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Sossity 07-26-2010 04:03 AM

Comparable pocket sized camera to Sony Cybershot DSC-H5
I have had this camera;

& it has been very good so far, but one big drawback for me is it is heavy to carry around in my purse for any length of time.

In addition to it's good image quality, it had a good movie mode, VGA .mpg format, & it seems newer cameras now no longer use this format. I liked it because I could just burn the movie files after I downloaded them straight to a blank DVD disc to play on a DVD player without having to go through an elaborate video editing process. This worked well, because my family shoots alot of video & they are eager to see the footage right away, with an involved video editor, it would literally take me hours to make DVD's & on my computer system, it was not very reliable, there would be video & audio sync problems.

I have an older PC with a single pentium 4 processor, & 1 GB of RAM. It is a 7 year old dell with windows XP home edition service pack 2

so what ever I use, I need it to be light on resources.

admin 07-27-2010 12:14 AM

For photo quality, I would suggest any of the current model Sony Cybershot cameras:

As far as size goes, there are several options available. Pick the size that best fits your need.

I would specifically look at the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W290:
It's one of the best cameras you can get before jumping into a larger size body.

However, I don't know much about the video portion of the camera. Given that it's 720p, it's probably an MPEG-4 format that you're wanting to get away from.

You may have to look at slightly older cameras to get what you want.
Cameras from previous eras were still using MPEG and MJPEG, to shoot standard definition (SD) quality video.

You may like this pink camera from Sony:
It's the same one I have (mine is the metallic black version), and shoots MPEG-1 640x480 30fps, and quality is decent. It has an image stabilizer mode that works in video mode. And if I'm not misremembering, it can zoom while shooting video, too.

It's a good camera, for what it is. It was better than what Canon had at the time. You have to understand I'm really picky, as my normal camera is a professional Nikon DSLR (or Canon DSLR), and DV cameras. However, I found the Sony W120 to be "good enough" when all I could take is something that fits in my pocket.

Sossity 07-27-2010 02:23 AM

since you seem to be very knowledgeable and a photographer your self,

what do you think of this camera? this is the one I am experimenting with now, I like that it has a 12 optical zoom in such a small body, I like a camera with a bit of zoom, most only go to about 3x or 4x which is not much for my use. Do you think it is as good as the sony W120?

should I stick with this Panasonic or should I look for another camera?

can you recommend other super zoom cameras in small bodies? like a 8x or more optical zoom?

admin 07-28-2010 06:31 PM

In terms of pure still photographic quality, I'd say the Panasonic is probably slightly better than the Sony in several areas, including high ISO, the ability to do HDR, and resolution.

However, that doesn't necessarily translate into anything that matters.
  • High ISO is going to give you grainy photos that are mostly unusable without further processing anyway. A high-end processing app like Adobe Camera Raw would be needed to remove all the color noise, and better expose the JPEG -- even more than Photoshop can do natively. Most people won't need high ISOs. I do, so I look for it.
  • HDR is a gimmick that makes photos look artificial, so I always suggest it not be used anyway, unless you're after a specific artistic style and really know your way around photo editing software.
  • Resolution is so over-exaggerated that it's disgusting. The difference between 8MP on the Sony and 12MP on the Panasonic is negligible. It would take about a 30MP sensor to double what's available on the 8MP. 12MP is only a hair larger than 8MP. You'll notice glass imperfections more than anything else, when you start going about 10MP. This is true even on high end $1,000 lenses on $2,000+ bodies.
The Panasonic looks to somewhat overexpose the image in daylight shots, which I don't like. You'll not only tend to lose some lighter details, but you're forced to correct the photo in software. Nothing is ever ready to use directly from the camera. At least, not if quality is important. Daylight images from my D200, and even my Sony W120, often need zero correction.

The Panasonic flash is also overpowering, like so many other point-and-shoot cameras. I'm tired of people having ghost-white faces in photos -- manufacturers need to #$%@ing fix that already. That's the main reason I did not like the small Canon cameras. The Sony does not over-power the flash, so I don't have ghosts for friends and family.

Color clarity seems to be better on the Panasonic.

