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Old Mar 13, 2006, 1:01 PM   #11
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http://69.47.81.240/Vacation/2003/00...054_026_RJ.htm


Here is an example of the low light conditions I shot with Canon S45. I shot this in Av mode and RAW. I would have to open up the picture at home to see the actual settings. ISO was probably 100 or 200. ISO 400 was useless due to the noise on the S45. Everything I shoot are people, architectural or art work, basically non-moving objects. I will be shooting in aperature mode on DMC-FZ30.

I will be practicing at The Henry Ford, http://www.thehenryford.com. I can shoot the Village building outside and inside to get various light conditions to see how they turn out. I would be shooting in RAW mode on DMC-FZ30 and using Adobe Photoshop CS2 to fix the pictures.




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Old Mar 13, 2006, 10:30 PM   #12
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This might give you a good example of what to expect from the FZ30. Here's a photo I took earlier today. It was 60 degrees here in Buffalo, a huge relief from the snow and the cold. Tomorrow it will be snowy and 30 degrees.

This shot was taken probably 20-25 minutes after sundown, in RAW mode at ISO 200, with a 1/13 shutter speed and the aperture all the way open (F/2.5 ). The FZ30 produces a lower quality JPG as well as the raw file. I used the JPG to show the whole image scaled down, as well as a 100% crop. I then opened the RAW photo in Photoshop and increased the exposure. You can see that the dark areas it brightened are totally ruined with noise. Because of the amount of noise in the dark areas, it doesn't really matter whether you shoot RAW or JPG, the detail lost in the JPG is mostly in that really noisy area. Because of that, I primarily shoot JPG and just take a lot more pictures.

Noise reduction can help a lot to make the image more acceptable, but it cannot restore details lost to the noise. If anything, you throw away even more detail, and if you're photographing art, that might not be acceptable loss.

Through practise, I've found that I can take longer exposures than 1/13. At full wide angle, I can pretty reliably take photos at 1/2 second using the stabilizer, but I'm not sure if that's something most people can do terribly easily. I'm sure I wouldn't be able to do it after several hours of hiking though.

If I was in your situation, the camera I'd be looking at is the Konica Maxxum 5d. It's an SLR, but with the kit lens you can get it for $700 at bhphotovideo.com, a very reputable store. It might be even cheaper elsewhere. This camera not only supports much higher ISO settings with less noise, but it also has pretty good image stabilization built into the body. Basically, if you had an FZ30 and took a picture at ISO 200 at 1/13 and it was still dark, you'd be screwed. But with the 5D, you could take the picture at about 1/23 at ISO 800 with less noise. I think that'd be worth the extra couple hundred bucks, especially if you don't really need the huge zoom.

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Old Mar 13, 2006, 10:39 PM   #13
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Thank you so much for taking those pictures. Would shooting in ISO 100 reduce the noise and help with cropping? I am curious?

The first picture would have been acceptable for my web site and video DVDs. I usually don't crop and zoom pictures.Check out my 2003 and 2004 vacation pictures. This camera is for my vacation. I don't print many pictures except a few of myself from the trip. I usually convert them to video DVD and then post them on my IIS box.

I will look at the KM 5D and see what it costs. The SLRs I looked at were $2000-$3000 with the lens I would want. Too much for a once a year vacation. I usually don't take pictures outside of my vacation. I am single and don't have children. Check out my web site to get an idea of what I shoot. I try not to shoot in darker conditions and use RAW to clean them up enough to be presentable.
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Old Mar 13, 2006, 10:43 PM   #14
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Oh, just as a side note, I noticed that the RAW image didn't have the rainbow noise of the jpg. I went back to the original RAW file and loaded it without increased exposure and with the "Detail" settings at default (25% noise reduction, 0 luminosity smoothing). Here's a 100% crop of that. It's still grainy, but the rainbow noise is gone. I think you actually get better results using Noise Ninja after loading, whether it's a JPG or a RAW, but if you shoot mostly RAW I thought maybe you'd want to see this.

