Panasonic FZ30 Camera

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Smoky

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Well we took the plunge.

This evening we have been charging the FZ30 battery (don't like the fact that I cannot use popular non rechargeable batteries) and going through the manual.  And even had time to play with the camera inside the coach after the battery charged (I like the fact that the battery charges pretty quickly).

Already I can see a significant improvement in picture quality over my old camera, though nothing more challenging to shoot than our cat's antics at 1 am in the morning.

We also picked up the HP 335 photo printer.  That is one of those really tiny devices that can spit out 4x6 prints without having to go through a PC.  The Admiral insisted on this as a requirement since she is taking over the old Olympus (her first digital) and does not want to fool with a PC and printer.  Have not tried it out yet.

I opened this new thread for 2 reasons... first to thank everyone from other threads that gave me such good information on this fine camera.

And secondly, to maybe encourage some of you to discuss what you have learned about using this camera and any tips to offer.

For starters, what mode do you use most often? 

Right now I am playing with the "P" mode.  Maybe I should stick with the beginner's "A" mode with all the presets, but the "P" mode was the default mode and I figure maybe having the door open to more choices will help me learn more about the camera.

At any rate, that is where I am at right now.  It is obvious this camera has a huge amount of tricks and resources to offer and likely a couple of months from now I will still have barely scratched the surface of what I can do.  But it appears to be a tameable beast, and within a couple minutes I was taking better pictures than I ever took with the 4 year old Olympus.

another thing I don't like (I like hundreds of things so don't take this the wrong way) is that the lens cap is not ins some way attached to the camera.  Losing the lens cap would be a serious loss.  Are they easily replacable?  Or has some one figured out a way to attach a cord and keep them tied to the camera?

On a related subject, I see on of the accesories is a clear lens attachment designed to protect the primary lens.  Has anyone out there obtained the clear lens, and does it do the job?
 

Bob Buchanan

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>> Well we took the plunge.
Great, Smoky? -- am sure you will have years of pleasure from that camera.

Your questions are generic, so tho I don't have the FZ30, hopefully I can help.

>> For starters, what mode do you use most often?
====
P is for program: The camera just takes over and you have a point and shoot camera. Whatever it feels is right to balance the shutter speed and aperture -- that's what it Will do for you. It's hard to go wrong there. A good place to start.

S is for Shutter Priority: Shutter speed is used to control movement. Note some of the discussions on Jerry's trip to Indy. If he wanted to "stop the action" he uses a fast shutter speed. If he want to create the illusion of speed, he slows down the shutter speed. This way, for example, a water fall will become blurred as it moves while the shutter is still open -- thereby creating the illusion of movement.

A is for Aperture Priority: Aperture controls depth of field. If you want to make the background fuzzy such as in a portrait, the aperture should be open more -- and if shooting scenery, the aperture needs to be a pin hole for maximum DOF. Ansel Adams most always shot at f-64. This is why you will see Ron M. and Jim D. almost always on a tripod doing scenery. They are always at their smallest aperture (largest f-number), so the coresponding shutter speed late in the day can be really slow to get enought light to the electronic film -- and not doable in a hand held mode.

M is for Manual: i shoot in manual when doing a panoramic. If I shoot three to five shots to make up a panoramic, I want each one to have the exact same exposure. Prior to beginning the pan, I will spot meter the entire pan to determine the best same exposure to use thru the pan.?I will then put the camera in Manual and key in that exposure. An "A", "P", or "S" setting wouldl automatically cause changes in exposure with each shot in the pan according to light diffences. When stitched together, these changes in exposure will be a problem and cause noticable lines at each stitch joint.

>> . . . the lens cap is not ins some way attached to the camera.
====
You can purchase a lens cap holder at most any camera store. It connects to the lens cap and the camera body. If lost, yes, most any lens cap is replaceable - either by the manufacturer or generic.

>> On a related subject, I see on of the accessories is a clear lens attachment designed to protect the primary lens.? Has anyone out there obtained the clear lens, and does it do the job?
====
Get a protective lens or filter right away. You have an expensive piece of glass in that Leica lens and don't want to risk any kind of scratch or whatever. Not sure what Panasonic is selling there, but most will buy either an Ultraviolet & Circular Polarizer filter lens for protection. These not only protect, but have a purpose while shooting.

