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Old 01-11-2010, 23:03   #1 (permalink)
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Unhappy Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ3 - Low Light Problems

Hi folks. I'm thinking on upgrading my camera, but in the meantime I thought I'd see if anyone on here can help me with my frustrating Lumix.

I've had my TZ3 for a couple of yrs and have always been frustrated with the poor pics I've taken in low light situations. It's probably operator error, but in all my fiddling, I've not been able to get many sharp, usable pics out of it indoors or at night outdoors. Pics are often over exposed (with flash), or lacking clarity and dark (without). The camera has a few modes and a chunk of pre-set Sceneries, few of which seem to actually help. Manual setting are a bit thin on the ground.

Has anyone used one of these in anger and can anyone help?

Being a compact, it's perfect for sticking in my pocket and taking on rollercoasters, etc, so I'd like to master it if possible! If not, looks like I'll be trading up....

Thanks for any advice / experience anyone may have with the TZ3.

Mark
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Old 02-11-2010, 11:10   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ3 - Low Light Problems

Welcome to Pixalo 356Speedster

I have no experience with your camera at all, but generally speaking the issue with taking pictures in low light is sensitivity. The sensor in the camera is usually pre set at a sensitivity that works in daylight. The scene modes can change this, for instance the night mode will increase the sensitivity to compensate for the lower light levels. You might be able to manually change this setting - ISO - but there are other issues if you do. Noise can become a problem if you go too far.

What is very important when taking pictures in low light is that even in night mode or raising the ISO setting, you must keepthe camera absolutely still as the shutter speed will be low. The aperture will be wide, so good focus is important and this is difficult for a camera in low light.

Using flash at night on auto modes will compromise the exposure as you have found. the camera is trying to balance the low overall light of the scene with the flash output. If the subject is burning out, chances are that the subject is too close to the camera, and/or the framing is including things that are close and far from the camera thus presenting it with a range that is outside of its capabilities.
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Old 03-11-2010, 11:05   #3 (permalink)
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Unhappy Re: Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ3 - Low Light Problems

Thanks Graham! I actually spent some time with Dave (Pixalo co-owner) last night and got some very useful insights into the inner workings of cameras. I now have a better understandings for what affects picture quality and it's clear that the little TZ3 while great outdoors in decent light, is always going to struggle when things get a little gloomy.

I think rather than trying to work around the TZ3's limitations, it's time to start looking at a replacement. A bridge of some sort to get my skills up, maybe. Now to decide which one

Thanks! Mark
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Old 03-11-2010, 11:53   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ3 - Low Light Problems

If you are wanting to take low light shots you might find a bridge camera will not be much better.

There are high specification compacts available that have fast lenses and they might be a better bet. I think that there is a Ricoh model with an f1.9 lens, for instance, or the Samsung EX-1 which has an f1.8 lens.

The Panasonic LX-5 has an f2 lens too.
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Old 03-11-2010, 12:35   #5 (permalink)
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Re: Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ3 - Low Light Problems

We have an article that covers some points that may be effecting your results, maybe all of it is not relevant but it is probably worth you taking a few minutes and giving it a read

The basics of sharp photos - Presented by Pixalo
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Old 03-11-2010, 13:51   #6 (permalink)
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Re: Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ3 - Low Light Problems

Steve - thanks I'll read the article over lunch

Graham - I've started my research, but inevitably, there's an element of compromise which I need to balance out, given I don't need the full flexibility of a pro DSLR. Sensor size, aperture, zoom, physical size, ability to do HDR shots (and a chunk of other things, I'm not finding!!) are making the choices tricky!

I like the idea of something like a Lumix FZ100, which with an F2.8 rating appears to do most of what I want, but as you say, will it be as competant in low light as I'd like it to be (indoors, night time, etc)... or actually, am I being a little unrealisitic in what I want a camera to do and actually, I need to learn more techniques to cope better with the low light instead of relying on the camera?!

Ones things clear, I need to do a lot more research & learning before I make a choice, so I'll be sponging up any info I can find on Pixalo!! I'll try not to ask too many silly questions in doing so!
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Old 03-11-2010, 14:03   #7 (permalink)
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Re: Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ3 - Low Light Problems

Good idea to do your research up front

Good technique is always worth having, but you also need a camera that is capable of delivering what you require too.

The cameras I listed have faster lenses than the FZ100, and if you check out the rest of the specifications you will probably find that they will exceed regular compacts. The sensor and other electronics have a bearing on the quality of the pictures you can get in less than ideal conditions, They are also more compact and lighter than bridge cameras. If they are more expensive, it is due to the more advanced technology within.
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Old 05-11-2010, 21:10   #8 (permalink)
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Re: Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ3 - Low Light Problems

Well Mark has my Nikon D200 & nifty fifty to play with, so how long before we tempt him to spend all his savings on a DSLR setup Sweet revenge for making me buy an Atom after passenger ride in his
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