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Discussion in 'Panasonic Cameras' started by bogart, Dec 25, 2012.

  1. bogart

    bogart Mu-43 Rookie

    Dec 25, 2012
    May I start my first post by wishing everyone a very happy Christmas.
    Due to persistent nagging by my wife:frown: that my pictures leave a lot to be desired I have decide to try to rectify the situation.
    I have read article after article on this camera and that camera.
    I believe I only have a problem with pictures in low/poor lighting. So I decided to try a few cameras out. Today I have used both a GX1 and an Olympus XZ-1
    Now I know they are totally different types of camera but I thought it would be an interesting exercise. I choose the GX1 due to it having a good sized sensor and the Olympus as it has a fast lens 1.8 to 2.5 but a smaller sensor.
    Now I wasn't sure how the bigger sensor on the GX1 with a slower lens would compare with a smaller sensor with a faster lens on the XZ-1
    Well I've been taking pictures all day long inside and I must say using the cameras own auto setup the Olympus pictures are far and away the better.
    I was very disappointed in the those of the GX1 being quite grainey.
    I've tried to adjust the GX1 settings but to be honest it hasn't made much difference. I did some shots using the flash but a lot looked as if the flash was overpowering the situation.
    As the GX1 in the UK is about twice the cost of the XZ-1 why should I spend double for a poorer performance, at least in poor light.?
    Comments gratefully received.
  2. clockwise

    clockwise Mu-43 Regular

    Apr 23, 2012
    New York, NY
    Brian R
    If you're concerned about low light performance, the GX1 will probably give better results with a moderately fast lens. Try it with the Panasonic 14/2.5 for instance (~$200 on eBay) and you should be happy.

    However, if you're generally disappointed with the quality of your images, I would recommend a book rather than new hardware. Try Bruce Barnbaum's The Art of Photography. It's full of excellent advice, both on technical matters and on composition, and it will definitely produce better returns than would a new camera.
    • Like Like x 1
  3. clockwise

    clockwise Mu-43 Regular

    Apr 23, 2012
    New York, NY
    Brian R
    BTW, which camera and lens have you been using until now?
  4. bogart

    bogart Mu-43 Rookie

    Dec 25, 2012
    I used Panasonic TZ20 for quite a while and found it to be okay but I always thought there was something missing in the end results, again low light was poor but not unexpected on this type of camera. I put the XZ-1 in the same sort of category but hopefully of a better standard.
    I'm a bit concerned that the GX1 is a bit over complicated for my needs, the manual running to over 200 pages.:rolleyes: 
  5. clockwise

    clockwise Mu-43 Regular

    Apr 23, 2012
    New York, NY
    Brian R
    Okay. Then either the GX1 or the XZ1 should do the trick. Why not go with the less expensive option? If you don't think you'll want to change lenses in the future, then there's really no reason for the GX1.

    The only thing I would add is, if you're happy with everything about your images other than the level of noise, a hardware update should be sufficient. If there are other reasons for your dissatisfaction though, the Barnbaum book will be really helpful.
  6. Jimboh

    Jimboh Mu-43 Regular

    Sep 17, 2010
    Go with what works

    IMO answer is simple, go with the camera that gives you immediate improvement. You could buy more lenses, this or that, but Isn't an immediate improvement at least costthe outcome you are looking for?
  7. Ulfric M Douglas

    Ulfric M Douglas Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 6, 2010
    In poor light the restricted aperture of a kit zoom lens is going to cripple whatever you want to do with ANY camera.
    For example just tonight I used my e-P2 to take dim-light photos of our Xmas dinner. No way was I going to put any of the kit zooms on : I used my 45mm with max aperture of F1.8. The camera's internal stabilisation worked a treat at 1/10th sec and it did a decent job.
    With the kit zoom there would have been about four times less light to work with ... serious.

