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Old Apr 18, 2005, 3:42 PM   #1
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Has anyone else experienced this same or similar problem?

In my search for a new digicam I have been stongly considering the FZ5. To help make my decision I've been doing some serious "playing" with it at Ritz Camera and noticed that there seems to be a significant problem with the white balance quality under the store's florescent lights.

I snapped and printed some test pictures of some medium/dark-honey colored teddy bears they have for sale. They came out a gold-yellow on both the review via the lcd and when printed on the store's thermal printer. (I had seen some other pictures of things printed on this printer and they seemed okay - so I don't think it was the printer's problem.)

This isn't good at all.... you run into florescent lights just about everywhere you go. I don't want to invest this kind of money on a camera to have the subjects of the pictures taken in that kind of lighting looking like they need to be hospitalized for severe jaundice!

I checked the camera's manual and there's not a white balance setting for florescent light (only auto, daylight, cloudy, halogen, flash and manual). Just to make sure it wasn't a setting that someone else before me had made that I missed while tinkering, I reset the camera back to the factory defaults and tried the shots again - with the same result. I then tried manually setting the white balance (using the white color from the side of a printer box they had on display) and the result was only moderately better. (Should I have used something gray instead? What shade of gray? Please explain the gray vs white thing in setting manual wb??)

The only way I could get a halfway acceptable replication of the bear's color was - at the sales person's suggestion - to use the auto white balance I had set then manually adjust the exposure down by two of the tic marks on the graph (don't know what each tic marks represents so can't tell you more than that). To me, that seems like an awful lot of tweaking to do for such an expensive camera in order to get good quality pictures every time you take photos in florescent light.

Unfortunately I can't post the pictures for you to see as they were taken with the store's SD card and I didn't have the $$ at the time to have them make a cd of the test shots. The store also kept the shots (they didn't charge me for them since I was considering buying the camera).

Help Please!!! Before I sink my money into something that isn't going to work.
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Old Apr 18, 2005, 5:43 PM   #2
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Megg

From the reviews that I've read and from posts from people with the FZ5 no-one has yet mentioned a WB balance issue infact the reviews stated that the WB issue with the FZ20 had been fixed in the FZ5. Dpreview.com actually voted the FZ5 as "best of class". What I do with my FZ10 is that I now use a grey card to help with exposure - on the other side of the card is 90-95% white which is specifically designed for setting the white balance manually. This way you will have the correct white balance set on the cam.

Hope that helps

Harj

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Old Apr 18, 2005, 5:56 PM   #3
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Lid of a Pringles can works great for setting custom WB.
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Old Apr 18, 2005, 6:33 PM   #4
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In that situation always set white balance manually. I use a blank 4x6 piece of photo paper. I shot pics for a retail store here and they came out fine. None of the cameras I've had (Canon ,Fuji, Oly, NIkon) did a good job in that that light using camera presets. It only takes a second to set WB.
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Old Apr 18, 2005, 6:57 PM   #5
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Thanks for your replies. I really appreciate your helping me figure this out.

What worries me with this is that I DID manually set the white balance (I used the white side of a printer box they had on display),and the pictures of the bears were still not even close to their actual color.

The closest I could get to their actual color was by using the white balance setting I had created then also modify the exposure setting down two tic marks.

For such an expensive camera, that seems to be an awful "fussy" thing to have to do in order to get a good picture, especiallly given that florescent lighting is EVERYWEAR.

Don't get me wrong, I still really like everything else about the camera. Other than this one problem it seems much better than any of the other ones I've looked at. I'm just nervous about this happening because I'll have to be satisfied with the camera I choose for a LONG, LONG, LONG time.

ALSO -- what is a "gray card"? Is it something especially designed for photography? Where can I get one? BTW. I think pringles' can lids are kind of a frosted clear color now, not white... darn it... that was a GREAT idea! More portable and durable than an index card. Do you think a laminated index card would work (more durable) or would the laminating material goof things up even worse, as it does tend to be a bit shiny.
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Old Apr 18, 2005, 7:07 PM   #6
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I think you must have done something wrong when you set the WB in the store. I've done it for all sorts of lighting and had no problems. Once again it's a difficult lighting situation for all cameras not just the FZ. If you learn how to do it you'll be happy. A index card laminated or not, photo paper , pringles lid all work. The FZ has so many other top notch qualities it's a minor point. If you want to buy an 18 percent grey card here you go. :arrow:

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/cont...u=15633&is=REG
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Old Apr 18, 2005, 7:31 PM   #7
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Were you using the flash? I dont think Panasonic has put much R&D into flash technology. Maybe they'll use that to hook us on the next batch of fz's. I'm sure there is some marketing term for intentionally offering marginal improvements leading toward a known nirvana whilestaying in business. If you reach nirvana too soon.......

Meanwhile backat your dilemma, you can't manually set the wb for a flash shot. The flash doesn't fire. Not an option. Therefore you rely on Pany's input and it isn't there. You can choose flash wb or you can choose auto wb and hope for the best. Under florescent light with a flash, it doesn't work very well.

Of course, if you weren't using the flash, the manual wb should work. I keep a circle of white label paper stuck to the inside of my lens cap for setting wb manually. I used a milk bottle cap as a patern - same diameter.


Part of the pringles lid deal was using apiece of waxed paper inside the lid. Try that with the new lid.


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Old Apr 18, 2005, 7:45 PM   #8
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I usea squid to set white balance manually. I find the off-white pinkish texture of the squid, with its mucus-y specular highlights and semi-translucent texture with gray-ish speckles produces - far and away, the best results for setting white balance manually. For this reason, I always keep a couple squids in my pocket when shooting.
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Old Apr 18, 2005, 7:49 PM   #9
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Wrap the squid in waxed paper with a shrooms sprinkling.
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Old Apr 19, 2005, 6:03 AM   #10
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Quote:
Were you using the flash? I dont think Panasonic has put much R&D into flash technology. Maybe they'll use that to hook us on the next batch of fz's. I'm sure there is some marketing term for intentionally offering marginal improvements leading toward a known nirvana while staying in business. If you reach nirvana too soon.......
It's called "planned obsolesence" and it's the most powerful sales pitch on earth.

Quote:
I use a squid to set white balance manually.
Seems a bit fishy, but it might work.

Will it fit in an underwater housing?

Do you use it frozen or deep-fried?
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