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Old Mar 13, 2004, 9:39 AM   #1
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Default Thinking of buying FZ10, have a question (re External Flash)

Hello all!

First off, I just want to say I am very new to the world of photography, so please excuse any ignorance I may display.

Heh, now that that disclaimer is out of the way, on to the newbie question!

I have been researching and debating at length whether I should buy the FZ10 or the Olympus C750uz. I believe I have settled on the Panasonic, and for good reason. I like the image stabilization, the larger LCD, the manual focus ring, and the way it feels in my hand better than the Olympus. Being that my photography knowledge is lacking, I have to go with what I can feel and see, and from the recommendations of others.

One hurdle I have to get over is the compatability of the Panasonic with external flashes. If this hobby takes me where I think it will, I will be investing in accessories in short order, and an external flash looks like one of the first things I would probably get.

Having said all that (making a long story longer), I was wondering how complicated it is to use a flash that doesn't have the type of hotshoe where the camera feeds the flash information (help me with terminology here)? My room mate is highly recommending the Olympus because on his C5050, his flash hotshoe makes the external flash "no hassles", and helps him out alot with setting up the flash to get a good shot each time.

To be more precise, I am trying to figure out what is involved in using a flash that would be compatible with the Panasonic FZ10. Obviously this is more of a photography question than a camera specific question, but it is something that concerns me and affects my upcoming purchase.

I like everything else the FZ10 has to offer, but am pretty impressed with the way my room mates external flash on his Olympus C5050 works.

If I can clarify my question for anyone, let me know.

Also, thanks in advance for any help.
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Old Mar 13, 2004, 9:44 AM   #2
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I too must warn that I am a newbie to photography in general, but I have owned to DMC-FZ10 for a month or so now.

I am not sure about the Oly 750, but the Panasonic takes a standard Hotshoe flash that has a trigger voltage of 24 volts or less (or so it says in the manual).
I believe there is some website that lists a lot of popular flash's trigger voltage.
You don't want ot have more volts than that camera can handle, not sure exactly what could happen, but it is a big no-no.


If I am wrong, someone please correct me...

(BTW, you'll LOVE the image stabilization, once you have it, you can't live without it.)
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Old Mar 13, 2004, 9:47 AM   #3
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Thanks for your reply. That is good information to know. Wouldn't want to break anything.

::taking notes::

Do you have an external flash? Do you find it hard to get properly exposed pics and such?

I just want to be reassured that I will not be missing out by not having all the nifty gadgets that can help out with external flashes.

I probably should be asking my mom. HAH! She's got a 35mm Canon SLR film camera from back in the day. Has automatic NOTHING. She uses external flashes just fine.
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Old Mar 13, 2004, 10:14 AM   #4
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No sorry, I personnally do not have one. I probably will get one sometime, but as of now my need for one is small.


The camera has a very easy to access flash compensation. Plus it does a great job compensating the built in flash (altough that doesn't mean much next to a more powerful flash).
But then again, I can't really answer as I don't have one...

My sister has an old 35mm SLR with a external flash, and I was thinking of using hers if I ever need an external flash, but it turned out it had a really high trigger voltage. Good thing I didn't use it.
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Old Mar 13, 2004, 11:59 AM   #5
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Default Re: External Flash for FZ10

External flash units have their own sensors, and when in "Auto" mode, they turn themselves off when enough reflected light has been received. When using such a flash with a simple hotshoe like the one on the FZ10, you have to tell the flash something about the distance to the subject, and you have to adjust the camera also. (These are the things a smarter hotshoe and matching flash can do by themselves.)

I've gotten good results with an external flash by using the FZ10 in "Shutter Priority" mode and setting the shutter speed to 1/1000 second (the camera always sets Aperture to f/2.8 when I do this). One of the external flash units I've used has a three-position distance switch, and by setting it appropriately (near, middle, distant), the pictures are reasonably-well exposed. The only "problem" I've had with this approach is that I'd like to use a bounce flash, but always get underexposed images when trying to do so. Aiming the flash directly at the subjet has worked well from 12 inches away to over 30 feet away (but some experimentation was needed at both extremes).

Yes, it would be very nice if the FZ10 did a better job supporting flash (internal as well as external), but a high-zoom lens requires either a tripod or some kind of Image Stabilization to be usable. A 10x zoom not only magnifies the subject, it also magnifies camera movement by 10x.
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Old Mar 13, 2004, 1:09 PM   #6
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Thank you for the reply.


