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Old Sep 13, 2010, 12:13 PM   #1
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Default New to the FZ-35, some advice needed for crisp images

Hi there, thought I might post this in a new post since I wanted to include images of snaps:

I was debating on a new camera for a while and I wanted good low light shots. While I considered the Canon G11 an older 2nd hand G10, a Canon S90 and the Lumix TZ-10 for mobility, I realized there was no perfect camera. I had to compromise on what I wanted most above all other features so it came down to the FZ40 vs FZ35. I figured I might be gambling my money on a newer camera and may not be happy so I went with the proven FZ-35 instead and after a few days I've been happy but I have a long way to go before I can take snaps like others I've seen on the forum which are just beautiful.

My main problem is I have shaky hands and the auto setting is a lifesaver most of the time, but on long zoom it makes a big blur of images. Have any of you faired any better with Mode 1 or Mode 2 vs Auto in Image Stabilization?

I would appreciate any settings/ suggestions that you might have in regards to my snapshots (Yes I've done a search but my pictures don't come out like yours).

And mtclimber if somehow you read this, thank you very much for posting your guide in the other settings thread. It has been a huge help. Do you usually use the P mode or you go full manual?

Here are a few examples of my snaps:

Night time, actual auto shot with no flash



Longer exposure shots (4 seconds), my shaking hands smeared it.





Couple of day shots:













shutter problems - I think I need to do auto shutter for a while since I took 3 tries on this shot and even then it didn't come out very good






Last edited by Jyaku; Sep 13, 2010 at 2:10 PM.
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Old Sep 13, 2010, 1:19 PM   #2
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It's very difficult to hand hold anything less than 1/30th of a second. To make sure the pictures are sharp you need to keep the shutter speed up to around 1/25 or above providing the subject is not moving.

On the first 2 shots a tripod is the only way to get focused sharp image. In those pictures any movement at all will cause a smear.

I've been using Mode 2 on a lot of my shots. I know that when I have low light a monopod or tripod helps immensely. Even in good light a steady mounting will increase your chances of getting a sharper image.
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Old Sep 13, 2010, 1:35 PM   #3
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jyaku-

Clint has already touched on a few points that will certainly make a difference. Any night time or near night time shots require a tripod. If sharpness is a component of your "crispness" quality, increase the sharpness in the menu, and use spot exposure and spot focusing.

Looking at your posted samples, the most common element is under exposure, which could be assisted by spot exposure, and the use of Exposure Compensation. The biggest issue, that Clint touched upon, is keeping the shutter speed at a speed that offers some assistance to the OIS system. Therefore, I would experiment with using shutter preference, and keeping the shutter speed at no less than 1/50 th. If you cannot keep the shutter speed at at least 1/50th, then you will have to use a tripod.

The final issue is that simple post processing, like even Google's Picasa, which is absolutely free, could also improve your photos.

Sarah Joyce
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Old Sep 13, 2010, 3:59 PM   #4
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Thank you for the responses.

I took a few more pictures with the suggested exposure bonus of 1.33 and here's how they came out for your criticism - straight out of the camera just resized.

The first one had a bit of an overcast sky and there was a strange smoke being created so I decided to find out what it was:



I like how this came out against the blue sky but that line pole is in annoying spot.



A few of nature, the 3rd picture has a bird too shy to pose for the camera.







I like how this shrub looks even in complete shadow.



Don't know why I took this, maybe as a focus test but I was surprised to find lemons visible at max optical zoom, no exposure + here.



An indoor shot with the same exposure settings



I would have taken more but the battery ran out after 455 shots which isn't bad.. but I do have a few questions:

1. Did most of you bother with getting a 2nd battery?

2. I tried following the guide of " (2) Set to ISO to “Auto ISO. You probably want to consider limiting how far the camera can increase the ISO setting by itself. I would recommend that for outdoor photos that you limit the ISO increase to ISO 400. For indoor use limit the ISO increase to ISO 800."

My ISO setting is on auto and the max iso is capped at 400. However I didn't understand if you have also put INTELLIGENT ISO to ON as well?

3. Is there anything I can do with photoshop cs2 instead of picasa that might make the pictures better post processing?

4. Do you have any suggestions for a cost efficient and effective tripod that's easily portable?

Thank you very much for your comments. Keep them coming.

Regards,

jake.

Last edited by Jyaku; Sep 13, 2010 at 5:20 PM. Reason: clarification
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Old Sep 13, 2010, 4:40 PM   #5
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As to question 1 - I have 3 batteries
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Old Sep 13, 2010, 7:18 PM   #6
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Jake-

I use two batteries. The group of photos show some improvement. CS2 is better than Picasa, I just wanted to suggest something that did not cost anything, least you be cash-strapped.

Tripods if well handled, last a long time. However it is natural to want to keep the cost down. Amazon handles a line of Dolica tripods that are reasonably priced.

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Old Sep 14, 2010, 4:32 AM   #7
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Depending on your tripod needs, a gorillapod might be the key, I have one in my bag all the time for my smaller Panasonic cameras and it's great. Not ideal if you want to use it at height in the open but I usually find a tree, fence, chair etc. I only usually have a normal tripod if I have the car of know I will want it as carrying around the extra size/weight is a pain.
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Old Sep 14, 2010, 12:07 PM   #8
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Thank you for the responses. I'll try adding that to my photography collection.

