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sulo28 Dec 22, 2010 10:09 AM

DMC-ZS7 - Newb alert.... :)
Good morning, all!

I'm new to the forums so please be kind :)

I recently bought my girlfriend a ZS7 for xmas. Well, given all the good reviews i read about it i was a bit surprised to see that a lot of our low-light photos were very grainy, coarse and boarder-line blurry.

Additionally, in my well-lite home, I zoomed in on my dog's face in an attempt to see how well the clarity would be. Well, much to my dismay, the pictures were not very sharp at all (this was using a tripod).

I was just wondering if anyone here had any recommendations or suggestions for low-light shooting and how I might be able to increase overall IQ.

With the holiday fast approaching, i'd love to be able for her to use this in low-light situations with the confidence that the pictures will be useful.

Thanks in advance for your help! Cheers!

TD Cole Dec 22, 2010 11:23 AM

Hi sulo28 and WELCOME to this awesome forum and you'll find nothing but kindness here ;) Can you post the picture with exif attached if you know what I mean.

mtclimber Dec 22, 2010 11:48 AM


Welcome to our little part of the world. Rest assured that we are a friendly group.

While the ZS7 is a well reviewed camera, it is not well adapted at all to shooting in an indoor/low light photo environment, at all. That is because of these physical factors:

(1) It uses a very small 1/2.33 size image

(2) The lens is slow. It begins at F 3.3 and tapers off to F 4.9 when zoomed

(3) The Zs7's built-in flash unit is very weak

Unless a tripod is used, and there is no subject movement, and the numerical ISO setting is fixed at the lowest ISO setting, you will indeed see measurable gaininess, a blurred photo, and even color problems if the White Balance (WB for short) is not set properly.

The ideal photo environment for the ZS7 is out doors where it performs quite well. Indor photos, particularly those without flash are virtually impossible, except as I noted above where the camera is on a tripod, and the WB, and ISO properly set.

There is no defect with the camera at all. The laws of Physics are prevailing. You cannot get enough light to that very small imager, so the photos are exactly as you have described them. If you keep the camera, you will have to abide by the fact that indoors, you will have to use the ZS7's built-in flash, have little to no subject movement, and have your subject to camera distance not exceed 8 feet.

Here for example is an indoor informal portrait where the rules, outlined above, where observed:

Merry Christmas!

Sarah Joyce

sulo28 Dec 22, 2010 12:16 PM


Thank you very much for the explanation. I complete understand now why the pictures with the flash look pretty darn good and the ones without it look less than adequate.

My only follow-up question to your response is what about night-time scenery images? Do these problems still persist in, lets say, when i'm trying to take pictures of christmas lights out in the street?

I tried that last night and the pictures were blurry almost every time. I guess if anyone has any pointers for using the ZS7 at night like that, i'd appreciate it.

The pointers you gave me are very much appreciated. Thanks!

mtclimber Dec 22, 2010 1:36 PM


Night time Scene Modes all require a tripod, as the owner's manual stipulates. The reason for that is that the shutter speed is far to low to hand hold. Therefore, if you attempt to hand hold the camera in these situations, the photos will indeed be blurry, just as you are experiencing.

Sometimes you can use an improvised tripod. If you are in a car viewing the Christmas lights, stop the car and use the window frame to brace your camera, being sure to prevent all camera movement. Keeping the ISO setting at 200 and below will prevent graininess.

Here are two photo samples demonstrating the tripod/improvised tripod technique:

Good Luck in shooting some Christmas lights and Merry Christmas!

Sarah Joyce

sulo28 Dec 22, 2010 2:04 PM

you rock! :)

Thanks for the tips. Obviously, decent night-time photography is possible with this camera but care needs to be taken when stabilizing it based on the slow shutter speed.

That pretty much sums up all the questions i had. Now, I just need to get out and put some of these tips to use.

Thank you again for all the help.

Merry Christmas!


mtclimber Dec 22, 2010 2:36 PM

You're very welcome, Sulo-

Sarah Joyce

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