So the short answer is, there is more work involved, but it definitely isn't something you can't overcome with practice?

Let me refine my question a little bit more in the direction of the flash. So on the flashes that the Panasonic can operate, there are switches where you can set the flash with certain parameters depending on what shot you are doing? So you can take information like, my subject is 20 feet away, I've got this shutter speed and aperture, and tell the flash all of that information manually?

Thanks for helping me out. I am probably going to buy a book to help me get started in the photo world. Would anybody recommend Digital Photography for Dummies? What are some other books that are good for beginners that can help answer some of these questions?

Again, many thanks.
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Old Mar 14, 2004, 1:17 AM   #7
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I've had my Fz10 for about a month, tested it with Sunpak 433D & Canon 420EX flashes I have (and both worked), and on one occassion used it with the 433D taking pictures from 15 to 45 feet away of both people from a distance & a group performing onstage. For an external flash, I used aperature priority on the FZ10 which automatically sets a f2.8 opening & 1/60 shutter speed. Using the flash's manual setting at ISO 100 on both the camera & flash and knowing its guide number (GN). I would estimate my distance and divide it into the GN to get the aperature setting I should set on the camera. At 45 feet it worked out that the f2.8 was ok but at 15 feet the f was set to 8.0 by pressing the Exposure button and then the up side of the "wheel" to set the f to 8.0. Exposure was perfect.

The 433D has a slide switch to vary the power output of the flash from 100% down to 1/16. I used this feature with my old Epson digital. I ran some test and found that if I were at say 15 feet and f8.0 and i moved in to 10 feet, I would just set the flash to 1/2 full of power. I haven't run this "calibration" test for the FZ10 for a couple of set distances but I expect similar results. Hope this helps...Harvey MSU '61...Go Spartans
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Old Mar 14, 2004, 2:31 AM   #8
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Default Re: External Flash for FZ10

The FZ10 can accept any external flash that has a hotshoe. As someone has already emphasized, not all external flashes are safe for use with digital cameras: the flash trigger voltage must be below 24 volts (most of the safe ones actually are below 6 volts).

The simpler the external flash's hotshoe, the better, since the FZ10 has the most basic hotshoe there is: a center pin and rails (two contacts, in other words).

Some qualifiying flash units have ways of letting you adjust the intensity of their output, others just do it automatically. The unit ltdedorc has apparently offers many adjustment levels. One of mine has five: near, middle, distant, 1/16, full. It's ISO 100 guide number is around 108, which means that, in theory, if you set the camera to ISO 100, the flash can illuminate something 108 feet away. In practice, the furthest it seems to work is about 30-40 feet, but that's enough for my purposes.
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Old Mar 14, 2004, 9:24 AM   #9
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Great info everyone! This is making my decision so much more informed, and I believe that I have decided on the FZ10 (my only other contender was the Olympus c750uz).

I just wanted to hear that it was still possible (albeit with potentially more learning involved) to get good exposure with the kind of flashes you need to use on the FZ10.

I tortured myself last night by going over to Ritz camera, and bugging good ole Sarah over there with my endless questions. Got to hold the FZ10 again, and even though it is larger than the Olympus 750, I really like the way it feels in my hand alot better.

One of these days I'm going to surprise everyone over there by buying the darn thing.

Also, wanted to thank everyone who took the time to educate the newbie. Good to see another Spartan on the board as well (Class of '04 here, just graduating this May, B.S. Mathematics).

Now, if I could just get that darn direct deposit notice from the IRS, I'd go and get my darn camera.
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Old Mar 14, 2004, 5:14 PM   #10
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Default Re: External Flash for FZ10

Although I chose the FZ10 over the C-750, and believe that was the better decision (because of OIS), taking properly-exposed indoor photos at ISO 50 continues to be difficult for me to accomplish with any degree of consistency.

From what I've read about other current digicams, this is an all-too-common problem. However, other brands of digicams often have smarter hotshoes that can intelligently control a suitable external flash, thereby reducing the guesswork that seems to be inherent in the use of the FZ10.

The FZ10 is a superb outdoor/daytime camera: it works very well without much effort on the part of the user (other than knowing how to select and compose a scene, of course). It also works pretty well indoors for inanimate objects (and sleeping pets). However, it has not worked well for me when taking indoor pictures of people. My first digicam, a 2mpx 3x zoom Kodak DC290, took and continues to take virtually perfect indoor pictures of people, thanks to its AF Assist lamp, powerful built-in flash, intelligent automatic white balance, and optical viewfinder.
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