My judgments are made by viewing Panasonic sample photos, plus the test photos at

That review site is like too many others. It's all sugar and lollipops when it comes to reviews. Products range from good to wonderful, nothing is every slapped around like I think it needs to be. While many people may find certain features "good enough" or "fine", such reviews are wholly worthless for folks like you and me that are seeking a certain degree of quality. They're more interested in fluffy reviews so people will click their affiliate links, rather than reserving praise for selected quality models.

Panasonic shutter lag may actually be worse than the Sony, but neither are very good anyway. When I press my shutter on my DSLR, I get at least 1 image INSTANTLY. On these little P&S cameras, I have to wait a portion of a second AND make sure I don't accidentally move in that time -- or that nothing in the photo moves. In other words, both of these cameras suck for photographing bugs, animal and active kids -- all of which move too fast.

The thing that bothers me about the Sony is the high ISO settings. The quality is fine (excellent, actually, since the sensor is comparable to current-gen Nikon SLR quality), but the so-called "manual" modes are still limiting. For example, I can't set aperture and ISO. I can't set ISO and use the flash. The only thing you can set, when choosing ISO 3200, is the ISO. To me, that's bunk. But at the time, that was the best you could get in that sized camera.

The Panasonic may have better manual controls:

Of course, the Sony write-up was just as good. To me, it feels like a lie by omission by Sony, because it never mentions the limitations. So I have to wonder if the Panasonic is truly manual, like a DSLR, or if it's just somewhat manual, where some things can be picked in conjunction, and others cannot.

If the Panasonic really does give good manual controls, then my vote would be for that one. At least then you could fight some of the more common problems with P&S cameras, such as bad auto ISO settings or having a shutter too slow to truly stop the action.

I wouldn't want you to trade down to a lesser camera. Then again, if you really want that older Sony MPG-1 recording, that may be your only real choice.

Sossity 07-29-2010 05:18 AM

I read reviews about this Panasonic model, and tried the settings this person advised, in the update section I highlighted in blue. what do you think to their advice for settings adjustments?

when I am using more manual controls, like shutter priority, or manual, is there a minimum number shutter speed I should use? for most conditions? what value would I want to go no lower than to avoid excessive blurriness?

what would be the best ISO to use? for most situations?

I realize no P&S camera will be able to do what a DSLR would do, but carrying a DSLR on me all the time is too heavy, I would use it for special situations, like events that only happen once in a lifetime, or only once in a great while.

I am also an artist, and currently doing a degree for graphic design. So I would also use a DSLR for shooting my art work as well.

the P&S would be for every day use, as I use my photos for art reference. But I would like them to be good in their own right.

what DSLRs would you suggest for me? I know some of those can now take movies too.

here is an amazon review of the Panasonic;


600 of 612 people found the following review helpful:
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Good Photos with Great Video, March 18, 2010
By Photo-Am "Vlad" (Brooklyn, NY USA) - See all my reviews
Amazon Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS7 12.1 MP Digital Camera with 12x Optical Image Stabilized Zoom and 3.0-Inch LCD (Blue) (Electronics)
I've got my ZS7 today - the camera is just great! A superior Leica lens with a high-resolution sensor, advanced image processing, and plenty of sophisticated features in a small but very solid and stylish body.


- Solid metal body, stylish design, nice dark-blue color
- Very convenient one-hand grip, unusual for such a small pocket-size body
- Short startup time (1-1.5 sec), no shutter lag, fast auto focus
- A dedicated Movie-button for instant recording
- Big 3" colorful "juicy" display visible even in direct sunlight
- Intuitive menu plus very convenient Quick-menu with a dedicated button
- Excellent quality Leica lens: sharp and contrast in the entire zoom range
- Wide 25mm (35mm equiv.) is very convenient for indoors
- Huge 12x optical zoom (up to 300mm equiv.) in such a compact design
- Two-speed of zooming - fast/slow controlled by the lever
- Smooth and silent auto focus and optical image stabilization
- Best in the industry "iAuto" mode - you can really trust it!
- New "Intelligent Resolution" feature greatly improves the image quality
- Creative Aperture- and Shutter-priority and full Manual modes
- Three independent scenery modes including "High Dynamic" range scene
- New GPS feature for those who travel a lot
- Very good movie quality in 720p AVCHD mode looks like a full 1080 HD one
- High-quality stereo microphones
- Accepts SD/SDHC and new SDXC huge capacity memory cards


