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Old Jun 10, 2006, 12:07 PM   #1
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I have been experimenting with the settings on my new FZ30 with varying success. What is the recommended optimum set-up for general walkaround work in daylight and at night?
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Old Jun 10, 2006, 1:57 PM   #2
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Hi Bruce

I'm not the best person to post a reply as I'm still using my old FZ10 and Pana did fix quiet a few issues with the release of the FZ30. This is the setup that I'm using on my FZ10 and was recommended on the FZ10/20 userguide to get the best pics out of the camera:

1. Use manual mode - I always shoot in manual mode. Much perfer the control you have and there are times that you can get a shot that in any of the other modes you wouldn't.

2. Exposure: The FZ10/20 tend to over expose by anything from -1/3 to -1 but I think with the FZ30 its pretty spot on.

3. White Balance: Pana also from what I've seen fixed the WB colour shift that the earlier FZ's had - i'm quiet often having to fix the wb on my pics in photoshop but with the FZ30 setting it to Auto should be just fine.

4. Colour settings - set everything to low (contrast, saturation, sharpness) esp if you shooting in jpeg. You can tweak the images after in PShop. If your shooting Raw than its a non issue. If you are shooting RAW use ACR or another good RAW convertor but avoid the one shipped with the FZ30 as it produces pcitures worse than the incam jpegs.

5. I know the FZ30 has a 8MP HQ jpeg setting so if your not shooting in RAW I'd keep the camera on that.

6. ISO - Like all the FZ's set the ISO manually, to as low as possible by default stick to 80 and then change it as necessary. I think upto ISO 200 it's usualable but over that well what can i say.

7. I think the FZ30 also has a NR setting as well, so I'd also set that to low but if your shooting RAW I wouldn't worry about it.

8. Continuous AF - That should be set to off

9. IS - I think most FZ's are set to Mode 2. I've never used Mode 1 on my FZ10 since i've had it. If your using a tripod then switch the IS off.

10. Metering - I always use spot metering on my FZ but I know the FZ30 has several metering options so if any of the other '30 users can suggest the best setting for metering and focusing modes that'd be cool.

12. Night settings - for night settings I'd keep the same settings. ISO80, shoot in full manual mode, use a tripod and perhaps manually set the WB.

There's a whole bunch of other settings that I'm not aware of so all you FZ30 dudes and dudette's (Boyzo, Jim and co) should be able to add or correct anything that I may have got wrong.

As a final thought I think what we really need is to update the FZ10 Userguide to take into account the FZ30 and all of the additional in cam settings that it has. As the cam's been out for nearly 10 months I think we have more than enough experienced and knowledgeable FZ30 users on the forum to be able to recommend an optimal setup. I know Dr Shene's updated his FZ page for the FZ30 - for convertor lenses etc so we should help every exisiting and new FZ30 owners by doing the same.

Cheers

HarjTT

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Old Jun 11, 2006, 1:22 AM   #3
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I'd say it depends on the situation. Most of my shooting tends to be in nature hike type situations where I want to be able to take a quick shot at a moment's notice. Here's my typical setup:

Mode 2 stabilization pretty much stays on all the time. I set the WB to daylight or cloudy if I'm outside in the daytime, but auto works pretty well too. Focusing and metering are set to spot, and I use high speed focusing which, while it does cause the screen to freeze for a moment, does get you your shot sooner.

I almost never shoot RAW with this camera, especially in daylight. The camera has a rather noisy sensor which means that a RAW file doesn't really contain any more photographic detail than a high quality JPG, so I only use it when I think there may be white balancing problems, typically in very dark situations. It's also slow and takes up a lot of space, and I prefer to take lots of pictures very quickly. So, I tend to keep it set to high quality 8mp JPGs and I typically keep high speed burst on all the time. If I'm pretty sure I won't be encountering any animals I'll want to shoot quickly, I may slow it down.

P mode is pretty good in most situations, but if I'm anticipating the possibility of an action shot, I tend to use shutter priority mode and set the shutter speed about as high as it will go while keep the aperture around 5 or 6. I like using M mode for landscapes and such, but sometimes I only have a few seconds to get a shot and the dials on the camera aren't very responsive.

I also tend to set the camera to underexpose by 2/3 stops. While you want to get as close to a perfect exposure as you can, it's definitely better to underexpose than overexpose, so I lean a little towards the darker side. If your ISO is set to 80 like mine tends to be, you can cleanly brighten up a somewhat dark image.

