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Old Jan 5, 2005, 11:12 AM   #11
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The Canon shot is nearly twice the size in Mb and is a larger image in pixels. Your original FZ20 shot was a 5Mp 2560 X 1920 pixel shot (I hope) and you posted a 1Mp 1178 X 883 pixel shot and want us to zoom in on it. Of course it isn't going to be as good as a 2Mp image from the Canon when you start zooming. Or nearly as good as the 5Mp original.

When you shoot indoors without a flash the lens opens all the way. That somewhat decreases your depth of focus. It is a optical formula that applies to any camera. The only difference with the FZ20 is that the lens opening is wider at zoom ranges than most cameras. That gives you better ability to take available light photos but decreases the depth of focus a little. Zooming also decreases your depth of focus. Most photographers want to have the subject sharp and the other parts a little blurred to emphasize the subject, and digital cameras with small sensors like the FZ20 don't let them blur the background as much as they would like. If you need everything sharp you can use aperture priority for your flash shots and set the aperture to f8. Zoom as little as possible. Your flash range will be decreased some but the depth of focus will increase.

For shooting indoors without flash program mode will open the lens all the way in most cases, so there isn't any reason to mess with it. There is a rule without stabilization that you have to use the reciprocal of the focal length for the shutter speed. So with a 420 mm equivalent focal length (12X) you would need about a 1/400 shutter speed. That is for someone who holds the camera properly. Stabilization conservatively gives you 2 f-stops. So you would need 1/10 second at 1X, 1/50 second at 5X and 1/100 second with 12X to get really sharp shots. Display the information and try to stay within those guidelines. You get the zoom power only momentarily when you zoom. I find you can shoot a little slower than those speeds but you have to hold the camera steady. Cup your left hand under the lens and put both elbows hard into your chest. I have found an eyecup for the viewfinder helps steady the camera as the FZ20 doesn't give you much ability to steady the camera with your forehead, nose etc if you shoot with your right eye. You can steady it better shooting with your left eye but your nose greases up the LCD.

If you aren't using a program that lets you display the EXIF from the camera download EXIF Image Viewer (freeware): http://home.pacbell.net/michal_k/exif_v.html Relate the shutter speeds with the zoom and see if you weren't shooting at too slow a speed for the blurred shots. 6mm is 1X, 39mm is 5X and 72mm is 12X in the EXIF.

Mode 2 doesn't stabilize the viewfinder. I find that to be an advantage as it makes me work harder at holding the camera. It is supposed to be a little better than mode 1. If mode 2 really isn't working for you return the camera. I always use a burst of 3 shots when shooting available light. Camera shake is variable and you have a better chance of hitting one in a null moment with burst mode.

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Old Jan 5, 2005, 12:11 PM   #12
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That could just be my house.

Just looked into the kids room and my 12 year old is on the exact same bed with his mate and playing on the playstation.

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Old Jan 5, 2005, 1:19 PM   #13
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The Canon original image is 2.15 MB, 2592x1944, 1/60, F/4, 15mm.

My original image is 2560x1920, 1.1MB (don't know EXIF settings - will check tonight). In order to post my photo, I resized the image - that's it. It's strange that the Canon original photo is twice as big (MB) as my originalphoto. How could this be? I will post the canon original and my original (before I took out the red-eye) onto a website and will show links tonight for each of them. Thanks for posting.

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Old Jan 5, 2005, 8:09 PM   #14
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hello again. here is the EXIF information from my original photo.

Exif Version=0220
Shot Time=2004:12:11 23:23:46
Digitize Time=2004:12:11 23:23:46
Compress Rate=4.0 bits/pixel
Exposure Time=1/60 Second
F Number=2.8
Minimum F Number=
Focal Length=10.60 mm
X Resolution=
Y Resolution=
ISO Speed Rate=ISO100
Flash=Flash Used
Light Source=
Exposure Program=Normal
Subject Area=
Custom Rendered=Normal
Exposure Mode=Auto Exposure
White Balance=Auto
Digital Zoom Ratio=
Scene Capture Type=Standard
Gain Control=None
Device Setting Description=
Subject Distance Range=
Image Unique ID=
Color space=sRGB
Image Width=2560
Image Length=1920
User Comment=
Related audio file=
Optoelectric conversion factor=
Shutter speed=
Exposure bias=0.00
Maximum lens aperture=3.00
Subject distance=
Metering mode=Pattern
Flash energy=
Spatial frequency response=
Subject location=
Exposure index=
Sensing method=
File source=
Scene type=