- A mechanical lever for switching between shooting and playback modes
- Some soft "sh-sh-sh" noise while zooming in and out (but no "clicks")
- I wish more sensitivity for low-light shooting

BUILD: The ZS7 camera looks and feels as good as it's predecessor DMC-ZS3. The design is almost as the same, just the power switch and the mode dial exchanged their places. One significant addition - a GPS mark on the top, right above the lens. The blue color is not that dark as on TZ5 and not so striking bright as on ZR1. A slight dent on the back with some prominence on the right side makes a very convenient grip to operate with one hand. A metal body looks pretty solid, however it is not that heavy.

PERFORMANCE: The new camera has a pretty good performance: the startup time is a little bit more than 1 sec and with almost zero shutter lag. Taking into account a new very quick "Sonic Speed" auto focus, which takes about 0.35-0.4 sec, you will be able to catch virtually every spur-of-the-moment photo. And a dedicated movie button allows starting video recording at any time without any preparation.

LENS: Leica lens is just excellent: unusually big for a so small body 12x zoom starting with the very convenient for indoors shooting 25mm up to telephoto 300mm (equiv.) plus a quick and precise auto focus (however might be somewhat slower in low-light), and good optical image stabilization in conjunction with the digital one which allows you to take sharp pictures in the entire zoom range and at the very low shutter speed around 1/8 and even 1/4. The auto-focusing and optical image stabilization work in absolute silence, and the only zooming produces some soft "sh-sh-sh" noise. Good news - without any start/stop clicks on the footage :).

DISPLAY: A large 3-inch high-resolution LCD monitor with 460K pixels has a very good contrast and saturation - the pictures look very "juicy". The brightness also is high enough to be seen even in a direct sun-light (just a bit darker) and in a wide angle of view. All that allows to share photos and videos immediately with other people.

MENU: For those who used the Panasonic P&S cameras before the ZS7 menu looks very familiar, just some new items added. Also there is a Quick-Menu button which is very helpful for a quick access to the most frequently used settings. The new camera has such a luxury as the Aperture, Shutter speed, and Manual modes and there is a new Exposure button (next to the video one) which allows to set manually the aperture using the Left-Right buttons and the shutter speed with Up-Down buttons.

AUTO SETTINGS: The best in the industry Panasonic's Intelligent Auto mode is getting better with each new model. Actually it's a whole bunch of sophisticated algorithms which help to take really nice pictures with minimum efforts. They are worth to be aware about so here is a brief list of most effective of them.

"Intelligent Scene Selector" - It quickly analyzes the light conditions as well as focusing results and selects either portrait, scenery, macro, night portrait or night scenery. It also displays a small icon of the chosen scene in the top left corner. The feature is extremely helpful when you need to shoot very fast on spur-of-the-moment.

"Intelligent ISO" - If camera detects that your subject is moving, it raises ISO and shutter speed to take shots without motion blur, otherwise it will try to keep the lowest possible ISO to reduce noise and to get nice clear pictures.

"Intelligent Exposure" - it's a kind of a small brother of the High Dynamic Range feature. If the camera sets the correct overall exposure but some areas happen to be too dark, this feature automatically increases the brightness of the dark areas to make the entire picture to look more balanced. It also pretty effective for the backlight conditions - instead of getting just a silhouette of your subject against the bright sky it makes the subject normally exposed but without washing out the nice blue sky.

"Face Detection" - is another great thing for taking good-quality pictures of people. It happened to me a number of times in the past that a presence in the frame of a more contrast element somewhere behind the person I'm taking picture of was making the camera to adjust focus at that unimportant distant object and therefore made the major person out-of-focus. The same way if there is a bright background behind the person then the camera will measure the luminance of that background while the person's image will be pretty much underexposed (dark). The Face Detection feature identifies the human faces and tells the camera to adjust focus and exposure for the faces first so the people on the picture will be looking well exposed, clear and sharp.

