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Old Jun 30, 2007, 11:01 PM   #1
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I "graduated" from the Panasonic FZ5 to the E510 after being disappointed with noise levels in the FZ8. I bought the 50-200 lens to have comparable reach as the FZ5, something as fast as the Leica lens it had.

I don't do Photoshop or Adobe, I don't shoot RAW. I upgraded because I wanted a better P&S than the Panny (mind you, it did most of what the E510 will do except for manual focus).

I need to find settings that give decent SHQ jpeg results under normal outdoor conditions. After several hundred shots it seems I am either over exposed or underexposed; can't seem to find a happy medium. Too many blown highlights or too dark across the entire picture. P mode, A mode both attempted. I rarely shoot in Auto mode.

I know there are many who feel that PP solves the photo world's ill's, but the E-510 should have the capability to be a much better P&S camera that I have experienced so far, without having to develop the pictures. With a much bigger sensor and the DSLR abilities, I expect more out of this camera than what I'm getting; I'm sure it's me, but that's where I need help.

What would you consider optimal settings for sunlit outdoor shots, especially at the longer end of the 50-200?

Thanks
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Old Jul 1, 2007, 4:19 AM   #2
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Check to see what metering you're using (spot, centre weighted, ESP)...see page 54 of the E-510 manual.

Also on the scene you may have to use exposure compensation if your scene is overly bright or overly dark, see page 55.
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Old Jul 1, 2007, 5:49 AM   #3
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The E-510 use ESP+AF metering as the factory set default metering.

That means that the ESP meter reading, instead of being a
viewfinder average reading, is actually an averaged reading with
its center at whichever focusing point was used for the camera AF
function, which could be one of the side AF points and which will
skew the camera reading where 3 AF points are used.

Look for ESP+AF being the factory default on page 109 of the
manual, half of the page down. If you want a true ESP measurement
from your light meter, you have to go into the camera2-metering
menu and select ESP rather than ESP+AF.

You may also have more sucess with just the centre focus point selected

Riley
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Old Jul 1, 2007, 10:08 AM   #4
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Thanks both, I will play with it. I have the center spot only in use as the focal point.
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Old Jul 1, 2007, 12:57 PM   #5
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Hi, Troop

I've been pondering your question. Not many of us who participate in this forum have an E510 yet. But based on my experience with my E500 I have a few ideas for you.

1. "Outdoors" in southern California is very bright. When I lived in Arizona I found that reducing the default contrast in the camera a bit, is helpful - see p. 61 of your manual (I don't have the E510 yet but I do have the manual <grin>). This will likely help the blown highlights, although not the under-exposed photos.

2. Related to #1, you might do some testing while looking at the histogram (p. 67). If the camera is consistently putting the majority of the histogram at oneside or the other, the metering is off.

3. I have played around with different metering modes a lot andhave found that the "Digital ESP Metering" (p. 54) works very well. Is that what you're using?

Ted
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Old Jul 1, 2007, 2:09 PM   #6
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I've tried ESP (the default, ESP+AF) and center-weighted metering. Here are a couple of examples, both with the 40-150 kit lens





I shot some new ones at the Harbor today with ESP only setting. I won't have a chance to look at them until tonight.
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Old Jul 1, 2007, 2:17 PM   #7
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The shot of the bear is typical ofthe high level of sunlit contrasty lighting of southern California, and the bear's exposure isn't bad. The over-exposure of the tree limbs doesn't surprise me at all.

In lighting like that, if you want a really good photo you'll need to do what I do, which is to default the camera to it's lowest contrast setting and then dial in the contrast that appeals to you, in Photoshop.

You said that you didn't need to do that kind of futzing around with your Panasonic FZ5 but in my experience I'm a bit skeptical. Digital camera sensors are similar to film in that they cannot, in their default settings, capture the very wide luminance level of bright outdoor lighting, especially in the southwest US. But unlike film cameras, DSLRs can be forced into capturing more of the the luminance range in real life than can film, by reducing the contrast level.

Are you really sure your Panasonic FZ5 did a better job than the E-510? This is not a criticism, just an observation based on my many years of film and digital camera experience.

Ted
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Old Jul 1, 2007, 3:20 PM   #8
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tkurkowski;

I appreciate all the help and the comments. Maybe I am a bit more critical of the shots I take with the 510 because I just bought it and because it is a DSLR, so that could be part of the issue. I did take a number of macros with the FZ5 as well as a lot of Harbor/boat shots on the move, and most of them were keepers.

I do know that a much higher percentage of shots I take with the 510 are throwaways, either focus or exposure issues. The good ones are better, but there are a lot more bad ones than good ones. But I have only had the camera for 2 weeks, so give me more time with it.

At this point I'm looking for what works best for others in terms of camera settings, without having to take extensive amounts of time to compose each shot.

Thanks again.
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Old Jul 1, 2007, 6:17 PM   #9
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Hi Troop/Ted,

You know I had the same issue when I first got my hands on the E1 after using the FZ10 for nearly 2 years and it was drivign me a wee bit nuts. The FZ's have a very good metering system and like troop said you can nail the exposure pretty well consistently wit the lil beasties. I think the problem is actually with the way the OLY's ESP meters - centre weighted is slightly better but I switched to spot metering and have not really looked back. Give it a go and I think you'll be suprised how much better the E510 will be.

Troop, how about a wee mini review - your own thoughts as an FZ user on the new cam and perhaps when your more comfortable with the E510 a comparison between the two cam's.

Cheers

HarjTT

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Old Jul 1, 2007, 9:03 PM   #10
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Will do HarjTT, but only after I am more proficient with the 510. I had the FZ5 for 2 1/2 years and it very rarely delivered a shot I didn't think it had judged correctly. You are right, the metering system on it was excellent, but I did have to always set the EV to -1/3 for decent outdoor exposures. I only learned that after realizing that in auto-bracketing mode, 90% of the time I chose the -1/3 value as the best exposure.

I was very impressed with the upgraded stuff on the FZ8, but the images at 100% crop really looked terrible. You basically had a choice to make, "noisy" or "smeary", and I didn't like either.

By the way, the 50-200 Zuiko lens I got for the 510 weighs more than the FZ and the 510 do combined. Jeez that sucker is huge and heavy! Makes you appreciate what Panasonic has done with the Leica lenses on the FZ series.

Harj, I remember your posts from the panasonic forum here in 2005 or so. It was a pretty active place to be!

Bill
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