FZ200 - Back at the hockey rink again... new settings, better results

Started Nov 11, 2012 | Discussions
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RudyPohl
RudyPohl Senior Member • Posts: 4,168
FZ200 - Back at the hockey rink again... new settings, better results

I managed to get back to the rink today to try out some news settings. None of the photos are what I would call 'good', but they are noticeably better than those from yesterday that were all underexposed.

I did some minor PPing of the JPEGS, some denoising, sharpening, and brightening... that's all. If I were really serious about keepers I would have PPed them in RAW and used NeatImage (which I haven'te bought yet). I shot RAW + JPEG

Here are the new settings:

Program Mode.

Max ISO 3200

Min Shutter Speed: 1/125

EV: +2/3 (anything above this was far too bright)

Conclusion:
The FZ200 is really not suited for this kind of photography - that is, indoor action sports in low light. I could probably get slightly better images by using NeatImage and PPing the RAW files, but not substantially better IMO.

There was a fellow there getting nice, usable images... he was using a Canon 7D ($1500) with a Canon F2.8 70-200mm IS lens ($2500). Therefore, $4000 vs $600... you decide.

Cheers,

Rudy





Canon EOS 7D Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ200
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Ronomy
Ronomy Senior Member • Posts: 3,767
Re: FZ200 - Back at the hockey rink again... new settings, better results

Looks like forcing ISO 800 max and f2.8 then let the shutter self adjust after you adjust exposure offset would have been a good setting to stick with.

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chillgreg Senior Member • Posts: 1,248
Print them on 5x7 and show them to your neighbor. In the real world they are great! :)

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RudyPohl
RudyPohl OP Senior Member • Posts: 4,168
Re: FZ200 - Back at the hockey rink again... new settings, better results

Hi Ron:

I tried that but the camera kept giving shutter speeds that were too slow to minimize motion blur. I decided in the end to set min shutter speed to 1/125 to minimize blur and hope that the +2/3 EV would minimize extra noise produced by the very high ISO. I guess it's six of one and half a dozen of the other.

I think no matter what you do, this camera is working at its absolute outer limits in this kind of setting, and just getting any kind of usable photo is good. You could post it on the web or print a 5 X 7 and people would be happy. Don't enter them into any contests, and for goodness sakes DON'T send to any pixels peepers!!! LOL!

Rudy

GeraldW Veteran Member • Posts: 7,181
Re: FZ200 - Back at the hockey rink again... new settings, better results

Rudy,

I think those look great!  I love watching woman's hockey.  Plenty of action, and more finesse than men's.  Our granddaughter has played for years, and now is at Mercyhurst Univ. on a full ride to play hockey.  So grandpa has been following her career, camera in hand for about 13 years.  Initially with film, and then with various digital cameras.

I tried my FZ200 at Mercyhurst for her first game in September.  I shot mine at ISO 800 and f/4 in Aperture preferred.  Today, I'd probably use f/2.8 and ISO 400.  Shutter speeds were around 1/250.  I made the mistake of not going up close to the glass, and lost a lot of shots due to the camera focusing on smears on the glass and reflections.  Next time we go up there, I'll do better.  The results so far with my FZ200 are about as good as i get with my 60D andconsumer grade lenses.

We have two more grandkids that play, so I've got years of hockey shooting ahead of me.

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Jerry

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Tootsall
Tootsall Senior Member • Posts: 1,295
Re: Print them on 5x7 and show them to your neighbor. In the real world they are great! :)

chillgreg wrote:


+1

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"Kites rise highest against the wind - not with it." - Winston Churchill

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BobK77 Contributing Member • Posts: 511
Re: FZ200 - Back at the hockey rink again... new settings, better results

Rudy,

Side note: First set of pics was made at the practice and second one at the game.
Generally (at least there I live) most rinks do not turn all the lights on for the practices.
This could be the factor also.
There is no way I would make same quality pics with FZ150.
Did you try video?

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Mikedigi Veteran Member • Posts: 9,354
NeatImage

Thanks for all the information Rudy!

If I were really serious about keepers I would have PPed them in RAW and used NeatImage (which I haven'te bought yet).

A few years ago on this Forum, I invited members to denoise an 800 ISO JPEG of a bookshop window taken with my FZ8. Several programs were used, including NeatImage, as I recall. I used Noiseware Community (i.e. the free version), default settings, and this, in my opinion, gave the best result, and one or two others agreed with me. I have used Noiseware Community ever since.

It might just be worth a try before you spend dollars on NeatImage.

And you guessed already - I use FastStone Image Viewer and Picasa too . . .

All I need now is the free version of the FZ200.

Mike

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danielsonkin
danielsonkin Forum Pro • Posts: 11,708
Re: FZ200 - Back at the hockey rink again... new settings, better results

I think these are very good, Rudy.  I used my ZS15 at a Peter Gabriel concert a few months ago, and I was very pleased with the results.  For part of the concert I kept the ISO down and got lots of keepers by using burst mode..  When I let the camera choose the ISO, it kept it in the 800-1200 range, kind of like what you have here.  The lighting seems so bright from these shots; certainly  more so than I had at the concert.  But then again, Peter is in his late 60's so, there wasn't as much action as in your game.  

Daniel

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giraffe Senior Member • Posts: 2,390
Re: FZ200 - Back at the hockey rink again... new settings, better results

I agree with you Rudy - I think you are stretching the limits of this camera trying to get action shots at an indoor arena. First of all you need a high shutter speed to capture the motion and secondly you need a high ISO to get that shutter speed. The new DSLRs that shoot with minimum noise at ISO 3200 or ISO 6400 is what is needed along with a fast lens and for that you are talking probably $4,000 and upwards.

