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Old Oct 29, 2004, 4:07 PM   #1
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I know this makes me sound like an idiot but...

I just bought a Panasonic FZ20 a couple days ago. I took a bunch of pictures mostly in P (auto) mode. When I upload them to my laptop they just don't look all that great. My old 1.5mp Casio does just as well. Will it make a difference if I PRINT the pics? Is it just the way they look on screen that's so blah? I thought a 5mp $500 camera would blow me away and it just hasn't. I have the pics set to the highest quality (before TIFF) and largest resolution. Any help would be appreciated.

Thx!

--Joe
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Old Oct 29, 2004, 8:09 PM   #2
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Try different conditions... take some pics in the day... some indoors... some using far away objects (don't use digital zoom because it doesn't look good)... and so on...

One thing to note is that high resolution is largely un-noticeable (did I make up that word? :O) on computers. The computer monitor resolution is usually 800x600 or 1024x768 (or slightly higher). A 1 MP camera can take pics that look just as good on a monitor (the 5MP pics are basically shrunk on the monitor so there is little difference). Where you will notice the difference is when you print--especially large prints. Your Casio can barely print decent 4x6 and can't really be used for anything larger (unless you want blurry pics or something). A 5MP camera, on the other hand, can be blown up to excellent 8x10 or larger with no noticeable loss in quality.

As far as the Panasonic is concerned (this is actually a very good camera--too bad I can't afford it (I went with the Canon S1 IS, which is comparable to the FZ3)), where it will shine is with things like zoom, sharpness, image stabilization, etc. Take some pics at 12x zoom and you'll see what is so good about this camera. You'll be able to take pics of far away objects; you'll be able to take good pics with image stabilization, whereas other cameras would end up being blurry for similar settings; etc...
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Old Oct 29, 2004, 8:51 PM   #3
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Jersey Joe wrote:
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I know this makes me sound like an idiot but...

I just bought a Panasonic FZ20 a couple days ago. I took a bunch of pictures mostly in P (auto) mode. When I upload them to my laptop they just don't look all that great. My old 1.5mp Casio does just as well. Will it make a difference if I PRINT the pics? Is it just the way they look on screen that's so blah? I thought a 5mp $500 camera would blow me away and it just hasn't. I have the pics set to the highest quality (before TIFF) and largest resolution. Any help would be appreciated.

Thx!--Joe
This is pretty common when making the transition from a point & shoot camera to a more sophisticated camera. Point & shoots are made to be used without knowing much about photography (i.e. they "process" the images internally to look as good as they possibly can without any user imput). It's very similar to comparing a P&S 35mm film camera to a 35mm SLR.

Higher end cameras behave more like SLR's in the respect that they are much more user dependant than a P&S. While they often have "auto & program" modes, the camera itself does much less "in-camera" processing in these modes. If they aren't 'tweaked' by the user to process the images the way they want them, they tend to create rather bland looking images (the colors aren't saturated, contrast isn't enhanced, sharpness isn't tweaked)...all the things that a normal P&S digital camera does without you knowing about it.

At one time I used an Olympus C2100, 2.1mp camera that took excellant pictures while in program mode. However, once I got out of program mode & used it strictly in manual mode (thus choosing my own parameters for the camera to use), it took outstanding images. Higher end cameras require you to understand more about photography in order to get the most out of them.
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Old Jul 10, 2005, 9:46 AM   #4
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Hey,

The FZ20 is an excellent camera. It can give you amazing images. The problem is that the camera is only as good as the person using it. It is only a tool. So it will take you some time to figure out the way it works, and that will take patience and practice. Do not expect mind-blowing images after a few days. It will take a long time untill you can get the hang of it. No person can take a good photograph in a day, even with a high-end camera like a Canon 1DS MKII....

Nowthe technical stuff :

Try and shoot in the manual mode as often as possible. It will give you more control and will result in better images. Light plays an important role here. Better light means more clarity and sharpness. You might wanna shoot with a smaller aperture like f/3 or smaller. Go down to f/8 and you get excellent depth-of-field.

Take care of the ISO setting, and the metering and focus mode. If you are trying to get close to an object, or your primary object is small, try spot focusing. Spot metering can also come in handy when you want the camera to meter a small light area and you want to concentrate on getting detail there.

Having a high ISO will not always help. Keep it on 80 or 100 at mostduring theday. Try different combinations of aperture and shutter and try to get the feel for it. One trick is to half-press the shutter untill the focuing box apperas with the exposure reading, and then changing the shutter/aperture values. You will see the exposure changing as you make changes to the values.

So next time, pay attention to the metering and focus modes, and try to keep the aperture small to get detail. There are exceptions though, and you might end up taking excellent pictures at ISO200 with a wide aperture. All depends on the subject and light.

Hope that helps. I love the FZ-20... give it some time and it will make you happy... and yes, the full resolution JPEGs will print excellent, even as large as 13 inches, because this baby has an amazing lens...
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Old Jul 10, 2005, 11:26 AM   #5
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I`ve had the FZ20 for several months now and does indeed take a fine picture. I too tried to display some pics on my laptop and theydid lookreally bad. I down loaded the same pics to my home PC and they looked like they should.
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Old Jul 29, 2005, 4:54 PM   #6
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Wow, I'm late with this one! The one thing I noticed nobody mentioned is monitor calibration. I have spent $300 to buy a hardware device to calibrate my montior. I cannot even tell you what a huge difference that made. I have recently purchased this same camera. It was an upgrade from a Canon Powershot G2. The first sample pictures I took utterly blew me away in terms of color rendition. It makes my 4MP Canon look like a childs toy. Right now I am struggling with a different issue, mainly what I perceive to be soft focus, but that is a whole different thread. Anyways, that's just my 2 cents worth.
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Old Jul 29, 2005, 8:14 PM   #7
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As others have noted, more advanced cameras often require more thought. In particular, lower level cameras often have the saturation, contrast, and saturation set fairly high as their default. Since increasing those cancause irreversible changes, and all of them can be increased in post processing, advanced cameras tend to have the defaults set lower.

Try dinging about with those settings, both in-camera and with post processing. If you don't have one, get an EXIF viewer so you can read what settings were used for each shot.
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Old Jul 30, 2005, 6:31 AM   #8
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What would you recomend as a free EXIF viewer and where can I get one form?
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Old Aug 11, 2005, 1:55 AM   #9
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rob123 wrote:
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What would you recomend as a free EXIF viewer and where can I get one form?
A freeware that you can use and do lots of things with on your images is irfanview. The "i" icon lets you know the EXIF as well. Go check out http://www.irfanview.com

arvind sachdev
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Old Aug 19, 2005, 7:30 AM   #10
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I've used ifranview for years, and never knew it can extract exif info. That is realy the greatest little viewer on the planet!

When youve used onlya point and shoot, you usually dont know enough about photography to see where it falls short. For the couple of years I used my FujiA202, it only fell short by not having an opticalzoom. I thought 2MP was more than enough. Slower or faster shutterspeed, who needs it? What is apperature? What kind of fool uses an optical viewfinder if he has a nice big LCD on the back?

Now that I have moved up a bit, I know where my S2IS falls short. I have also become more focused on sharpness. So much that I am convinced thatsome cinema operators doesnt know how to focus a projector accurately. Of all my friends I am of course the only one to notice it.

Just taking a snapshot of the same situation, and viewing it on a computer screen, both my S2IS and my Fuji A202 should look virtually identical.

But zooming, taking longer exposures, having that bit slower shutterspeed without blur because of the IS, macro photography, better flash range, and a whole lot of other little things makes your FZ20 a whole lot better than your previous camera. If you use it!
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