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Old Mar 13, 2006, 10:48 PM   #15
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What is noise ninja? What did you use to crop the picture? I have Adobe Photoshop CS2 and a highend workstation.

http://69.47.81.240/Computers/

You can look at the specs here.

Do you have a histogram on the first picture?
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Old Mar 13, 2006, 11:10 PM   #16
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Shooting in ISO 100 with all the other settings the same would reduce noise. The picture would also be half as bright. If you took it into Photoshop and brigthened it up, you'd then have the same noise as the ISO 200 picture (I've tried this). If you shot ISO 100 at 1/6 shutter speed, you'd have basically the same exposure without any serious noise, assuming you keep the camera steady enough.

If you're doing mostly web graphics, then some of the rules change. ISO 400 is perfectly acceptable for web graphics, just as long as you get a good exposure. I'd actually recommend underexposing in ISO 200 instead though, since pumping up to ISO 400 could cause some things to get overexposed, where the ISO 200 image could be brightened up without overexposing, but have the same noise level.

This camera produces images that are 3264 pixels wide, so if you intend to reduce them to 720 pixels wide for video, noise will not be a problem. In fact, if you're just doing web and video, this camera would probably be a blast and I wouldn't recommend the 5D over it. This camera can take decent video as well (though the sound is terrible).

Noise ninja is a tool for reducing noise, but it's really geared for print quality work. At the resolution you're working at, the noise reduction tools built into Photoshop would be good enough if you even needed them.

I use CS2 as well on my home computer, a custom built XP machine with and Athlon 64 3400+ and a gig of ram. At work I use a Mac G5 running OS X.

Why do you need a histogram? If you want, you could just copy that into photoshop, crop the top part out and generate your own.

Let me know if you have further questions.



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Old Mar 13, 2006, 11:15 PM   #17
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Just an afterthought because you mentioned the histogram... are you aware that this camera can display a real time histogram in the EVF? It's incredible for helping you get excellent exposures in manual mode. I also use highlight mode, which after you take a picture, will cause any parts that are overexposed to flash when you preview the image. It also has an auto-bracketing mode which takes 3 pictures in a burst at 3 different exposures to ensure you get one good one. And of course there's a variety of metering modes available...

Lots of useful tools in this camera, many of which you just can't get in an SLR.
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Old Mar 13, 2006, 11:27 PM   #18
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Cropsy,

Thank you x 10000000!

Just curious what the histogram looked like. Not necessary. I think the DMC-FZ30S is the right camera for my needs.

I am getting ready for bed. 11:25pm Eastern. I usually shut down my IIS box for the night. Tomorrow if you have time, check out my pictures and give me some advice.

2001: Sony 1.3 MP floppy based
2003: Canon S45 4.5MP
2004: Canon S45 4.5MP and S1 IS 3.2 MP with 10X Optical zoom.

I used Photoshop CS2 to do the thumbnail pages from uncompressed JPGs. Some were Canon RAW to uncompressed JPG using ZoomBrowser. 2004, The zoom shots were taken with S1 IS 10X optical zoom. I figure the DMC-FZ30 would help CS2 create the 800x600 thumbnail pages because the high resolution would be beyond the 800x600 in RAW mode. I have taken image processing courses with my B.EE. I always set my RAW to JPG software to do no compression. My IIS box has 160 GB RAID 1 with a lot of room. I might upgrade the drives in it to RAID 10 320GB. I have a tape backup on my main workstation.

I am getting a X-Drive 3310 with a 80-120 GBWestern Digital Scorpio 2.5in 5400RPM drive to store my pictures on for the trip.I figure 16MB each RAW = over 5000-7500 picture space. I usually take about 1000-2000 pictures per trip.

I am looking at two 2GB high speed SD sticks. I will be adding two batteries.