    My advice to you would be try out the XZ1 against some rival compacts also with good apertures and then buy the winner. Canon and Sony do some good ones too.
  8. robbie36

    robbie36 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 25, 2010
    rob collins
    The Panny GX1 is a good camera but you are holding back its results if you only use a kit lens on it. You certainly need a prime if you want to get good results in low lighting.

    The XZ-1 is a decent compact but it has been overtaken but much better compacts in the past year. I have the Sony RX100 which will give you significantly greater resolution and far better low light performance than the XZ-1 (but at a substantially higher price.)

    Here is an internet comparison.

    Olympus XZ-1 vs Sony DSC-RX100 - Our Analysis
  9. ghetto

    ghetto Mu-43 Regular

    hard to tell exactly what you're asking, are you asking

    1) which camera to buy
    2) how to get rid of the grain with out a flash
    3) how to get better pictures?

    if you're asking for camera purchase advice... if you think the gx1 is expensive and you're new to this, have you considered olympus'? like an older e-pl1 or something? they are usually found at around the same price as some of those enthusiast p&s's now and oly is well remarked for having one of the best jpg images / colours straight out of the camera - no raw messing or anything like that.

    If you're asking about getting rid of the grain - the only way is to use a low ISO, i.e. 200 / 400 and maybe 800 /1600 on some newer cameras. Try it out, take the same picture at different ISO's and you'll see the difference. Of course to use ISO 200 in lower lights like in side, a good F lens helps, i.e. the f1.8 you mentioned, or on the interchangeable lenses the oly 17mm f2.8 or panny 14mm 2.5 are cost-effective solutions (yes the other mentioned 45mm f1.8 and 20mm f1.7 are good but much more expensive by 2 or 3x).

    If you're asking about how to get better pictures... that's more complicated, start reading, start playing, and take that dial off "auto". Start using Aperture & Shutter & Manual modes.

    In theory the GX1 will get better pictures than the xz-1, it depends on how you use it and which lens you put on the gx1. (no don't go for the olympus body cap lens, it's cheap but... no just don't do it.)
  10. jloden

    jloden Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 15, 2012
    Hunterdon County, NJ
    I feel a bit like a broken record since I say this in every thread asking why people's indoor pics are dark, blurry, or noisy, but...

    The absolute best investment you can make in your photography is to spend a little bit of time with a quality book like Understanding Exposure. If you give it even a few hours of your time I suspect it would make a world of difference in your results, regardless of what camera you use. If you're not interested in time investment and just want the easiest camera to use in auto mode then I'd say go with the Olympus if it's working better for you. If you're interested in more details, I'll try to explain in a nutshell what you're seeing below.

    Basically what you're running into is a simple case of limitations of the physics of exposure. Larger sensors still utilize the same "exposure triangle" (Aperture, Shutter speed, ISO). You don't say what lens you were using on the Panasonic, but I'm assuming you're using a kit lens? With you shooting indoors with two cameras, even though the Panasonic has a larger sensor it's limited by the smaller maximum aperture of the lens which means only so much light reaches the sensor. To make up for that, the ISO has to be increased (the other leg of the exposure triangle), which in turn makes the photograph more noisy. The solution is to balance out the exposure at a lower ISO, which means: use a faster (larger maximum aperture) lens, use a tripod and slower shutter speed, OR add light via the interior lights or use of a flash. One more tip: the GX1's flash is designed so that you can also bend it backward with your finger to "bounce" the flash off the ceiling, which will soften and diffuse the light and help avoid the harsh look typical to small on-camera flash units.

    Hope some of that helps, and good luck in your quest!
    • Like Like x 4
  11. Zariell

    Zariell Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Sep 28, 2012
    Bountiful, UT
    I would also recommend Understanding Flash by the same author, since flash can be one of the great equalizers to a kit lens, and it's fairly straightforward to understand.
    • Like Like x 1
  12. ghetto

    ghetto Mu-43 Regular

    I also recommend just doing a web search on these topics. You don't have to buy books to learn now a days. There's a ton of free online material including free books or free courses online. Many of these things are high quality material, some are provided by universities or proper professionals etc - not just some random persons thoughts (like me or something).

