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Old May 21, 2010, 9:49 PM   #1
LEK
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Default newbie question on macro shots ZS3

I'm afraid this is a really basic newbie question but here it goes. I'm out practicing with my new Panasonic ZS3, and I wanted to try some Macro shots. I've not really done much of that before. I had the camera on auto, put it to full zoom and got a real close-up of a flower with a bug on it, but nothing would focus, everything was blurry. I could see the camera shifted to macro mode, but it just wasn't in focus at all. I tried with and without flash and it wouldn't focus. When I backed the camera off it sharpened to a reasonable though not great focus. What am I doing wrong; how do people get these great close-ups I see posted with point and shoot cameras including the ZS3?
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Old May 21, 2010, 11:41 PM   #2
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LEK-

Just got back. In the ZS3 first be sure that you are in Programed Auto using the little red camera icon, then push the bottom (6 o'clock position) on the 4 way controller. you are presented with a 2 way choice on the pop-up menu to use (1) Use Auto Focus Macro or (2) Macro zoom. Select the Auto Focus Macro Mode, then set up your shot. Keep in mind that the minimum focus distance is about 4 inches.

I am sure this is well spelled out in the Owner's Manual as well.

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Old May 22, 2010, 8:22 AM   #3
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Welcome back, and thanks for the information, I'll try that. I checked the manual before I originally posted but didn't see this, I guess I missed it. I'll check the manual again if I need more, but I think you set me on my way. Thanks.
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Old May 22, 2010, 2:37 PM   #4
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I tried the auto focus macro and macro zoom. I got some better shots but still get a good portion of very blurry pictures if I zoom really close in auto focus macro and also frequently in macro zoom, I'm getting many more bad shots than good ones. It seems that the camera is trying to focus, I see it struggle on the LCD, but it stays blurry. If I pull further away it will focus but it's not super close. I downloaded some photos and it seems that on some shots the camera is focusing on something else, like a background stem or leaf. Not sure how to make it focus on what I want it to. Or am I just getting too close and expecting too much from the camera? But I see these bug shots taken by the ZS3, so I'm confused, I don't expect to replicate the quality of the pictures I see posted here but I should be able to get the camera to focus. I read that spot focus would help if the object is too small in the picture, but couldn't find that in the manual index looking under spot, focus and macro. What am I doing wrong? (If this is just plain ignorance about cameras is there a web page you would recommend that might explain shooting in macro with point and shoots, I see mostly stuff using SLRs).

Here's one in focus, many other similar ones were out of focus

In this one the camera focused on the background

In this one it focused on the rose, but I don't know what I did differently, pretty much the same shot.

Last edited by LEK; May 22, 2010 at 3:07 PM.
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Old May 22, 2010, 3:45 PM   #5
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According to the Exif information, you are not using spot focus mode, so your camera will pick a focus point, which may not be the one you want. Find the menu item to change this to spot focus (may be called single point or something similar).
One of the reasons for shifting focus points can be camera movement, particularly at full zoom settings for macro shots. Even though there is stabilization being used, the autofocus can shift with camera shake.

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Old May 22, 2010, 3:52 PM   #6
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Thanks, that is what seems to be happening. I found how to spot focus on the ZS3, and it helped in test pics. But it seems that I have to turn off Face Recognition for some reason to set it to spot focus, otherwise the spot focus screen is grayed out. I tried to set up one of the "my scene" selections to have the face recognition off so that I could get there quickly, but it turns face detection off in all the other modes too. It seems I either have to take several steps to turn on spot focus by turning off face recognition, or I need to keep face recognition off. Does anyone use face recognition and is it useful or should I just keep it off?
Also, although the pictures improved when I found spot focus, I still can't seem to focus in the macro auto focus unless I'm at least 18 - 24 inches away from the subject, is that normal or should I be able to get closer.
Finally, does anyone know if I can set the macro setting to a "my scene" I wasn't able to do that though I have set other things to "my scene".

Last edited by LEK; May 22, 2010 at 5:02 PM.
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Old May 22, 2010, 6:38 PM   #7
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I use spot focus all the time. That way I choose where the camera actually focuses. Face recognition in my view is not that useful. Please also keep in mind that whenever you change the zoom setting the minimum focus distance changes. You can get the closest ans still focus properly at full wide angle.

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Old May 22, 2010, 6:57 PM   #8
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Oh, you use spot focus for scenery, people, everything? That would make things easier. Any disadvantages to doing that or times when I should turn it off? I'll leave face recognition off if it's not that helpful.

Okay, so what I've been doing is putting the camera to full zoom and putting it within a foot of the object, that should be blurry then, it's the wrong way to do it. Better to keep it at a wider angle when I'm so close.

Figured out how to set it to spot focus in a my scene mode and leave it on face detection in another my scene mode so I can switch easily from macro to portraits. I'm getting there.
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Old May 22, 2010, 9:50 PM   #9
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LEK-

Forget the zoom! Start at full wide angle and get used to doing macro shots. The minimum focus distance at full zoom is about 8 to 10 feet. You gotta to learn the craft.

i think that you are complicating things and getting poor photos by trying to use all your features at once. Start very basic and then add a single feature and master that before you add another feature.

Sarah Joyce

Last edited by mtclimber; May 22, 2010 at 9:52 PM.
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Old May 22, 2010, 10:44 PM   #10
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Okay, I've got a couple of digital photography books and I'm starting to read. I knew I didn't know anything, but I'm figuring out I REALLY don't know anything. I'll learn though.
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