For some reason even though I'm really trying to follow Sarah's guide listed for the FZ-35, I'm liking Intelligent ISO on ON because then I don't have to configure the right shutter settings every time and can get a shot faster than having to experiment a lot. I mean I'm a person who likes shooting things that're abstract, just happen by pure chance and don't like asking people/ things to pose so I need a faster, ready to go point and shoot configuration.

I tried using shutter priority mode and it was a nightmare, the shot is totally ruined by the time I figure out the right setting. I think aperture priority might be better but still I'm liking program mode with intelligent ISO ON. I know I sound like I'm being lazy.. I'm really not.. I can take the time to do that if someone is posing for me but out in nature, a fast shot captures the moment much better.

So far my current settings are in Program Mode:

Picture size 10.5
quality: Extra Fine Jpeg
Aspect Ratio: 3:2
Intelligent ISO: ON
ISO limit set: 800
White Balance: AWB
Face Recognition: OFF
AF Mode: Spot
Pre-Af - Q-AF (I don't understand that option)
AF/AE Lock - AF/AE (I don't understand this either)

Metering Mode - Default
I. Exposure - OFF (I think manual long exposure is nicer)
Digital Zoom - OFF (Digital zoom tends to blur the image, but if you have any suggestions of how to use it properly I'd appreciate it)

Min Shutter Speed - Not choosable due to intelligent ISO otherwise pictures would default to the setting I put here.
Color Effect: OFF
Picture adjustment: Contrast 0, Sharpness 1, Saturation 1, Noise Reduction -1
Stabilizer: Auto
AF assist Lamp - Off (I don't understand this)
Flash Synchro- 1st
Red Eye Removal - On
Conversion - Off

Can anyone suggest better settings or explain the stuff I didn't understand because I went through the book that came with the camera and no luck there.

Thank you,

Jake.

Last edited by Jyaku; Sep 14, 2010 at 12:17 PM.
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Old Sep 14, 2010, 12:16 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jyaku View Post
Thank you for the responses. I'll try adding that to my photography collection.

For some reason even though I'm really trying to follow the guide listed for the FZ-35 by Sarah, I'm liking Intelligent ISO on ON because then I don't have to configure the right shutter settings every time and can get a shot faster than having to experiment a lot. I mean I'm a person who likes shooting things that're abstract, just happen by pure chance and don't like asking people/ things to pose so I need a faster point and shoot configuration.

I tried using shutter priority mode and it was a nightmare, the shot is totally ruined by the time I figure out the right setting. I think appeture priority might be better but still I'm liking program mode with intelligent ISO ON. I know I sound like I'm being lazy.. I'm really not.. I can take the time to do that if someone is posing for me but out in nature, a fast shot captures the moment much better.

So far my current settings are in Program Mode:

Picture size 10.5
quality: Extra Fine Jpeg
Aspect Ratio: 3:2
Intelligent ISO: ON
ISO limit set: 800
White Balance: AWB
Face Recognition: OFF
AF Mode: Spot
Pre-Af - Q-AF (I don't understand that option)
AF/AE Lock - AF/AE (I don't understand this either)
Metering Mode - Default
I. Exposure - OFF (I think manual long exposure is nicer)
Digital Zoom - OFF (I didn't like that digital zoom tends to blur the image, but if you have any suggestions I'd appreciate it)
Min Shutter Speed - Not choosable due to intelligent ISO otherwise pictures would default to the setting I put here.
Color Effect: OFF
Picture adjustment: Contrast 0, Sharpness 1, Saturation 1, Noise Reduction -1
Stabilizer: Auto
AF assist Lamp - Off (I don't understand this)
Flash Synchro- 1st
Red Eye Removal - On
Conversion - Off

Can anyone suggest better settings or explain the stuff I didn't understand because I went through the menu and no luck there.
That's the best thing to do, find the settings that work for you. Just because someone has written a guide (on here or a book or other web page), we don't need to follow them and certainly don't have to feel bad about doing it your own way. We all have different styles and different needs, you might also find that over time your settings choices change. Let's take another example, I've read loads over the years on wedding shooting, everyone says to do it slightly differently, some will shoot Av some manual, some like natural light, some off camera flash, some will keep below ISO 400 (yes eve these days) some like to push the limits to shoot ambient light and don't worry as much about the noise. They all get the shots they want, we can learn from what they say, even if we decide not to do the same we've still learnt.

Good that you have something that allows you to get your shots, and honestly as long as you can get your shots then this will give the biggest improvement, as it's not the technology in your hand but what's in the brain to allow you to compose, use light and shoot at the right time.... etc etc etc.
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Old Sep 14, 2010, 11:58 PM   #10
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The more zoom you use, the more light you need (or the higher ISO) to keep the shutter speed at levels that will prevent blurriness caused by camera shake. The rule-of-thumb for shutter speed is 1/focal length. So, if you zoom all the way with the FZ35 (the equivalent of 486mm), then your shutter speed should be at least 1/500. Now, considering that the FZ35 has image stabilization, you may be able to drop that speed to 1/250 or even 1/125 and still get good sharp images. The thing is, trying to shoot at 1/250 in low light is only possible if you increase the ISO to 1600 or 3200, which in turn will result in very noisy images. So, my suggestion is to use a tripod in those types of conditions.
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