The Ultraviolet will help reduce the haze you will find on certain days. A polarizer filter will do just what a pair of polarized sun glasses will do. It called a "Circular" filter because as you look thru the viewfinder, you can turn the filter until it cuts out that glare you see on a windshield or other object. A little tougher to judge with an EVF versus a SLR viewfinder -- but necessary and doable.

Either of these filters can be had for $15-30.00 at Fry's or most any camera store. On line will get you the best prices.

Again, Smoky -- all the best with your new toy. You'll love it.
 

Tom

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Congratulations Smoky. I won't pretend to be an expert on DSC's, although I'm currently on my 5th, but I've been close to buying the Panasonic FZ30 myself.

For the benefit of others reading along, here's some of the prior discussion you mentioned that helped influence your decision.
 

Ron

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Congratulations Smoky.  I'm sure you will get much use from your new FZ30.  Looks like Bob has already answered your questions.  By all means be sure to get a filter to protect the lens and a lens cap leash to keep the cap from wondering off.
 

Karl

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Bob,

It called a "Circular" filter because as you look thru the viewfinder, you can turn the filter until it cuts out that glare you see on a windshield or other object.

Both linear and circular polarizers operate by rotation of the filter to get the desired effect. I found an excellent article on polarizers here: http://www.luminous-landscape.com/tutorials/polarizers.shtml, complete with photo illustrations.

Like you, I always have either a Skylight (1A) filter or polarizer attached; skylight for hazy conditions, polarizer for better color saturation and glare elimination.
 

Ron

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Smoky said:
Are the filters generic or do I have to get one specially made for the FZ30?

Your FZ30 takes a 55 MM filter.  Any camera shop should have them  I would recommend a UV or skylight filter for lens protection and a polarizer filter.  While I do not always have the polarizer filter installed I do always have the UV filter installed. 
 

Smoky

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Thanks Ron!? This will give me something to do on our New England leg which begins in an hour.? I will look for camera shops and see who can fit me.? I am a little disappointed that Ritz did not have this filter in stock when I purchased the camera.? They gave us free passport photos in a very nice set of folders though, as part of the deal.

Next question, anyone get an extra set of batteries.? I was wondering if it was worth the effort to have them so as to be able to switch over on the go.

Also, what is the proper charging procedure.? The manual does not state whether or not these are the kind of batteries that have to be FULLY discharged before charging as to prolong life, or if they can just be popped back into the charger at any time after some use.

I am still wondering what mode the FZ30 owners here prefer as their default mode.? I am currently using mode "N".

We are pulling out for New England in an hour.  I will wake the Admiral and we begin pulling in slides and hooking up the toad.  She is pretty testy when I do this at 5:15 am.  :eek:  Tonight I hope we are safely snuggled in a campsite just northeast of Binghamton NY.  Sunday night we visit with a high school buddy I have not seen in 50 years.  Then on to upstate NY... Saranac, Lake Placid, Lake George, Schroon Lake, and Plattsburgh.  I spent my summers in the North country as a youth and am anxious to show this area to the Admiral.  In a week we will be exploring that "new" back road route through northern VT, so will keep everyone posted as to whether or not we repeat our Jerome misadventure.  :eek: :eek:

 

rhmahoney

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"another thing I don't like (I like hundreds of things so don't take this the wrong way) is that the lens cap is not ins some way attached to the camera.  Losing the lens cap would be a serious loss.  Are they easily replacable?  Or has some one figured out a way to attach a cord and keep them tied to the camera?

On a related subject, I see on of the accesories is a clear lens attachment designed to protect the primary lens.  Has anyone out there obtained the clear lens, and does it do the job?"

Just don't bother with the lens cap at all. Put on a UV ( or skylight or polarizing) filter and the lens hood. This combo fits into my amcient 35 mm camera form fitting hoster with room to spare. The hood keeps the glass from rubbing on anything.
 

Ron

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Smoky said:
Next question, anyone get an extra set of batteries.? I was wondering if it was worth the effort to have them so as to be able to switch over on the go.

Also, what is the proper charging procedure.? The manual does not state whether or not these are the kind of batteries that have to be FULLY discharged before charging as to prolong life, or if they can just be popped back into the charger at any time after some use.

Yes I did get a spare battery that I can use when needed.  I usually don't charge the battery till run down.  A spare battery is a must IMHO.

