Test new Hoya filter??

Started 2 months ago | Discussions thread
Stevie Boy Blue Senior Member • Posts: 1,447
*Maybe Worth Some Thought?*

jlina wrote: “I don't think that any of these small sensor cameras are going to particularly thrill me I was sticking with f 2.8 because that's supposed to be my camera's big draw…

“Thanks went back to my original sharpening settings and it is slightly better. Basically no tweak in the world is going to make this camera do what I want to do. So I can keep it as a snapshot camera and spend $2,000 later on. And learn to use a tripod!”

To the first point. I’d say that despite its ability to shoot at F2.8 along its whole focal length, that’s never been the biggest draw of the FZ300 for me. The fact that F4 is available from wide to full 600mm is far more important from my perspective and I wouldn’t be at all disappointed had Panasonic fixed the aperture to F4 with no option to make any change whatsoever either up or down the range.

Without doubt, for at least 95% of my photography, F4 represents the true lens sweet spot, concluded by the fact I’ve now shot well over a quarter of a million images using two different FZ330’s during the last five years – an average of just over 50,000 per annum. As I stated in my fairly comprehensive review of the camera, the only aperture setting that competes for comparable sharpness on occasion is F3.2.

Truth be told, I’d prefer to use F3.2 any day to F2.8, which to me always seems softer than I’d like to see at 600mm. Hence I reserve F2.8 for when I require every bit of available light, such as in exceptionally dull periods of the day that arrive out of the blue, or at dusk for logging record shots rather than anything I might want to keep as a ‘best quality image’. Overall, in my experience, F2.8 is not capable of producing anywhere near the best from the FZ330 and it’s always amazed me just how much better F3.2 is for such an apparently minor adjustment. As the entire aperture range bottoms out at F8 anyway, there is actually little advantage to closing down below F4 from the perspective of increasing DOF, as the difference is so negligible with such a small sensor camera unless one is employing extra magnification for the likes of extreme close-up macro stuff where DOF may otherwise appear wafer thin.

With nothing added to the FZ330 lens, however, I see little to no advantage in shooting smaller than F4. In fact, I’m more than happy to shoot as much as I possibly can at F4 regardless of focal length, simply because it’s the sharpest setting right from wide angle to telephoto.

My advice to you? Try locking in F4 for absolutely every shot you take and don’t shy away from upping ISO slightly to compensate for change in anything but poor light, in which case you may not want to shoot anyway. In very good to reasonably good light, ISO 250 yields near equally good quality to ISO 100. If you need to go higher than ISO 250 to maintain a minimum shutter speed of 1/200th of a second for most everyday subjects, open up to F3.2 and stay below ISO 400. If you ever need to go above ISO 800, choose F2.8 or preferably put your camera away until brighter conditions return.

To the second part of your quote.

Point to note: To match the focal range of the FZ300, you’ll require at least two – maybe even three – separate lenses, assuming you’re going the ILC route. In my experience, the lens of the FZ300 is a very admirable feat of engineering of which Panasonic/Leica should be extremely proud. No other manufacturer produces such a bright and generally sharp lens for a small sensor bridge. It really is THAT good. To at least match its clarity, you’ll require near prime quality ILC glass and may well need to shell out at least your 2 grand budget for the privilege. That’s before you've bought a camera body and the added the tripod you mention. Overall, it’s possible that you’ll end up spending double what you originally anticipated. Moreover, you’ll then need to adjust to using an ILC system that may well prove much more difficult to master than the FZ300 is proving to be for you. Larger sensor ILCs require a more critical understanding of DOF to focal length, save to mention ISO etc, etc.

Obviously I do not see through your eyes and I don’t know what your photographic ambitions are, or what it is that you aim to achieve that you feel the FZ300 is incapable of giving you regardless of any number of tweaks you care to make to it.

However, let me assure you that in terms of image quality and what a camera is capable of delivering as a whole package, my own expectations are very high indeed. Even accounting for this, I have yet to view any result from my FZ330 and end up wishing I’d taken the shot with any other camera – be it 10 times the price.

As I’ve mentioned previously, photography is all about light. No light (or inappropriate use thereof) means poor results – no matter the equipment used and regardless of the price the photographer paid for it.

Be it far from me to tell you what to do with your money. But certainly for the time being, it may be better spent on those photography classes that are clearly still required for you to advance, and as advised by a number of forum members already. No offence intended here, but again I suggest that there’s absolutely nothing wrong with your FZ300. For the price you will have paid, I view it as an absolute steal of a camera that’s well capable of meeting the needs of more than the average enthusiast let alone snap-shooter. Like any other camera I could mention, however, the FZ300 is only ever likely to be as good as the person using it. Experience only comes through time and effort invested and photography as a whole is far too complex a subject to master in five minutes. There truly are no quick fixes here. Trust me, I’ve been in this game for the best part of 50-years and I’m still learning even today.

Bottom line, it’s up to you how far you advance both in terms of your understanding of how to take good photographs with ANY camera, and to garner the levels of experience required to know and understand exactly why your images may not meet the quality achievable with any specific model, be that a £380 FZ300 or a £10K Hasselblad. Armed with experience, knowledge and understanding you’ll be capable of using either model. Minus that knowledge and experience, however, you will fail with both.

Go out and learn from your mistakes more than you learn from the mistakes of others. Explore as many genres as you have time to explore and settle on those (or the one) you enjoy the most. Above all, try not to be too critical of the output of any camera you use until you know with absolute certainty that the camera is the problem and not you. Bear in mind that If the FZ300 was a poor camera, it would not receive so much praise and acclaim by so many who buy it, including me.

Overall we’re talking about arguably the best pinhead sensor Bridge that Panasonic has produced to date, not the comparatively poor FZ80 that receives justifiable amounts of flack from left, right and centre, and especially regarding results at full 1200mm focal length, which was always my main criticism of the thing. I note your interest in that particular model and would urge you to avoid it like the plague. Trust me; you’re likely to be more dissatisfied with the FZ80 than with any other camera you’ve tried unless you’re prepared to extensively PP every shot you take. OOC Jpeg results are generally poor even at low ISO settings, although some display okay-ish at the reduced sizes often posted here and there. It may be okay at best for shooting flowers at wide to mid range, but it’s very inconsistent and often poor at 1200mm particularly at reproducing fine detail, which it so often destroys like no other FZ I’ve ever experienced.

A quick find that may be worth your while noting from someone who owns both the FZ80 and 300.


Not sure I can add anything else, so I’ll bid you all the best in furthering your understanding and education of all things photographic.

Cheers and happy shooting…

Post (hide subjects) Posted by
Keyboard shortcuts:
FForum PPrevious NNext WNext unread UUpvote SSubscribe RReply QQuote BBookmark MMy threads
Color scheme? Blue / Yellow