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Old Oct 1, 2010, 10:29 PM   #1
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Default Bought the FZ35...I feel like an idiot though!

Why do I feel like an idiot? Well, I find myself using the iA mode mostly. I simply don't have a clue what I'm doing. Will the advanced manual answer all my questions? I think the problem is that I know absolutely nothing about photography but I'd love to learn. I really don't even know what ISO is, aperture/shutter priority, etc. I play around with the settings and take pics but they lack in IQ. This is my cry for help.

I don't expect you guys to explain every little thing to me but if you could steer me in the right direction, I'd appreciate it.
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Old Oct 1, 2010, 10:36 PM   #2
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ohh don't worry! it is confusing right know.. i didnt know much about photography 2 month ago. I found that the best thing to learn about photography basics is to watch youtube! Just type aperture and watch a few clips then take your camera and practice! Now i can take a decent photo using manual mode.

Last edited by idenny; Oct 1, 2010 at 10:41 PM.
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Old Oct 1, 2010, 10:47 PM   #3
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You can read Sarah's guide which is very good or simply:

copy my initial settings are in Program Mode:

Picture size 10.1
quality: Extra Fine Jpeg
Aspect Ratio: 3:2
Intelligent ISO: ON
ISO limit set: 800
White Balance: AWB (this will need changing as your environment changes)
Face Recognition: OFF
AF Mode: Area (use others when you need)
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 - Low
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 1, Sharpness 1, Saturation 1, Noise Reduction -1
Stabilizer: Auto
AF assist Lamp - On
Flash Synchro- 1st
Red Eye Removal - On
Conversion - Off
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Old Oct 1, 2010, 11:25 PM   #4
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You did well getting the FZ38 (versus say an FZ40). Was looking at the FZ40 yesterday at Fry's and it appears to be a bit more complicated of a camera. Probably complications which you dont need. Based on user comments so far, FZ38 seems to be more P&S friendly than FZ40 and perhaps particularly so for indoor shots.
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Old Oct 2, 2010, 12:07 AM   #5
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Thanks for the responses!

Jyaku: Thanks for posting Sarahs guide. Very good info. I copied your settings for now albeit I changed the ISO to 400. I plan on doing a little outdoor photography tomorrow.
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Old Oct 2, 2010, 12:19 AM   #6
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I used to top my pictures off at 400 but the low light ones would come out dark. I leave 800 open for that so they can come out vivid. I can always darken them post processing if I want but I can't add light without adding noise.
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Old Oct 2, 2010, 8:53 AM   #7
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Finch - I've had my FZ35 for about 3 weeks and I still find all the settings quite intimidating, but still getting photos I'm really happy with. I spend a lot of time on this forum looking at other people's photos and their camera settings. That helped a LOT. Also, several months ago, I took a point&shoot beginners' class at a local camera shop (Samy's). It was only a 2 hour class where the instructor went over a lot of the basic settings which also helped me a lot.
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Old Oct 2, 2010, 8:58 AM   #8
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Try this site and download the pocket manual - it's very helpful.


Have Fun - Be Nice - Don't Break Anything
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Old Oct 2, 2010, 9:56 AM   #9
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Here is a copy of the Beginner's Guide that I wrote last Spring for the Beginners. I hope you find it helpful. As Saly mention a Basic Digital Cameras course given by your local Community College would also be helpful. I teach two of them each semester.

I hope The Beginner Guide is helpful.

Sarah Joyce

Panasonic FZ-35 beginner’s Guide

The easiest way to get started is to first read completely through the Owner’s Manual and charge the battery. When you are ready to take your first photos, do this:

(1) Set “P” on the Mode Selector. “P” stands for Programmed Auto Mode. It is an Automatic Mode that allows the user to make adjustments to the ISO, to the Exposure Compensation, the Flash Compensation, the WB or White Balance, the Burst Mode, the Scene Modes, and the Focusing Options.

(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.

(3) Set the WB to White Balance to “Auto WB” when shooting out doors. If you are shooting with flash indoors you can keep the Auto WB in place. If you are shooting indoors without flash, use tungsten or incandescent WB, it is indicated by the small logo symbol of a light bulb. Set the Flash mode selector to the Auto Flash position. This is not a perfect mode and there are two instances where the camera can be confused on when to deploy the flash.

(4)Set the focus point initially to center point focus. This allows you to select
exactly where the camera will focus. Focus is attained by gently pressing the
shutter release to the half way point. When the camera locks focus, it will signal
that focus lock to you. Now, while holding the shutter release at the half way
point, re-frame your photo as necessary, using the EVF, or Electronic View

(5) When you at pleased with the photo framing, gently depress the shutter to its full length. The emphasis here is on the word gently. Some users refer to the action as squeezing the shutter slowly. The main thing you want to avoid is jabbing at the shutter, as this will cause sudden camera movement overpowering the IS or image stabilization system and blurring the photo.

