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Old Jul 16, 2012, 9:03 AM   #1
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Default ZS7 outdoor low light photos - help

Hi guys,

I recently went on a trip to Singapore and Malaysia where i had some time to take pictures. Unfortunately, I did a pretty poor job at the night photos. I still have not learned hot to get the best out of ZS7 for outdoor low light... See some of the examples below. I did not know what to do, so I used the built-in scene mode for "NIght Scenary" for all the shots where no people are involved, and the "NIght Portrait" for the ones where i needed flash. They both turned out just OK. I am not happy with them. The "NIght Portrait" especially makes the pictures very yellow.. I had the camera sitting on a surface, putting the timer for 2 seconds, and waiting for it 4-5 seconds to take the shot. Still, pictures are not good

Can someone suggest me what settings to use in such kind of conditions -- lots of lights on buildings which are far..

OK, this one is my pride so I had to post it )








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Old Jul 16, 2012, 11:23 AM   #2
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Ideally for low light shots,without flash- you'll need a tripod or a steady surface to shoot from- as longer exposure times are required shooting in low light- increasing the risk of camera shake- even from a bit of wind..!
You could switch to manual mode and experiment with longer exposure times,lower iso settings (for cleaner shots) and white balance settings.
With night portrait modes- a flash is shot to expose the person properly- and a longer exposure is also used to expose the background properly- again,the use of the longer exposure can potentially lead to camera shake- and your subject must stay still also.!
Unfortunately,auto white balance and high iso's are used in these modes- neither of which lead to stellar IQ...!!
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Old Jul 16, 2012, 12:45 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by SIMON40 View Post
Ideally for low light shots,without flash- you'll need a tripod or a steady surface to shoot from- as longer exposure times are required shooting in low light- increasing the risk of camera shake- even from a bit of wind..!
You could switch to manual mode and experiment with longer exposure times,lower iso settings (for cleaner shots) and white balance settings.
With night portrait modes- a flash is shot to expose the person properly- and a longer exposure is also used to expose the background properly- again,the use of the longer exposure can potentially lead to camera shake- and your subject must stay still also.!
Unfortunately,auto white balance and high iso's are used in these modes- neither of which lead to stellar IQ...!!
For the scenary shots, I did put my camera on a flat surface and had it pressed with my hands so it does not move I had that covered, but still, I guess the preset is not so great and I need to dial in my own settings. As for the portrait shots -- you know how it is when you are a tourist -- you give the camera to a random person to take a photo of you. Usually they know nothing about photography and it is impossible to hold steady for long periods of time...

Should I consider upgrading to the Canon s100 or it wont give me the much better performance?
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Old Jul 16, 2012, 2:03 PM   #4
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Well,the S100 high iso performance will be better- and the fast lens (albeit at wide angle) will give you more shutter speed to play with,or enable you to use a lower iso setting.
Of course- you'll lose the zoom of the ZS7/TZ10,but I guess there's always a trade off.
If a "fast lens" upgrade is impending- consider also the Olympus XZ-1,which has a fast lens THROUGHOUT the zoom range and Samsung's EX2 equipped with an f/1.4 lens is on the horizon..!
Maybe trawl through peoples images on Flickr's "Camera Finder" section- giving you some idea as to the capabilities of a given model.
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Old Jul 16, 2012, 6:24 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SIMON40 View Post
Well,the S100 high iso performance will be better- and the fast lens (albeit at wide angle) will give you more shutter speed to play with,or enable you to use a lower iso setting.
Of course- you'll lose the zoom of the ZS7/TZ10,but I guess there's always a trade off.
If a "fast lens" upgrade is impending- consider also the Olympus XZ-1,which has a fast lens THROUGHOUT the zoom range and Samsung's EX2 equipped with an f/1.4 lens is on the horizon..!
Maybe trawl through peoples images on Flickr's "Camera Finder" section- giving you some idea as to the capabilities of a given model.
From what I've read, the Canon s100 is the best point n shoot with manual controls that fits into a jeans pocket. Is that not the case?

Can someone recommend some settings for the ZS7 for the type of scenes that I was trying to capture. i am not an experienced photographer so I pretty much only play with ISO settings.
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Old Jul 17, 2012, 11:28 AM   #6
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I frankly love all of your photos! I surely wouldn't be disappointed with results like these!
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Old Jul 17, 2012, 11:32 AM   #7
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The S100 probably is the best camera- that fits into a jeans pocket....!

It's very difficult to give any specific settings- as there's no "default" setting for a given scene- as ALL scenes are different,thus requiring different settings.
What I would say is that on the TZ10/ZS7- I'd avoid going over iso 400 as images will be too noisy.
You could switch to manual mode- open the aperture to its widest (lowest f number) and select a said shutter speed. If the image is too dark- slow the shutter speed down. If the image is too bright- increase the shutter speed. Increasing the iso setting (light sensitivity)will also enable you to use a higher shutter speed (less chance of shake)- though as already mentioned,at the cost of IQ.
With regards night portrait- that also is going to be trial and error if shooting manual- especially with the flash,with distance from your subject being critical. Try switching from auto flash to forced flash- see which gives best results.
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Old Jul 17, 2012, 12:20 PM   #8
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Kurt, I really like the first picture. The others could have needed a tripod with OIS off and should have used the timer. I wish I could go to that place.. you are so lucky!
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Old Jul 18, 2012, 4:46 AM   #9
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Yeah, well, you could say pics are OK, but compared to what I saw in person ) do not do it justice. I did try a few things:
- ISOMAX 400
- no zoom (widest aperture)
- had the camera sitting on a flat surface
- timer set on 2 seconds

But I was not getting anything good with 400, upped it up to 800, nothing good. Then I became desperate and tried the SCN modes, and from what I can judge on the small screen the Night modes looked better. Then when I looked at them on the computer, no so great..

As far as the portraits photos -- there I have no control as other people are doing the picture for me, but I have tried AutoFlash, Force Flash on, and Slow Sync. Slow Sync seems to be the best but still had a lot of yellowish. Guess thats why many ppl do white balance in post processing.. I am just not a fan of spending tons of time with Photoshop on every single picture.
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Old Jul 18, 2012, 5:12 AM   #10
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Clearly the TZ-10 isn't ideal for night photography- however- take a peek at these shots taken in Hong Kong...!
http://www.flickr.com/photos/1219421...oto_5717582520

And from what I can see- were taken in Auto..!
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