ADVANCED FEATURES: I guess the most interesting and advanced is a new "Intelligent Resolution" feature. Actually it combines a sophisticated noise reduction with a new picture enhancement algorithm. This feature automatically identifies the 3 type of the picture areas: outlines, detailed textures, and smooth gradation panes and provides an optimized handling for each of them separately. As a result the photo looks sharper at the edges and more clean in between. Many old P&S cameras had pretty fast picture quality degradation at the ISO around 300-400 and higher. The shots taken by ZS7 even at ISO 400 look pretty good on the small and even medium-size prints.

IMAGE QUALITY: Imagine on a sunny day you take an outdoors picture of a wall made of the new brown bricks with a $3000 DSLR and a small P&S camera from the distance about 6-8 feet. How could you recognize by which camera was taken a certain shot? The subject is plain so no Depth-of-Field is involved into comparison. However in this example the two characteristics will help to distinct the cameras: 1) The edges of bricks will be well outlined on DSLR shots and a kind of fuzzy on the P&S ones; 2) The new bricks do not have any structure on their sides, they are just plane and so exactly that way they will look on the DSLR shots, while on the P&S ones their sides will show more or less amount of noise. If you perform the same test for an evenly cut line of bushes (again DOF is not involved) you will see the same result plus the internal structure of each leaf will be more clear on the DSLR photos. So to make pictures taken with your P&S camera looking like the DSLR ones the P&S camera should make the outlines sharper, clean the noise on the plane or soft gradation areas, and slightly emphasize the internal structures, if any. That is exactly what the new "Intelligent Resolution" (IR) feature tries to do.

The "iAuto" mode in ZS7 is organized the way that you will have decent, good photos in virtually any situation right out-of-the-box. The several hundreds shots I took by now look good on my 24" display and so they will on the similar size prints. But if you look at them at 100% crop (magnification) then on many of them you might find some areas which do not look natural. If the IR-algorithm decides about a certain low-contrast part on your picture that it's a plane area then it will remove all the noise altogether with all the subtle details from that part of the picture. If you take a picture of a big tree with hundreds of branches (but without leaves) against a bright sky the IR-feature will treat it as a structured area and will slightly sharpen it to look clearer. But when you take a landscape picture with many distant trees in front and behind, those hundreds of crossing branches will create a low-contrast pattern which together with internal sensor's noise might look for IR-algorithm as just a noisy plain area and so it will obliterate all the details leaving only some average color in that part of the picture and so making it looking very unnatural. The thing is that unlike the previous models the noise reduction in ZS7 is pretty strong. I would not call it "aggressive" but it's really strong.

QUALITY IMPROVEMENTS: There is a way how to get the best out of this camera while shooting landscapes on sunny days. Here is a recipe for experienced amateurs:
- Switch the mode dial to the program "P" mode.
- Press the Menu button and select the lowest ISO 80 instead of "Auto" (this is the key-point! If there is no enough light to set that low ISO it will not work).
- Make sure you have the "Intelligent Resolution" feature on!
- Find on the 4th page of the shooting menu the item "PICT.ADJ." and press the right button to go inside. You will see the 4 pictures attributes:
- A default value for each of them is "0". Set "-1" for contrast (to reduce the clipping of highlights), "+1" for sharpness, leave the saturation unchanged, and most important set noise reduction to "-1" or even to its minimum "-2". Take this advice as a starting point and try to play with the SHARPNESS and NOISE REDUCTION settings and see what looks more appropriate for you, because some people prefer more sharpness while the others are more concern about noise visibility, so try different settings and choose which one looks better for you.

