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Old Jul 3, 2004, 9:11 PM   #1
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I went to the golf course near me today trying to get some inflight pictures of tree swallows. I failed with the tree swallows so tried to appease myself by snapping a few shots of the mallards on one of the lakes. It wasn't exactly a challenging mission as the birds are tame up to a point, meaning they would come within 20 feet or so of where I was.

The 2 pictures below are crops with levels and USM applied.






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Old Jul 3, 2004, 10:16 PM   #2
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Cute Cute Geoff, I like both, but the 2nd one is better for me

Nice sing they have uhh ?

What camera you use ?



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Old Jul 3, 2004, 11:23 PM   #3
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Thanks, Eric. I appreciate your comments very much!

So, you like the second picture more than the first. What was it about the second picture that, to your very experienced eye, made you like it more? I ask because I thought the first shot was my better one. I liked the way the first picture showed up the feather detail, the orange legs (good for id), and how the reflection in the water interplayed with the way the legs were visible under the surface.

I watched these mallards for about 45 minutes and I don't think that they made a sound for that entire time! Very unmallard like.

I am shooting these pictures with an Olympus C-8080WZ that I bought about 2 months ago before I thought that I would want to be photographing wildlife. Now I'm wishing that I'd bought a DSLR. I think that 2005 will be the year that I will finally get one.
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Old Jul 3, 2004, 11:39 PM   #4
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First of all, geoff, these are great photographs. You're doing an excellent job of doing things like considering the location of the sun when you shoot. It looks like these were taken in mid-afternoon when the sun is high overhead, which is perhaps one of the most difficult times to expose properly because of the huge differences in light and dark.

The color and reflection in the first one is brilliant and the focus on the second oneappears to beslightly more on track. If you have some manual settings on that camera try stopping down your aperture more, if light will allow, in order to increase the size of thefocus area. Notice the depth of shadow on the second one because you were shooting with the sun high and on the left side of the duck. It's a difficult time to get good exposure, but you have done a pretty darned fine job, and your focus is smack on from what I can see.

Suggestion: go to the same place earlier in the morning or later in the evening and play with the greatness of what these times of day can do for a photograph.

Another suggestion: keep doing what you are doing with that camera of yours because you are getting some great photos out of it!
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Old Jul 3, 2004, 11:56 PM   #5
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Norm, compliments coming from you means alot to me! Thank you.

I took these photos at 5:20p which means the sun was still probably about 55-60 degrees above the horizon and I had positioned myself so the sun was approximately behind me. I guess I didn't even realize that I'd moved over for the second picture, explaining why the sun was off to the duck's left side. Wow, I'm going to have to be way more aware of all of these external influences if I'm going to improve my technique!!!!

Focus has definitely been an issue with my camera. The camera has lots of nice features but I find that it has a predisposition to unpredictable focus. The manual focusing is using a magnified area in the lcd and not terribly accurate. It's the one issue I have with this camera that is making me think I should just sell it and buy a dslr asap. But, if I did that my wife would kill me, so I'll wait a year and do it then :-)

I won't stop taking photos - lots of them! This is digital film and doesn't cost me anything. I can make all the mistakes I want to.

I appreciate the time you took to critically analyze my pictures and then to make the suggestions you did. Your advice will definitely help in my next outing.
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Old Jul 4, 2004, 12:14 AM   #6
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Yes, that sounds like my G5 manual focus where you move a ring and the pixels are magnified. It works nicely with my FZ10 but is quite awkward with the G5. It's definitely one of the advantages of the DSLR where one wishes to capture movement.

HOWEVER... If you want an inexpensive, but very adequate, outdoor camera in the meantime you might consider having a look at the FZ1...not FZ10. It's a 2 megapixel but has a 12x optical zoom, manual focus ring, and has been lauded by many, even pros, for it's ability to perform, and at an extremely affordable price. You might be able to pick one up on E-Bay for a really nice price. I know that if I plan to purchase any cameras for my students in the future, this one will be the choice, unless something else arrives in the meantime. 420 mm with IS and a manual focus ring kinda helps.

Here's a link to Steve's review on this camera: http://www.steves-digicams.com/2003_reviews/fz1.html

I thought the FZ1 had the manual focus ringtoo but it appears that it doesn't. In any event, it's something you might consider because of the 12x optical zoom and image stabalization alone. I know that I wouldn't think twice about purchasing one, two, or three for my students.



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Old Jul 4, 2004, 1:52 AM   #7
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Thanks for the advice on the FZ1 Norm. Until I started reading Hummer's and your messages on this board I didn't even know the FZ10 or FZ1 existed, probably because I had always ignored Panasonic as a choice of camera (they do tv's and vcr's, not cameras, right?). Now I understand why you and Hummer chose the FZ10 originally for wildlife photography.

The FZ1 looks like a great compromise - the 12x zoom with IS is to die for. 2mp sounds a bit limiting. Besides the 4mp vs. 2mp and price difference, is there any other big feature differences between the FZ10 and FZ1? I might just spring for one of them in the fall. Or... I might just decide to save the money towards a dslr next year. Too many choices...
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Old Jul 5, 2004, 5:55 PM   #8
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geoffs,

In case you are interested all my photos are taken with an fz1. I love that camera.

It seems you do have to keep the pictures a little smaller cause of only 2mp.

I use a c-210 converter on a lot of them as well for mega zoom.

Nice work on the ducks. I really like the second one as well. Exposure was right on as well as focus.

On the first one it seemed a tad bright and focus, as already noted seemed to be off a tad as well. I don't know about everybody else but I look at the eye for focus.

If the eye looks right then the picture probably looks sharp, to me anyway.
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Old Jul 5, 2004, 6:21 PM   #9
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Thanks for the comments, zoomn.

You do take some very nice photos with the FZ1. It seems to me, that for wildlife photography, more optical zoom is much more important than more megapixels. My camera is 8mp versus the 2mp of the FZ1 and I cannot even get close to the work you are doing with 400mm focal length versus my max of 140mm.

How much of a zoom factor does the c-210 provide?

Also, I've read in other threads about dissatisfaction people have had with the FZ1/FZ10 focusing, especially indoors. Has that really been much of a problem for you? As it is, I've seen some very nice sharp photos from you, Norm, and Hummer with the FZ series, so I'm guessing that in the hands of someone who knows what they are doing it isn't a problem.
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Old Jul 5, 2004, 6:30 PM   #10
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Geoffs,

I have seen the fz1 for $199 on the net.

The c-210 ($39.)is 1.9x but most people dog them because they vignette even at 12x. I don't use a teleconverter unless I want max zoom and have no reservations about zooming into the digital range. Almost all my photos are shot well into the digital range with the c-210. If I do shoot at 12x I just crop out the vignetting.

The fz1 has trouble focusing in low light like indoors. Once you can get a focus it takes very good indoor pictures but supposedly has a relatively weak flash.

I have not had any problems with the flash being strong enough but have had focus problems. There is no manual focus.

For a family camera the fz1 probably is not the best, but for an outdoor sportsman it is a good choice.
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