FZ150 slow focus in cloudy daylight

Started Oct 22, 2011 | Discussions thread
David247
David247 Senior Member • Posts: 2,406
Re: FZ150 slow focus in cloudy daylight

The FZ150 is rated as being very fast (among the fastest if not the fastest of all current superzooms) in bright sunlight. At this time you'll not get better unless you go to medium to high end DSLR with all its additional weight and lenses.

However, like all superzooms, focus speed tends to slow down in dimmer or lower contrast light. Under the conditions you described, it is more likely that it was the reduced contrast that slowed down the focusing speed, more then the brightness or lack thereof. Mind you, I started in photography at a time when metering was done by hand, there was no auto-focus and even through the lens metering was "match needle" whereby you had to adjust ISO (then called ASA), aperture and shutter until a needle in the viewfinder indicated correct exposure. After that you would focus manually taking many seconds, sometimes minutes at best for any shot.

To me, 1/2 second, even a second to frame and focus is almost a miracle.

Keep in mind, even today with all the technology and tremendous speed of high end PRO DSLR cameras, photographers will shoot hundreds or thousands of images in hopes of getting a few dozen really good images. Even the best of pro cameras can't keep up with the action all the time.

I doubt there is anything wrong with your camera. 1/2 second under the conditions you described is well within expectation. Low contrast lighting has been a challenge for photographers for decades and even with the leaps and bounds in technological speed it will continue to be a challenge for the foreseeable future. Sports and journalistic photography are two of the most difficult because the subject and conditions change so rapidly. If you are getting 40% acceptable images you are doing very good, especially with a small superzoom. More then that you are doing great. And from what I have seen so far, the FZ150 is definitely the best of breed to date.

I fully intend to get one as my "walk-a-bout" camera that goes everywhere and is always ready for any situation. Besides, can no longer physically carry about a full DSLR system all the time but don't intend to let that stop me from taking photos and having fun. Even the small super-zooms of today are lightyears ahead of the 35mm film cameras of the 50's, 60's and 70's when "high speed' was equivalent to ISO 160 and very high speed was ISO 400 occasionally push processed (with serious consequences) to ISO 1200. The norm was ISO 25 to 64. So even today's super-zoom cameras can be a serious photographic tool in my mind, just don't expect perfection, it is an illusive lie, regardless of the technological improvements.

The value in an image is not in the pixels but in the story it tells. Below are some photos, all but one taken from a moving van in traffic, various lighting conditions, spur of the moment (no time to plan only react) with either a Panasonic FZ-50 or a Nikon S10. Each image tells part of a story about life in the Philippines. The Panasonic FZ-150 is superior to both of these cameras in both detail, light handling, latitude, noise handling and speed by a very large degree and could easily capture a more technically ideal photo and respond more quickly to "instant image" opportunities.

Don't count your failures only your successes. Enjoy your FZ-150 or whatever camera suits your fancy.

Students riding on the back bumper of a full Jeepney (mini-bus).

Street Vendor, navigating traffic on a busy street to sell his wares.

Makati, the international Business district of Manila-National Capital Region

A brightly colored Jeepney (mini-bus)

Motor cycle riders, navigating between heavy and tightly compressed traffic during a Monsoon rain.

 David247's gear list:David247's gear list
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ150 Olympus E-510
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