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Old Jan 4, 2005, 5:02 PM   #1
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I've recently bought 2 different digital cameras. The olympus c-750 and the panasonic fz20. I love having the huge optical zoom because the only time I use a camera is while I'm on vacation. Therefore, I want the zoom so I can get closer to the subject. I am definitely an amateur photographer (or lower if you can go there). I don't know much about aperture/shutter speed, etc. So basically, I want a P&S Camera with good zoom. There isn't such a thing.

With the c-750, I just couldn't get the sharp looking photos I wanted it to produce. It did much better with indoor photos than the FZ20 does though. I sent my c-750 back so I can't compare them any more. However, I still have the FZ20. The reason I got this one was because of Image Stabilization. The IS seems to work most of the time. I know I'm a shaky person so it doesn't work as much as I want it to. Mode 2 has never worked for me. Mode 1 works about half the time. Mostly outdoors, it works fine as long as i concentrate on holding the camera still and use the 2 second timer. Indoor, forget it, it comes out like IS doesn't even exist. I'm having a problem with this since I spent so much money on it. Shouldn't it produce great pictures or am I just dreaming? A friend of mine as a Canon 5MP PowerShot camera that takes great pictures (no zoom ofcourse).

For the most part, my problem is with indoor pictures. Please help me. I guess I have to always use the flash right? This makes the pictures look a little sharper and in focus; however, most of the time, the object I'm taking the picture of is in focus, but EVERYTHING else is out of focus. Or if I use any zoom at all (even 2x), the picture becomes blurry. I've taken over 500 pictures with this thing and I bet I have 10 that are worth printing - and of those, 8 are outdoor shots). Can someone help me out as far as what I'm doing wrong or am I just dreaming that a digital camera can be everything I want it to be? I have been waiting on this camera for awhile now (ever since the press release). I've had it for 3 weeks and am extremely disappointed. Before I bought it, I noticed that Nikon now has an 8800 (8MP) camera that has image stabilization. Last week, I almost took this one back to the store and bought the Nikon one to try ($300 more though). I have until 01/10/05 to try out this FZ20 before I can't take it back. Any suggestions?

One more note: My girlfriend's son plays roller hockey indoors. I took about 100 shots with this camera and got only a couple to be in focus. I did NOT use flash, I used the sports mode. For many pictures, the person I shot was in focus, but everyone else was out of focus. Should I have used the flash for shooting this? I did not use it since the arena has glass walls around the rink. Plus I didn't want the flash to be a huge bother with the players. I have read to buy an external flash. I have no problem with doing that if it will help. Thanks in advance!

I've decided to post a picture that I took indoors with flash in high jpg quality mode. Notice the large amounts of noise in the gray curtain. You can also see noise in the white wall. Please note that when I zoom in on this picture, you can see all kinds of artifacts (I understand that you will get some by zooming in on the picture), however, look at my next post - it is a pictureusing the Canon I mentioned earlier. Zoom in on that picture and you can see a difference. You don't lose quality by zooming in!
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Old Jan 4, 2005, 5:03 PM   #2
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Here is the Canon shot:
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Old Jan 4, 2005, 5:42 PM   #3
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vitiris wrote:
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A friend of mine as a Canon 5MP PowerShot camera that takes great pictures (no zoom ofcourse).
Try the fz20 with no zoom (1x) and compare. Set the noise reduction to low.
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Old Jan 4, 2005, 5:57 PM   #4
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I downloaded the first photo you posted but was not able to get your EXIF nfo from it ??? Most often indoor blurryness is caused by shutter speed beig too slow... To avoid motion blur keep the shutter speed as high as you can indoors when using the flash. Film SLRs usually synch to 1/125 of a second if you want a rule of thumb.

Apart from this, don't know what else to say. I've seen some very nice indoor snaps - crystal clear, from FZ-20 users posted here. Also, your snap-shot posted doesn't look that bad to me. It's a little noisey but it's not blurry.

Also, when you post a full size 1200 X 900 (or whatever) picture, the noise and artifacts will always be highlighted, if they're there. But you're never gonna view your shot this large, and these imperfections are minimized when printed or viewed on a PC at a normal size.

As far as "not knowing anything about photography"... then blaming the camera... well, photography does require a little bit of technical knowledge. Much of the basics you can pick up - literally, in a couple hours. 2/3rds of what you need to know is probably covered in the manual. Understanding the basics - the interrelationship of shutter speed, aperture opening, and ISO speed isn't rocket science.

