Sunday, 18 August 2013

Photographs wide and long

I have muttered in various posts about my new camera, a Panasonic TZ40.   I have been more than happy with using the camera in a fairly basic mode, and the pictures I have posted over the last month have hopefully shown that it does the job needed.

However I think my friend Roger Farrow, who originally recommended the camera to me (and others) has been reading the manual!!  This is a large task since the full on-line version is some 317 pages.  Fortunately it seems to be a very good manual.  I am assuming that is where Roger has found out about the ability of the camera to take really BIG zoom pictures and panoramas.

Really BIG zoom
Part of the reason I have liked the Panasonic Lumix range is the large zoom available.  In my previous camera (an FZ 40) this went to 24X.  In the TZ40 the default zoom is 20X, which appeared to do quite a good job (eg taking an image of a Yellowhammer at about 20m distance).  However Roger mentioned that it has an 'Extra Optical Zoom [EOZ}' function that boosts the magnification to 40X ".  I had to read the manual (asking for detailed guidance is even more un-manly than reading a manual) to find out how to do this!

The manual does caution that there will be a loss of quality, but the camera menu says this will not be great.  So I went and tried it out on my Tawny Frogmouths, taking two images standing in exactly the same place.  The first image shows the result with EOZ turned off.
This is a shot from exactly the same position with EOZ turned on.
I think we have a winner.  Perhaps the sharpness isn't what one might want if:

However I think it is definitely fit for purpose, when I resize the images to a longest side of 640 pixcels.

With the FZ40, and any other camera I have owned the process of making a panorama has involved taking several photographs and then using external software to stitch them together on the computer.  This is rather difficult (eg: to get just the right amount of overlap and to keep the camera level while pressing the shutter release for each shot).

Roger sent me a great shot of a 180 degree (ie semicircle) view from Noah Beach on Cape Tribulation.
Back to the manual for a little more reading, and then off with the small dog to the high point in Widgiewa Rd where I took a couple of shots.  They need to be clicked to get a decent view.  The first is about 135 degrees looking SE and the second possibly 90 degrees looking W.

The technique is very easy:
  1. Select the correct mode;
  2. Press the shutter;
  3. Pan round keeping the camera level;
  4. Press the shutter again to stop shooting.
During step 3 a number of clicks come from the camera as it takes multiple images.  After stage 4 a message comes up about creating panorama, and then the stitched image is there to be viewed on the camera.

Well done that camera maker!


Ian Fraser said...

Strewth and damn you! Up until now I've been very happy with my FZ40...

fnkykntr said...

lovely shots, great panoramas! Its amazing what the latest cameras can do with panoramic, even the new iphone panorama capability is much better than my camera which has the old style stitch-up (and it is only 3.5 years old, I guess that is old these days the way technology moves!).

Flabmeister said...

Thanks Ian and Hazel.

I should say Ian that I was also happy with the FZ40 until some of the buttons became a little 'optional' in whether they would work or not. I was finding that the lags were inconvenient:
> with birds, as they'd gone by the time I had sorted things out; or
> with plants I didn't like holding up 4 other folk while I used the Vulcan Death Grip on the review button to retake a zoom-macro shot.

If your FZ40 is still going well stick with it. If it is showing signs of age, I can suggest who to contact!