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Old May 27, 2010, 11:18 AM   #1
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Default Problems with G1 + built-in FLASH

I've posted this problem on another thread but decided to start a fresh thread. So, here I go again...

I'm having a lot of problems getting my G1 to expose properly when the built-in flash is activated. I have the flash set to "forced", so it won't pop-up automatically. I recently spent a day in the wine country and one of the wineries had a vintage car on display in a room with very dim light. There was no way I could get the G1 to meter properly and give me a well exposed image with the flash ON. I tried using default settings, forcing the ISO higher, increasing the flash output...nothing seemed to work. The images were all way way under exposed. I was using the Lumix 14-45mm kit lens and had the camera set to P mode. Any idea of what could be causing such a behavior or what I could do in terms of camera settings to change it? I have noticed some inconsistencies before in terms of exposure when flash was being used but never to this extreme.
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Old May 27, 2010, 1:32 PM   #2
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Got any sample images including EXIF info?

Flash exposure with most modern digital cameras works by using a metering preflash, then measuring reflected light to determine the length of the main flash burst needed for proper exposure.

Many modern cameras will also use focus distance information to help out (varying the flash output so that it's more appropriate for the subject distance), so focus point tends to be more critical. Some cameras will also take metering mode into consideration when evaluating the reflected light from a metering preflash (using spot metering can be a very bad idea, depending on the camera).

Common things that can go wrong include focusing on something at a different distance than your intended subject; as well as a subject that reflects too much or too little light. So, with more reflective subjects (like shiny automobiles), that could have caused a problem, with the camera measuring more reflected light from the metering preflash than it would have normally measured from other subject types, causing underexposure.

I'd post some examples with EXIF info showing the problem to help get to the bottom of what's causing it. But, chances are, it has something to do with how much reflected light it's seeing from the metering preflash. Modern digital camera flash systems are often a bit "finnicky" (it's not unusual to see much better flash exposure accuracy using relatively "dumb" non-dedicated Auto flashes with built in sensors that measure reflected light during the exposure, versus relying on metering preflashes, focus distance info, metering mode, etc.).
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Old May 27, 2010, 1:40 PM   #3
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P.S.

We created a new Panasonic Micro Four Thirds Forum yesterday for discussion about cameras like your G1. So, I've move this thread there for you.
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Old May 27, 2010, 1:49 PM   #4
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Default ...asking too much maybe?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tullio View Post
I've posted this problem on another thread but decided to start a fresh thread. So, here I go again...

I'm having a lot of problems getting my G1 to expose properly when the built-in flash is activated. I have the flash set to "forced", so it won't pop-up automatically. I recently spent a day in the wine country and one of the wineries had a vintage car on display in a room with very dim light. There was no way I could get the G1 to meter properly and give me a well exposed image with the flash ON. I tried using default settings, forcing the ISO higher, increasing the flash output...nothing seemed to work. The images were all way way under exposed. I was using the Lumix 14-45mm kit lens and had the camera set to P mode. Any idea of what could be causing such a behavior or what I could do in terms of camera settings to change it? I have noticed some inconsistencies before in terms of exposure when flash was being used but never to this extreme.
As JimC mentioned, some samples might be useful, but I suspect the problem here might be that the flash simply wasn't powerful enough to provide adequate illumination..... a room big enough to house a car is a big room!

What metering mode and focus mode were you using? I guess the camera could work out very different exposures using (1) spot metering and single point focus at 1.5m - e.g. car bonnet - compared to (2) multiple-zone and multi-point at 8-10m - e.g. back of the room.... just a thought.

Did you try shooting in 'A' mode (rather than 'P') and slow-sync flash..?
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Old May 27, 2010, 3:43 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JimC View Post
P.S.

We created a new Panasonic Micro Four Thirds Forum yesterday for discussion about cameras like your G1. So, I've move this thread there for you.
Thanks, Jim.

Although I think it's nice to have a ded m4/3 forum, I'm not sure having two forums was the best setup. After all, the m4/3 system is the same for both Panasonic and Olympus. Since there's so much interchangeability between the two brands, I think one ded Micro 4/3 forum would suffice. That way we (m4/3 users) only have to keep track of one forum rather than two and at the same time, find out what's going on on both Panasonic and Olympus 4/3 worlds all in one place. Just a thought!
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Old May 27, 2010, 3:55 PM   #6
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I don't disagree with you, which is one reason we took so long to create the new forums while debating the best way to approach it for the long term.