I don't mean to seem indelicate, but invest a little time perhaps?
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Old Jan 4, 2005, 11:58 PM   #5
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I have to agree with Nick in that you need to read up on settings and experiment with different setups since the camera is capable of producing great results. I don't think dropping more money on a Nikon is going to help. The FZ20 is probably better. You may need a simple point and shoot and a lot of Canon Powershots may be what you're looking for. If you can't solve it take it back, but it's not the camera.
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Old Jan 5, 2005, 1:00 AM   #6
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Are you using only program mode? Have you inadvertently set the mode dial incorrectly? Are you letting the camera "pre-focus" before you snap the shot? If you just frame the picture and mash down the shutter button, even the FZ20 takeshalf a second to capture the image, and if you move your hands during that time, it will blur the images. Try pressing the shutter halfway till you get the focus grid and the little round focus indicator above itlit up in green, then snap the shot and see what happens. That does two things: it gives the camera time to focus on the subject you're shooting, and also dramatically reduces shutter lag time to almost nothing.

OIS modes - mode 1 leaves the image stabilizer on all the time, but it doesn't work as well for removing the jitters. In mode 2, the camera only turns on OIS when you press the shutter, so it stabilizes the lens at the exact instant you take the picture, and supposedly gives better results.

You mentioned "holding the camera still and use the 2-second timer". Are you using the timer hand-held? If so, why? Trying to hold the camera perfectly still for that long is just asking for trouble... the only time you should use the timer is if you have the camera on a tripod or other support that is immobile.

The FZ20 is capable of marvelous clarity, indoors or out. A look at some of the shots posted on this board should convince you of that. Take some time to read the manual thoroughly and make sure you understand how to use the camera for the kinds of shots you want to take. If you do that and it STILL doesn't give you clear pictures, then consider taking the camera in to have it checked out.
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Old Jan 5, 2005, 1:43 AM   #7
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My first couple of shots had the same problem with my FZ-15. I found that if I decreased the shutter speed it would be in focus but too dark. It didn't take me long to find that the ISO was set to 64 out of the box, so I set it to auto and my next few shots came out great!
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Old Jan 5, 2005, 2:36 AM   #8
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That's a good point. By the way "board" I'm over in Hanford and go to Pismo alot. Look for a guy with a FZ20
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Old Jan 5, 2005, 11:05 AM   #9
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For hockey (or other fast-moving, indoor sports) nothing beats a flash. You won't distract the players, but you will need to find a gap in the plexiglass (often older rinks have these in the penalty box). Alternatively, move up in the stands to where you can shoot over the plexiglass - another benefit of 12x optical zoom!

If you can't find a gap and have to shoot through plexiglass,I suggest setting the FZ20's sensitivity to ISO 400 - this allows you to use faster shutter speeds without the flash. The auto mode will normally only set ISO to 200, but if you go into the menu you can set 400. It's not as good as a flash, but I've managed to get pretty good results this way. There's more noise at ISO 400, but software will eliminate most of it nicely.

Final suggestion -a monopod is really handy for hockey - stabilizes the camera, yet allows you to be right up against the boards.


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Old Jan 5, 2005, 12:08 PM   #10
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Thank you so much for the replies! I wrote down tons of stuff and will try more photos tonight and this weekend. I don't mean to blame the camera, I'm sure it's a good camera. I just seem to have problems with it for some reason. I guess it's not a real P&S camera. Basically I'll have to do many indoor shots in manual mode (once I figure out what ISO, F-Stop, Shutter speed to shoot things out).

Love the hockey photo! In our arena, there's a net that goes around the rink on the low glass sides, so I have a problem with that if I'm in the stands. I used the sports mode to take the pictures, but never turned the flash onand never increased the ISO.

I just ordered a sunpak 383 flash for this camera. Hopefully that will help in my photo taking.

About the EXIF data on the photo: I forgot that I took the red-eye out of one of the boys, so that's why it's not there any more. I'll have to check what it was set at tonight.

I did read the manual, but will go back through it again. I read it before I started using the camera. This time, I'll read it and work with each setting.

As far as modes, yes, I use the P mode most of the time. I do press the shutter button half-way to let it focus, then take the shot. I will sometimes use the 2-second timer if I'm zoomed in at 12x so the depression of the shutter button won't move the camera. Like I said before, the IS only seems to help in getting a clear picture about half the time. I will change the mode back to mode 2 and take more pictures. Right now I use mode 1. I first tried mode 2, but the IS never seemed to work. That problem could be because I wasn't waiting for the picture to show up.

I thought once the shutter has finished (or the flash has finished), then the camera has got the shot. Is this not correct? Am I supposed to wait for the picture to show up before I move the camera?

Once again. Thanks for all the criticism - it's nice to see many people reply to idiots like myself. Like I said, I'm new at this and want to be able to take good shots without the frustration. I have seen many outdoor photos with this camera and they look fantastic. I've taken a few outdoor and they look great, but I haven't had a need to take many outdoors yet. I have NOT seen many indoor photos on the net with this camera. If you could produce some links, that would be most helpful.
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