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Old Mar 14, 2004, 3:06 PM   #1
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Default TeleConverter Options for FZ10 - Surf Photography

I'm doing some research for my parents who own a FZ10.

My Father is a surf nut and wants to use this camera to get good surfing pictures. On a recent trip to Costa Rica, he discovered the limits of the 12x optical zoom.


I've been testing the camera at the local skate parks, figuring out all the settings to be used and determined the camera is great at catching action. What I need to do is find something that will allow him to catch the action at a further distance without resorting to the digital zoom option. Quality is the key here, since we're hoping not to lose any detail/quality by going the teleconverter route.

Before he left for a Baja trip, he put me on the task of trying to find an option for turning his kit into one that can do decent shots from the shore. If those in the know could help me out, I'd be greatful.

I could use ideas, options, links, and prices.

Thanks in advance...


On a side note, I have noticed most of his surfing shots were pretty washed out from the reflection off the white water, even at ISO 50, 2.8@1/1000. What filters are a good option to help with this? What filters would be good for surf photography in general?
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Old Mar 14, 2004, 3:19 PM   #2
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Hey hey. I've got something for you to check out.

I'm not an expert, and don't even own the FZ10 (yet), but I've scoured the forums quite a bit.

Check this site out, some people have had alot of luck with these.


Edit:: My apologies. The adapter to fit the telephoto lens isn't on the market yet, and the thread I found the link in was referring to the macro lenses. Nonetheless, the telephoto lens looks nifty. ::Edit
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Old Mar 14, 2004, 4:37 PM   #3
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Consider the 1.7x Olympus tcon17. You will find many posts here and at dpreview discussing its use with the fz10. You will want to get a yoshida adapter to connect it to the fz10. As for the sample photo, you need to set the exposure compensation at -1/3 or -2/3. Also, the exif data indicates the shot was taken at 1280x960 resolution. Why? Get it up to full resolution.
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Old Mar 14, 2004, 5:05 PM   #4
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There is a site where many test shots on various telephotos, workable with the DMCFZ10, are posted and may be helpful.
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Old Mar 14, 2004, 5:27 PM   #5
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There are a couple people shooting surf pics on the Panasonic forum at http://www.dpreview.com (if you do a search for surfing youíll see a number of responses in several forums). As for teleconverters, take a look at http://www.b-300.com. Good survey of whatís available at reasonable prices. There is a certain Canon tcon that seems to be the consensus favorite right this minute on that other forum.

Your dad is lucky to have someone interested in taking photos for him. Youíve got a good starting point with the exposure youíve shown. Iím taking my FZ10 to shoot a surf trip in Panama at the end of the month. I usually go with great hopes of taking surf shots, but when it hits, generally find I get my best pics from the water (disposable cams or my inexpensive water resistant 35mm). The main reason is that everyone hits the water at roughly the same time and no one likes to sit out a session on a surf trip to take photos. Iím usually happy with a single good shot of each surfer on the trip and need to shoot on average about 20 shots to get one good one (most are in focus and properly exposed, but lack the certain punch youíd like for a good photo).

Here are a few things about surf photography Iíve learned slowly:

Find a good tripod and take your time setting up. Start out with a custom white balance. This can help the white water seem less blown out. Iíve had good results with SLRís using split neutral density blue filters in the past, but havenít experimented with them for the FZ10 yet (I used them for a different problem, blown exposure on the sky when exposing for surfing). Polarizing filters usually help out quite a bit as well.

Another thing you might try is shooting the surfer from a non-square position. The trailing shots with the backside facing the camera tend to be less dramatic than those with some of the surfers expression (for example, your dad being regular foot going right is generally a less dramatic shot than him going left off the same peak from your position on the beach). In your example, move down the beach a little to camera left and shoot back at the peak. Of course this makes the image distance problem worse. The surfer's back facing camera can be remedied by capturing the peak of action or through less flat lighting (tough in the tropics). Another thing you can do is wait for him to cutback and try to time the exposure for the point where his shoulders square back up to the camera.

For shooting in Baja, be careful for sand and wind. Itís notoriously hard on photo equipment. If you can wait for surf that is head high or bigger, youíll get more dramatic photos. At a number of Baja point breaks you can shoot from a high position, putting more emphasis on the wave/surfer and less on the background/sky. Last, you might try a stopping down your aperture setting (larger f-stop number) to keep a larger portion of the scene in focus. Surfing is actually relatively slow and can be stopped with slower shutter speeds than 1/1000 on a tripod, so try trading off a little shutter speed for focus depth and you might be a little happier with your results.

Good luck!
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Old Feb 14, 2005, 11:35 AM   #6
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Great post, I have looked at the linked sites.

I have an FZ20 with Phaynee and TCON-14B, I would like to use a polarizing filter to help with surfing shots. I do not think that it would be a good idea to fit a 62mm PL between Phaynee and the heavy TCON-14B, or am I being too careful???

The other option is a 86mm PL on the threaded end of the TCON-14B, these are quite pricey, and I have not be able to find a linear one (B&W PL-Circ is available around $50). Any suggestions (I am in the UK, but can order online).

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