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Old Sep 16, 2004, 2:26 AM   #1
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Here's my dilemma. When hand holding the camera, I get better shots shutting off the IS (image stabilizer) than when it is on, the pictures are clearer. I also pulled out my old Olympus 2100uz and did a side by side comparison. The Olympus picture is shooting sharp at about 1/30sec (sometimes 1/15th). The IS on the FZ20 is very erratic at 1/30 of a sec. Keep in mind I am zoomed in about 10x and am shooting in Flourescent light, but the Olympus handles the job perfectly. Do you think there is something wrong with my stabilizer? How can I test this further to see if it is working correctly? (I already tried taking the same picture w/o the stabilizer and it is either the same, or sharper--go figure). I do hear something in the lens moving when I have it set to continual IS (mode 1).
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Old Sep 16, 2004, 9:36 AM   #2
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For the benefit of those who may not understand Mode 1 vs Mode 2, let's review.



Mode 1 will visually create a dampening action visible on the LCD. Zoom in on an image and press the shutter button ½ way down. Move the camera and you'll see the stabilization smooth out the jitter.



Mode 2 will not show you the stabilization in the LCD, but at that instant you take the photo OIS kicks in. Mode 2 also offers ~ 20 more stabilization.



OIS will not soften the image like digital stabilization. Soft images are more than likely the result of improper focus or motion blur. The motion blur can occur when movement exceeds OIS correction parameters.



The OIS system is optimized to remove human jitter (~ 7-13 hz) that occurs when trying to hold a long lens. It obviously has limitations so the amount of movement will increase as the shutter speed decreases. Anyone who has used it will agree that it's an enormous help, but it's not going to freeze time with very slow exposures.



When the new FZ series was introduced to the press, a yacht on the Hudson River was used. On the 3[suP]rd[/suP] level the rocking and rolling of the boat was very pronounced. Yet, images shot at 12X were blur free. It is that type of motion that OIS is optimized for.



When the camera is not turned on it's normal to hear some mechanical movement within the lens. This is the OIS lens element. Once powered on two magnetic coils suspend the element and its free movement disappears. I seriously doubt you have any problems. More than likely, your shutter speed is very slow and the amount of movement exceeds the amount of OIS correction the camera can provide. I have three suggestions:
  • 1. Use OIS Mode 2[/*]
  • 2. Enable "Continuous Auto Focus"[/*]
  • Whenever possible, for best results, use this formula as the rule of thumb: Minimum shutter speed = 1/ equivalent 35 mm focal length. For example, if you shoot at 12X, The FZ20's equivalent 35 mm focal length would be 432mm. Your minimum shutter speed should be about 1/400 sec. At 1X, the 35mm equivalent is ~ 32mm, so you could theoretically hand hold a shot at ~ 1/30[suP]th[/suP]. These examples are without OIS. If you can use this rule, adding OIS now provides a very comfortable margin of error.
[/*]


This combination of 1 & 2 should improve the situation.
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Old Sep 16, 2004, 10:07 AM   #3
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I was wondering about this too. I had taken several shots of the same subject using different OIS settings but didnt detect any difference in the final photo. All were done at 12x zoom to try and promounce the jittering effect.
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Old Sep 16, 2004, 11:18 AM   #4
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thanks for the advice. I will try it. I was wondering why you want me to enable the continuous auto focus mode?
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Old Sep 16, 2004, 11:20 AM   #5
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What was shutter speed for those shots? OIS won't do anything if shutter speed is fast enough. Try shooting something inside your house at full zoom or outside in low light or just use smaller aperture at full zoom to simulate low shutter speed. Now try with IS and without IS and you will see.
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Old Sep 16, 2004, 12:38 PM   #6
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that was exactly what I did. I shot in my house at full zoom with and without the IS. And I was getting sharper pictures without the IS. I couldn't understand it. Then I took the same picture (same zoom etc.) with my much older Olympus 2100uz (which has an image stabilizer), and it took a much crisper picture. That is why I am wondering if my IS is working. Have you tried taking pictures inside with your camera? I noticed that in the instruction manual, Panasonic says that it may not work properly in low lighting situation, and I though that that was one of the reasons why image stabilization was created. It doesn't make much sense to me. That is why I am looking to test the camera to make sure my IS is working properly.
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Old Jan 5, 2005, 2:46 PM   #7
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Hello - I'm having a similar problem. I haven't fully tested both modes 1 & 2 (mode 2 never seemed to stabilize the picture - but I haven't retried since I first got the camera).

style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #000000"I haven't tried turning the IS off for indoor shots to see if they come out better either. I will do that.

style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #000000"My question is: Have you returned your camera or have you figured out what the deal is with it? If you've figured any tricks out, please let me know. Thanks!
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Old Jan 5, 2005, 3:35 PM   #8
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Quote:
Whenever possible, for best results, use this formula as the rule of thumb: Minimum shutter speed = 1/ equivalent 35 mm focal length. For example, if you shoot at 12X, The FZ20's equivalent 35 mm focal length would be 432mm. Your minimum shutter speed should be about 1/400 sec. At 1X, the 35mm equivalent is ~ 32mm, so you could theoretically hand hold a shot at ~ 1/30th. These examples are without OIS. If you can use this rule, adding OIS now provides a very comfortable margin of error.
That's the whole deal. With the OIS turned on, you may get non-blurred results at 1/4th the shutterspeeds of the rule of above. So that simply won't cover the flashless indoor pics.

I see great expectations from the OIS, but I think you should know it is not ment as a replacement for the tripod; It's justthat bit more oxygen for the photographer.

Don't fear the use of a tripod; Once you've used it a few times, you'll fall in love with it

Have a good one; GB
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