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Old Jan 5, 2005, 8:32 PM   #15
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I feel your pain, Vitiris, I have the same problem. My boyfriend has the Olympus C-770 and while it isn't a great camera overall, it never takes a bad shot, esp. indoors. The problem I am finding with all of these cameras is that there is no high ISO like there is in dSLRs. In those cameras you can shoot an ISO of 800, even 1600 if you use the new ones (like the Canon EOS 20d). With the FZ20 you really shouldn't shoot above 100 b/c of the noise. I also find skin tones to be reddish when I shoot with a flash. The 383 is a great flash, and you will have to set your camera to aperture priority or manual. You should do that anyway. Also set your white balance to the flash setting. Also, don't zoom in b/c the higher the zoom the higher your shutter speed needs to be and with a flash your shutter speed will be rather low. So if you zoom only very little. This should help your focus problem. Also be cognizant of what you see. By this I mean sometimes I get a focus lock but if I look at the frame everything is out of focus. It was probably too dark, and the camera couldn't focus. So I just re-focus. So, you should definitely look thru the LCD display, not the smaller viewfinder, I think you can see better. I also find that the final photo comes out better when my saturation and sharpness are set to high (only for indoor shots - I honestly haven't tried it outdoors). For indoor shots you can leave the autofocus on the center weighted, or whatever it is called, b/c as you can see, you get that green lock on the focus which is a box just short of the full frame, b/c in low light you are using that orange sensor light and it just focuses generally, it can't get a spot focus. So another way to increase your chances of a sharper image, is to set your fstop at a higher number (f2.8 would give you the least sharp image except what you are focusing on - this has to do with depth of field - when you get your 383 you can try setting the fstop at f4 or f8 -f8 would give you maximum depth of field meaning that more of the photo would be in focus)

You are right though, the FZ20 fails as a good point and shoot indoors, it just does. You can get a good shot, but it takes practice and even with practice, you still will get one out of every 3 to 5 shots blurry, if these are candid shots. If you have the time to compose the shot then you can get it perfect every time. But taking pictures of my nieces and nephews who jump around like they are taking stimulants (well, what the hell is Coke and chocolate, anyway????), I get only a few great shots out of about 100 shots, which is usually what I average in a given night. Outdoors, the camera is worth three times its value. Try these things and if you still need more help you can send me a private message if you would like my help. Good luck!
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Old Jan 6, 2005, 8:22 AM   #16
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Hi Nancy. Thanks for the reply. One question though:

1. When you say center weighted, do you mean the metering mode? If so, then what do you have the AF mode set at (9-area, 3-area, 1-area)?

I agree with you that with some of these highend cameras, you're almost paying the price of a dSLR, which has very little noise at high ISOs. This camera seems to have quite a bit of noise at 100, even with flash, high shutter speed, and noise reduction set to high.I tried thewhite balanceat the flash setting, but haven't taken many pictures at that setting so I can't compare it with other white balance settings, plus when I changed it to that, I also set the saturation and sharpness to high. That combination seemed a bit too rough or contrasty (whatever the term is). Like you said, I have noticed that using little to no zoom has made indoor photos look much better. I tried a higher F-stopnumber like you suggested. I got mixed results. My external flash will be here Friday the 7th, so I'll have tons of time this weekend to play with it. You talked about your nieces and nephews...At Christmas, I took tons of pictures of mine and most of them were very blurry. I got a couple of pretty nice shots though. Once I get my external flash, I might be asking for more help. Thanks!
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Old Jan 6, 2005, 12:29 PM   #17
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I meant the autofocus, not the metering mode. I guess it is the one area, but not the spot meter. Even if you set it to spot b/c the lighting is low indoors it gives you a general focus (shown by 4 corner markers in green). The metering mode I just use the preset. I have the same dilemma, once again, and I would use the Olympus indoors but it doesn't have a low light focus sensor so it takes longer to focus and it would be impossible to get my nieces and nephews in action. So I settle for a few blurry shots. Let me know how it goes when you get your flash.
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Old Jan 6, 2005, 9:52 PM   #18
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I'm also having tha same indoor blurry photo problems shooting my son's HS wrestling matches. Can't seem to find the best settings to shoot the team in action. Just got the camera a few weeks ago (was using an olympus c-730 UZ until the lens decided it wasn't going to extend during a lacrosse tournament. Since it was going to be the second time going into the shop for repairs, decided to research and buy a new camera).

I've been following the comments here for a day, and have been reading everyone's suggestions (thank you, they're very helpful!) I'm going to go down to the Saturday morning practice and try different settings to see what I get. Part of the problem I realize is that I'm zooming in too much, and trying to follow wrestlers in action isn't easy....I've got quite a few spandex butt shots.

What I do with my pictures is create DVD's with music for the players. Did this last LAX season and it came out great. And I crop a good number of the pictures so I always shoot at a high resolution.

I do have a question someone may be able to help with. Why does my screen (LCD and viewfinder)go black (or very nearly black) when I'm in Manual mode (M)? In trying all the settings did I possibly set something that caused this? Seems if I want to try all the combinations suggested, I need to be in manual mode. I've been through the manual but it doesn't mention anything about this. Thanks for any help or suggestions you may have.
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Old Jan 6, 2005, 11:08 PM   #19
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I've had this happen too. Once I take the picture, it comes out fine, but there are many times where it goes black. What gives?
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Old Jan 7, 2005, 12:43 PM   #20
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I just wanted to say that I think the FZ20 is marvelous as an indoor point and shoot. I was at several holiday gatherings and a wedding recently with my new camera, and I bet only 1% of my shots came out looking poor. Thiswas invery dim lighting each time. The autofocus assist is spot on in my opinion, even up to 6 feet away. Even when the autofocus is hunting, I can still lock on and snap the picture faster than any compact point and shoot digicam I've ever picked up, and I've played with most everything out there at one time or another.
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