Those settings will allow you to take the most sharp and detailed pictures of landscapes, architecture, etc. if you like that. However you should be alert and check periodically the quality of pictures and if something is going wrong then switch immediately to "iAuto" mode. The ZS7's intelligent auto-mode is very sophisticated and might take into account the parameters you're not even aware about. For example, if you apply the full zoom then the aperture drops to a small F/4.9 value giving much less light for the sensor and additionally at that huge focal length 300mm (equiv.) the impact of your shaking hands might be as so much that the optical image stabilization can not completely compensate it and so the camera will have to increase the shutter speed to have the picture un-blurred. In that tough scenario the only high ISO around 300-400 might satisfy all those conditions and the camera will normally set it in auto-mode. But if you keep shooting recklessly at ISO 80 without getting the feedback such kind of pictures might be spoiled in some way. So, use this recipe only if you know what you're doing.

Update: Having using ZS7 for a while I've identified the 3 major types of pictures depending what is most important for you on those shots: 1) The main part are the areas with soft gradations like human faces, petals of flowers on macro shots, etc; 2) Mixed content of plain areas and patterns with no central subject; 3) Landscapes with plenty of trees, branches and leaves or small flowers. The above proposed recipe is most effective for the last category - it will give you the sharpest pictures with no low-contrast areas smeared by the strong noise reduction and on the other hand the higher level of noise will be effectively hidden by the complex image structure. For the 2nd category it would be wiser to decrease noise reduction just to -1 (not -2) to make the noise less visible on some plain areas, and for the 1st category it seems better to keep the default neutral setting since to have less noise on the human's face is much more important than lack of minor details around. Anyway you'll still have the advantage of less noise at minimum ISO.

I did some comparative testing of ZS7 with my Nikon D90 to find out how much that new IR technology and the above mentioned recommendations could help to improve the overall picture quality. I've uploaded some pictures and put a link into my comments dated 04/24/2010 with the title "Compare to Nikon D90". Don't assume, just take a look - you might be a bit surprised :-)

LOW LIGHT: Recently I performed a brief comparative test of my P&S cameras: Panasonic ZS7 and Sony TX7. Shortly - their low-light performance (in normal mode) is very similar. The medium-size 8"x10" prints without much cropping look good up to ISO 400. At ISO 800 there is a noticeable drop of the image quality of both cameras and at 1600 the shots look decent only for 4"x6" prints. Generally the Sony TX7's shots look smoother because of more aggressive noise reduction while the Panasonic ZS7's ones display slightly more details along with a little bit more noise. So it's the matter of taste to decide which shots look better. I would admit that at ISO 1600 while the Panasonic's shots became much more blurred because of the increased noise reduction strength, the Sony's shots became poured with much coarse noise which got even stronger at ISO 3200 making the pictures completely unusable. So neither of these cameras could be considered as great low-light performers.

In case when the shots become too dark because of big lack of light you can select the "HIGH SENS." (sensitivity) scene. The camera will automatically choose a high ISO in the range 1600 - 6400 and decrease resolution to 3MP (it was stated 3200-6400 but in some tests my camera set ISO 1600). It will not provide better quality but at least will allow to increase the picture's brightness.

NOTE! This camera is great outdoors, but if many of your pictures are indoors or in low-light environment then you'd better look for some other cameras like Panasonic LX3 or GF1, Canon S90 or G11, Fujifilm F80EXR, etc. which were designed especially for those conditions. The original model name of this camera is "TZ" which stands for "Travel Zoom" i.e. it was designed for travel outdoors, not for indoors.

DYNAMIC RANGE: means the difference between the most light and dark areas on the picture. If you're taking the shots of your friends on a sunny day with a bright blue sky above and some bushes with green leaves aside and those bushes happen to be in the shadow of a nearby building then the difference between brightness of the sky and the bushes will be thousands of times. On the shots taken by a camera with narrow dynamic range only one element - your friends might look good, but the sky will be completely washed out to white and the bushes will be almost black. For the cameras with a decent DR like ZS7 at least two elements of that picture will look good i.e. either your friends with a nice blue sky while the bushes will be very dark, or the friends and bushes good but the sky pretty much wiped out. The new Panasonic ZS7 has the two solutions to help in such situations: the "Intelligent Exposure" feature and the "High Dynamic (range)" scene.

