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Corpsy Mar 20, 2006 6:48 PM

I brought my FZ30 along on a recent visit to the Buffalo Science Museum. Many of the displays were behind glass and had interesting lighting on them, so shooting with a flash seemed a poor choice.

While there, I recalled a recent thread started by Mckennma who was looking for a camera to take decent photos in a museum. Though I think he's decided to go with the Konica 5D, which I believe would get better results more easily, I thought it would be fun to see what kind of quality could be expected from the FZ30 in dark museum conditions.

These are a few of the shots I managed to pull off by using mode 2 stabilization while shooting hand held. There were no displays in the museum darker than these (except for a couple with broken light bulbs which I didn't bother with). There is no post-processing other than either resizing or cropping.
I think this was supposed to be a wolverine. I used a 1/3 second shutter speed at ISO 80. It only took 1 attempt.
Here's a 100% crop.
Here's a mummy behind glass. This is a 1 second exposure at ISO 80. I took only two shots, the other was slightly sharper but much darker.
Here's a 100% crop. Notice that even at ISO 80 there is visible noise in the dark areas. Fortunately, it's only really visible at 100% and it's still not that bad. Noise Ninja would do a good job of cleaning up a lot of that, but why bother.
Another mummy behind glass. This is a 1 second exposure at ISO 100. I realize there is noticeable barrel distortion, but the point of this shot wasn't necessarily to be all that pretty. I've posted long exposure images before which were received with some skepticism, so I positioned myself to make sure my reflection is clearly visible in the glass where you can see me taking the photo by hand.
100% crop of my silhouette. If you look closely, you'll notice that I'm not leaning on the wall. If I was, that spotlight would have illuminated my face and cast a shadow on the wall. This shot took 3 attempts. The first shot was noticeably blurred. The third was slightly blurred, but you could only really tell when zoomed 100%.

KENNETHD Mar 20, 2006 9:38 PM

These pics are great, and they bring back memories that made me chuckle. We had a special museum exhibit come thru town several years back, and it was ancient Eygyption civilization on display, some very valuable artifacts and a lot of beautiful things to look at. It was a very large exhibit. I was quite excited, brought my camera, and was justhaving a heyday snapping away. I really didn't notice anyone else taking advantage of these gorgeous things to photograph and unlike the car show type events, I had no difficulty finding the right angles, or jostling with other photographers. As I was nearing the end of the visit and viewing practically the last things I had come to see...a young woman came up to me and politely pointed to a sign which tho it was in a prominent, easily seen position, I hadn'tseen at all. It read, "no photography please" or something very similair. I felt so dumb. I'm sure that I must have been noticed much much earlier, but I really think they just looked the other way. It certainly seemed so anyway, because no one even appraoched me until I was just about out the exit. No one asked me to erase my flash card, and I wasn't lectured. Maybe they were silently pleased that someone would have a record of this wonderful exhibition, who knows. Great, I was happy to see it.


Jon_Doh Mar 22, 2006 2:44 PM

Even with cropping I don't think the noise is that bad.

tiger98 Mar 22, 2006 3:13 PM

Good job Corpsy! Jim

blue wax Mar 22, 2006 4:52 PM

very acceptable noise level..... nice try..... FZ30 NOT all that bad in low light, and neat image would clear what's left idd.


Corpsy Mar 22, 2006 5:51 PM

Kenneth, I'd be interested to see some of those images. The exhibits I photographed here I believe have been at this museum for many years. I wasn't sure if they had any rules about photography, but there weren't any signs posted and nobody said anything about the camera I was carrying around.

Jon and Blue Wax, I was hoping the noise levels would be a bit lower at ISO 80, but on the flip side, if I'd brought the Canon Digital Rebel from work to take these photos, I probably would have had to set the ISO to 1600 and still would have had darker pictures, with less accurate colors, less clarity, less detail, and probably some motion blur, unless I got a lens with stabilization for it which would likely cost more than the FZ30 itself.

If I had taken these photos in RAW mode, the default Photoshop settings would already have cleaned up a lot of that noise and afforded more options for white balancing. White balancing in a dark museum can be a bit tricky, but I think the FZ30 handled it admirably in most cases. The few times I did have difficutly, I used manual white balance and used the information card in the display to calibrate it.

Jim, thanks!

Every time I have an opportunity to try something different with the camera, I'm generally impressed. The only weakness it has is photographing moving subjects in low light without a flash, and by low light I mean indoors with only lamp light. The day after I went to the museum, I went downtown to watch the St. Patrick's Day parade and took about 530 pictures on my 2 memory cards (burst mode obviously). Though it was overcast and snowing on and off, the camera handled it with incredible ease, taking all the photos at ISO 80 and between 1/120 and 1/200. I should be posting some of those soon.

KENNETHD Mar 22, 2006 7:45 PM

I will dig them up and out of my collection. Sooner than later I hope. I'm just trying to remember what camera I used, and am hoping it was my 7i 5 MP not my first experimental panasonic still built in to my video cam. (fingers crossed)


KENNETHD Mar 22, 2006 8:14 PM

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I was lucky to find this disk right off, and sorry but this was my first digital camera, which was really only my video cam shooting stills of 640 x 480. But it will give you an idea of what the exhibit was like. These mummies were unusual, and very well preserved. I'll look around for the rest, I think if I remember right there were some interesting jewely displays from that period, and elaborate carvings in stone and gold.


KENNETHD Mar 22, 2006 8:15 PM

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KENNETHD Mar 22, 2006 8:20 PM

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10 Too bad they were not shot with a better camera, which tells me this was indeed more than 6 years ago. (My how time does fly...)

gotta.learn Jul 10, 2006 9:24 PM

Hi all,

Thank you Corpsy and Kenneth for your great photos. Corpsy, I'm impressed with your steadyness. I too have an FZ30 and I'm learning how to steady it better (even with OIS I tend to jar the camera just a little bit. But I'm getting better. I'm so glad for the OIS and would not buy a camera without it. In fact I recently replaced an Easy share Kodak that I lovewhich had10x optical zoom with OIS. When I got the next model (since the previous one was no longer available) It had everything but the OIS. I should have read the specs more closely I guess. I took it right back and happily ended up with the fabulous FZ30.

And Corpsy, thank you for sharing your photos and tips on steadying. I like your museum shots. Very nice. Your lucky like Kenneth to get pics in the museum. Good job. :-)

Kenneth your Egypt pictures remind me of the King Tut Exibit I had the rare opportunity to see just this April. We were not allowed to take pictures at all and were closely monitored. :sad: I would have loved to have gotten some of the pictures you were able to get. Lucky duck! Thanks for sharing you two.

Happy photo taking, Teree :bye:

willow1 Jul 10, 2006 11:39 PM

these are very intersting shots..

well done...:bye:

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