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Old Jul 29, 2003, 12:00 AM   #1
UC
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Default Focusing problems with FZ1

I am having problems focusing at full zoom outdoors with ample sunlight. I have noticed if I back off tad bit from extreme zoom I get better results. I not able to hold the camera perfectly still and seem to shake alot when pressing the shutter button but I don't get the camera jiggle icon. I'm wondering if this is the cause of the problem inspite of the fact I don't recieve camera jiggle warning? Hopefully, I won't have to lug a tripod around because that is the very reason I bought the camera is the image stabilization it offers. I have tried normal,sports and panning modes. I am also using continuous AF. This is very frustrating so if anyone has some helpful suggestions please feel free to offer this novice some constructive advice. Thanks!
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Old Jul 29, 2003, 2:00 AM   #2
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The "handshake" symbol comes on only when the shutter speed falls below a certain value. Thats all it does. So with sufficient light, it will not show. The image stabilizer does work. Just take the shots and see for yourself. I have very sharp images, handheld at 1/60s. Check it out at my FZ1 Gallery. All shots are handheld except the 2 night scenes. Click on the "info" for settings.

http://www.fototime.com/ftweb/bin/ft...539441C8EB0BC3

There are not many photos, since I bought the camera only 3 weeks ago. As for your focusing problem, was the subject to close? At full zoom, the subject should be at least 2m away.
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Old Jul 29, 2003, 2:47 AM   #3
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Nice photos you took! I hope I can do as well but so far this focusing problem has me stumped. Subject was 30 feet away. Thanks for your response!
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Old Jul 29, 2003, 5:31 AM   #4
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May I suggest trying a few shots with the continuous AF switched off. Then compose picture, half press shutter, when yellow circle appers gently squeeze shutter to take picture. Sorry if this sounds insulting, its not meant to. But I have seen people quickly aim the camera and then press the shutter hard moving the camera at the point of exposure. Then blaming the camera for blurred shots.
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Old Jul 29, 2003, 9:37 AM   #5
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Default Re: Focusing problems with FZ1

Quote:
Originally Posted by UC
I am having problems focusing at full zoom outdoors with ample sunlight. I have noticed if I back off tad bit from extreme zoom I get better results.
Is the camera telling you that it is out of focus or is what you see through the EVF out of focus? If the later, adjust the dioper
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Old Jul 29, 2003, 5:34 PM   #6
UC
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Default Focusing problems with FZ1

David, thank you for pointing me in the right direction with this problem. To paraphrase an old saying "I have seen the enemy and it is me. " I live in an area with a lot of shade and when I went out to snap some test photos at max zoom with continuous AF I was not seeing the camera shake icon flashing because it flashed to fast for me to see it. Switching to AF controlled by shutter button I then could see the camera shake icon and by backing off a little on the zoom I was able to get rid of the icon and thus take an in focus picture. I am VERY grateful for your advice!

Many thanks to all who offered advice!
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Old Jul 30, 2003, 10:53 AM   #7
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UC, in response to your post, yesterday I took some photos of a brick wall. I would deem this a fairly rigorous test of my photographic skills...

With the benefit of a tripod, a stable (I hope) subject and one which is not perhaps very difficult to get a focus lock on I couldn't say that the maximum zoom was giving problems with achieving focus.

At ca 10 yards at maximum zoom cf 5 yards at mid zoom I found the greater zoom to give an apparently softer result in the centre (observable at 200% magnification of the picture in Photoshop). Edge results were similar, though stopping down the lens (by using the night portrait mode setting) improved edge sharpness at mid zoom.

If I used the unsharp mask in Photoshop, I found I could get the images to match and that the apparently sharper image at mid zoom was most likely down to greater contrast and was not really giving me any extra information.

Then again, the difference between a photograph of a brick wall at full zoom at 30 yards and that at half zoom at 15 yards may be more obvious. Now please, be careful you don't all fall over your tripods in your haste to carry out this test :lol:
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Old Jul 30, 2003, 11:12 PM   #8
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Norm, thanks for your input! I am assuming the problem I was having was a sufficient light problem since the camera shake icon was flashing at full zoom but not when I backed off the zoom a tad bit. Also I was in a shady area. Do you think my conclusion is correct or do I need to look at other solutions? WARNING: NOVICE learning new camera
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Old Jul 31, 2003, 5:22 AM   #9
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Sorry UC, I lied :lol: The tests I carried out weren't done completely in response to your post here but also to the thread below which I thought maybe you had also contributed to :
http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/re...essage=5692545

As you probably know, high magnification through the lens also magnifies the effects of camera movement or shake (ever tried holding the camera steady on a small subject with full 36x combined optical and digital zoom? Wot a larf :lol: ) This camera movement at the moment of taking the pictures results in blurring of your pictures and the slower the shutter speed the more time there is for the camera movement to contribute more blur. The image stabilisation technology on the lens attempts to counteract the effects of camera movement but of course it is not infallible. Also it is apparently more effective when the shutter speed is in the range around 1/125 second. The Panasonic engineers evidently came up with guidelines on when camera shake becomes a real risk (assuming the user is making some sort of effort to keep the camera still) and in those situations the "camera shake" symbol appears. Essentially as stated, large zoom and slow shutter speeds are the enemy.

I guess your own "rule of thumb" of getting rid of the warning symbol before shooting is a good one for the moment. For example, if you don't need full zoom and can get pretty much the same photo by using less zoom and taking a few paces forward that seems like an excellent idea.

However if, say, you wanted to take a picture of a small timid bird ten yards away in bad light with no support to hand, you'd probably not have the option of approaching the subject and would want the full zoom for the magnification. In that situation, warning light or not, you'd probably take the shot and hope your technique for holding the camera steady saved the day.

In the other thread, Michael Kilpatrick suggested another benefit to holding the camera steady was that it seems to help the camera achieve a good focus lock.

My tests with the tripod should remove camera shake from the equation as contributing to blurring directly or indirectly by giving problems to the autofocussing mechanism. At the moment, the results are merely of curiosity value to anyone who processes their pictures in a photo editor as a matter of course. To those who don't, the slight loss of "bite" I found at full zoom may be effectively counteracted by using the "Standard" or "Vivid" settings which will return the contrast, as well as extra colour saturation.
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