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Old Sep 6, 2004, 8:41 PM   #1
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Well I'm a complete amatuer when it comes to digital cameras.. I've noticed that when the lighting isn't very bright, the screen almost turns black.. Or as I move the camera around sometimes it will be bright and sometimes the screen will go darker to the point you can barely see what you are looking at.

Is this normal?? I can post samples if I need to.
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Old Sep 7, 2004, 1:21 AM   #2
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This is one of the annoying things about the Z3 that you discover after you get it home and get it out of the box. But don't lose hope, there are work-arounds.

The biggest single thing you can do in low light to help with display brightness is either raise the built-in flash, or attach an external flash (Minolta flashes only are compatible).

The reason the display is dark in low light without the flash raised is that the camera is smart enough to takeits own exposure settings into account, and then send an image to the display that, to some extent, reflects those settings. It is trying to do you a favor, and show you what the pic you are about to take will really look like, given the way you have the camera set up at the moment. It also makes a difference whether you have the shutter button pressed part way down or not. As near as I have been able to tell, here is are the relevant settings (as far as display is concerned) that the camera looks at and when:

BEFOREyou raise the flash, the cameraWILL change display brightness depending on how you have set Sensitivity (ISO), shutter speed, and lens aperture.BEFORE you raise the flash, the display brightness WILL NOT changeto reflect the way exposre compensation and flash compensation settings are set.

AFTER you raise the flash, the whole thing flip-flops, and the camera WILL change display brightness depending on how you have set exposure compensation, and flash compensation, but WILL NOT change display brightness to reflect the way Sensitivity (ISO), shutter speed and lens aperture are set. This last statement is why the display brightens up in low light when you raise the flash.

AFTER you raise the flash,AND AFTER you push the shutter partway down, the dispaly brightness will also change to reflect the way the lens aperture is set. Shutter speed is ignored for flash pics display, as the camera assumes the flash will happen when the shutter is open regardless of how fast the shutter is set (that;s probably a whole 'nother discussion). The unfortunate result of this last is that you can get a pretty dark display in low light, even with the flash raised, after you push the shutter partway down (see my Aug 30/Aug 27 posts entitled Z3 with external 5600 HS flash tests / questions for more on that subject).

I have had to learn all of this pretty much by trial and error. I have not seen anything about this in the Z3 manual, or anywhere else for that matter. This smart display idea is nice in a way, because it shows you in advance what your exposure will look like. But sometimes, I wish the camera would let me shut off the blasted smartness andshow me what the hell I am looking at. My 4 year old Olympus digital just gave me fulll bright all the time on the display. In some ways that was better because it is closer to the view I get through my SLR film camera viewfinder, and so it's what I am used to. But I'm just a griping old dog who has to learn a new trick.

Hope that helps answer your question.

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Old Sep 7, 2004, 12:40 PM   #3
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Jerry.. Thanks!! That actually makes sense and I don't mind having a work around.. but I agree with you that I really would like to see the screen even in low light.. I just wanted to make sure it was not broken before my return period expires. I did notice that changing the settings does instantly increase/descrease the brightness.

thanks again.
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