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roger53 Jun 11, 2011 5:56 PM

FZ35 - looking for some advice
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Some of you probably saw the butterfly shots I posted a few days ago. Perhaps the same, or different one, was in some plants only a few feet from where the one landed the other day. It certainly could be the same one.

Having my camera close at hand, I tried some shots of the butterfly in a more natural habitat. I came away with mixed results. The good news is that it settled after a few minutes. Initially, it was very skitterish, but then settled, allowing me ample time for shots.

I was working on a matrix of four, (2X2), for exposure and focus. I tried spot focus, spot exposure, small area focus, center weighted exposure, and the other two combinations. Many of the shots were not well focused, nor well exposed.

My question to the braintrust here, for these photo ops, what have you found to be the best combination of focus and exposure?

I think I've found the best to be area focus, center-weighted exposure. I found that neither of the "spot" settings produced good outcome. Perhaps I've answered my own question, but there is far more experience and expertise on this Board than I can muster.

I did also try zoom, 2X for some shots. I think none of them were well focused.

I'm posted five pics here, five in the next post. All these are straight from the camera, no cropping, no PP.

Getting these kinds of shots is really important to me, so I'm interested in getting the best outcomes before I waste more opportunities.

Thanks for any help on the exposure/focus question.

roger53 Jun 11, 2011 5:57 PM

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And, a few more ...

saly Jun 11, 2011 10:12 PM

Roger, what mode and settings do you usually use (ISO, f-stop, shutter speed, etc)?

roger53 Jun 12, 2011 6:00 AM

Saly, sorry not to have provided this information. I was in haste when I posted the question and the pics.

All were done in P mode, AutoISO, AutoWB. Most were shot with ISO at 80, a couple at 160. f stops were typically 4, 4.5, or 5, I think one was 2.8. Shutter speeds were 1/160 to 1/250, with most at 1/200.

Lighting was good. Conditions were excellent, with the subject in shade sometimes. Most were shot when subject was in bright sunlight.

I just reviewed some shots by LTZ470, with an FZ100. Two shots in the series were of a similar subject. At first glance, these shots also look a bit out of focus. That is the problem with this particular subject, the features are not sharp. Even the edges of the wings are fuzzy (on the subject), the body parts are furry, fuzzy. On some of by good shots, I cropped out pieces of the head and the detail was very good, even though the entire image looked a bit fuzzy.

On my shots, I looked to the surrounding foliage for best assessment of focus. But, the fact still remains that some shots didn't have the foliage in focus either. I may be too quick on the shutter finger, not giving the camera enough time. I keep a listen for the beep, but maybe it needs a little more time.

I have many shots in recent weeks of Iris blooms (don't think I posted any here). In those shots, most nearly full frame, I learned my best shots came from center-weighted exposure, and small area focus. Spot for either setting did not produce the best results.

Perhaps the nature of the subject has much to do with how well the camera can do. Where there are distinct markings, lines of demarcation, etc, the camera may be able to better than with the more ambiguous subjects.

Dabbler Jun 12, 2011 3:46 PM

Your shots look LTZ470 is the "gold standard" as far I'm concerned.
He tends to use a macro lens, tripod and has in camera sharpness set to the max, then sharpens further, if needed with PP.
I trust he will correct me if I have gotten anything wrong or wants to add more details.
Are you using a tripod?
Can you shoot using a remote shutter?
If you don't have a remote shutter, then you can try using the shutter delay timer to minmize canera shake.
Kelby, in his books, recommends turning IS off when shooting on a tripod, though I don't believe that LTZ470 does that.

roger53 Jun 13, 2011 5:45 AM

Dabbler, thanks for the comments.

I should have added to my previous comments that I was using AF Macro.

No tripod. These kinds of shots are tricky at best when the subject is often landing in one place for a second, two or three seconds. There is no time to make a tripod setup, and many shots need to be taken with camera looking straight down.

The delay timer is a good idea. I have done that in the past. Since often the time widow for getting the shot is so short, by the time the two seconds have elapsed, the subject may be gone.

I will keep shooting and may get better with choosing the best settings. I just need to find the opportunities.

BackyardPermaculture Jun 15, 2011 2:07 AM

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Roger, you should consider a bit of post-processing as well. I'd suggest these could benefit from some sharpening, some highlight/shadow adjustments, and a slight increase in saturation:

BackyardPermaculture Jun 15, 2011 2:15 AM

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Perhaps some cropping too:

saly Jun 15, 2011 12:10 PM

Have you adjusted your PICT ADJ setting? I typically use: Contrast 0, Sharpness +1, Saturation +1, Noise Reduction -1. I shot this a while ago in a similar situation with my FZ35, P Mode, ISO 100, AF Macro. I only get good results if the subject is in bright sun. You will notice the body looks soft in mine too because they are very hairy!

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