(6) After the photo has been recorded, check how the exposure looks on the cameras LCD screen. If it is to light, it is over exposed. If it is too dark, it is under exposed. You are looking for the midway point where the properly exposed photo looks like are properly tuned TV set. A photo that is too light can be correct by using Minus Exposure Compensation. Make the initial Minus Exposure Compensation setting EV-0.7, take the photo, and check the result on the camera’s LCD screen. Then increase or decrease the Exposure Compensation to attain the proper LCD screen appearance. If the photo is too dark, you will have to apply Positive Exposure Compensation. Begin with a setting of EV+0.7, and then again adjust the Exposure compensation again, as required to attain the proper LCD screen appearance.

(7) After the photo is taken, you will notice that a flashing red light will blink on the camera. This is an indication that the camera is recording the image to the camera’s flash memory card.

(8) If you are indoors and desire to take a flash photo using the camera’s built-in flash unit (a) check that the Flash Selector is still selected to the Auto Flash mode. (b) recheck that the WB is still set to Auto ISO. (c) Keep the camera to subject distance at 11.5 feet or less to achieve the proper exposure. If you are photographing a group and you must increase the amount of light projected from the camera’s built-in flash unit so that the Flash Range can be increased from the normal maximum Flash Range of 11.5 feet, to a greater value. The adjustment on the Flash Compensation scale works in the same way as Exposure Compensation did. Positive Flash Compensation increases the flash output and the Flash Range. Negative Flash Compensation reduces the flash output and the Flash Range.

(9) If you want to take a close up photo, where the camera to subject distance is 30 inches or less, you will have to select the Macro or Close-up Mode whose symbol is a small Tulip logo. Again the same photo taking procedure will apply. Gently depress the shutter release to the half way point, the camera locks the focus and give you the focus locked signal. Re-frame your focus as necessary after allowing the camera to focus on the exact point desired. If the photo environment’s lighting is low, select the flash, WB , and Auto ISO, as previously described. The built-in flash unit will reduce the light output of the flash due to the reduced Flash Range between camera and subject in this Macro or Close-up mode. After taking your close-up photo check the camera’s LCD screen for proper exposure. If the exposure is too light or too dark you will use the Exposure Compensation procedures outlined above. If you are taking the Macro or Close-up photo while employing flash, once again check the LCD screen for proper exposure. If the result is too light or too dark, you will use the Flash Compensation feature as described previously.

(10)As lighting conditions change you will have to adjust your camera’s WB to get
the correct color in your photo. There are fixed WB settings for bright sunshine,
cloudy or foggy conditions, tungsten or incandescent lighting, and for fluorescent
lighting (several varieties).

(11)Keep in mind that there are indeed minimum focus distances for each lens
position. In the Macro or Close up mode, the minimum focus distance is 2.5
inches. In the normal focus mode, without any zooming, the minimum focus
distance is 36 inches, or 3 feet. As the camera zooms out further, expect the
minimum focus to also increase. So, if the camera will not lock focus, the
problem is most probably that you are at less than the minimum focus distance
for that lens setting.

(12) The better the light, the better your photos will be. As the light level decreases
measurably you will find the photo quality will fall and the camera will have a
harder time recording your photo. So good light is essential to good photos.

(13) Photographers are like concert pianists: the more you practice and learn, the
better your photos will be.

(14) Take your time and learn how the changes that you make to your camera,
directly affect how your camera records your photo.

(15) Here is a quick review of the options on your Mode Selector:

IA= Intelligent Auto. Keep in mind that the ISO range can be selected in the camera menu as well.
P=Programed Auto. This works just like Full Automatic only it allows you to make some changes to ISO, flash options, Exposure Compensation, Flash Compensation, White Balance etc.
S=Shutter Priority. You select the shutter speed and the camera adjusts for the proper exposure by adjusting the aperture.
A=Aperture Priority. You select the aperture and the camera automatically sets the proper exposure by adjust the shutter speed.
M=Manual Mode. You select the shutter speed and aperture and the camera reports if your selection will produce the produce the proper exposure, by displaying the wrong exposure in red color and the correct exposure in green color. So understand that using the Manual Mode will require some manual adjustments on your part.

Last edited by mtclimber; Oct 2, 2010 at 9:59 AM.
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Old Oct 2, 2010, 8:30 PM   #10
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Thanks for the pocket manual, Clint.

Sarah...thanks for the beginners guide. It is very helpful.
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