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Old Dec 7, 2006, 2:07 PM   #1
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I love my DMC-FZ4. It was a great camera for the price paid last year with it's 12x optical zoom etc.. but I still have one nagging complaint:

The autofocus.

In low light (at parties, in darkened rooms indoors, etc) the autofocus does not deliver consistently. I have tried multiple autofocus settings (spot, multi, hi-speed) and metering settings, but still I get blurred pictures half the time. And I don't mean motion blur. I use the flash, obviously, and half the pictures I take the autofocus does not focus correctly. Again, this is only in low light.

I use the 'AF illuminator' to assist the AF process, but that doesn't seem to do it's job very well.

My Question is: Is there some trick to Panasonic cameras to get them to focus correctly in low light that I'm not trying? Thanks!
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Old Dec 11, 2006, 9:25 AM   #2
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bump, no help on this?

Maybe it is just 'user error'...
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Old Dec 12, 2006, 8:08 AM   #3
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Well I am not sure I can help.....butthe focus assist lightonlyhas a range ofabout 7 ft.

In dimly lit rooms I find that spot focus works best so I can force the camera to focus on what I want. And it does take a contrast edge to focus on, and they are difficult to find as it gets darker. Also ,IMHO, a vertical contrast edge is best.

I also do not like CAF, and even less in dark situations.

But it usually helps if you would post a photo (with exif)so we can see what might be the problem.
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Old Dec 12, 2006, 8:21 AM   #4
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When I get home this evening I'll try to post a picture to show what happens. The range is within 7 feet usually (it's normally portraits of friends, etc). I will try to spot focusing as opposed to multi-point, and I'll also try finding vertical contrast edges. I don't use CAF, either.

ps: I'm new and not that down with all the camera lingo yet, so I have no idea what "exif" is!
:?

genece wrote:
Quote:
Well I am not sure I can help.....butthe focus assist lightonlyhas a range ofabout 7 ft.

In dimly lit rooms I find that spot focus works best so I can force the camera to focus on what I want. And it does take a contrast edge to focus on, and they are difficult to find as it gets darker. Also ,IMHO, a vertical contrast edge is best.

I also do not like CAF, and even less in dark situations.

But it usually helps if you would post a photo (with exif)so we can see what might be the problem.
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Old Dec 13, 2006, 8:17 AM   #5
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Exif....stands for (I think) exposure information....and it is embedded in all digital photos unless some program removed it.....one of the best programs for reading exif ie Opandas IExif.

http://www.opanda.com/en/iexif/index.html

But most Photo editors will show you the exif as will windows XP.....XP shows less info than most dedicated exif readers.

When you save a photo, do not use the save for web function as that does strip the exif.

One other thing you say you arre within the range of the assist light....can you see it in the viewfinder?

Usually when taking photos of friends there is enough light that the FA light is not needed.

If you are using the zoom and you are over 135mm zoom you can get too close to the subject.......once again 7 ft seems to be the number...you need to be 7 ft away from the subject at full zoom.

I would suggest one other thing ...if you have a filter on the camera ,remove it until you resolve the problem.
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Old Dec 15, 2006, 3:21 PM   #6
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Thanks you guys for the advice, it could in fact be that I'm too close to the subject..

I've been a bit busy so I haven't had time to upload an example, but I'll try the general fixes that you've suggested and see if it helps.

If not, then I'll upload a pic and see if you guys can tell anything from it. Thanks!
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Old Dec 17, 2006, 6:56 PM   #7
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Here is an example. I have shot many other pictures with a simular zoom. This photo was taken about five or six feet away, with a little zoom put on, and with the AF assist lamp on. I take many photos as close or closer and they come out crystal clear, but some end up like this:


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Old Dec 20, 2006, 9:31 PM   #8
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I own a Panasonic FZ7 and have the same problems... i'm using it for PartyPics excessively ( http://www.studance.info/component/o.../?g2_itemId=30 , about 80% of the pictures in recent galleries )
The Problem with the useless AF assist lamp becomes much worse when your'e in a Dicotheque with blinking lights, they seem to confuse the system completely, and you won´t want to ask for a third photo if two are rubbish.

The workaround is that i use manual focus... you have to stay in wide angle position, but if you lock AF at about 2m the depth of field is big enough that every photo is perfectly sharp.

That way the camera becomes really fast... so the big minus in the first place can become a plus if you want to shoot snapshots. But changing to telephoto will make pictures become unsharp quite quickly... so the 12x zoom becomes a 2x...

I used a canon ixus before, that camera had much less problems focussing in poor light.

Hope that these informations will help you.

Thomas

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Old Feb 7, 2007, 3:14 PM   #9
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Just read your post regarding autofocus problems with the Panasonic DMC-FZ7 and I can certainly relate. Your issue with blinking lights hit home...had the same problem on some low light guitar pics I was trying to take...everything was blurry (pic attached...small I know but at normal size, you can't even make out the mfr. name on the headstock of the guitar). Took the camera to a Jeff Tweedy show last week and got 300 blurry pics (pic attached). I don't recall having these problems with my Canon S1-IS. In fact, I got several terrific shots at an R.E.M. show with the Canon. Given the Panasonic's rave reviews and in particular, the excellent remarks about the "Mega OIS" image stabilization feature, I've often wondered if I have a defective camera.


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Old Feb 8, 2007, 8:27 AM   #10
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RKHIII- My original problem was in low light with the flash on, your pictures are without the flash. A tripod would fix your problem in short order, or the use of the 2s timer. Just pushing the capture button can cause the camera to shake more than normal, so the 2s timer can give you time to steady your hands for the shot. Or of course the tripod would take care of it all w/ the 2s timer.

I've found that these cameras are amazing for the price, but they do have their quirks
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