Although both solutions aim at the same goal they work in a different way and should be used in different situations. The "Intelligent Exposure" feature once it is activated via the main or quick menu puts its white icon to the lower left corner and starts constantly analyzing the picture. If the difference in brightness of some significant areas of the picture exceeds a certain threshold then the icon becomes yellow and that feature decreases the overall contrast of the picture. Since that threshold is very high that feature would be mostly useful on the bright sunny days. Its effectiveness is not that big but it still can be helpful and anyway it's better than nothing so you can have it turned on all the time. The "High Dynamic" scene should be used only in low light conditions because even in a bright sun it will unconditionally set ISO 400 (or even higher) and decrease the shutter speed. Such a high ISO will greatly increase the amount of noise and therefore will cause a more aggressive noise reduction which will actively obliterate small details. That scene provides much more effective dynamic range compression but at the cost of significantly decreased picture quality. If you're shooting in a low-light condition you have nothing to loose, but if you're taking pictures on a nice day with a plenty of sunshine the loss of quality might greatly disappoint you, so that scene should be used only for the low-light shooting.

MOVIE MODE: By now I tried only the advanced AVCHD movie mode - it looked very well. Apart from the processing the still images in this model Panasonic applied their new "Intelligent Resolution" feature to video recording as well and the result is just gorgeous! Because of that special processing personally its 720p HD looks even better than from my Sony TX7 with its full 1080 HD resolution.

So this new Panasonic ZS7 camera is a very good device for taking nice still pictures and advanced video recording.
are there any specific settings/adjustments that I should use on the Panasonic?

admin 07-31-2010 04:04 AM

You can hit REPLY instead of QUOTE. There's no need to quote my posts each time. :)


I read reviews about this Panasonic model, and tried the settings this person advised, in the update section I highlighted in blue. what do you think to their advice for settings adjustments?
Not owning the camera, I don't really understand what that person is prattling on about. Digital photos inherently have banding to some degree, moreso with NR, but I have a feeling that person has enter the land of a*** retentives. P&S lenses are garbage, too, so that's where most P&S softness comes from. CCD/CMOS further degrades sharpness (Bayer filtering, unless it's a Foveon) as does zooming optics -- pro or P&S! Maybe I'm missing something, but it sounds like the familiar overly-critical song and dance.

Most of the review is that way. Yeah, it's nice and detailed, but some of the details are overkill, over-analyzed, overdone.


when I am using more manual controls, like shutter priority, or manual, is there a minimum number shutter speed I should use? for most conditions? what value would I want to go no lower than to avoid excessive blurriness?
There are so many variables here, it would take a novel. Here's a few basics:
  • Faster shutter stops more action. Faster shutter means lower (larger) aperture. Sometimes that means higher ISO, to get enough light. A baseball pitch needs at least 1/500 to 1/1000 to be stopped. Sometimes faster if the pitcher is a 90mph arm. Running takes about 1/250 to 1/320. Bug wings beating take about 1/2000 or more. Good luck with hummingbirds. For nighttime sports, you generally need f/2.8 apertures, ISO 3200+, and shutter of at least 1/320 or higher.
  • Slower shutter means less stopping of action, but also higher (smaller) aperture. The benefit of small aperture is more is in focus, and it's also sharper. Less light/lens distortions and noises that way, too.

what would be the best ISO to use? for most situations?
Again, a novel. But some basics:
  • With flash indoors, 200.
  • Without a flash, indoors, no outside light. 3200+
  • Indoors, no flash, outside light lighting room, maybe 200-800.
  • Outdoors in sunlight, 100-200
  • Outdoors at dusk/dawn, 400-800
  • Outdoors in shadow, 400
  • In a gym, or at nighttime sports, 1600-12800
I can shoot a Nikon D200 at 3200 quite nicely, but I get grainy color-noised photos. However, I can remove the color noise in Adobe Camera Raw, and then remove noise with NeatImage in Photoshop. I can further correct colors and sharpness in Photoshop. That gives usable images for magazines or newspapers. The D3 can do 6400 cleaner than the D200 at 1600, and the D3 can give D200-like (at 3200) quality at ISO 10000-12000. The D3s is clean up to 12800, and gives usable shots above that.


