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Old Feb 25, 2006, 2:14 PM   #11
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I really appreciate the feedback & the help. I tried what you said. Now it gets weird. First of all, my "target" is a 5x8 sheet of paper with a crisp 1/8" wide black magic marker crosshair.
Its taped flat to a piece of cardboard box propped up on a stump about 40' from the camera. All shots on timer, on tripod. When the shots are in focus, I can see the corrugations in the edge of the cardboard.
This morning, it was overcast, all the shots were at full telephoto, ~f3.7, ~1/250 or so. Now the sun is out. No matter what combination of shutter/aperture settings, any priority or manual, my shots are now matching the manual focus in the viewfinder. I know this sounds like its my eyes, but I swear its not. But it seems to be related to available light but I don't know how that would effect manual focus consistency. One thing is certain, all the "problem shots" were in low light. Nothing I did in morning overcast is repeatable in bright sun.
Certainly your wide aperture theory could have explained what was happening this morning to me, since all the shots were wide open, but now in bright light, I'm getting consistent manual focus at f3.7. I'm totally confused now...
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Old Feb 25, 2006, 3:39 PM   #12
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I am not an expert and everything that I will say you guys know better than me but...
As you know at 40" at full telephoto and F3.7 the DOF is VERY small (for FZ20 - DOF=0.26"). So when MF is used the image that you see in the LCD or EVF is not very correct (you can not deside is it in focus or not). Auto focus "see" better than you because it "looks" into the original image not the small one of the EVF or LCD.
And using a teleconverter makes the DOF even smaller

When the F goes up the DOF increase so no matter that you did not focus well the image is more focused (FZ20 F6.3 - DOF=0.46"). Of cource this have notting with the light and maybe I am wrong...
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Old Feb 25, 2006, 4:00 PM   #13
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Believe me I am not trying to say I know the answer and I felt sure it was the DOF thing when this thread started but now I do feel the same. At least in my case it the aperture. Wheather thats the DOF or not I do not know...But I don't thinkDOF isall of it.

I have taken a couple hundred photos here in the last couple hours and almost every one I used F6.3, is in very good focus. As I used a higher # I started losing light and therefor a much longer shutterspeed so that caused mixed results above 6.3. Its too cold for me to set up the tripod outside so I was doing this all handheld thru the window.



I tried it in full manual exposure but the changing light was causing me to get a bad exposure ...but using Aperture priority I am getting a lot of great shots....

Maybe tomorrow will bring another problem but it seems to be working very well for me at this time.
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Old Feb 25, 2006, 4:25 PM   #14
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Has anyone taken into account that in the menu settings there is a selection for the tele converter? I am not sure if it really accomplishes anything, but just because it's there I select it in menu when I add the Panasonic tele converter. I have used my camera in both auto and manual using this setting with the 1.7X converter and have had good results both ways.

Kd
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Old Feb 25, 2006, 4:30 PM   #15
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It is very easy to check is it a problem with the MF of the FZ30/20/10/5/...
Just set on tripot, Manual mode, and AF at the sibject. Take the shot
Then change to MF but DO NOT PRE-FOCUS (as I know moving from AF to MF does not change the focus of the lens). Take the same shot.
Compare the images. If there is a difference into the focus there MUST be some kind of a problem with the MF mode.

Please post the results.
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Old Feb 25, 2006, 4:52 PM   #16
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KENNETHD wrote:
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Has anyone taken into account that in the menu settings there is a selection for the tele converter? I am not sure if it really accomplishes anything, but just because it's there I select it in menu when I add the Panasonic tele converter. I have used my camera in both auto and manual using this setting with the 1.7X converter and have had good results both ways.

Kd

I am not using a teleconverter, but that setting seems to do nothing but give a warning. On the FZ10 and 20 it started the lens at 6X but it seems to do nothing on the FZ30.

I have satisfied my problem ...I know the workaround.....if you were in good enough lighting that the camera chooses a F6.3 aperture all would be fine...that is where it had me confused ..if the light was good ,no problem....poor light ...poor MF, autofocus was fine....And I use autofocus about 99% of the time.....I think I am good now.....just to try the F6.3 with the Raynox lens.
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Old Feb 25, 2006, 6:04 PM   #17
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forestcat44 wrote:
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I have been dealing with the manual focus dilema a few weeks now.
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I found your thread just now. I'm sorry for starting a new one. But it seems odd that you & I are the only ones that seem to be having this issue. Have you found other threads in other places discussing this? I've never seen a mention of it in a review, that's why I'm still hopefull its not a generic camera issue. Some >80iso noise I can live with, but I need a reliable manual focus. We could have defective cameras, though. Where did you buy yours?

