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Old Mar 2, 2010, 9:25 AM   #21
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thank u for ur advice Alun. I'm slowly getting there and tonight I will give your settings a try too. I've tried Stability on Auto setting and although the shake effect is very minimum, its still there in some photos. What are the mode 1 & 2? I was thinking if this so-called shake-effect could be down to shutter speed, especially if i move the camera fast?
http://img202.imageshack.us/img202/4577/p1010141kv.jpg
http://img169.imageshack.us/img169/6169/p1010143y.jpg


Also, the photos are coming out much much better after the advice on this forum, but sometimes, the photo has way too much exposure in one area...is there a way of making the exposure equal in the whole photo rather than just one area?
http://img401.imageshack.us/img401/3951/p1010092h.jpg
http://img709.imageshack.us/img709/5314/p1010148m.jpg


Lastly if i want to take very close Macro shots, how can i do this? The reason i ask is that i tried AF Macro and although i managed reasonably close shots, i could not get EXTREMELY CLOSE as the camera simply won't focus, the display text goes Red.
http://img408.imageshack.us/img408/4282/p1010146.jpg
http://img96.imageshack.us/img96/5505/p1010150a.jpg
http://img69.imageshack.us/img69/1205/p1010152z.jpg
http://img517.imageshack.us/img517/9521/p1010153z.jpg
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Old Mar 2, 2010, 11:34 AM   #22
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amateurman-

If a white area is overexposed in a photo, reduce the exposure slightly using the Exposure Compensation feature to restore the detail.

On macro photos, shoot with the zoom in the wide angle position. That will allow the closest focus.

It looks as if your photos have improved nicely. Have a great day.

Sarah Joyce
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Old Mar 2, 2010, 11:45 AM   #23
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Hi amateurman,

Your situation sounds similar to mine about a year ago when I got your camera's predecessor, the FZ28. From what I've read, the cameras are similar. I had been using a 2-megapixel camera for years, but I really didn't know much about photography. Most of the reviews I read on the FZ28 were quite positive and I was excited when my camera arrived. My excitement turned to disappointment when I saw that many of my indoor shots weren't that good, unless I was in a very well lit room - and not too many of those exist. Flash shots were frequently dark and non-flash shots were very noisy because the camera often set the ISO to 400 or 800. (This was in IA mode, of course.)

Over time as I learned more about my camera (and its strengths and limitations), and about photography, I concluded that, in my ignorance, I was expecting DSLR performance out of a point-and-shoot camera. I didn't know that at the time, of course.

I've taken many great photos with the FZ28, but I now know that indoor shots will frequently be a challenge. It doesn't mean that they will all stink, but many of them will not be as "good" as I want them to be. Here's some advice based on my experience. Much of this advice has already been given by other posters in this thread.

1. Learn how your camera works and keep shooting. You're obviously on that path now, or you wouldn't be posting!

2. Learn more about photography. I read many photography-book reviews and went to a local bookstore to browse some of the books and see whether any of them stood out. I then took some of them out from the library to see which one I liked best. I ended up buying a book called Understanding Exposure (revised edition), by Bryan Peterson. I've not read the entire book at this point, but the first few chapters do a good job of explaining what the various settings are and how they interact with each other. You may prefer another book, of course, but this one worked for me.

There's a lot of posted information in this forum and on the web, in general. Start hunting around if you're not doing that already.

3. The more you zoom, the more the image is subject to camera-shake, whether or not you think you're holding it steady. Ultimately you'll probably want to buy a tripod and use the camera's auto-timer function. I don't have a tripod at this point, but it's on my wish-list.

4. For close-up shots, you can try setting the camera on a bag of beans or something to hold it steadier. You could also mess around with the camera's timer so you're not touching the camera when it fires. This assumes that you're taking a shot where this is possible. You'll have to experiment on the macro shots. There are distance limitations and the more you zoom, the further away you need to be. Also, you'll find that the closer you get to an object, the more light you will block! Heh - sort of a catch-22.

6. Manually setting up each shot takes longer than using IA mode. That's why it's important to really learn the camera so you can set things up as quickly as possible. I still use IA mode when I need to get "that shot" immediately, before it changes.

7. From my experience with the FZ28, indoor flash shots will often be problematic. The built-in flash is limited and there is no hot-shoe to add an external flash. That's just the way it is. Note that mtclimber has a thread somewhere in this forum talking about adding a slave flash. To me that's too much of a hassle, but it is an option you may want to investigate.

I've learned enough over this past year to realize that the FZ28 is a good camera - within its class - and it's a great learning tool. But I've concluded that I really need a DSLR to take the kind of pictures that I want to. That won't happen anytime soon, but learning more now will help me make a better decision when the time comes to invest more heavily in a more advanced system. This is all personal taste, of course. You may be fully satisfied with your camera once you get to "know the ropes."

Mike
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Old Mar 2, 2010, 12:43 PM   #24
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Thanks a lot, Mike-

You covered some very important points quite nicely. It cannot be emphasized enough that the two most important elements are:

