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Old May 15, 2009, 2:32 PM   #1
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Default Indoor photo problems with FZ28

ok my daughter had a graduation that was held inside of a small auditorium which was of course not brightly lit except for the stage where they were sitting. I was sitting in the middle rows so I had to zoom in to get decent close shots of my daughter however even on manual a lot of shots had blurriness etc. I tried various settings and could not seem to make this situation work for me. Can anyone suggest the best settings in this situation with this camera?
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Old May 15, 2009, 2:49 PM   #2
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Shoot aperture priority - widest aperture (lowest f-number) available. Probably need ISO 3200 so manually set that value.

It would be helpful to see one of the shots you took with the EXIF still in the file (or just post the EXIF information).
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Old May 15, 2009, 5:59 PM   #3
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The longer the focal length, the more light you need. Even though Panasonic IS is excellent, if you fall too far from the rule-of-thumb (shutter speed = 1/focal length), chances are you will experience blurriness due to camera shake. Once you have the aperture wide open (relative to the FL), then you need to look at the shutter speed. If it falls more than 2 stops from the RoT, you must increase the ISO. You should continue with this exercise until you obtain a shutter speed that is at least 1/125 if you are zooming in all the way (504mm - 28mm x 18). You may find that the ISO must be set to 800 or even 1600 in order for you to obtain a decent shot in terms of sharpness. Hope this helps.
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Old May 16, 2009, 9:20 AM   #4
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Hi Ellandry,

John & Tullio are correct in these suggestions. I will add mine just as another possible choice.

I have an FZ30 and I don't know just how different they are to the FZ28, but in my experience (which is by no means professional) I have had very good luck shooting stage shots of our local ballet company. Many of them from the balcony zoomed in.

I use a tripod for extra steadyness, however I set it up so that all legs are adjusted to fit closetogether (all three touching like one leg) and at a height from the seat (between my knees) with the camera at eye level. This gives me the abililty to move easily and brace the camera at the same time while taking action shots.

My camera is set on manual with ISO at 200, settings only ranging from 80, 200, & 400. Yours may have more range so you can experiment. I set my aperature wide open, in my case 3.5, and my shutterspeed at around 200. This enabled me to get the fastest shutter speed available for this lighting. I timed my shots for the moments there would be a pause in the movement and fired away. It worked great!

I hope this might work for you too. If the lighting is poor, you may have to bring up the ISO higher to 400 or better. I could only go 200 on my camera because an ISO any higher invited way too much noise. The one downfall of my fabulous, well loved, FZ30 is the noise at high ISO.

Good luck with your low light shots. Thank you for sharing your experience. I hope we can see a shot or two of your event.

Teree

Last edited by gotta.learn; May 16, 2009 at 9:25 AM.
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Old May 18, 2009, 12:24 PM   #5
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ok I don't understand what the point of a good optical zoom is if you cant use it effectively indoors. I just went to an Indian pow wow yesterday and inside of the auditorium was very brightly lit and I tried adjusting a lot of the manual settings and still 90% of my pictures were blurry. ( I did not use a tripod) where as my friend who has an 7 MP point and shoot camera with a 5x optical zoom which cost her like $70 has all of the bright clear pictures hand held. That seems ridiculous. The only clear pictures I had were when I set the shutter speed to 1/250 and then of course the pictures are dark as hell. I just want this camera to work for me, I had a sony cybershot DSC-S85 which was only 4.1MP with a 3x optical zoom and it took great indoor shots even in automatic mode. Why is the FZ28 giving me so much trouble?
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Old May 18, 2009, 12:29 PM   #6
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My initial reaction is - whatever mode you're shooting in is not using a high enough ISO value. If you could post one of the photos that would be helpful. Otherwise, take a look at the image on your PC using software that displays EXIF info - most photo editing software displays it. If nothing else. Opanda makes a free software called IEXIF Viewer. Use that. The key lies in that EXIF info. I would be shocked and amazed if the camera were using a wide open aperture and ISO 3200 and you were still getting unusable photos.
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Old May 18, 2009, 2:49 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ellandry View Post
ok I don't understand what the point of a good optical zoom is if you cant use it effectively indoors.
(snip)
( I did not use a tripod)
I would look toward the last part of that quote as a possible root cause of your problem.

As other posters have suggested, you need to post an image that illustrates the problem and the EXIF that goes with it. If you do that, some of the gray-hairs here can scratch our heads and figure out what the problem is. But without them, we can't tell if your problem is focus, motion blur, camera shake, sensor noise, or something else.

The FZ28 has a pretty substantial optical zoom--nearly 500 mm. That's a pretty long lens to hand-hold in low light--even in good light.