    The question here is what to look up search for, and as some other people have mentioned already, things like ISO or aperture or how to use flash etc.
  13. iGonzoid

    iGonzoid Mu-43 Veteran

    Feb 6, 2011
    Tasmania, Australia
    My 5c worth... As someone already said, switch off Auto [or P] and go all-manual on speed and aperture — and keep notes of aperture, speed, ISO, if you are not examining exif data on your RAW files. Shoot and process RAW images to reduce unwanted noise and colour casts, fringeing etc — and to learn the consequences of speed and aperture. Practise framing each shot carefully and try to get as close to your final cropping in camera, rather than in processing — usually means less enlargement, which can worsen any kind of blurring due to slow shutter speed, imprecise focus. Get at least one high speed lens, prime [fixed focal length] lens, the fastest you can afford. Kit lenses are useful but vastly inferior to primes. Once you know what focal length lens suits most of your shooting — wide, "normal" [50mm eq], portrait, tele — get the fastest such lens you can afford. Then ditch the flash, or use bounce flash to lessen the harshness and flatness. Experiment — try [if your camera will allow] changing the aspect ratio from 3/4 to 2/3 [as in the classic 35mm format and nicely printable on A4] or even 16/9, which will fit the dimensions of an HD screen in 1920/1080 resolution. I love going 16/9 — even for portraits. Above all, enjoy!!! Play and remember the final image is in your eye at a particular moment, rather than in what gear you have.
    • Like Like x 1
  14. supermaxv

    supermaxv Mu-43 Veteran

    Sep 20, 2011
    I found that taking pictures of family at get togethers is 100 times easier with much better results with a flash (in my case, a FL-36R), even with fast lenses.
  15. ApGfoo

    ApGfoo Mu-43 Regular

    Dec 10, 2012
    Bay Area
    I concur. It's difficult taking indoor group photos in low light without the use of flash.

    OP tell use the type of indoor shots that you typically shoot. Are they group photos, kids running around, etc. If anything add more light inside your home.
  16. 00r101

    00r101 Mu-43 Regular

    Jan 21, 2012
    Look at the lx series. Small sensor but with a fast lens might be the answer. The LX7 is the new model but you can still get the LX5 (I just used it in low light with wonderful results. Pricing is much lower than
    GX1 kit.
  17. bogart

    bogart Mu-43 Rookie

    Dec 25, 2012
    Hi guys thanks for all the input it's really appreciated. I think, as stated by some of you, is the cause, it really isn't fast enough for my needs. Now to buy a faster one ie 20mm/f1.7 will cost me around another £175, which I am unsure I can justify on the results criteria. Oh and one other thing I'm not too keen on with the XZ-1 is there is no 1920 x 1080 native resolution. I like this as I use it on my screen all the time. I do very little printing of pics and tend to review and look at solely on PC screen or TV at 1920 x 1080
  18. Ulfric M Douglas

    Ulfric M Douglas Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 6, 2010
    But what's the problem? :confused: 
  19. wreckless

    wreckless Mu-43 Regular

    Jan 15, 2011
    Just buy a LX5 or LX7. you will not be disappointed.
  20. dixeyk

    dixeyk Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 9, 2010
    You're not going to be satisfied with the GX1 and the kit lens shooting inside in low light with no flash. The XZ1 will have an advantage because it has a fast lens. Since you say you don't print (or do so infrequently) then I should think any number of fast lens compacts like the XZ1, XZ2, Panasonic LX3, LX5, LX7 and Sony RX100 would all be nice options for you.

    The GX1 is a terrific camera and paired with a nice fast lens like the Panasonic 20/1.7 or PL25/1.4 it is capable of amazing results but you're looking at $300 - $500 for those lenses. Based on the way you say that you use the camera I'm not sure you would see enough benefit to justify it.
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