I have noticed that some of the other sites are combining the camera models into a single four thirds system forum for multiple camera brands, which does have it's benefits.

The main problem is that we've been discussing how we may want to cut down on confusion about camera types going forward by changing the sections to reflect manufacturer versus camera type.

The main idea would be to have a forum section setup for each major manufacturer, with sections under it for each product type, versus totally separate product type sections in the forums (dSLR, Point and Shoot, EVIL, etc.) with manufacturers under them.

IOW, the opposite of the way we're approaching it now. That should help to reduce confusion over the correct section to post in (given how confusing it is to some members trying to figure out what camera type their particular model falls into).

IOW, do it by Manufacturer and Model Branding similar to this:

Canon
General Discussion
PowerShot Models
EOS Models
Lenses for Canon EOS Models
Camcorders (Vixia, FS Series, ZR Series, etc.)
Canon Service Bulletins and Firmware Updates

Then, add new categories as needed if new model lines are introduced within a given manufacturer.

The main problem is that the lines are becoming blurred between different camera types now (what is a dSLR, what is a video camera, etc.). So, using a specific manufacturer's branding for the different market niches could help with that type of confusion.

So, by creating separate forums for individual four thirds system cameras now, that would make it easier to move to a setup sectioned by manufacturer later on, since that would only involve reshuffling the locations of existing forums. But if they were merged to begin with, that would make it more difficult to separate threads into separate manufacturers later.

The way we're doing it now would also give us more flexibility if it makes sense to merge all four thirds systems camera into a single forum instead later (as that would be very simple versus trying to split out posts into two separate forums by manufacturer later if we go forward with the idea of sections by manufacturer instead).

There's no one perfect solution. ;-)
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Old May 27, 2010, 4:06 PM   #7
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Got any sample images including EXIF info?
...
Here you go, Jim...

These are right out of the camera. As you can see, the third image is a lot brighter. For some reason the camera chose ISO 250 instead of 100. The 4th image ISO was 160 (again, chosen by the camera) but you can see that the flash output was very weak, not even enough to brighten the car's right headlight about two feet away from where I was.
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Old May 27, 2010, 4:29 PM   #8
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I hear you, Jim. The only reason I thought it would be good to combine the two is because I see the m4/3 as an unique system (most likely it won't be shared by any other manufacturer). If say the Sony system is also used by Canon, then the system could have it's own forum combining the two brands sharing it.

In any case, I think it's good to have the ded m4/3 forums. Thanks for setting them up.
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Old May 27, 2010, 4:35 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tullio View Post
Here you go, Jim...

These are right out of the camera. As you can see, the third image is a lot brighter. For some reason the camera chose ISO 250 instead of 100. The 4th image ISO was 160 (again, chosen by the camera) but you can see that the flash output was very weak, not even enough to brighten the car's right headlight about two feet away from where I was.
I might be barking up the wrong tree, but I think having seen the photos that reflections are the main culprit to the exposure problems.... I would guess that the third image is brighter (and closer to 'correct' exposure) because the bodywork hasn't directly reflected the flash back to the camera, as appears to have happened in the other shots. Just a thought
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Old May 27, 2010, 4:39 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tullio View Post
I hear you, Jim. The only reason I thought it would be good to combine the two is because I see the m4/3 as an unique system (most likely it won't be shared by any other manufacturer). If say the Sony system is also used by Canon, then the system could have it's own forum combining the two brands sharing it.
If it makes sense to merge them later on, then that would be very easy to do the way they're setup now.

Frankly, I think it's a bit early in the Micro 4/3's development cycle to make that call at this point (as the main thing in common right now is the lens mount, and as new as these systems are, there could be very significant differences between manufacturers as time passes, especially in regard to individual camera settings/menus, accessories, etc.). ;-)

But, if we had them merged to begin with into a single forum (as some of the other camera sites are approaching it), it would be very difficult to separate them later if that made sense instead (requiring very complex scripts trying to determine if a given thread/post was more related to one camera manufacturer versus another); instead of a simple forum merge if they're already separated the way we've set them up for now.

So, I'm trying to go with an approach that gives us the greatest amount of flexibility, as we keep an eye on how EVIL systems from each individual manufacturer progress over time.

As it stands for right now, any approach is a compromise in one area or another, and if we decide to go forward with a setup separated by camera manufacturer later to reduce confusion that can come in due to differences between camera types, having them separate to begin with would simplify that process. ;-)
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