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Old Dec 27, 2004, 2:50 PM   #1
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Ok, I have done some more research and I am looking at some 4 megapixel cameras that appear to have less noise than the panasonic dmc-fz20 I was looking at getting. The cameras I am looking at are the minolta dimage z2 and z3, the fuji s5100, and the olympus c-770. Which of these models would you recommend and why? I want the zoom capability that any of these cameras have to offer and the movie modes plus they have lower noise than the higher megapixel cameras I have looked at. I am going on some postings I read by jimc.
BTW I will be taking outdoor photos in the mountains and around the yard as well as shots in a huge shop with lower levels of light. I take pictures of things on the production floor that I helped engineer so I need a good performer in low lighting conditions.
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Old Dec 27, 2004, 4:23 PM   #2
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i would still look at FZ20, 12x optical zoom 36-432mm equivalent, so leica lens, image stabilizer and aperture 2.8 at all focal lengths, i am not sure that there is more noise under similar conditions but there are pretty good noise softwares.

I have FZ10 and i am pretty happy with it and FZ20 seems to be improvement over FZ10.

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Old Dec 27, 2004, 4:42 PM   #3
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I'm not sure which of my posts you're referring to. However, you have to look at other factors when selecting a camera, too (and none of the ultra zoom models have low noise at higher ISO speeds).

For example, the DMC-FZ20 has a stabilized zoom lens. So, depending on what you're shooting, it may allow you to use lower ISO speeds compared to models without this feature if you aren't using a tripod (since you could hand hold the camera at slower shutter speeds).

It's lens is also much brighter than a model like the Konica-Minolta Z3 (the only other model you mentioned with a stabilized lens) at longer focal lengths -- again giving it the advantage in lower light.

Even if the 4MP models had slightly lower noise, the benefits of a brighter, stabilized lens would tilt the scale towards the Panasonic's favor in many conditions.


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Old Dec 27, 2004, 5:00 PM   #4
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Would you throw out the fuji s5100? I have been looking at that one and the only bad things I have found in reviews were regarding slight noise levels and poor macro performance. Is the macro performance really as bad as I have read or was it user related? Is there anything else wrong with the s5100?
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Old Dec 27, 2004, 5:50 PM   #5
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I don't consider the macro ability of the 5100 to be bad, based on samples I've looked at. The smallest area in can capture is not as small as some, but it depends on what you want to take photos of (a flower or a fly). ;-)

None of these models is really going to be great for indoor photos without a flash or tripod.

Inindoor lighting with an EV of around 6 (typical for a home interior with lights on), many users would need to use ISO 400 on a camera like the Fuji 5100 to get shutter speeds fast enough to prevent motion blur from camera shake (provided you didn't use any zoom, which amplifies camera movement).

Whereas, you may be able to take photos in the same conditions using a model with a stabilized zoom lens at lower ISO speeds (since you can gain 2 or 3 stops with stabilization).

Of course, I'm assuming that you have a subject that's not moving (stabilization only helps with blur from camera shake).

If you need the ability to shoot non-stationary subjects indoors without a flash, you'll want a DSLR model with a bright lens. One lower cost DSLR solution would be a Canon Digital Rebel with a 50mm f/1.8 lens (very bright non-zoom lens that sells for under $100.00).

If this is outside of your budget, and your subjects won't be stationary, then I'd make sure that the model you selected had a flash powerful enough to illuminate your subject at the range you need to shoot from (or the ability to use an external flash to achieve the same goal). See my posts in this threadfor more info on why it's so difficultto shoot indoors without a flash or tripod:

http://www.stevesforums.com/forums/v...amp;forum_id=2




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Old Dec 28, 2004, 12:11 AM   #6
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Panasonic has image stabilization while the only other camera in this camera class that has it is the Konica Minolta Z3 (as well as the 3 megapixel Canon S1 IS). I value IS highly but I'm not sure how important that is to you. Furthermore, there is the 4 megapixel Panasonic FZ15 (harder to find and even harder to find reviews). That should have lower noise than FZ20.

Based on what you are saying (outdoor pics of mountains, indoor factory pics, etc), I don't really know if an ultra-zoom is best for you. Are you really going to use the zoom? Usually landscape pics hardly need any zoom, and indoor pics usually don't either. In that case, you might want to consider the low-zoom prosumer cameras, which if I'm not mistaken, have lower noise than the ultra-zooms. Perhaps the top two low-zoom prosumers are the Canon G6 and Sony V3. Check them out to see if they have what you need. The Canon G6, in particular, has an aperature of F2.0 at wide-angle and that may help you with low-light (although I'm not sure how much)...

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Old Dec 28, 2004, 1:01 AM   #7
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HAPPY HOLIDAYS

BUT I CAN'T SEEM TO GET SHARP PICTURES FROM MY PAN-FZ3 NO MATTER WHAT ISO, PE, AP PR OR SP MODE I SELECT. MODE 1 OR 2 ON AUTO STAB DOEN' T HELP. WIDE ANGLE OR ZOOM IS ABOUT THE SAME AND ALL MY SIMILAR PICTURES WITH MY 3 YR OLD FUJI 280 2MP, 6X ZOOM ARE MUCH SHARPER. ANY IDEAS ON WHAT I AM DOING WRONG? I'LL TRY TO POST SOME OF MY SHOTS--INDOOR, OUTDOORS, FLASH OR NOT THE RESULTS ARE JUST AS POOR. I WENT TO CC AND GOT A NEW CAMERA AND THINGS ARE A LITTTLE BETTER, BUT NOT MUCH.

