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Old Jan 15, 2004, 12:41 PM   #1
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Default Request: FZ10 recommendations - indoor

Apologies for the thread title, just not sure how to make the request without ending up with a title that's really a paragraph.

Currently I own a Sony MVC-CD1000, I'm happy with its general performance, but looking to move up to a higher resolution camera and the FZ10 seems to fit the bill (thanks to Sony being useless with their newer CD based cameras, not wanting to go the high zoom/high pixel route).

Now, I'm far from being a decent photographer, at least where technical knowledge is concerned and most of my photography is done at conventions and personal appearances (nasal hair shots are so flattering, hence the desire for the high zoom ), which are indoors the vast majority of the time. Now I am aware that people have been warning that the FZ10 is not too good with indoor shots, but reading these messages carefully I've realised that most people are talking about sports/action shots, whereas the subjects I will be taking photos of are mostly stationary (with the possibility of moving suddenly, but then I can always delete those shots if they're blurred). With regards to lighting, it can vary from brightly lit to normal room levels to weird coloured spotlights, backgrounds tend to be dark though; I am definitely looking to buy a flash for this one, the one on my Sony is not too bad when put to high power, but the FZ10's sounds a bit weak.

Panasonic have informed me that they will be releasing the FZ10 in the UK in March, so its not quite a rush job, and I will most likely wait and see what happens on prices.

With all this in mind, would you recommend my getting this, or something else? At the end of the day, my requirements are high zoom (with good stability when handheld), high pixels and fairly idiot proof (i.e. do not go recommending I buy digital SLR's, please).
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Old Jan 15, 2004, 1:08 PM   #2
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With all do respect to the comments users have posted, I have hundreds of indoor photos I've taken that look great. In my opinion the biggest error you can make is improper lighting.

The mood of a scene can be changed depending on the lighting. Quantity of light is important, but even more important is how evenly the subject is illuminated. The flash on the FZ10 is quite effective up to about 2.5 M. Our decision to limit the output to serve this distance was primarily based on conserving battery power. A higher output would require more power each time the flash is charged.

For the "tight" shots I've taken, I prefer using "spot" focus. If the distance exceeds about 2.5 M, I usually use an external flash. Beyond those basic comments, the end result will be the result of your technique.

I was asked to get some very candid shots of people attending a holiday party. Here's atrick I enjoy using. Carry around an extra flash unit. Frame the photo, manually flash the extra strobe and get ready to capture the persons reaction to what he thought was the photo being taken. When the turn around snap the reaction!
Hope this gives you some ideas.
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Old Jan 15, 2004, 7:39 PM   #3
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Default FZ10 indoors

For me, the two problems with FZ10 indoor photos were White Balance and an early mis-impression that I could take good pictures without the flash.

But, without the flash, the yellowness of indoor lighting gave all of the pictures an orange cast. That's normal with many digicams, and the FZ10 provides a nice built-in solution: the right-most choice on the WB menu lets you aim at a white surface (a wall or ceiling, for example) and click the shutter so the camera can adjust WB to the lighting. Once you do that, colors will become normal again.

Without the flash, slower shutter speeds were needed, and I couldn't hold the camera steady for that length of time. The people also moved, of course.

So, it turns out that there are some big advantages to using the flash: the colors will be correct with Auto WB, and the brief duration of the flash means you can use a very fast shutter, which reduces blur due to subject or camera movement. OIS probably gives you the equivalent of 2 extra f-stops, so instead of having to shoot at 1/100 sec, you could shoot at 1/25th; but if the shutter has to be open for 1/4 second, you still may get some blur (depends on how steady your hands are). And, of course, your subjects may be moving.

Finally, as Panasonic Bob explained, an external flash is very helpful. Within that big zoom lens lies a subtle snare: with a normal camera, if you want a close-up, you have to stand close to your subject (6-8 feet, right?), but with the FZ10, you can stand across the room, 20 feet away, and use a 4x zoooooom for your close-up, making it seem as though you're only 5 feet away. Unfortunately, if you're 20 feet away, with a flash that's effective out to 8 feet, you'll get an underexposed photo. The solution, as Bob said, is to use an external flash (or to get closer).
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Old Jan 25, 2004, 11:05 PM   #4
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Default FZ10 Indoor shots

I am posting some indoor shot that I took with my FZ10 at a college basketball game.
http://members19.clubphoto.com/georg...ner-bae7.phtml
http://members19.clubphoto.com/georg...ner-bae7.phtml

There has been much discussion about "indoor" capabilities, etc. These shots were taken from the stands and totally handheld. Note the shots on the far end of the court. No flashes are allowed. I'd submit that handheld shots without flash or special lighting are what this camera is really about, not special situations contrived with the aid of blaster flashes. If you judge this camera under those conditions, I submit that it will best any other digicam in its price range. Thats not to say it will take a flashless pic under any lighting condition. No camera will. School gyms may have notoriously poor lighting and my FZ10 doesn't compensate for that. However, I haven't seen any other posts of other cameras without flash, and handlheld, that do either. I'd submit that FZ10 is as good as it gets in a well lit, hand held, uncontrived and flashless setting.

George
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Old Jan 26, 2004, 2:24 AM   #5
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Most of the problems discussed are with getting it to focus in low light. I find the FZ10 focuses fine with normal bright indoor lighting. The problems come in low light. I donít know about weird colored spotlights. The flash doesnít help if you canít get focused. For some reason Panasonic decided to not put the focus distance in the viewfinder and the EVF doesnít brighten in low light, so manual focus can be difficult if it doesnít focus in low light. I got pretty good at estimating the distances with my Minolta which shows what distance you are focused at, but the skill is useless with the FZ10.