I pretty much never raise the ISO setting. You can get practically identical results by just shooting ISO 80 and brightening the photo in Photoshop. Increasing the ISO also heavily increases the odds of overexposing while producing lower quality images.
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Old Jun 12, 2006, 12:12 PM   #4
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Many thanks Harj and Corpsy for the detailed recommendations... much appreciated. I take pictures of whatever I find interesting in all sorts of different situations so these 'set and forget' settings will be very useful.
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Old Jun 12, 2006, 12:35 PM   #5
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Corpsy wrote:
Quote:
I also tend to set the camera to underexpose by 2/3 stops. While you want to get as close to a perfect exposure as you can, it's definitely better to underexpose than overexpose, so I lean a little towards the darker side. If your ISO is set to 80 like mine tends to be, you can cleanly brighten up a somewhat dark image.

I pretty much never raise the ISO setting. You can get practically identical results by just shooting ISO 80 and brightening the photo in Photoshop. Increasing the ISO also heavily increases the odds of overexposing while producing lower quality images.
Corpsy-

I'd be interested in your (and other knowledgeable digi owners) take on the article that HarjTT posted about previously... http://www.luminous-landscape.com/tu...se-right.shtml

My reading of it is that it is counter to the under-exposing approach I/we've always went with. Maybe under-exposing and tweaking in PP is easier than going the other way; or this might argue for, when possible, to taking bracketed exposures... or for possibly using HDR software...

Any thoughts/opinions...?


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Old Jun 12, 2006, 5:48 PM   #6
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Hi tele

I had another good read of that article and while it makes sense I'm still reluctant to overexpose a shot just a wee bit to the right as we all know that the FZ's overexpose by default. It also states that its only really applicable to RAW files so if your shooting jpeg I'm wondering if you use the same theory whether it will work? I've yet to try and make it work and will give it a go sometimes this week but for now I'm still of the opinion that we know the quirks of the FZ and so will for now still underexpose the shot

Cheers

HarjTT

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Old Jun 12, 2006, 6:25 PM   #7
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I'm sort of with you on this Harjtt... for the typical jpg shots. For stationary subjects such as landscapes, flowers (w/no wind & tripod!) and the like, I can see possibly using Raw w/bracketing and/or bracketed jpg shots for possible HDR processing.

But for my normal BIF etc, no way... I'll go w/Spot-H AF and Spot Exposure -1/3EV every time and use the PSE4 shadows and highlights adjustments w/Levels
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Old Jun 12, 2006, 11:14 PM   #8
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I agree with both of you. I read that article (at least the first half) and can understand what it's saying, but sometimes you've gotta go with what you can see rather than with what you read. The camera might store a lot more fine detail if you can expose all the way to the right, but it doesn't seem to be a difference I or anyone I know can detect or prove. All I know is that my underexposed shots can still be used, but my overexposed ones cannot.

I definitely agree, also, that bracketing when possible is certainly better than trying for one perfect or one underexposed shot, though I almost never use RAW with the FZ30. RAW on the FZ30 does not provide all the same benefits it does on a DSLR, or any camera with a less noisy sensor. I also don't think overexposing in RAW is any better than overexposing in a JPG. I've experimented with both my FZ30 and my Digital Rebel at work, and the only difference I see is that it's easier to repair some overexposure with a RAW, but the same detail is usually there on the JPG. What I tend to see is that, IF there is any detail to be saved from an overexposed shot, it's usually in only one color channel and won't really look right.

Finally, and this is something I demonstrated a while back, there seems to be something wrong with the way Photoshop handles RAW files that are too exposed. I've found that with files from both cameras, in most shots that were overexposed, or just close to being overexposed, the areas of the photo that were almost white would turn a bright green whereas this did not appear on JPGs. I didn't realize what was causing it until I discovered that this same problem does not appear using UFRaw.
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Old Jun 13, 2006, 6:35 PM   #9
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Jim, Jerry, Corpsy and everyone else with an FZ30 I think it would be seriously cool if we could get an Optimum FZ30 settings guide done for the forum. It would help everyone and who knows someone may have a really sweet setup with the optimal settings to squeeze the best of the FZ30.

Cheers

HarjTT


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Old Jul 2, 2006, 12:09 AM   #10
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Dear HarjYY,

Thanks for setting up info. I am from India and senior person of 70. A hobbyist since I was 12.

My previous camera was Nikon Coolpix990 and I sued for 6 years and now totally dead. I also use Nikon N70.

Your info on general setup for FZ30 is nie. But I put 4:3 and 8MP and it gives most sharp pics.

Please put some of your best pics here.



Harbhajan Khanna

India
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