Tag Archive: Autofocus

Panasonic DMC-TZ30EB-R: Is this not a work of art?

Panasonic DMC-TZ30 Compact Camera

Panasonic DMC-TZ30EB-R: Is this not a work of art?

Panasonic DMC-TZ30EB-R: Is this not a work of art?

I’m afraid my old TZ7 (which replaced my earlier TZ5 due to my clumsiness) has now had to be replaced with the new TZ30. The reason?  At some unknown moment, my usual dollard-ish clumsiness put a scratch on the lens…..  the whole recent trip to Australia is marred (to my eyes at least) by a fuzzy mark off-centre at 2 o’clock.

I wanted the red one as it’s a beautiful thing indeed.  In fact, I hunted to get one at a good price within a reasonable time-scale, but have settled for the black one for cost and because I can get it now!..  (The Panasonic DMC-TZ30EB-K).

Iggy Pop, October 25, 1977 at the State Theatr...

Gratuitous photo of Iggy Pop from October 25, 1977 at the State Theatre, Minneapolis, MN (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s now on the way so watch this space for my opinions and results later!!.  I’m extremely hopeful due to the reviews I’ve read.

I’ve waited and have passed over the TZ20 and other incarnations due to unfavourable comments and lack of substantial change in their features.  Now, the TZ30 has tipped the balance for me.  The GPS feature introduced with the TZ10 hasn’t had much interest to me, but maybe this’ll change all that!

Specification Highlights for me are:

  • The 20x optical zoom (naturally) in a body that’s less obtrusive than my current TZ7.
  • Better ISO performance – reputed to be very good at low light down to ISO800.
  • Better burst mode shooting.  It’s supposed to be 10 fps whereas my TZ7 only does about three….  I have some stop-action movie ideas that I started with my old Fuji FinePix F30 that I’d like to continue and expand upon.  The F30 did reasonable frames per second whereas the TZ7 is just too slow for the effects I want.
  • Semi-automatic panorama shooting.  Much better than the old manual stitch mode….
  • Rapid autofocus (AF) – reputed to be 1/10 second.  Combine this with burst mode and nature and sport shots should be great with at least one being on the button.

The info on the Panasonic site is here, though what it doesn’t mention is that the TZ30 battery is also used in the TZ7, which is a bonus for me!  I even have a spare already!  WaHaY!

Specification Gotchas:

The only one I’ve spotted that directly affects my expectations is that in burst mode, the auto-focus is fixed once the burst starts, at 10fps.  However, to counter this the feature is more variable than I’m used to in that with burst mode set to 5fps autofocus and zoom work concurrently!  This definitely needs playing with!

My Standard Expectations:

  • Minimal blue/purple casts or fringing at high contrast edges.
  • Wonderful summer shots with vibrant colour.
  • Much better focus changing in video zooming.

My Quantum Leap Hopes:

  • The same or better sound quality that the F30 and TZ7 delivered.  Both produced full non-clipped audio sound at rock concerts!  The TZ7 does it in stereo.  (see my Iggy Pop video below, discussed in this post, Iggy at Hammersmith).
  • Much, much faster autofocus and burst shooting than I’m used to.  This includes the continuous autofocus & zoom at 5fps mentioned earlier.
  • Much better auto-focus on video zoom especially and pictures generally.  I’m hoping the intelligence of the thing has been re-jigged……    To explain…….

The tendency on my TZ7 is to focus on the near-field whether it’s bright or dark. Yet I want it to focus on what the human eye drifts to, i.e., bright objects.  On the TZ7 I’ve had to use human intervention to override the camera expectations….
The video below shows this.

For me the prime purpose of a compact camera is to get the best shot possible as fast as possible.

At the Stooges concert at Hammersmith below, I’d waited for ages and then suddenly the band came on and kicked off immediately! There was no time to prime the focus because I knew I’d miss some performance, so I had to make allowances for the camera deficiencies by pulling back zoom and trying to get autofocus on the bright areas by field drifting.
Ideally, I should have asked Mr Pop to restart his concert so that I could stop the video, auto-focussing on maximum zoom to distance and then restarting the video before he kicked off again.  ;-)  Obviously that wasn’t going to happen so I did the best I could without missing any of the performance of my historic bête noire idol.
As it was, my guess was right, even to continuing filming without a break, because against all rumours and knowledge that the Raw Power album was to be played in order, it wasn’t!              Search & Destroy immediately followed Raw Power.
 

