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Old Jul 30, 2005, 8:39 PM   #1
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Hello all,

I just received my FZ20 a few days ago. I was so excited that I wandered down to the local market to take some pictures. I was a bit disturbed when I had the chance to download the phtos and see what they looked like.

Now, I am not a newbie to photography or digital cameras, just to this particular camera. I am looking for any advice or comments on why you think this picture turned out soft. The original was taken in TIFF format, and the EXIF information is below. The camera was set to center weighted metering and 1 area focus.

Filename : Picture 018.tif
Main Information
Make : Panasonic
Model : DMC-FZ20
Software : Ver1.0
DateTime : 2005:07:28 14:02:08
Sub Information
ExposureTime : 1/320Sec
FNumber : F2.8
ExposureProgram : Aperture Priority
ISOSpeedRatings : 80
ExifVersion : 0220
DateTimeOriginal : 2005:07:28 14:02:08
DateTimeDigitized : 2005:07:28 14:02:08
ExposureBiasValue : EV0.0
MaxApertureValue : F2.8
MeteringMode : Division
LightSource : Unidentified
Flash : Not fired(Compulsory)
FocalLength : 22.50(mm)
ExposureMode : Auto
WhiteBalance : Auto
DigitalZoomRatio : 0/10
FocalLength(35mm) : 135(mm)
SceneCaptureType : Standard
GainControl : None
Contrast : Normal
Saturation : Normal
Sharpness : Normal
Vendor Original Information
Quality mode : 1
Version : 
Macro mode : Off
Rec mode : Unknown (7)

Thanks everybody!
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Old Jul 30, 2005, 9:12 PM   #2
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so... what exactly is your complaint?
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Old Jul 30, 2005, 9:13 PM   #3
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I will take a guess and thats all it is.

But the point of focus seems to be around the elevator sign, maybe even behind it.

I am not sure why, if it was center focus.

I am not sure F2.8 was the correct aperture to use.( but what do I know)

One thing... I can not use Continuous auto focus maybe you should try without it, just to see.

And I like to use at least -1/3 exposure comp.

I am sure you will find a setting that will work real well for you.

You were getting the focus beep and green dot?
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Old Jul 30, 2005, 9:58 PM   #4
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Squirl033, it's not a complaint. I was looking for advice from experienced users of this particular camera to see if they might have any explanation as to why this photo came out soft. I've never seen apicture be esentially totally out of focus like this. Even my kids $99Kodak digital camera has never done this.

genece, thank you for the information. Continous AF was not enabled when I took this photo. I tend to shun that option on digital cameras because it drives me crazy to keep on hearing it try to focus! Besides changing the quality to TIFF and using Apeture priority, all other settings were factory default. I think OIS was set to mode 1.

I've played around with different combinations settings and have been able to get better pictures, but I'm just curious why this particular one turned out as it did.

One thing I will say though, the colors are stunning.

Thanks...again.
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Old Jul 30, 2005, 11:17 PM   #5
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okay... soft focus is a viable "complaint". i'm no expert, but i've had my FZ20 for about 9 months, and have more or less figured out how to use it, so here's my 2 cents' worth...

you were using spot focus, which tells the camera to focus on only the area in the very center of the viewfinder (where that little green box is). in this pic, it looks like you had the camera aimed at (and focused on) about wherethe signs or windows are. in this composition, thatmeans the flowers in the foreground will be out offocus. if you want to use spot focus, aim at the closest subject in the composition (in this case, the flowers on the left), half-press the shutter to lock the focus, then move the camera to compose the picture. that will give you the flowersin clear focus, and the overall greater DOF of digital camsshould keep most of the rest clear. if you're worried about not having enough DOF, set to aperture mode, select f4.0 or greater, and use spot focus as above. f2.8 is really pretty shallow for this pic, unless the light was really poor, butyou were shooting at 1/320 for this shot, at f2.8, and you could have gotten a shutter of 1/100 or better even at f4.0 or higher. with a zoom equivalent of 135mm, and OIS, 1/100 would give you adequate shutter speed (unless you're old and shaky like i am!), andf f4 would provide more DOF to keep the middle background in focus even if you were focusing on the flowers.

