Night Portraits with the FZ28.

Your's truly with the Mrs. F3.0, 1.0s, ISO100. Disclaimer: No professional models were used in this shoot :)

Here's how I did it:

  • Use a tripod, asking someone to hand held your camera and shoot would NOT do at all.
  • I used Program mode and ask the camera to decide on the settings.
  • I set max ISO to ISO400 but the camera decides ISO100 is good with F3.0 and a shutter time of 1 second.
  • I opened up my flash on the FZ28, and set it to slow sync / red eye mode. This effectively tells the camera that I want a slow shutter to absorb the natural lights but still want the flash to fire a short burst anyway. Auto or Forced Flash would fire flash but would not have a slow shutter to absorb the natural night scenery.
  • Because the flash is used, and it has an effective range, meaning if you stand too far it won't illuminate your face well, my experience says you must stand about less than 10 feet away. On paper, the FZ28 flash has a range of 8.5 meters at wide angle and 5.4 meters at telephoto, but you'll need to experiment with this to get your subject well illuminated.
  • I also used the timer set at 10 seconds. The auto focus assist lamp (orange) will blink and on steady when the timer is about to be reached. Be SURE to tell your subject (people) to stay still for 1 or 2 seconds even after the camera has fired it's flash. This is because the camera has decided to open the shutter for 1 second to absorb the night scenery after firing the flash, and if you moved during this time, your subject will be blurred.
  • Sometimes if I set the camera auto focus mode to face detection, it will not be able to recognize faces during night portraits as the scene is dark. This may cause the camera to focus on other parts of the scene and have your faces out of focus. Therefore, I used 1 area focusing. The default when using 1 area focusing is to focus in the middle of the scene, but if you press the AF/Focus button near the shutter button for a second or two, you'll be able to use the joystick to move the focus rectangle to anywhere you choose. Move this focus rectangle to your subject's faces and the camera should be able to focus properly on your subject's face.

Happy shooting!

Picasa Tuning Magic.

I took this pix and thought it's too dark.

After Picasa automatic tuning, it look OK to me.

What I've learned:

  • Set your FZ28 to max ISO400.
  • Use either Program mode or Shutter mode.
  • Try using ISO100 and if it's too dark, increase the shutter time or increase ISO.
  • Always us a tripod and always use the timer. When you press the shutter on the camera, you'll induce camera shake, and the pix will be blurred, but after the timer, the camera will stable down and the pix will be sharp.
  • Taking a good pix takes time, so don't be in a hurry.

Camera gear shopping in Hong Kong.

If you ever visit this place ...

Avenue of the Stars, Hong Kong, F3.0, 1/8s, ISO100.

... and you don't have much time for gear shopping, then you must visit this place ...

Sim City, Hong Kong, F3.2, 1/30s, ISO125

... it's called Sim City and it has one of the densest camera shop concentration in Hong Kong. Located within short walking distance from MongKok MTR (you should be looking for Sai Yeung Choi Street South), Tin Cheung, Wing Shing, DC Fever and many other shops are all here.

Shop in peace as these shops are not likely to rip you off compared to those on Nathan Road. Because of the financial crisis a few years back, the shopping experience is extremely pleasant with very friendly sales personnel throughout. Although the shops are a bit small compared to elsewhere, but that's to be expected in a place where land is scarce and population density is extremely high. Nonetheless, they are extremely well stocked, and do remember to ask if there is a discount.

I went there to get a light travel tripod, and had wanted to buy a Triopo MT-128C. I emailed Grace from Triopo, and the reply came back quick with a contact to the distributor in Hong Kong. I called and asked for availability and pricing, also where to buy them, and they refered me to DC Power in Sim City. I called up DC Power in Sim City to confirm availability and pricing, but when I reached there, the tripod I wanted was nowhere to be found. They had 1 or 2 other Triopo models which is neither light nor fit for travel. Obviously, they had distribution problems and I ended up with a SLIK, which I'm termendously happy with. More about that later.

Using Maths To Get A Picture.

If you have doubted that the megapixel race is over, doubt no more. has a piece about a breakthrough in maths that'll take a low megapixel image, remove all the noise and possible even give you a high res picture with a high megapixel count. Check that out.