Genece, after breakfast I'll start experimenting using your half-press exposure lock. However I'm pretty sure that I did not see any focus change in the evf between manually focusing & shooting. I'll let you know.

EDIT: Come to think of it, when I press the one shot autofucus button, release it, then press the shutter release, the resulting picture is focused. Why would using the focus ring produce a different result re: exposure, d.o.f., etc, assuming proper fucus w/ ring & evf? I'm stumped on this so far. I'm gonna repeat the experiment in full manual, which should eliminate any exposure/aperture variables, I hope...
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The real problem is that there are NOT many Panansonic F30's out there in comparison to other cameras. I bought mine at Future Shop in Toronto its the Silver model and you ? Like you I can handle a bit of noise wich there really is none but the Manual Focuse is a real problem. I thought it was just me. I have to email Panasonice about it.
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Old Feb 26, 2006, 8:39 AM   #18
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videosilva, got mine at prestige, but I don't think the camera is defective, this is something else.

I may have nailed now, I have something repeatable. genece & sunstorage put me on the right track w/ the aperture & depth of field theories.

Try this:
You need marginal light, something that will expose properly at 1/50-1/100sec @ f3.7 at full zoom w/ a tele converter, preferably the Raynox. Get a target at about 40'. I'm working on a tripod through a window to a cardboard box in the yard. Started out w/ a paper w/ crosshair, decided corrugations on the cardboard are way better to judge focus. Either way, you really need a tripod.
1. Put the camera in aperture priority f3.7, manual focus.
2. Press the one-shot focus button. Image looks good in the viewfinder.
3. Touch, and I mean _barely_ touch the focus ring, just enough to activate the focus assist. I'm using full screen mode.
4. The image in the viewfinder is ALREADY out of focus. If I attempt to focus it using assist, the resulting picture will be out of focus. Take the shot if you like to prove it.
5. Press the one-shot auto again.
6. Holding down the shutter half way, now touch the ring as before. Focus in viewfinder still looks good, since it was, after all, already focused.. (Thanks genece)
7. Close the aperture to ~f6 or so.
8. Repeat step three. This time, focus looks fine. I believe this is related to DOF, i.e. cranking down the aperture increases DOF & effectively "masks" the problem. (Thanks sunstorage)

Very important to note. Increase ambient light, remove the teleconverter, or disable focus assist & the problem goes away. I'm not a photography or physics wonk by any means, so I'd welcome an explanation/fix for the focus assist problem (other than finding the right "decalibration" of my diopter & marking it for use w/ the above conditions... not a good fix)
I searched the web last night to try to find any relationship between light levels (or shutter speed) and DOF, other than the need to adjust aperture to match available light, which naturally results in a DOF change.
What I'd hoped to find was that, exposure & aperture held constant, a net reduction in available light results in a decrease in DOF. No luck.

If you try the steps above in bright light, the problem does not exist. Still stumped.

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Old Feb 26, 2006, 12:55 PM   #19
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I just posed the F30 Manual Focus question to Panasonic Canada. Lets see what they have to say about it.
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Old Feb 26, 2006, 4:01 PM   #20
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The discussions about focusing are interesting because I've found that it can be hard to get a good focus in the field, and camera flaws wouldn't help, that's for sure.I tried to duplicate the focusing error forestcat found, but couldn't.¬*¬*¬*My test:-Panasonic LT55 teleconverter on my FZ30, with menu set to add-on teleconverter-Resolution chart from¬*http://www.graphics.cornell.edu/~wes...res-chart.html printed out on an HP Businessjet1200-shooting distance about 40 feet, indoors with bright northern light from windows-Aperture priority setting at 3.7 and 7.1-hi-qual jpg setting, picture settings all on 'Standard'-spot exposure and spot focusing (but also tried one area focusing to use more of the chart)-camera stabilizing mode 2 and no stabilization tried-manual focus assist mode¬* #1-used LCD for focusing to remove the diopter adjustment variable, but did try the viewfinder once alsoWhat I found:-Focusing for the finest detail is finicky, even with a tripod. Chances of pulling it off while chasing a moving animal in the trees are minimal at best. I do a lot of fine focusing of telescopes, so am familiar with the technique.-As the manual says, you have to rotate the focus ring slowly until the image seems sharp. Then rotate the ring a little bit more, then rotate back the other way a smidgen to the sharpest point. This takes up slack in the mechanism. The amount of rotation is tiny.-The spot autofocus shots were a bit less sharp than my best manual focus shots. The one region focus shots were the same as the manual focus shots.-Aperture setting didn't seem to make any difference, which was surprising.What I take from this:-If I'm doing landscapes or buildings with a tripod, then I will use manual focus if I can find some suitable detail to focus on. Otherwise, autofocus is fine.-For tracking moving objects, autofocus is probably faster and more accurate than what I can manage with manual.
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