12-Day Baltic Capitals - Norwegian Dream
2006: Sep 8
Fri London (Dover), England - -4:00pm
Sat Transit of the Kiel Canal - -- -
Sun Warnemunde (Berlin), Germany 7:00am 9:00pm
Mon Cruise Baltic Sea- - - -
Tue Tallinn, Estonia 8:00am 5:00pm
Wed St. Petersburg, Russia8:00am overnight
Thu St. Petersburg, Russia - - 7:00pm
Fri Helsinki, Finland 8:00am 4:30pm
Sat Stockholm, Sweden 9:45am 3:30pm
Cruise Swedish Archipelagos -- -
Sun Copenhagen, Denmark 7:00pm overnight
Mon Copenhagen, Denmark- - 12:00pm
Tue Cruise North Sea - - - -
Wed London (Dover), England 5:00am*

plus three days in London and maybe a side trip from London to Paris on the train.












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Old Mar 13, 2006, 11:31 PM   #19
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Trip is Sept 8th. I have 6 months to play with the settings and posts a million questions. Still reading the dpreview on it. Just finished printing it.
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Old Mar 13, 2006, 11:58 PM   #20
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I need to get to bed soon as well, but I just wanted to put these thoughts down before I did so.

If you're just doing lower resolution web graphics and video stuff, why isn't the S1 IS good enough? My mom has this camera (I picked it out for her) and it takes excellent pictures, and 3.2 megapixel is far larger than 800 pixels wide. I'm not sure there'd be much noticeable difference between images from either camera at that size. The FZ30 does have more advanced features and slightly more zoom, but I'm not sure these would make much difference to you. In fact, since the FZ30 is significantly larger, it might be more inconvenient.

If you'll be taking a lot of zoomed in outdoor pictures at day time however, you might really enjoy the FZ30's Extended Zoom feature which allows you to take 3mp images at about 19x zoom.

I don't think I understand why you shoot in RAW. The major benefits of RAW are that you can completely alter the white balance after taking the shot, and you can recover details that a JPG throws out, mostly in the dark areas, but you use software to automatically convert RAW images to JPGs. You realize there's no such thing as lossless, uncompressed JPG, right? Even at the maximum quality level, it throws out a good deal of detail, just nothing that a person can really notice, even under pretty close scrutiny. Basically, if you're using software to automatically convert all your RAW images to JPG, you might as well shoot in high quality JPG mode.

Anyway, if you do plan on getting the FZ30, here's some of the accessories I got for my next vacation. I picked up a Lowepro camera bag, the REZO TLZ 10. It was only $25, has metal hooks for the shoulder strap and a velcro belt loop. The camera fits very snugly. I bought it because I thought it would be perfect to carry the camera on bike rides, and today I found out that it was. I barely noticed I was carrying it on my 2 hour trek.

I got two memory cards. One Sandisk Ultra II SD 1 gig, and also a 1 gig Ultra II USB. The USB memory card folds in half and can be inserted directly into a USB port. If you're wondering why I got one USB SD card, here's why:

Finally, I picked up an Archos Gmini 402. This is basically like a video Ipod with 20 gigs of storage. You can play MP3s on it, watch videos, and here's the cool part, it has an attachment that gives it a USB port. This allows me to plug in the Ultra II SD USB directly to the device and transfer all my images to it while I continue shooting on my other memory card. When it's done transferring, I can empty the card and use it again. Even better, the Gmini can accept all file types, including RAW, and while it can't read most RAW images, it can certainly read the JPG files and is able to zoom up close so you can see just how sharp your images are.

The device cost me a bit over $250, and it comes with a high quality leather case with a belt loop. The attachment with the USB SD card in it can be tucked away in the case while the data transfers, so it's extremely convenient. Of course, you can later on connect the Gmini to your computer and transfer all your images. I bought it for the ability to store images, but also to keep my friend occupied during the trip. It has another attachment that allows you to plug it into a tv's video and audio ports and watch the videos on the tv at full resolution so I can store movies on it to watch at the hotel (if their tv has the inputs). I like compressing my own XVID movies, so this works out well.
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