The stabilization allows you to take shots without flash indoors where you would have to use a flash or tripod with other cameras. I have had generally good luck with indoor shots if the light isnít at ambiance levels. What is difficult is 12X shots indoors with anything but very bright light.

The flash is weak compared to other digital cameras, but you can get an automatic non-dedicated flash at a fairly reasonable price. If you are using the flash and have focus problems you can just focus on something at the same distance with better lighting or contrast. The difference in ambient light doesnít seem to make a difference with a flash shot. There is flash thread with a good post by Charlie Howard about checking the voltage of the flash unit you buy.

If your requirements are high zoom with good stability hand held you really have no choice but the FZ10 in a 4Mp camera. Of course if you are going to have to use a flash for all of your indoor shots the stabilization offers no real advantage there. But there are a lot of indoor situations where you can shoot without the flash if you donít zoom too much.
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Old Jan 26, 2004, 4:51 AM   #6
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Thanks everyone, helped put my slight unease to rest, just have to wait and see what prices end up like in the UK now. Saw mention of a £499 pricetag on one site, but the Convention I'm planning for isn't until November, so a chance for prices to come down a bit.
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Old Jan 26, 2004, 10:24 PM   #7
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As was mentioned before, this camera is NOT point and shoot (well, ok it might be after being set up properly). I am STRICTLY an amateur but I'm quickly learning thanks to this forum, especially this thread on WB ! I too have been disappointed in the indoor sports shots due to the movement blur and originally from the 'graininess' and the WB being off. I found that most of my problems arose from not setting the camera up properly.

Unlike others, however, I don't like using the flash indoors unless absolutely necessary. But thinking about it, maybe that's because I have the flash set wrong ! I'll have to check that (which is another 'basic' I've learned from this forum!)

I just 'chimed in' to thank those of you who commented here with the 'obvious' recommendations regarding WB. I was so disappointed with the indoor pics I had previously taken that I was considering going back to using my old 870 Epson for indoors! Now that I've learned some rudimentaries I think it's a great camera for indoors!

So thanks again.

Charlie
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Old Jan 27, 2004, 3:25 AM   #8
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It seems the problem these days is manufacturers are just being stupid, and its not just Panasonic..

I have the Minolta Z1 for a 4 week trial (thanks Jessops..), and noticed straight away that under low indoor lighting that the contrast detection auto focus is an issue, and this goes for the C750 and the FZ10..

Why oh why do they not provide an AF assist illuminator on the camera, or if cost is an issue, build one into a very small hotshoe mounted accessory... they'd sell a million...

But even worse.. and I have no experience of the FZ10, other then a "I want one" interest, but the Z1 in 'auto' mode for indoors flash will set the shutter speed to 1/40 and ISO 200... even though it has a very good flash... the resultant pictures are terribly noisy, and rather hard to get good focus, since 1/40 is about the limit of handheld stability.. just changing the ISO to 50, and setting the shutter priority speed to 1/400 or similar, letting the Flash compensate massively improves things, and I suspect the FZ10 is roughly the same???

I am just waiting for the day that someone releases a >=10X zoom camera, with AF Assist, image stabilization, smallish form factor with the Minolta/Olympus/Panasonic picture quality...

ALthough If you don't mind the size, the FZ10 does seem the best compromise so far!!!
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Old Jan 27, 2004, 4:13 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phil-t
ALthough If you don't mind the size, the FZ10 does seem the best compromise so far!!!
Well, size of the FZ10 is most certainly not an issue for me, as I'll be moving to a smaller camera. My Sony MVC-CD1000 has not been lovingly nicknamed "Monster Cam", by my friends, without good reason!
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Old Jan 27, 2004, 12:17 PM   #10
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Default FZ 10 as a point and shoot

relative to Charlie's post,

Quote:
this camera is NOT point and shoot (well, ok it might be after being set up properly).
I'd have to respectfully dissent


First as to size- the camera reminds me an awful lot of my old Oly OM-1 in size and feel; yes, a bit larger than most point and shoots, but not unwieldy by any measure
Second- on virtually any indoor shot up to about 10 feet with built in flash and ambient light to focus, in my experience, it's just superb. At 1/60 second the OIS just rocks! Under those conditions, it's just a lot harder to miss than with a point and shooter. Yes, at greater than about 10 feet, you need either better indoor light or add on flash. But, my experience is that 10 feet is on par with most point and shoots anyway and they don't have hot shoe.
Third- on virtually any outdoor shot in daylight, it rocks; very hard to miss, even up to 12x. Bests any point and shoot i've used, film or digital.
Fourth- its macro mode will better most point and shoots.
Fifth- resolution- better than majority of point and shoots
Sixth- price- only slightly more than Canon A80, Kodak 6340. Very competitive price.

As to low light indoors settings-weakest point- most point and shoots don't do much better, but to be fair a competent point and shoot would have a low light focus assist. However, my judgment, based on my experience (Georgez opinion) is that this omission doesn't negate the good qualities. Moreover, it is unlikely that a focus assist would be much help at 12X, of even 6X.

So absent situations were "size matters", eg, on the top of the Matterhorn, I'll go with the FZ10 over my point and shoots every time.
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