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Old Aug 23, 2009, 7:21 PM   #1
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Default Are You Interested in a Really Good Fully Auto Camera?

Lately we have seen more and more requests concerning automatic cameras in general, but even DSLR cameras that operate well in a FULLY AUTOMATIC mode,

Yes, we have to own up to the fact that things have changed a whole lot in the camera industry. Old timers like myself who have been behind a lens for almost 60 years were drilled with the solemn and firm advice that firstly, we had to learn the craft of photography well, and to thoroughly understand every variable by way of lenses, exposure, exposure compensation, the use of a flash, wow! You name it and we had to know it.

Today, thankfully, we have many younger folks flocking to photography who are anxious and motivated to record the many facets of their life, their memories, and the changing points in their family's life, as well as the memories of their families.

But they don't want to wait. They're ready to record their photos right now, as instantly as possible, if they can. In short, we have a different kind of photographer, or family photographer emerging rapidly.

These are the AUTOMATIC PHOTOGRAPHERS and VIDEOGRAPHERS of the 21st century. Camera manufacturers have been working feverishly since the days of the Kodak Instamatic to make taking photos automated as completely as possible. Do you ever wonder how well theose camera manufacturers have done?

Well, it has been pretty much progressive over the years. But I think that we are getting there. Let me share an experience I had today to illustrate how well automation has become.

I needed a photo sample from a Nikon DSLR camera equipped with a rather expensive wide angle lens, the Nikon 12-24mm lens for a reply to a post. The sun was bright today along the Oregon Coast, so I carefully mounted the lens, and set -0.7 units of Exposure Compensation into the DSLR to get a good photo of the landscape I was shooting.

Here is how that photo looked.

Sarah Joyce
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Old Aug 23, 2009, 7:35 PM   #2
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Default Photo sample from the Panasonic ZS1 Camera

As I left the back deck and came inside the house again, an idea zinged through my brain. Take the same photo with the Panasonic ZS1 camera that you are testing.

Well ,as you might expect, the $(US)229.00 Panasonic ZS1 like its twin brother the ZS3 is a basically a fully automatic camera. When operating in the Intelligent Automatic Mode, it does not even have Exposure Compensation available. The sun was really blazing outside. My training told me that Exposure Compensation was needed. If I used Intelligent Automatic, it would be a real test.

I stepped back out on our back deck and re-shot the same photo, that I had just taken a few minutes ago, with the Nikon DSLR camera using the ZS1's 25mm wide angle lens.

How well did that $(US) 229.00 camera do on that photo? Well, you take a look, please. I have attached that photo to this post. i think the $(US) 229.00 camera did pretty well.

Sarah Joyce
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Old Aug 23, 2009, 7:41 PM   #3
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Default Photo Sample from the Panasonic ZS1 Camera

Just as I did you are probably asking if this was a one time/ one shot photo situation. So I took another photo with the ZS1 and got this result.

Once again it looked pretty good. It was surely enough to please most family snap shooters. Here is how that photo looked.

Sarah Joyce
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Old Aug 23, 2009, 7:48 PM   #4
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Well can this camera, the Panasonic ZS1 and its brother the ZS3 handle all photo situations. No, unfortunately they can't!

These two surprising cameras are great outdoors. But, when you move inside, the wimpy flash has minimal power and flash range. Therefore, the ZS1/ZS3 struggles indoors.

It will also be at a huge disadvantage when you want to take photos of your daughter's very first ballerina performance, or that school play from the back of the audience. But the point I am try to make is this: hats off to Panasonic, and other camera manufacturers like Canon, Fuji, and Sony for coming a long way toward full automation.

We are not there completely, but it sure is fun to watch the progress. It is also great to see more and more people happy with full automation in their camera. Panasonic, like a lot of other camera manufacturers, are hard at work on producing even better full automation. Panasonic is ready to introduce the ZR1/ZX1 camera that handle night and indoor photos even better. Progress seems to be the constant, in this camera equation.

Have a great day!

Sarah Joyce

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Old Aug 23, 2009, 9:02 PM   #5
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Default Another Panasonic ZS1 Photo Sample

Because the ZS1/ZS3 cameras don't have much flash power or flash range. They only work well when you are less than 5 to 7 feet from your subject. If you pay attention that rule, the automation works fairly well, as you can see from the attached photo.

Yes, that is pretty limiting. And those kind of photos are exactly what the camera manufacturers are working on as I write this post. But, we are indeed farther ahead than some might suspect.

Sarah Joyce
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Old Aug 24, 2009, 5:52 AM   #6
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i agree some PNS in auto mode took better pictures than my old D40 in auto mode.
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Old Aug 24, 2009, 9:26 AM   #7
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Thanks for your post, Teddy-

We are seeing more and more folks that are only interested in fully automatic cameras. So, as a Forum that is here to help, we have to address that requirement as well.

When folks seriously stay within the functional limitations of their fully automatic cameras, they can get very good results.

Sarah Joyce
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Old Aug 24, 2009, 3:29 PM   #8
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Default Sony H-20 Photo Sample

Here is a little follow-up on this thread. The Sony H-20 is rated highly for its photo capability, its HD video clips, and its excellent flash range. It is also rated highly as a very user friendly camera the works very well in the full auto mode.

I have attached a photo of myself taken with the Sony H-20 camera. It is so easy to use that I just handed the camera to my husband and asked him to snap a photo of me, please.

Have a great day.

Sarah Joyce
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Old Aug 24, 2009, 4:22 PM   #9
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Sarah, I'm surprised you actually had to cut exposure by -0.7 on the first shot. Since there is no bright highlights to be preserved, I'd think that a 0 Ev or even a +0.3 Ev would do a good job. As you know, blue sky tends to under expose (although in this case, the green foliage would tend to over expose). In any case, it seems that the Nikon is over exposing at its normal settings based on the fact that the image you got looks good in terms of exposure at -0.7. The second shot from the ZS1, is a bit under exposed (I can see a dark foliage with much less details than the first shot). But, the sky looks brighter and the green foliage looks more natural (the Nikon shot looks a bit yellowish). Should you be able to change the exposure of the ZS1, you would certainly end up with an overall better image.

As for the self-portrait shots, the H20 is without a doubt producing a much much better image. The exposure is spot on, colors are accurate and the level of detail is very high. I wonder how the H20 would perform with a wide angle converter attached to it. It is certainly a very capable camera.
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Old Aug 24, 2009, 5:06 PM   #10
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Hi Tullio-

Yes, I have been impressed with the H-20 camera. The image quality is great and the auto features work very well indeed. The H-20 is even equipped with a very efficient Intelligent Auto Mode which automatically senses the Scene Modes.

The VCL-DH0758 Wide Angle conversion lens gives a 27mm angle of view.

Sarah Joyce

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