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Iggy at Hammersmith

I’ve been (and still am!) busy over the last few months moving house and otherwise making a new life for myself.  Despite this, I did find time to go a see an event that I never thought would happen

– James Williamson & Iggy Pop playing on stage together-

  • for the first time in 30 years
  • since Williamson got hepatitis, simultaneously cured himself of drugs, got fed up with musical rejection and went to pursue a carreer in electronics.
  • Iggy plodded on.
Iggy Pop by Alistair Campbell

The World's Forgotten Boy

I never rejected the music.  It’s always been there at top.  A talisman for me, if you like.  I even got a friend to paint a picture for me which has hung proudly in my house!  Ha Ha.

Anyway, this is the first two tracks (Raw Power immediately followed by Search & Destroy) of the show on the 3rd May, 2010.  And it was loud – really, very loud.  It was like a pure homage for many people there.

It was recorded on my Panasonic Lumix TZ7 which performed very well sonically (i.e. no distortion despite the extreme loudness) and fairly well visually….

The trouble with the video was that I didn’t have time to “prime” the autofocus at it’s maximum zoom to the range of the stage.  Instead, the band shot on stage with no warning and then the autofocus kept getting fooled by all the hands in the air, etc.  Add to that the fact that I nearly got knocked over when “Search & Destroy” kicks off…..

Still, it’s still pretty good, and excellent in HD on full screen played through decent speakers or headphones!  Ab-so-fucking-loot-ly!

Strange Wistful Yearning

When the band finally left the stage, Iggy was last to leave and then popped out for a minute to thank everyone for being there.  I swear that he was almost in tears with the realisation, perhaps, that the end of this life was near and that he’d finally “made it” into some sort of acceptance.

…or something like that.  It’s hard to describe, but it certainly wasn’t a normal cheerio that I’ve seen before.

Dirt

More like the end of all the “Dirt” in his life.  I saw The Ig do this at the Newcastle Mayfair around about 1979 and it was one of the finest things I’ve ever seen – the tears were streaming down my face.

But at the end of that show, Iggy just finished like an old pro.  The end on the 3rd May was different, very much so.

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Fuji FinePix F30, RIP. What now?

productDefaultMainImage_1_.jpgMy camera has bit the dust – literally and metaphorically.  Unfortunately, it’s had too many falls from a height onto a hard tiled floor which has bent the external case a bit and made picture taking inoperative.  Picture viewing is okay but everything connected with the “Go” button and the option mode selector on top is defunct.

So if anyone wants an old camera to pull apart, maybe for spares, then let me know! You can have it for the postage.

You’ll need a teeny-weeny tricorn type of screwdriver as well – some screws are posidrive, but others are this three-pronged affair.  I thought I’d check if something was fixable, like a circuit board coming adrift, say – but the weird screws have put me off.

I can’t give you a picture – but there’s a definite gap and looseness on the case edge.

As an afterthought, during WW2, my dad got a Bausch and Lomb pair of naval binoculars (7 x 50), which still work even now.  The naval test was that the binoculars had to survive a drop from 6 feet onto a hard steel deck!

Well the Fuji FinePix F30 optics seem to have survived the physical fall, but the electronics or switches controlling them haven’t!  The lens still expands, the autofocus still clicks and whirrs, and the motorised zoom still works.

But now point and click – I’m bereft!  I always seem to take what I treasure for granted and hoard the rubbish.  It’s a failing, I know.

stockItemMainImage1_1_.jpgNext camera: maybe the Fuji FinePix F100fd?  Any ideas anyone…

Badger closeup

Badger closeup

I really liked the F30.  If I hadn’t had that camera there is no way I’d have got the picture of the local badger.

In my view, it’s (paradoxically) single failing was that the battery lasted for too long before recharge.  When the time came, I’d usually have forgotten where I’d left the charger, and it was so long in the past when I’d last done it that I’d blow a gasket looking for it!

Points to make:

  • The F100fd has a bit more zoom and a bit more low-light level capability.
  • But it’s a few mm bigger all round which makes it harder to squeeze into my pocket.
  • And it’s battery only lasts half the time of the F30.
  • It’s got less functionality over shutter and aperture choice and control – although to be fair, I never used the options that much on the F30 – but it was fun to experiment.

What I want is a neat, fast, intensely portable camera to trap any moment as accurately as possible.  These things are all mutually exclusive compromises – hence my next purchase dilemma.

I need:

  • A camera that is always available – hence the need for long battery life and plenty of storage space.
  • A camera that takes shots in great detail, so that the subject doesn’t necessarily need proper centring, as cropping can be used afterwards.
  • A camera that is fast, to trap rapidly occurring events and capable of getting reasonable results whatever the lighting – the F30 was really good at this.

The F100fd is there;  but it’s a lot of dosh to waste on a lemon if I’m wrong.  Some good comparative reviews by Jeff Keller are here for the F30 and here for the F100fd.  I’m tempted to hunt down another F30/F31fd!  The barrel distortion is a lot worse I think with the F100fd looking at the reviews, plus the other cons I mentioned above..

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