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  1. #1
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    XZ-1 - Low Light Questions

    First off, let me say that I am extremely new to photography. Earlier this year I decided to really invest in a camera and did some research. I decided that I wanted something fairly compact yet still have some of the features of a DSLR. I found a few high end "point-and-shoot" models and got really excited about them all. The main thing that pushed me towards the XZ-1 was the bright F1.8 lens.

    So basically, this is my first camera that is anything more than a $100 point and shoot. With that said, I'm not sure how cameras are supposed to perform in low light. In my research I learned a few things about my settings: lower ISO yields less noise in the photo but a higher ISO can help with low light, lower F number allows more light in, and lower shutter speed lets the light in for longer. After working with the XZ-1 for a few months now and really learning how to use the fully manual settings, I'm still fairly disappointed with the low light performance. Now this may be because I'm unfamiliar with how cameras usually perform in low light but I don't see what all the fuss is about with the low light performance.

    I have a few theories about why my images aren't coming out the best.
    -Not using a tripod
    -Subjects moving
    -Indoor lighting-I'm not sure how this changes things but I'm amazed at how the camera interprets indoor lighting vs natural sunlight. (The sun is very impressive!)

    Finally let me say that I don't really need to take photos in low light, I would just like to know if I'm doing something wrong or if I'm just misunderstanding something all together.

    I'll try to see if I can find some examples of what I'm talking about.

    Thanks all!

  2. #2
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    Re: XZ-1 - Low Light Questions

    The XZ-1 has a JPG-Engine that you cannot control regarding high ISO. The only way to work around this is the use of RAW. I am using Adobe CS5 and Noise Ninja to get rid of the noise. The XZ-1 has a "nice" noise pattern, it is more like a grainy film and less color noise, so a noise reduction SW can do its job w/o loosing too much detail. Out of Camera the JPG will loose detail starting at ISO 800, with RAW and post processing you can get nice pictures even up to ISO 3200, I'm talking prints up to 8x11.
    Of course it is a learning curve, in P-Mode the camera tends to slow shutter speeds (1/5s) before bumping up the ISO, so keep an eye on the shutter speed or choose S-priority to avoid blurrred images caused by motion.

  3. #3
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    Re: XZ-1 - Low Light Questions

    Thanks! I'll have to start playing around with RAW a lot more to really get used to it.

    Do you have any suggestions on a free noise reduction software?

  4. #4
    Liz
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    Re: XZ-1 - Low Light Questions

    Low light shots are tricky with the XZ-1. Have you tried the "Low light" option on the camera? It does better than if you are using auto.

    Also, you can manually set the ISO to 100 (usually best) or 200. However, that tends to keep the shutter speed too slow so you end up with soft/blurry pics.

    I haven't tried manually setting the ISO as well as the shutter speed. I think you can set the ISO to 100 - then put in S mode and manually set the shutter.

    Most people prefer RAW with this camera, but personally I don't have time to do much post-processing. I usually use PSE7 to edit my pics, normally just tweaking them. However, I don't do very large prints, etc, and 8x10 is my limit - you really have to pixel peep at that size to see much difference.

    I haven't had much time to try out the XZ-1 so I'm not the expert here! But the above just might work.

    Liz

  5. #5
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    Re: XZ-1 - Low Light Questions

    I try to avoid Auto as much as possible with this camera. I'm attempting to learn as much as I can about the process and not just treat it like a simple point and shoot. Its more gratifying to me when I have more control over my images. With that said, I have tried Low Light mode and haven't been super happy with it. Unfortunately I don't have a ton of time for post processing either but if at some point I am forced to shoot low light, I would rather just take a ton of RAW images and process them when I do have time, than end up with poor quality JPEGs.

    Thanks all for your input, its been enlightening

  6. #6
    Liz
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    Re: XZ-1 - Low Light Questions

    Quote Originally Posted by weilkevin View Post
    I try to avoid Auto as much as possible with this camera. I'm attempting to learn as much as I can about the process and not just treat it like a simple point and shoot. Its more gratifying to me when I have more control over my images. With that said, I have tried Low Light mode and haven't been super happy with it. Unfortunately I don't have a ton of time for post processing either but if at some point I am forced to shoot low light, I would rather just take a ton of RAW images and process them when I do have time, than end up with poor quality JPEGs.

    Thanks all for your input, its been enlightening
    Good for you! You are certainly on the right track and have the right attitude toward a rather challenging learning experience. I'm impressed with your willingness to learn in order to get the best that you can get.

    RAW is definitely the way to go with this camera. It is capable of producing wonderful images, especially using RAW - and in the right hands.

    I look forward to seeing what you can do in the future. :thumbsup:

    Liz

  7. #7
    Junior Member fotomatix's Avatar
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    Re: XZ-1 - Low Light Questions

    The 'low light' dilemma for novice, intermediate, and pros is one of the biggest photography challenges that exists. The fact that we try to analyze, uncover, experiment, and challenge ourselves in such scenarios is a solid start.
    I avoid 'auto' as well. 'A' priority, with iso adjust, and slight tamper with exposure comp usually produces a better shot for me than the 'auto'....
    You took a photo of what?
    SONY a6000
    SONY RX100M3
    Canon S110

  8. #8
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    Re: XZ-1 - Low Light Questions

    Quote Originally Posted by weilkevin View Post
    Thanks! I'll have to start playing around with RAW a lot more to really get used to it.

    Do you have any suggestions on a free noise reduction software?
    You can use any software from well known makers. I am using noise ninja, however, they still do not offer a camera profile, nor the E-5 neither the XZ-1, but it works also w/o a special camera profile. I heard good reviews about neat image, but it is a little bit tricky to get all the features work for you.
    Since Photoshop now offers a Raw-converter for the XZ-1, it is a charme to work with it.
    From detail and low noise the pictures beat my old Canon 20D, which was leading at the time it was introduced (late 2004), now a P/S can do the job.
    One accessory I can highly recommend is the VF-2, it is a great help in bright sunlight but using it you need a backup battery, it eats up some power. I used the FL-36R with the cam and it works great, to my surprise this combination is not too unbalanced as you think at first sight. Why I am mentioning this - using the FL36 you can use a diffusor, the built in flash is sometimes too harsh, but it is powerful.
    I loved my E-620 but I think the XZ-1 makes it obsolete, for serious shootings I have my E-5, the light-weight option is now the XZ-1.

  9. #9
    Panarus biarmicus Moderator (Sports) SmartWombat's Avatar
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    Re: XZ-1 - Low Light Questions

    In low light I'll usually go full manual, and set the ISO to 100.
    This was shot in aperture mode, f/8, with ISO locked at 100.
    Camera selected 1/5 for this, hand held with a remote wired release.
    It was bright enough I trusted the camera to meter it.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails XZ-1 - Low Light Questions-p7111646.jpg  
    PAul

    Scroll down to the Sports Forum and post your sports pictures !

  10. #10
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    Re: XZ-1 - Low Light Questions

    such scenarios is a solid start
    :blush2:

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