FZ200 in the absolute darkness
4 months ago
I am a new FZ200 owner and an old caver, so I decided to try my camera in the darkness of a cavern.
I chose a very easy to access cave that opens 10 km away from my house and went there with my LED head-lamp and three cameras (the small Sony W5 and HX7V plus the FZ200).
Please, notice that it is a very dark cave, because of the almost black rock and dripstone on the walls and the deep brown mud bottom. No sunlight at all.
I tried in full W position with subjects 2 to 10 m away from the camera. Only built-in or pop-up flash. I am posting here the compared results of the extreme tests (2 and 10 m distance).
At 2 m (light dripstone flow) all the cameras worked fine, so fine that a decision on the best pic between W5 and FZ200 is questionable (clearly the flash power was enough for them all).
At about 10 m (dark wall with dripstone) the results were very different. You can see below a comparison without and with PP (photos processed one by one, of course) in PSCS4 (about 50% crop). All the original photos look underexposed and the processed ones are:
- decent for FZ200 (stronger flash + f 2.8 aperture = more light);
- very noisy for W5 (weaker flash);
- awful for HX7V (absolutely powerless flash and strong not-settable NR = watercolour effect).
This is only the first test, but I learned that in order to have better results with FZ200 I must use a powerful external flash.
Technical note. I had AF problems with distant subjects. When trying to focus on more than 4 m away things AF could not work properly (beep plus flashing red rectangle and 0.3m-∞ sign on the display). However, the camera allowed me to take the photos and almost all the pictures were in focus. I don’t know the reason of the sharp pics: correct focus despite the warning or great depth of field due to full W even at f 2.8? I am reporting the event because FZ200 is the only camera I know having this focus problem (everything ok when focusing with W5, HX7V, plus Sony HX5V, Nikon P6000 and P7000 which I tried before).