - The amount of light that is allowed to pass through the lens to the image sensor.
  2. Shutter Speed - The length of time that light is allowed to pass through the lens to the image sensor.
  3. ISO Speed - The sensitivity of the image sensor to the light it detects.
The higher the ISO setting, the more obvious the errors in detecting light will be, so the more image noise you'll get.

The TZ3 has only two aperture settings, and those settings vary with the focal length. The longer the focal length (the more "Tele") the smaller the aperture, and the shorter the focal length (the more "Wide") the larger the aperture. To let in more light, you should get closer and use a wider angle of view. The difference won't be a lot, but it will help.

The TZ3 has optical image stabilization. Image stabilization allows you to use slower shutter speeds without getting motion blur due to camera shake. You can probably get away with longer shutter speeds than you've been using, allowing more light in. However, as good as image stabilization may be, it doesn't do anything to prevent motion blur due to subject movement, so you can probably get away with slower shutter speeds up to a point.

With a larger aperture and a slower shutter speed, you can use a lower ISO setting, which will reduce the amount of noise in your images.
  • The lens is the thing.
  • 'Full Frame' is the new 'Medium Format'.
  • "One good test is worth a thousand expert opinions." - Tex Johnston, Boeing 707 test pilot.

Last edited by TCav; May 16, 2013 at 12:11 PM.
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Old May 16, 2013, 12:09 PM   #3
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The pictures came through just fine. Cute baby. (really - she looks much less like Winston Churchill than most )
One thing I can suggest that might help is to use a flash diffuser, which can be just a piece of white, translucent plastic taped over the pop-up flash. This should cut down the harshness somewhat.
I can't give you any advice specific to your camera, but there is a forum just for your brand, if you scroll down the page a bit, with people who probably use the same camera and have worked out the best ways to use it.

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Old May 16, 2013, 5:41 PM   #4
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The high iso performance of a TZ3 (or any small sensor compact) is compromised- more so by your camera's age- thus,indoor pics without flash will be problematic.
Try using the flash/camera from further away from your baby and zooming in instead- it should help balance out the flash a touch. Use in iA mode or the appropriate scene mode- I can't remember off hand,but It might have a "baby" mode- and will certainly have a "portrait" mode.
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Old May 16, 2013, 7:31 PM   #5
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Cute pictures!

Hey . . . another way to help out the situation is to try to get more light on your baby!

If there is a nice window available, you can get some nice direction lighting to help out.

Or if you have lamps that you can aim, that might help too.

As for the flash washing out the foreground and leaving the background dark, maybe a night portrait mode might help? That and if your camera has a flash exposure compensation, maybe dial that back a bit?

Take care,
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Old May 17, 2013, 11:49 AM   #6
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Hi Folks,
thanks for the fast replies (and compliments about the baby - the Winston Churchill comment was priceless.)

So - I don't know how to preserve EXIF data - any hints?

Thanks for the manual link - very helpful!
I'm going to look in it for how to adjust ISO. I thought that it was the light metery type thing at the top of the ring (+1, -1 etc...) but I'm not sure.

Resizing - uh - you don't see noise in that top picture? It absolutely makes me cringe to look at it.

Camera specific thread - I see one for Panasonic Leica - is that the one you mean? I have a Panasonic Lumix - is that close enough?

Light in the environment - both pictures I posted were taken around mid-day in a room with a decent but not overwhelming amount of ambiant natural light from windows on both sides of the subject.

Simon40 - you mention my camera's age - do you think I should look to upgrade? I'm totally willing to do that, I've loved this camera (which I selected with the help of Steve's Digicam site waaay back in the day) for outdoors but if it's just out of date I am willing to spend the bucks. What I can't figure is that the (in theory) lesser cameras of smart phones do much better with inside shots than my nice point and shoot. Did digiphotography just bypass my camera while I wasn't looking? I don't really want to go through a lot of gyrations to make this camera work if it's not natively up to the task - my main theory is that something is horribly miss-set (probably as a result of past tinkering) and that's why my results are so bad.

Thanks everyone!!

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Old May 17, 2013, 3:04 PM   #7
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Shara- I'd certainly have a go at some of the suggestions above given here before you give up on the TZ3. I had one some time ago and it was a great little camera.

If you're in "P" mode- set the iso to 100 and the flash mode to auto... see how that goes- don't get too close (zoom a little if you wish...)...
Try the same again,but set the iso to auto... see if that's any better...

If you go into SCN1 or SCN2 on the mode dial you'll find several scene modes which might help- from Baby 1 and 2,Soft Skin,Portrait,Night portrait,Self Portrait...etc...
Try them all- see if any suffice...

Here's an old review of the TZ3- it might give you some hints on its functions etc...

And a baby pic with that very camera... (Click to enlarge)

Last edited by SIMON40; May 17, 2013 at 3:08 PM.
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Old May 29, 2013, 4:48 PM   #8
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You need to use a flash in low light situations. If you don't want that blow out look then you need to add a diffuser. Put some tissue paper in front of the flash can help.
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