I realize no P&S camera will be able to do what a DSLR would do, but carrying a DSLR on me all the time is too heavy, I would use it for special situations, like events that only happen once in a lifetime, or only once in a great while.

what DSLRs would you suggest for me? I know some of those can now take movies too.
Glass tends to be more important than the body. Most of my money is in lenses, not the body. My 80-200 costs just as much as my D200 body.


I am also an artist, and currently doing a degree for graphic design. So I would also use a DSLR for shooting my art work as well.
Good idea. You should also invest in photo temperature light bulbs, and put them in mechanic lamps. Then you can light indoors work with calibrated known-temp bulbs of the right photo color. This assumes you're painting or have printed work.


the P&S would be for every day use, as I use my photos for art reference. But I would like them to be good in their own right.
Good to know. Either the Sony or Panasonic works for this.

You're asking great questions. :)

Sossity 07-31-2010 06:10 PM

My camera has quite a few settings on it, there is intelligent resolution & intelligent exposure, should I have these set to on?

for picture size, there is a choice of; 4:3, 3:2, & 16:9 aspect ratios, which one should I use?

there is also picture quality, I have it set to best quality, but you can choose different mega pixels; I have it set to the highest it goes, 12mp, but the Panasonic camera also offers; 8mp, 5mp, 3mp, & 0.3mp, In one of your replies to me you said that at anything over 10mp, will start to show lens imperfections, should I set the mp setting to 8?

there are also other settings; sharpness, contrast, noise reduction, & saturation, the default for these is 0, with a scale where one can go +1 all the way to +2 & -1 to -2 at the other end of the scale. What settings should I set these to? or should I leave everything at the default 0?

what about exposure compensation, that has a -1 to -2, 0 & +1 to +2, should I just leave this at 0? or should I bump it to the + side in low light?

and what about ISO? what would be a good general ISO to keep it at? do lower ISOs make brighter saturated sharper photos? could I set the camera to program priority, where I set ISO to 80 & it decides aperture & shutter speed.

admin 08-01-2010 04:44 AM


intelligent resolution & intelligent exposure
No idea. These are made-up terms from Panasonic. What does the manual say these are supposed to mean?


choice of; 4:3, 3:2, & 16:9 aspect ratios
The camera is probably a native 3:2, meaning the others are achieved by cropping off part of the photo. You can do that yourself later on, so just leave it to capture the maximum available image.


I have it set to the highest it goes, 12mp, but the Panasonic camera also offers; 8mp, 5mp, 3mp, & 0.3mp, In one of your replies to me you said that at anything over 10mp, will start to show lens imperfections, should I set the mp setting to 8?
The sensor captures raw data from the full sensor at full resolution, then the camera processes it internally, then saves it as the specific file type (including downsizing to small resolutions). So the lower MP settings are after the image has been taken, and therefore it's too late to make any difference. The damage is already done before it can be downsized. The noise:MP ratio I talk about is determined by the sensor size. In this case, it's a 12MP sensor.


there are also other settings; sharpness, contrast, noise reduction, & saturation, the default for these is 0, with a scale where one can go +1 all the way to +2 & -1 to -2 at the other end of the scale. What settings should I set these to? or should I leave everything at the default 0?
Personally, I like to bump saturation by +1 or +2. My preference varies from camera to camera. Photograph a red flower, then look at the image full size on a computer. if all you get is blooming red with no details, the saturation is too high. Put it as high as you can, without causing the image to lose detail or look too unreal. Sensors can naturally dull colors, especially because of Bayer filtering, so it's not a bad idea to boost saturation just a tad.

Leave everything else at 0. You can fix those later in Photoshop, if needed, on a photo-by-photo basis.


what about exposure compensation, that has a -1 to -2, 0 & +1 to +2, should I just leave this at 0? or should I bump it to the + side in low light?
The Panasonic images look too hot (overexposed) to me. I'd set exposure comp to -1 and do some test shots. Be sure you view test shots on a calibrated computer LCD.