1. Thoroughly learning your camera.
2. Really learning and understanding photography.

Sarah Joyce
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Old Mar 2, 2010, 12:54 PM   #25
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Greetings Amateurman,
I'll jump in with my 2 cents worth. For many years I used an old Nikkormat 35mm camera to take my prints and slides. You had to manually focus, set the proper aperture opening, set the shutter sped, make sure there was enough light then snap the picture. Today's digital cameras are supposed to be "smart" and "intelligent", just point the camera and snap - you get a great shot every time. At least that is what the sales pitch tells us. The camera is trying to pick the best settings with all the built in smart computer chips and processors but sometimes it just can't read your mind or do what you want it to do.
Mostly it's balancing act between light, movement, the speed of the shutter and the area of focus. For instance if you "zoom" there are a few things to consider. A fast shutter speed will "freeze" the action and you will have no blur but it takes a lot of light to accomplish that. (That's why I like the stabilization stuff). If there is not enough light then the "smart" camera can compensate but upping the ISO but the draw back is "noise" (which I hate) that is why a lot of folks limit the ISO setting to 100 or 200. There again is another catch. If I limit my ISO setting then the "smart" camera can reduce the shutter speed and lower the aperture opening. But that might cause blurring if the subject is moving too fast or be out of focus if the aperture opening is too low.
I noticed in your "berry" shot there are lots of branches. If you wanted all the branches in focus then you aperture opening has to be larger in order for it to do so. This focal area is called depth of field. The larger the aperture opening (higher F stops) the more area you'll have in focus. When you zoom or if you are taking a macro shot then the area of focus is limited. Choose your focal point carefully. Attached are a few examples of depth of field. These shots are all taken using the macro setting on the dial. Each time I held down the focus button half way to set where I wanted my focal area. Then I adjusted my aperture opening to increase or decrease the area I want in focus. I also set my ISO limit (the lower the ISO the less noise). You can see that the front and back of the keyboard is a bit out of focus with lower aperture opening. To get more in focus I have to have a higher aperture opening but also notice the shutter speed or "exposure time". When one goes up the other goes down. A balancing act.
The yellow paper has a very small focal area. I could have gotten more in focus if I increased my aperture opening because the exposure time (shutter speed was 1/100). The paper is not going to move so a fast shutter speed isn't needed.
Whew!! I'm getting long winded.
In order to get that "perfect" shot it's sometimes hard to set up. Sometimes you get lucky with "All Auto Modes" but usually you're best shots are choosing your own settings.
Again it's balancing all the factors and then telling the camera what "you" want it to do. One step at a time. Don't get discouraged. There are many things to consider. There is lots of great information on this site from users.
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Old Mar 2, 2010, 1:25 PM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mike_1 View Post
Hi amateurman,

Your situation sounds similar to mine about a year ago when I got your camera's predecessor, the FZ28. From what I've read, the cameras are similar. I had been using a 2-megapixel camera for years, but I really didn't know much about photography. Most of the reviews I read on the FZ28 were quite positive and I was excited when my camera arrived. My excitement turned to disappointment when I saw that many of my indoor shots weren't that good, unless I was in a very well lit room - and not too many of those exist. Flash shots were frequently dark and non-flash shots were very noisy because the camera often set the ISO to 400 or 800. (This was in IA mode, of course.)

Over time as I learned more about my camera (and its strengths and limitations), and about photography, I concluded that, in my ignorance, I was expecting DSLR performance out of a point-and-shoot camera. I didn't know that at the time, of course.
@Mike,

You explained it very well - and I went through the same with my FZ35 - with the disappointment at Christmas eve - when I made the first eager awaited pictures in a candlelight atmosphere and - no surprise - they came out terrible. The FZ35 just needs a lot of practice and it is not really an easy going P&S camera in my opinion.

@Clint501,

Also well explained - and great macro shots for making your point.
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Some of my stuff on vimeo (all shot with an FZ-35):
The tree: www.vimeo.com/11345662
with LC55 macro lens: www.vimeo.com/13884313
Zeeland: www.vimeo.com/14488204
The old mill: www.vimeo.com/14577326
autoHDR: www.vimeo.com/15797552
soccer kids: www.vimeo.com/17208358
christmas lights: www.vimeo.com/17912783

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Old Mar 2, 2010, 2:31 PM   #27
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@ mtclimber - its mainly thanks to you sarah that the photos are looking much better. I already as u told me, set the flash exposure to 2/3...do u want me to bring this down or are saying that i should bring the 1st option "exposure compensation" down from zero? if so, what should i bring it down to?

@ mike_1 - many thanks for the detailed breakdown. Funny enough i grabbed some books a few days ago and one of them is the one you mentioned, lol:-

1. Collins Digital Photography, Step by Step
2. Understanding Exposure (revised edition), by Bryan Peterson
3. Creative Photoshop Portrait Techniques
4. Digital Photography for Dummies (5th Edition)

@ Clint501 - Well thank u for explaining about the macro shots. One question is that to get a very close zoom, do i need to enable DIGITAL ZOOM or AF ZOOM?

@ Joho - I've seen ur thread earlier...some wonderful shots...maybe u can post ur settings here.
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Old Mar 2, 2010, 2:46 PM   #28
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amateurman-

What I was attempting to demonstrate to you if this: By using the Flash Compensation Menu on the FZ-35/38 you have the ability to brighten or reduce light in the case of over exposure on any image. Think of it as a new skill you have acquired. Just adjust as required.

Sarah Joyce
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Old Mar 2, 2010, 3:01 PM   #29
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I would suggest not using digital zoom for now. You will get much "crisper" shots using the optical. The one good time to use the digital is for these.
The higher settings of digital zoom have limitations.
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Old Mar 2, 2010, 4:06 PM   #30
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Amateurman, here are a few questions to ask.
Is my subject moving? - I'll need fast shutter speed to freeze action. If still, I can sometimes turn down the shutter speed to get more focus area.
How much light is available? The brighter it is the more options you have available to balance the shot.
Am I going to use zoom? That needs more light to work good.
You asked about settings. Each picture can have different settings.
Do I need to use the flash to help balance the settings?
"Most" of the time I use the P - on the dial. Usually I set my ISO to 100 (that will eliminate noise "providing" I have enough light to do so).
My son and grandson just came by. I switched over to the IA mode (all automatic).
I aimed, held down the focus button half way and this came out. Kind of blurred. It tried but it needed more light.
The next shot I flipped up the flash (still in AI mode). A bit better.
So there really is no "one setting" for the "best shots".
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