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Old Jul 20, 2008, 6:10 PM   #1
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Hello!

1 week ago i purchased a Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ18, i must say that i'm impressed by the cameras fast operation, excellent controls and very comprehensible and easy menus, plenty of options for the tweakers and very good image quality before and after some light postprocessing, the FZ18's images behave well in post process, one thing that isnt mentioned anywhere is that the camera is VERY energy efficient, i snapped 800 photos in a full charge on the battery before the battery indicator turned red, very suprising results since Panasonic claims battery usage of about 300 photos, i believe my 800 photographs limit has to do with the settings i choose for the camera which were Continuous Autofocus OFF and especially all sounds disabled, i much prefer a quiet camera.

Now for the problems part, it seems the CCD sensor developed stucked pixels that show as red in many of my photographs, checked with a 1/1000 absolute darkness RAW capture and Adobe Camera Raw indeed shows hot pixels and dead pixels abound. I can live with CCD faults which are common in digicams that are diminished through cameras noise reductions algorithms, but 1-2 red and 4-5 blue pixels showing up in proper exposured jpgs in light and grey areas at fast shutters is something i cant tolerate. any suggestions?, does the Panasonic has any function for mapping the hot/stuck pixels in firmware like the Olympus and Sony cameras do? or it may be wise to send it back and ask for a replacement camera instead?

Thank you for reading this.

attaching a crop showcasing the problem.

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Old Jul 21, 2008, 11:54 AM   #2
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I know this will sound like I am trying to be a wise guy ( my lack of education prevents me from being more tactful).......but that photo is not good....I am not sure if its your processing or what.....

I do not find RAW to be extremely useful with the Panasonic cameras because it does not seem any program fully understands the file, and that leaves too much up to my imagination......in my case thats a poor plan.

But your photo seems to me to show some aggressive processing which I am not sure was done properly, now does that have anything to do with the pixels, I am not sure.......some seem to be noise while the white spots are troubling.

I believe panasonic can map the pixels but its not for consumer use, that I am aware of. If those white spots are dead pixels I would say thats too many.
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Old Jul 21, 2008, 1:39 PM   #3
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Stating that it is an extreme crop you do show what it is that you are concerned with.

It is inherent in all digicams especially with the CCD sensors.

No mapping function to date for any Panny digicam. I believe the Minolta K5D and K7D have that feature.

I am not sure sending it back will yield a camera with better results than what you already have.

Small sensor cameras with big camera features will show some of its limitations such as this.


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Old Jul 21, 2008, 3:37 PM   #4
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Thanks for your answers!

The crop was heavily sharped to show the dead pixels, problem is that due to Panasonics heavy Noise Reduction, the small dead pixels diminish but can creep through normal exposure and fast shutter speed shots in very dark areas, this is something that doesnt bother me, i have read the limitations of small sensors, but as you can see in the crop a red stain appears, probably a stuck pixel, that shows in almost all shots in the same position, sometimes sharp sometimes dim, along with blue colored stucked pixels in dark underexposed areas. I had taken a RAW absolute black shot with very fast shutter speeds, 1-60 and 1-1000, played with the Luminance channel and the picture is full of big dots, plenty of them grey and the rest colored. I think this is unacceptable that stuck/dead pixels creep through fast shutter speeds and i suppose that the camera is taken back either for replacement or a pixel remapping, whatever will make more sense due to time constraints.

Thanks again for your answers.

FZ18 RAW > JPG , black capture, fast shutter and with some luminance effect to showcase.





a crop showcasing the creeping stuck red/blue pixels.





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Old Jul 30, 2008, 7:55 AM   #5
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Camera exchanged with new one, tested at shop, problems solved!

Lessons i learned.

1. Always test a camera for stuck pixels that creep in normal jpg photos.

2. Pixel peeping is good enough for testing for stuck pixels.

3. Almost all digital cameras have dead/stuck pixels that dissappear through noise reduction, if they dont, exchange them or repair them.

4. Pixel remapping must come as an inside camera function, easy and available to all.

Thanks for reading this.



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