TONIGHT I TRIED ISO 400 ON A FAMILY PARTY AND GOT VERY NOISY AND ALSO SOMEBLURRED RESPONSES AND LOTS OF RED IN FACES AND REDEYE WHEN I TRIED FLASH. I AM POSTING SOME OF THE PICTURES BELOW

HELP--JOEBEAR:shock::sad::?

I'LL POST THE PICTURES WHEN I LEARN HOW TO ATTACH PROPERLY
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Old Dec 28, 2004, 2:15 AM   #8
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The shutter speeds of 1/5s (baby) and 1/13s (tree) is too slow at your particular focal length even for a camera with IS.

As a rule of the thumb, shutter speeds of less than 1/focal length (35mm equiv.) will require a tripod or IS to be prevent camera shake.

If this doesn't help, then you may have a serious shake problem. Try correct this with better photo techniques.

For off focus pics, maybe you don't give your camera enough time to lock focus. Try the half press shutter button method and see how.
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Old Dec 28, 2004, 10:19 AM   #9
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JOEBEAR wrote:
Quote:
HAPPY HOLIDAYS

BUT I CAN'T SEEM TO GET SHARP PICTURES FROM MY PAN-FZ3 NO MATTER WHAT ISO, PE, AP PR OR SP MODE I SELECT. MODE 1 OR 2 ON AUTO STAB DOEN' T HELP. WIDE ANGLE OR ZOOM IS ABOUT THE SAME AND ALL MY SIMILAR PICTURES WITH MY 3 YR OLD FUJI 280 2MP, 6X ZOOM ARE MUCH SHARPER. ANY IDEAS ON WHAT I AM DOING WRONG? I'LL TRY TO POST SOME OF MY SHOTS--INDOOR, OUTDOORS, FLASH OR NOT THE RESULTS ARE JUST AS POOR. I WENT TO CC AND GOT A NEW CAMERA AND THINGS ARE A LITTTLE BETTER, BUT NOT MUCH.

TONIGHT I TRIED ISO 400 ON A FAMILY PARTY AND GOT VERY NOISY AND ALSO SOMEBLURRED RESPONSES AND LOTS OF RED IN FACES AND REDEYE WHEN I TRIED FLASH. I AM POSTING SOME OF THE PICTURES BELOW
Look, your shutter speeds are too slow to hand hold a camera -- even with IS (especially, since you're using zoom, where camera shake is greatly magnified).

In addition, IS won't help for subject movement -- only for camera shake.

My advise in similar conditions:

1. Reset everything back to factory defaults, and use the flash, making sure to stay within the ratedflash range of 15.1 feet.

For one thing, the EXIF shows saturation set to high. This is probably some setting you changed like Picture Adjust that is going to make skin tones too saturated.If anything, I'd set this to the lowest setting, not a higher setting for more natural colors (it looks like there is a "Natural" setting for this).

If you're using ISO 400 with flash, don't (unless you have a specific need for further flash range). This increases ambient light exposure, which can lead to color cast since ambient lighting is contributing more to the exposure. If lighting is too high, this can also lead to ambient light exposure -- which could cause some blur. I noticed you also had sharpness set to hard (which can also lead to unwanted sharpening artifacts).

You'll find a RESET choice under your Setup menu.

2. If you're going to try and take photos without a flash, you'll still need a certain amount of light to accomplish this. As Thon mentioned, the rule of thumb is 1/focal length. In other words, if you're at a 35mm equivalent focal length of 40mm (near the wide angle setting on your model), you'll want a shutter speed of 1/40 second or faster. But, if you're at 100mm (more zoom), then you'd want a shutter speed of 1/100 second or faster.

IS can helpa lot (allowing you to use slower shutter speeds -- giving you 2 to 3 stops). But, it can't work miracles. At the Focal Length you were taking your sample photo at (70mm equivalent), the rule of thumb would be shutter speeds of 1/70 second. This one was at 1/5 second. Sorry, but IS can't compensate that much. You'd need better lighting. Also, this is too slow to prevent motion blur from subject movement.

One other thing to consider would be how you are holding and using the camera. The 1/focal length is a rule of thumb for hand held photos. Some people can hold a camera much steadier than others. 1/focal length may not be fast enough for other users. Practice holding the camera steady and squeezing the shutter button smoothly for better results in lower light.

Again, in indoor conditions with light as low as you had, your best bet is to use the flash, and make sure you stay within the rated flash range.


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Old Dec 28, 2004, 10:28 AM   #10
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There is another difficulty in your shot, not only is the shutter too slow for the camera holder, but it is also very hard if the person photographed moves, so it adds even more to the blur. Stick to the rule that was mentionned above.

So, your only choice is to use the flash, integrated flash have 2 not so great things about them. The first one being red eye, it can be corrected to usually give good results, the other one is overexposure, I notice that the least light there is, the worst the overexposure is. For example, if you are in a situation where there is some natural daylight but are inside, usually the flash will perform quite well, but under artificial lighting(when there isn't much), it tends to overexpose the subject. For those situations, I suggest that you try something. Make a few tests with it to see if it pleases u tho.

Try to put a Kleenex over the flash, it will reduce the exposure and the picture will usually look like if it was taken under normal lights, of course the picture will be a bit more dark, but for the situations where I used it, it just looked perfect. Don't fold the Kleenex(unless u realize its not enough).
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