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Old Feb 21, 2004, 5:16 PM   #1
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Default Strange(?) limitations of the FZ-2

I'm just playing around with my FZ-2 and noticed some interesting things.
When shooting with the timer (e.g. in order to avoid vibrations from pressing the shutter) focus is obtained just the moment before the exposure, often resulting in misfocus and shutter lag even when the shutter button was half pressed before. However, prefocus with the focus trigger works just fine, the exposure is well focused and the shutter lag is almost zero. However you can't use AE-lock because it meters automatically before the exposure and disregards any data obtained with half-pressing the shutter button.

When shooting in "A" mode you can force F2.8 but the slowest shutter speed is limited to 1 sec.
When using "S" mode, with shutter speeds slower than 1 sec. the aperture gradually decreases (e.g. at 2 sec to F4.6, at 4 sec to F5.6), even in total darkness, so the camera does not use the maximum amount of light even if the image would not be overexposed. However, if you add postive exposure bias EV +2 the aperture increases again (which makes it also easier to frame in dark conditions) to the maximum possible F2.8 (4 sec. shutter), at speeds slower than 4 sec. setting EV +2 does change aperture to F3.3 (5 sec.) to F4.6(8 sec.), so using maximum available aperture F2.8 with the slowest possible shutter speed (8 sec.) is impossible, even if (absence of) lighting theoretically permits using these parameters.
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Old Feb 24, 2004, 4:04 AM   #2
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Hi, I just got my FZ2 from Germany also 2 weeks ago, looks like we are at the same stage...
As you point out, the maximum exposure of the FZ2/FZ1 seems to be limited in the firmware for some unknown reason (but probably a very good one).
This makes it useless for night shots, as implied (but not said) in the review by dcresource.
http://www.dcresource.com/reviews/pa...ew/index.shtml
I've looked up many reviews in that site, they always include a night shot of city lights. In the case of the FZ1, it had to be replaced by a "dusk" shot. The manual modes in the FZ2 apparently do not improve on this.
Night shots are not that important to me, to be honest, but still it is strange that you can take some kind of a night shot with virtually any little point and shoot camera out of your pocket, but with this apparently sophisticated camera you can't even try...
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Old Feb 24, 2004, 6:13 AM   #3
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AFAIK these limitations also apply for "newer" version of the firmware i.e. 1.05.

Night scene mode without flash allows exposures up to 8 sec but fixes aperture to 6.5, which is somewhat counterproductive in low light photography, although it circumvents some of the focus issues in those situations. The picture you mentioned was shot using the night scene mode, it is debatable whether this is a really a "dusk" or "true night" shot or if these parameters would have worked for the usual dark city landscape... we'll never know, but i think the night scene mode should work fine for most scenarios.

With flash aperture opens up to 2.8 but the exposure is limited to 1 sec. and less.

However, as i said, you can set the exposure bias to +2 in "S" mode, which opens up aperture (compared to the standard limits set by the camera at EV +/- 0). E.g. for an 8 sec. exposure which uses aperture F8 the limit is now F4.6, for 5 sec. F7.3 becomes F3.3 etc. . So maxing out the exposure bias in very low light situations for exposures longer than 1 sec. subsequently reduces needed exposure time without overexposing (in most scenarios).
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Old Feb 24, 2004, 8:22 AM   #4
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Check this thread out at dpreview. Archer13 may be able to help. http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/re...essage=7665068
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Old Feb 24, 2004, 10:39 AM   #5
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Thanks Fred, I hadn't seen the photos of Archer13. They look pretty good, especially considering he used ISO 50. This is good news to me!
Lushlife: I haven't yet tried the +EV2 as you suggested. I was just a bit disappointed because last night I tried a shot across the road from my window, and I got nothing. I was used to my Ixus V3 which could as far as I remember (it was stolen) capture anything my eyes can see.
Which reminds me, the Ixus's 'long exposure mode' was really a fully manual mode where the lenses stay at 2.8 and you pick a speed between 1 and 15 seconds, and get what you want by trial & error.
I guess that there are some technical barriers to reliable metering in any camera with very low light or very long shutter speeds. Otherwise, how can you explain that to get a decent exposure (I mean, something in the photo) you need a bias of +2EV? You should get that at 0EV, at least within the camera's boundaries. What we miss of course is a full manual mode.
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Old Feb 24, 2004, 11:18 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Santope
Thanks Fred, I hadn't seen the photos of Lushlife: I haven't yet tried the +EV2 as you suggested. I was just a bit disappointed because last night I tried a shot across the road from my window, and I got nothing. I was used to my Ixus V3 which could as far as I remember (it was stolen) capture anything my eyes can see.
Which reminds me, the Ixus's 'long exposure mode' was really a fully manual mode where the lenses stay at 2.8 and you pick a speed between 1 and 15 seconds, and get what you want by trial & error.
I guess that there are some technical barriers to reliable metering in any camera with very low light or very long shutter speeds. Otherwise, how can you explain that to get a decent exposure (I mean, something in the photo) you need a bias of +2EV? You should get that at 0EV, at least within the camera's boundaries. What we miss of course is a full manual mode.
My take is that low light metering in near darkness most of the time doesn't work at all also because of the nature of the scenery, so in the end it is really trial and error but this is not FZ-2 specific.
The problem with the FZ-2 is that the factory settings limit the aperture REGARDLESS of the actual light levels (i.e. in total darkness the aperture at 8 sec. is set at F8)... the camera meters basically zero and applies the longest possible exposure in combination with its preset aperture at this shutter speed which sadly is F8... so in effect the EV +2 setting just allows you to push those preset limits and use a little bit extra aperture (and my first experiments (although not publishable ) suggest that it actually comes close to your experience with the ixus after using this trick).
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Old Feb 25, 2004, 3:03 AM   #7
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I agree.
Yesterday I experimented with S mode at 8 seconds.
By setting EV +2 and maximum aperture bracketing on top of that, I managed to get F3.3.
Well, obviously I got 3 pictures, at F.3.3, F4.6 and F6.5, but it is the first one I was after.
This is not too far (about 1/3 EV) below the theoretical maximum F2.8.
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Old Feb 25, 2004, 3:22 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Santope
I agree.
Yesterday I experimented with S mode at 8 seconds.
By setting EV +2 and maximum aperture bracketing on top of that, I managed to get F3.3.
Well, obviously I got 3 pictures, at F.3.3, F4.6 and F6.5, but it is the first one I was after.
This is not too far (about 1/3 EV) below the theoretical maximum F2.8.
Excellent ! It totally forgot about the additional effects of bracketing, which allows even wider apertures.
This makes those artificial limitations (which also depend on the ISO setting so standard aperture at ISO50, 4 sec. is 5.6, at ISO100 its 8.0) even more ludicrous.
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Old Mar 20, 2004, 11:06 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Santope
I agree.
Yesterday I experimented with S mode at 8 seconds.
By setting EV +2 and maximum aperture bracketing on top of that, I managed to get F3.3.
Well, obviously I got 3 pictures, at F.3.3, F4.6 and F6.5, but it is the first one I was after.
This is not too far (about 1/3 EV) below the theoretical maximum F2.8.
Don't forget that bracketing disables the dark frame subtraction and will result in quite a bit more noise.
Of course you can do manual dark frame subtraction in post-processing.
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