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Old Dec 7, 2004, 10:49 PM   #1
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So I took the plunge and ordered an FZ3 (thanks to lots of advice and nudges from you all here :-)).

Let me just say, I don't know much about photography (much less digital cameras)... but I DO love taking pics, especially of my family (used a film Canon Rebel). Somehow I managed to get some great shots despite not learning all of my camera settings. The only thing I'm really good at is composing a shot... but as far as lighting, shutter speed and ISO settings go... I'm clueless. (I know - shame on me.)

The thing is, I'd love to be able to use my new FZ3 right away- we've got some pretty important family events coming up and I'd love to be able to email pics to family out oftown.BUT herein lies the problem: I'm going to have a much greater learning curve to figure the thing out than most of you here. I'm trying myBEST to learn about ISO and different mode settings... but w/o the camera actually in my hands... I can only soak in so much. I must say, I'm a bit hesitant to start using a new camera w/o going through some "trial and error" first. I'd really hate to screw up holiday pics just b/c I couldn't figure out all the buttons on my camera!

So... can someone please tell me (in the simplest terms possible) what settings I should use based on the following scenarios (this way I can have it handy without having to sift through a wordy manual)...

> children's Christmas play in a church with minimal sunlight coming through stained glass windows

>another church setting, but this time during a candlelight service (wouldn't be able to use the flash)... there should be hundreds of candles everywhere... but that's it for light

>Christmas morning with just natural daylight pouring through the window

How about some everyday settings??

>indoor pics of my kids?

>outdoor shots with full sun?



Thanksa lot... I apreciate any advice...



Maryanne




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Old Dec 7, 2004, 11:13 PM   #2
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Two words - P-Mode. The one with the little heart. Use this in the beginning for those critical events while you're learning.

Now - a little head's up about church shooting where a flash is not allowed. These are tough environs for any camera and the FZ is no different. Keep it on P-mode. Your camera will try its best. Cameras - all digitals, film and otherwise need light. Your camera will - depending on the light in the church, probably increase the iso to 400, which produces noise, and slow down the shutter which often produces motion blur if the subject moves faster than the shutter opens and closes. This (motion blur) is especially true if you're zooming out 12X - even with the IS system. Really, the only solution to low, low light shooting without a flash is a DSLR that can shoot at a 1600 iso limit but you pay $$$ for the luxury. I'm not saying they will necessarily come out badly, it depends on how bright the church is.

As far as when to use the flash, etc. You can leave the flash up in "A" mode (automatic). This will trigger the flash if the camera thinks it needs it, and not use it if there's enough light. P also uses continuing auto focus as well...

The only problem with P mode is that it uses up the battery faster than the other modes. Not a bad idea to order a second battery and keep them both charged. Also, all digitals come with way too small SD cards. I would order both of these items so you're not disappointed by running out of juice or space.

P mode (with the little heart symbol) is fully automated and turnes your camera to a point and shooter, not too much different than a pocket digicam. Using P with the flash in A, the camera will even decide if it needs to use the flash.

Keep us posted!
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Old Dec 7, 2004, 11:21 PM   #3
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Probably shouldn't be trying to give others advice since know so little & don't have a FZ3. However, recently bought fz20 & believe its similar to fz3, so will tell you most of what I've learned. In low light situations manual mode with !SO at 400 will produce some good results. Problem with fz20 is that it doesn't gain up very bright so setting focus can be a problem. So be sure to turn on the manual focus assist ( turn manual focus assist on in setup menu) & use auto focus to get close before fine tuning. Also in the scene modes there is a setting called party which is good in low light situations.After navigating to party mode be sure to press right arrow or it will revert back to last setting that right arrow was pushed on. Primarily in good lighting set ISO to auto & shoot inP. Impressed by difference flash makes so use if can. Photo enhancement program can do wonders for bad photo so be careful about deleting too soon.





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Old Dec 8, 2004, 12:00 AM   #4
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Thanks Jim... apreciate the advice... although NickTrop knows a thing or two about photography, I wouldn't discount his advice (thanks Nick).

I've already got a Kingmax Platinum 512 MB card on order from newegg.com ($39). It should get here about the same time as the camera. I think I'm going to wait to have the camera in hand before I get a lense filter though. We've got a great camera shop here in town... I can get a filter from them (plus some knowledgeable advice)... and suck up the few bucks I'll pay in taxes.

Thanks again guys...

Maryanne
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Old Dec 8, 2004, 2:38 AM   #5
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Your question got me experimenting & I can't get brighter pictures in a dark room than using manual mode with auto focus (room too dark to use manual focus), ISO 400, & then hitting exposure button & using right & left arrows to set exposure meter to zero. Pictures turn out much brighter than room.

In auto & party the pictures probably turn out darker than room, certainly no brighter. However, if there is much activity pictures might be better since shutter speed little quicker. Then use Photo Impressions 5 which came with camera to enhance picture.

Being an amateur I guess the key for me is having plenty of memory & battery power so I can take1000 photos in a day & keep the 40 or so that are decent.

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Old Dec 8, 2004, 3:08 AM   #6
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I certainly wouldn't discountNick's advice either. From the little I've read today, first time at forum site, I definitely have to respect his knowledge & admit that I use auto mode most of the time.

However, shooting the river otters at the zoo the other day. I came to appreciate the panning mode. I'm convinced that when the otters see a camera they laugh & try to drive the photographers nuts. How many streaks of gray undefined mass does one need?

The FZ's have a lot to offer & I believe Panasonic & hopefully other photographers are going to teach me a lot.
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