This is a great camera for $600.00 but it has its limits just as all cameras have there limits. I've seen people trying to get hockey action shots with a cellphone and shooting through the glass or netting and complain that they are blurry and out of focus.

Yesterday I was able to get some decent shots at ISO 800 at an indoor hockey arena and gave a copy of the photos to the parents who thought they were excellent. Everything is relative - to someone using a $200 P&S or cellphone then the FZ200 takes good photos and they do not even know what noise is. To a photographer who understands noise and is used to a high quality DSLR and lenses then the same photos would just be acceptable.

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Bert D

Me Tarzan
Me Tarzan Senior Member • Posts: 1,392
Re: FZ200 - Back at the hockey rink again... new settings, better results

Those are really nice images. I think you captured the emotion of the game. The one of the girl looking through the mask head on is great.

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Cheers!
Frank

Ronomy
Ronomy Senior Member • Posts: 3,767
Re: FZ200 - Back at the hockey rink again... new settings, better results

Oh well...I still think they look good.  You are really getting the most out of this camera.  Great job!

Ron

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RudyPohl
RudyPohl OP Senior Member • Posts: 4,168
Re: FZ200 - Back at the hockey rink again... new settings, better results

Hey guys, did you not my capture on the first shot? LUCKY!!! I snapped the picture the second the puck was on the goalie stick, no burst mode!!!!

Kevin Omura
Kevin Omura Senior Member • Posts: 1,874
Re: FZ200 - Back at the hockey rink again... new settings, better results

I thought a lot of your shots looked pretty good actually. I have shot in small arenas in the past and they can be black holes in terms of lighting which forces you to start dipping into slower shutter speeds.

My working kit is a 7D and 5D MKII, I would be working with my 70-200 f2.8 and 300 f2.8. If it was at the Gardens or ACC then I'd have a pool 400 f2.8 on the perch and fix my ISO to 800 or 1600 with manual shutter speed of 1/500th at f2.8. In a small arena that doesn't have TV lights I'd be pretty much having to crank up the ISO to at least 1600 and maybe higher and I'll bet my results would not be a lot better exposure wise but would be less noisey with the 7D due to the larger sensor.

If I was shooting with only an FZ200 I'd probably have my trusty old Gossen Master Six and walk about the arena taking readings figure and out an average exposure. Then set the FZ on manual with the fastest shutter speed I could get away with wide open.

Bottom line, in a pinch if all I had was an FZ200 and my working kit had died I'd be confident that I could get at least a few usable shots for publication.

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RudyPohl
RudyPohl OP Senior Member • Posts: 4,168
Re: NeatImage

Mikedigi wrote:

Thanks for all the information Rudy!

If I were really serious about keepers I would have PPed them in RAW and used NeatImage (which I haven'te bought yet).

A few years ago on this Forum, I invited members to denoise an 800 ISO JPEG of a bookshop window taken with my FZ8. Several programs were used, including NeatImage, as I recall. I used Noiseware Community (i.e. the free version), default settings, and this, in my opinion, gave the best result, and one or two others agreed with me. I have used Noiseware Community ever since.

It might just be worth a try before you spend dollars on NeatImage.

And you guessed already - I use FastStone Image Viewer and Picasa too . . .

All I need now is the free version of the FZ200.

Mike

Hi Mike:

I downloaded Noiseware Coomunity free version like you suggested and I'm trying it out. Looks great!

Thanks,

Rudy

ANAYV Forum Pro • Posts: 12,961
Re: FZ200 - Back at the hockey rink again... new settings, better results

Some nice captures there, Rudy !

Love the first one, where you actually captured the puck on the stick !

Years ago, the older FZ's would do much worse than these !

Actually , they had no iso 1600 !

ANAYV

Ronald A Yorko Contributing Member • Posts: 577
Re: FZ200 - Back at the hockey rink again... new settings, better results

Acceptable photos.  Some of others posts with concert photos didn't have all that white to contend with.  The white lights, floor and walls I believe pushed the small sensor camera to it's limits in picking up decent detail at those ISOs.

Only way to better shots using high ISOs under those conditions is a dslr.  But then you have the lens issue.  I did get a Sony A57 with a 35mm 1.8 lens for indoor shots and have to try and sneak in as close as possible with my feet.  The large aperture zooms for dslr's are outrageously expensive.

Considering all, the FZ200 shots are good.  I've tried various NR programs, and found Topaz Denoise does the best job at restoring detail lost to noise, especially edges and colors.

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dnto
dnto Forum Member • Posts: 78
Re: FZ200 - Back at the hockey rink again... new settings, better results

Those are awesome Rudy! The goalies prefer to see great ones like that they stop instead of the ones in the net! I like Kevin O's suggestion of shooting manual for hockey, though I haven't tried it on the fz200 yet. Great WB too!

Timj351
Timj351 Veteran Member • Posts: 3,831
Re: FZ200 - Back at the hockey rink again... new settings, better results

Umm...told you so. That is about you figuring this problem out like you do on your other shots. Great job, Rudy.

Tim

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trevmar Senior Member • Posts: 2,459
Re: FZ200 - Back at the hockey rink again... new settings, better results

Ronald A Yorko wrote:

I've tried various NR programs, and found Topaz Denoise does the best job at restoring detail lost to noise, especially edges and colors.

I agree. Topaz worked out best for me too. I fed it some really bad FZ200 and LX7 RAW images... it beat everything else I tried, especially when you use the "deblur" control for 'sharpening'...

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