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tute03 Nov 27, 2007 10:55 AM


I'm getting pretty awful pictures with my TZ3.

Can you tell what I'm doing wrong here please?

Both pictures were taken in auto mode.

Both pictures look terrible. Look the corners of the middle man legs in the first photo, or zoom in faces.

Check the colours on photo two.
Should I change mode. Is my camera working wrong?

Photo 1:

Photo 2:

Thanks in advance

BillDrew Nov 29, 2007 8:13 AM

I think you are seeing the joys of flash photography with some extra pleasure from using the little built-in flash.

Your should consider using the flash to be an emergency measure and know before you look that the photos are not likely to be very good. A high power, well bounced and diffused flash will do a better job but I have no idea if it would work with your camera or be less than five times as big and ten times as heavy.

tute03 Nov 29, 2007 8:19 AM

Flash was in auto mode when taking those pictures..

I certainly didn't modify those values when taking that pictures that's why I need to know if it's common for this camera to take such bad photos in auto mode.

I shall wait for your comments.

Thanks again

JimC Nov 29, 2007 8:24 AM

I don't think anything is wrong with your camera.

You can't expect to get even illumination in a larger room via a built in flash. If it tried to fire long enough to illuminate the floor/legs in the first image, you'd end up with overexposed faces from the stronger flash.

In the second image, I see the person was overexposed (too bright). That was probably caused by your focus point. Many newer cameras take what you're focused on into consideration when determing how long to make the flash burst for an image.

So, if you were focused on the background (back wall) in that image, it would have used a stronger flash to expose it (resulting in the closer person being overexposed). If you focused on the black part of the person's clothing, that could have caused it too (the camera doesn't know that it's black, and may be trying to brighten it too much).

I'd make sure to focus on your subject (half press the shutter button to achieve focus lock, then press the shutter the rest the way down) to avoid more exposure errors if the camera is taking focus point/focus distance into consideration (and it probably is).

JimC Nov 29, 2007 8:39 AM

To make it simpler...

If the camera uses a weaker flash (shorter flash burst) to illuminate something closer to the camera, that can make further away subjects too dark (as in your first image where the faces were OK and the legs and feet were too dark). It can't make it stronger to illuminate the legs, otherwise the faces would be too bright.

If the camera uses a stronger flash (longer flash burst) to illuminate something further away, that can make closer subjects too bright (as in your second image where the background was properly exposed and the closer person was too bright).

The way around that is to use a camera that supports an external flash that's diffused via bouncing off ceilings/walls or the use of light modifiers, so that the room is more evenly illuminated.

With a built in flash, your options are very limited and you'll need to decide what part of the image is more important and make sure it's your focus point. That's because the flash algorithms are probably taking focus point and focus distance into consideration to determine what to try and properly illuminate. Most models use a preflash to judge the amount of reflected light, then use a longer flash burst for the actual exposure, and they'll often take focus point/focus distance into consideration to determine what to try and properly expose.

There are some slave type flashes available that are "digital aware" now that you may be able to use with your camera to help out (letting the camera's built in flash trigger an external flash designed to work as a slave with digital cameras). But, it would take some trial and error for best results.

tute03 Nov 29, 2007 8:47 AM

I'm trying to follow you, but with this type of point & shoot cameras shouldn't this be corrected (correct exposure) by multi-zone metering?

My camera is set in that mode, nor spot or center-weighted

JimC Nov 29, 2007 8:52 AM

That type of metering is going to take the entire scene into consideration.

But, most cameras are still going to weight your focus point more heavily using that type of metering.

This is important for flash exposure (you can't properly expose some of those scenes with a built in flash). Again, if it tried to make it stronger, closer parts of the image would be too bright. If it tried to make it weaker so that closer subjects were properly exposed, parts of the image further away would be too dark.

You can't have it both ways inside with a small built in flash like that (properly exposed close subjects, and properly exposed further away subjects in the same image in low light).

So, it's got to choose what to properly expose and most models are using things like focus point and focus distance to try and make a "best guess" as to how long (strong) the flash burst needs to be to illuminate what you want to take a photo of.

tute03 Nov 29, 2007 8:56 AM

Let's go practical then,

You recommend me to disable flash when taking photos outside or with inside light? Should I fix ISO in 100 or 200 to avoid noise?

What if I want to take photographs in a disco? Camera fix ISO at 600 using flash, could it be that the reason why I'm getting bad photos?

Thank you for your explanations Jim

JimC Nov 29, 2007 9:16 AM

Your camera isn't really going to be capable of taking good indoor photos without a flash (unless you're taking photos of stationary subjects instead of moving people). In some indoor conditions, you may need a tripod, too (the stablization can only work so far).

Existing light photography of people indoors without a flash requires very high ISO Speeds, as well as a very bright lens.

Otherwise, you'll get blurry photos (because the camera needs to keep the shutter open long enough to expose the image for the aperture and ISO speed being used, and indoors is very low light to a camera if you're not using a flash). So, any movement will cause blur while the shutter is open.

You could try it's highest ISO speeds and see what you get. But, I don't think ISO 1250 is going to cut it for people indoors, especially with your lens, and the high sensitivity scene mode (which goes to ISO 3200) is probably not going to leave enough detail to do you much good, unless you keep print/viewing sizes very small (due to noise reduction algorithms smoothing away detal). You'd need to try and to see (but, I really wouldn't expect much). You're probably going to need to use a flash for people indoors (unless they're motionless).

A DSLR with usable higher ISO speeds is better suited for that type of photography, using a bright lens (larger available apertures, represented by smaller f/stop numbers). Even then, you may need to use a flash in some low light conditions. There are limts to what any camera can take photos of without more light. If indoor photography is important, and you want higher quality results, it's a good idea to use a model that supports an external flash that can be bounced for a more diffused light source.

As for the ISO speed with flash. Higher ISO speeds can help out with some issues (they may be needed to get enough flash range, depending on your subject distance and the available aperture for the amount of zoom you're using). With your camera, you lose light as you zoom in more. Higher ISO speeds can also help out with letting more ambient light into the image. So, the flash doesn't need to be as strong and that can help get a brighter background from some ambient light exposure and reduce the amount of difference between closer and further away subjects with flash.

But, the tradeoff is higher noise/loss of detail from noise reduction. You could try to use a lower ISO speed setting with flash. But, keep in mind that your maximum flash range will be reduced if you go that route. Each time you double the ISO speed, the maximum range increases by 1.4x.

The flash range quoted in the specs is an Auto ISO rating of 4.2 Meters at your widest zoom setting (least magnification), dropping off to a maximum range of 2.8 Meters if you're zoomed in all the way. In between the widest and longest zoom settings, maximum range will be somewhere in between.

But, if you set a lower ISO speed, maximum range will decrease compared to what is shown in the specs (it's probably assuming that ISO speeds up to around ISO 600 or so will be used, if you're seeing that ISO speed being used with flash with Auto ISO). The flash range specs are based on using Auto ISO

tute03 Nov 29, 2007 9:25 AM

Thank you very much again Jim

Also to Bill

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