You can roughly calibrate a monitor by photographing a common item. I like to use the 16oz Dr. Pepper bottles, the plain ones (not the promo ones, like the recent Iron man movie bottles from this past summer). Shoot the bottle with the saturation at 0, in outside daylight, and then put the image on the LCD. Put the bottle by the LCD. Does it match? If so, then you can rely on the test for +/- exposure. If not, then adjust the monitor -- change the LCD settings until it matches the bottle pretty well.


and what about ISO? what would be a good general ISO to keep it at?
200 in bright daylight, 400 for everything else
Start from there, adjust as needed. Leave it there as normal settings. Nothing sucks more than shooting 1600+ in daylight by accident. So always put it back to 400 after using higher ISOs.


do lower ISOs make brighter saturated sharper photos?
Yes and no.

You shoot higher ISO because there is less light. Less light means less colors reflected. The image taken in the low-light condition therefore has less color. A low ISO could not capture the image in that condition. When there is more light, more color is reflected. When there is more light, you use low ISO. Therefore the lower ISO image probably has more color.

Higher ISO does have some inherent loss of color, but that's purely due to processing.

It's more complicated than that, but that's probably a good enough explanation to tell you what you need to know.

If you're shooting landscapes, use a tripod and use as low an ISO as you can. Use a high/small aperture (f/8+). Use a slow to moderate shutter speed (1s to 1/30).


set the camera to program priority
Bad habit.

Use the semi-automatic modes. Set an ISO, then set either a shutter or aperture -- then let the unpicked value fall into line automatically. It's easy to decide that you need low aperture for low light, or high shutter for action. Then let the meter find the other settings. Just be aware that you have to monitor the other settings. If you pick 1/2000 shutter, and the ISO is 400, and there is low light, it may need a aperture value lower than what the camera has. If you shoot without watching this, you may not have a photo. Always be mindful of all three settings at all times!

"P" mode generally gets one setting wrong, it just guesses badly, and it also results in a missed photo. Usually an issue of blurring, because it always sets terrible shutters -- even in those so-called "sports" modes.

Also be aware of lighting conditions that may give you a silhouette or bright spot, instead of the image you're wanting. This is where watching the LCD is important. In the film days, you just bracketed and used a light meter. These days, you can be a bit more lazy about it. (Although I do still use and carry a high-end light meter, especially when working with models.)

I think that got all your questions. :)

Sossity 08-01-2010 05:37 AM

so in the case of the picture size, you say pick the biggest one offered; I had; 4:3, 3:2, & widescreen 16:9, so would I be best leaving it to 3:2, to capture all the original image?

I talked to a camera guy in my local camera shop, & asked about what minimum shutter speed to use, & he told me in general, dont go lower than 125.

So I will avoid program set, & use either manual, aperture priority, or shutter priority.

admin 08-02-2010 02:13 AM

3:2 should be the full sensor of data. The full frame. The 4:3 and 16:9 (especially the 16:9) are likely the cropped versions. Again, you can do this later yourself. No need to crop in the camera. You might change your mind later, but you can't un-crop it in the software later on.

The minimum for handheld shutter is 1/60. It's always been 1/60.

I'm good -- I've been doing this a long time -- and I can sometimes calm my body down enough to shoot as low as 1/8, with multiple fps for a safety net. Generally I'm always fine at 1/30, it's the 1/15 and 1/8 where it gets tricky.

If you're a nervous, twitchy, shaky sort of person, then 1/125 is probably a better idea.

Yeah, I think you'll be fine avoiding program mode. You seem to have a little more knowledge than the average user, so use it!

Be sure to post some good shots here in the forum. :)

Sossity 08-03-2010 04:50 AM

how do I post my photos here?

admin 08-03-2010 04:01 PM


Originally Posted by Sossity (Post 12196)
how do I post my photos here?

Make new threads in the "Making the Shot" forum, and then follow the instructions for attaching images to posts in vBulletin.

Direct link -

If you want critiques, you'll get them. Just say "critique this" of something to that affect.

If you just want to show off, then just make a post, don't ask for critique. If it's a great shot, you may get some compliments. If it's not so good, you may get less response.

This site has historically be heavy on digital video information, so the photo forums are still somewhat new. There's not been a lot of this type of activity to date, but we're hoping it takes off here soon. You'd be a great person to start off with.

That's it. :)

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