as an alternative, try selecting the center-weighted (but not "spot") focus mode, which will tell the camera to focus in the middle of the viewfinder, but over a wider area than the spot mode. continuous AF is a waste of batteries, in my opinion. i never use it.

i don't use TIFF mode. it takes up a lot more space than JPEG fine, and doesn't produce any better images. also, set you OIS to mode 2. that way, it only operates at the instant you take the picture, which A) saves batteries, and B) actually produces better images for the most part, especially if you're using a monopod or bracing yourself on something. oddly enough Panasonic says to use mode 3 or turn it off entirely on a tripod... so i guess mode 1 is more unstable than mode 2...

the reason your $99 cheapo cam seems clearer is because it's not sophisticated enough to focus on any one area of the image, and uses a wide-area autofocus mode. you can set the FZ'z to focus like that, but it takes longer, and doesn't really give you better images. you'll do better to learn to select the specific area you want clear, and rely on DOF to keep the background clear - or not, depending on what you want to do. the FZ'z are very capable cameras, and if you take a little time to learn how to make the most of them, they can deliver excellent image quality.
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Old Jul 30, 2005, 11:45 PM   #6
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A very instructive and helpful analysis. This kind of feedback is the best of this forum. Somewhere else, our friend would have been blown off with an admonition to use the search engine and read the old posts. Thank you Squirl033!
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Old Jul 31, 2005, 12:20 AM   #7
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Squirl033, thank you very much for the very informative post. I certainly didn't mean to sound snippy in my last post. Like I said, I am new to this camera, and each having their own quirks, it sometimes makes it frustrating to figure out these little things. I definately agree that this is a very capable camera. I swear I read just about every review and every post that I could find about it.

As for the search engine comment, I tried for three days to find information about the FZ20 and soft focus. I could not find anything answering the specific questions that I had.

Thanks.
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Old Jul 31, 2005, 1:15 AM   #8
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CodyH wrote:
Quote:
Squirl033, thank you very much for the very informative post. I certainly didn't mean to sound snippy in my last post. Like I said, I am new to this camera, and each having their own quirks, it sometimes makes it frustrating to figure out these little things. I definately agree that this is a very capable camera. I swear I read just about every review and every post that I could find about it.

As for the search engine comment, I tried for three days to find information about the FZ20 and soft focus. I could not find anything answering the specific questions that I had.

Thanks.
no problem. the reason my first response was a question about what was wrong, was because you had originally just put up the pic with a comment about being disturbed by the results, without saying anything about why you were dissatisfied with it. i needed to know what exactly it was that you thought was wrong, in order to try to address it.

for the most part, the folks on this forum are pretty helpful and knowledgeable. there are some who will refer to previous posts, but that's mainly in cases where someone asks a question that's been addressed dozens of times, and where there is a specific thread dealing with it already. i've been on this board for about 9 months, and it's been a HUGE help to me in learning to use my FZ20 properly and get the best results from it (i'm still learning, though!).


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Old Jul 31, 2005, 1:35 AM   #9
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haven't read everyone's post, but I can tell ya what's wrong with the picture. Primarily the focus, and secondarily the shade, it made the picture lack contrast (which can easily be fixed in pp). Of course your focus can't. If the shot is important to you, being that it is stationary, you can go back and shoot it again. This time maybe using the spot focus, or setting the smallest aperture to give you the greatest depth of field. Also, there is definitely a learning curve to this camera. Shoot, download and observe your pics. So many of my photos, til this day are out of focus. You can get things in focus but it takes practice.
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Old Jul 31, 2005, 1:47 AM   #10
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Thanks again squirl033 and Nancy. The picture is not important to me. It was just a grab shot that I felt had a lot of color, and I wanted to see what the camera was capable of. IMO, the colors from this camera are stunning. I know it will take practice, and I'm not trying to find an easy way out. I'm just trying to pick the brains of folks who have probably already gone through this same thing.

Regards.
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