The old rule of thumb for handheld shooting in 35mm days used to be shutter speed=1/focal length.

The OIS in the FZ28 might give you two stops at best, under ideal conditions.

You are really pushing it trying to hand-hold this camera at full zoom at slow shutter speeds. As you are getting good results at 1/250, it seems like you are getting about 1 stop from the OIS.

Your results are telling you that you need to find a combination of aperture and ISO that will allow you to shoot at 1/250 at full zoom. Note that the program mode in the FZ28 seems to favor shooting at a smaller aperture and slower shutter speed. You can fix this tendency with program shift, or try shooting in shutter priority mode.

As far as the comparison with your last camera, I'm sure that your little 3:1 zoom wasn't giving you anything like the 486 mm of the FZ28. That would make it lots easier to hand-hold.

The FZ28 is a very capable camera, but it is also very complex. It takes a while to learn to use it effectively, particularly insofar as figuring what its computer wants to do compared to what you want it to do instead. If you'll practice in easy shooting situations for a while, then go progressively more difficult, you'll probably eventually have better results in the long run. I would consider what you have been shooting to be rather difficult.
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Old May 18, 2009, 3:30 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnG View Post
....I would be shocked and amazed if the camera were using a wide open aperture and ISO 3200 and you were still getting unusable photos.
Yes....this post is going around elsewhere as well, with similar responses..

http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/re...ssage=31893978

ISO 1600 is the maximum setting on the FZ28, but I'd be suprised if anything near that setting is being used. Image quality isn't earth shattering at that setting, but it's certainly better than nothing.

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Old May 18, 2009, 5:27 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ellandry View Post
ok I don't understand what the point of a good optical zoom is if you cant use it effectively indoors. I just went to an Indian pow wow yesterday and inside of the auditorium was very brightly lit and I tried adjusting a lot of the manual settings and still 90% of my pictures were blurry. ( I did not use a tripod) where as my friend who has an 7 MP point and shoot camera with a 5x optical zoom which cost her like $70 has all of the bright clear pictures hand held. That seems ridiculous. The only clear pictures I had were when I set the shutter speed to 1/250 and then of course the pictures are dark as hell. I just want this camera to work for me, I had a sony cybershot DSC-S85 which was only 4.1MP with a 3x optical zoom and it took great indoor shots even in automatic mode. Why is the FZ28 giving me so much trouble?
Yes, you can use a long optical zoom indoors very effectively. You just need to pay attention to some of the variables already described here. First, lets get the number of megapixels out of the discussion as it has absolutely nothing to do with it. One may argue that a lower megapixel camera can produce sharper images than a higher MP camera but that is something else. That's softness caused by a limitation on the sensor size, not blurriness caused by camera shake. With that said, the reason your friend is getting sharper images (and you did too with your old camera) is because his camera has a 5x optical zoom lens while yours is 18x. Since you did not specify the model of your friend's camera, I'll assume it starts at 36mm. This means the FL of his camera is 36x5=180mm. Yours is 28x18=504mm. If you follow the RoT I explained above, you should make sure that your shutter speed is no less that 1/500 but because of IS, let's say 1/250. Your friend by comparison can shoot in the same conditions at 1/180 (with IS say 1/80). As you can see, because his camera has only a 5x zoom lens, he does not need much shutter speed to obtain a clear picture. The thing is, because you need a shutter speed of 1/250, you most likely will run into lack of light even at the widest aperture. So, unless you increase the ISO, the camera will knock down the shutter speed until it has enough light at the cost of camera shake. Shooting in aperture priority works but you need to pay a lot of attention to your shutter speed. In situations like that, I prefer to shoot in shutter priority instead. That way I know I can guarantee the minimum speed needed to prevent camera shake. The camera will then automatically select the widest aperture for the FL being used and if it is not enough, it will tell me (most cameras will either blink or turn the shutter/aperture display RED on the LCD/EVF). I know then that the ISO must be increased until the s/a display either stops blinking or it turns white. At that point, I know I'm good to go.

If you want to do a test, go with your friend to a gym, set both cameras to P mode and auto ISO, have your friend zoom in all the way while you zoom in the equivalent to 5x only (you can see that on the LCD). Then you both take the shot. There will be minor differences in how the two cameras select the aperture/shutter/ISO combination but the end result should be very similar in terms of sharpness.
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Old May 19, 2009, 10:02 PM   #10
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Sorry guys I have been swamped with work. Here are some of the photos, the exif info should still be intact. Thanks for all the replies btw


http://picasaweb.google.com/ellcap1m...=directlink--#
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