FZ200 - Frustration to Success - tips for new users

Started Oct 29, 2012 | Discussions thread
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giraffe
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FZ200 - Frustration to Success - tips for new users
Oct 29, 2012

It was suggested that I start a new post with tips for new users to help them with the FZ200.

I bought the FZ200 2 weeks ago and was very frustrated with the results. I was actually going to return it due to out of focus shots, excessive noise. I also come from a photography background doing photography for about 40 years, knowing Photoshop for 10 years, having multiple digital cameras including Canon 7D and multiple L lenses. Just about gave up but read user manual, read all the helpful threads on this forum, had a member of this forum (who I admire and respect) recommend the camera highly so I sat down and studied my FZ200 photos. What I found was that it was user error and that I was stretching the camera to its absolute limits. Hopefully these findings can help other users as well.

1, Make sure that your exposure is set correctly - expose to the right in the histogram but do not blow out the highlights. Many of my shots were underexposed by 1/3 - 2/3 fstops. That happened by accident as the little dial on the back of the camera accidentally got pushed in and I unknowingly turned it to -2/3 exposure compensation. Must admit I find this dial hard to use. This resulted in excessive noise.

2, Its so easy to use the zoom instead of walking closer. So I was using the zoom at 300mm but the shutter speed was sometimes 1/40th of a second as it had been overcast for most of the last 2 weeks. Result - poorly focused shots. As a rule of thumb make sure that your shutter speed matches your zoom. Example - if shooting at max zoom of 600mm make sure your shutter speed is at least 1/600th preferably more like 1/1200th.

3, Use the focus button on the left side of the lens to reduce the size of the focus square to something smaller than the default and if shooting people focus on the eyes or if a landscape focus on a contrasty spot.

4, If shooting moving subjects - use shutter priority and set it to something high to capture motion like 1/1000 or higher. Don't expect to capture a dog running at 1/60th of a second.

5, Use the lowest ISO possible - I now limit ISO to max 400 and sometimes max 800 if absolutely necessary.

Basically these are simply regular photography rules but I was getting lazy with the zoom and expecting to get tack sharp focus at any every zoom length regardless of shutter speed. Also ensure your camera settings are set for the situation.

Hope this can help those also experiencing frustration.

Please feel free to add any other useful tips that you have found produces great shots so that we can all benefit from this great camera.

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Bert D

Canon EOS 7D Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ200
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