I am still wondering what mode the FZ30 owners here prefer as their default mode.? I am currently using mode "N".

I normally use the P mode unless I want A or S mode for some shots.

 

Bob Buchanan

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Smoky said:
I am still wondering what mode the FZ30 owners here prefer as their default mode.? I am currently using mode "N".

That's a setting I have not seen on the FZ30. But again, I do not own an FZ30. If you meant M as in manual, I would suggest that you do not use that as your default setting. If you go that way, you would have to manually meter each shot and then set the exposure manually to match the metered settings you find.

Were you able read my post on the 4 main mode settings?? Those settings are standard on most better digitals and are not specific to FZ30 users. Until and unless you understand the photographic function of each, would suggest staying with the "P" setting. That way you don't have to worry about apertures and shutters speed stuff until you understand them better. Or perhaps you already do.

When I am shooting vanilla scenery -- I go with "A" and set the aperture a small as possible for maximum depth of field. Some will stay with that as long as they are shooting scenery and there is plenty of daylight light.

My sister, bless her heart, has never used settings other than "P" -- and has no desire to learn any more about photography principles. I decided to not explain that she could have bought a point and shoot that has only that one setting built in and saved hundreds of dollars. Her friends see her as very "cool" having such an impressive looking camera. 8)  So she is happy and that makes me happy. :)
 

JerArdra

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Smokey,

You must mean M for manual not N.  Mine does not have an N.  In manual you have to be as good as Bob Buchanan or Ron Marabito because YOU must decide what F-stop and shutter speed to use.  Go with P and than learn A and S.

JerryF
 

Ron

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Earlier on in this topic the use of POLARIZER filters was mentioned and Karl provided a very imformative link on Polarizer filters.? For another good source to learn more about polarizer filters and when and how to use them look HERE
 

Tom

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Thanks for the link Ron. I used to have UV filters on my SLR camera lenses, but the times I tried a polarizer I had no idea what I was doing.
 

Wendy

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Can one of you proud Panasonic FZ30 camera owners tell me where the zoom control is? I've looked a couple of digital cameras that have it on the back,  next to the eye piece, and I find that clumsy since I'm a left-eye viewer. Mike's Olympus has it on the top front.
 

rhmahoney

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Zoom is the front ring on the lens. Turn counterclockwise for telephoto. The inner ring is for manual focus. I find them intuitive.
 

Ron

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The zoom is manual on the FZ30 which is a plus for me.  Gives better control.  The focus can be auto or manual which ever fits the need for the shot.

 

Betty Brewer

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wendycoke said:
Can one of you proud Panasonic FZ30 camera owners tell me where the zoom control is? I've looked a couple of digital cameras that have it on the back,? next to the eye piece, and I find that clumsy since I'm a left-eye viewer. Mike's Olympus has it on the top front.
Wendy,
Russ  gave me a brief lesson tonight on how to use the camera.  The telephoto  adjustment is on the  outside  ring of the lense itself.  Like a 35mm camera focus.  I like it and it is not in a hard spot to find. My little Sony digital has  a telephoto that is very hard to use when you are in a panic hurry like capturing a moving moose along the road! Camera lesson are good!  Thank you Russ.

Betty
 

Smoky

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Thanks Ron for the polarizer link.

We elected to purchase one yesterday, and NOT to use any kind of filter for lens protection.  We will use the polarizer only when needed.  After speaking with several professional photographers and reading Rob Shepperd's very fine book on Zoom Digital Cameras, I was convinced that a protective lens does more harm than good.  These experts noted that few professionals will put on a filter unless a desired effect is needed because of the light loss, slight distortions, and other factors that come into play.  They all preach that the secret to lens protection is for the photographer to develop good camera habits.  Like Russ does, keeping the hood on is one of the best protective practices, and we will be doing this.  Besides, it looks cool and people are always asking what kind of nice camera we have lol!  ;D ;D  We also will use the lens cap at all times when not taking pictures.  Ritz camera has several kinds of accessories that allow you to leash the lens cap to the camera, solving that problem for us.  We also picked up an extra lens cap just in case.

The only drawback to all of this is that now I will have to begin to carry my camera bag with me (another good form of protection) because of all the accessories we are picking up.  I am starting to look like a backpacker, and definitely like a tourist.  ;D
 
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