How is the gx7 using flash indoors under incandescent lighting?

Discussion in 'Panasonic Cameras' started by shepx13, Jul 25, 2014.

  1. shepx13

    shepx13 Mu-43 Regular

    196
    Aug 7, 2012
    Tyler, TX
    Ken
    I'm looking for a smaller camera to complement my em-5. I have owned a gx1 and most recently an epl5. While the camera will be primarily used by me, it will also occasionally be used by my wife at social events. Note: she knows nothing of cameras, and treats it as a point and shoot.
    I loved the gx1, but it had atrocious indoor white balance, especially when using the built in flash under incandescent and mixed lighting. (awful red skin tones) Like, ridiculously bad IMO. I've found the olympus with clip on flash to be great (or, as great as can be expected for direct flash) when used outdoors, or indoors under extremely low light. But indoors under normal lighting, it produces skin tones only moderately better than the gx1.

    If it's something serious, and I'm with her, I'll just shoot my em5 with an FL 600, which works great. This is not an option for my wife, and she doesn't have the knowledge to mess with constantly changing we settings with the smaller cameras.

    I had pretty much made up my mind to get a Sony rx100ii as a solution, but as I would still be the primary user of it, I'd rather stick with a m4/3 if I can.
    Has Panasonic made improvements to their awb under these conditions, with the gx7? With the recent price drops, it's not much more than the Sony would be.
     
  2. synthetictone

    synthetictone Mu-43 Regular

    124
    May 22, 2013
    Atlanta, GA
    Dean
    As good as AWB had gotten on many modern cameras, I really don't know any camera in which AWB does great under the lighting conditions you mentioned with Flash too. If you are shooting in those type of conditions, I think you should just set a custom white balance and go with it. I realize your wife might not know how to do this but maybe you could set it for her just before you hand her the camera.
     
  3. shepx13

    shepx13 Mu-43 Regular

    196
    Aug 7, 2012
    Tyler, TX
    Ken
    So are you saying that the gx7 is no better than the gx1 was?

    Sure, I can set a specific or manual WB when I'm there. But doesn't help when I'm not.

    I'm not expecting perfection, but considering I've had old p&s cameras from 8+ years ago that do better than these. It's really not acceptable.



    Sent from my XT1058 using Mu-43 mobile app
     
  4. synthetictone

    synthetictone Mu-43 Regular

    124
    May 22, 2013
    Atlanta, GA
    Dean
    I cannot say anything in regards to the GX7 or GX1. Never used either. I just know from experience with other cameras that what you are asking is not an easy task for any camera. I would be really interested to know what the 8+ year old P&S was that did better though. Can you post images from that camera that you felt are good and images from the GX1 in the same lighting situation that are not as good?
     
  5. shepx13

    shepx13 Mu-43 Regular

    196
    Aug 7, 2012
    Tyler, TX
    Ken
    It was an old canon elph. Don't remember what model. Now that I think of it, it's about 6 years old because I got it for her when we got married. Photos themselves weren't great, but wb was much better. I'm sure if I went through her old images I could find some, but I'm not wasting my time with that (because she's not organized like I am, and it's not relevant to this.) But I also had an s95 that did much better as well, but it developed the dreaded "zoom won't open" error, and I refuse to buy another one from Canon.

    Anyways, thanks for your input, but I would really like to hear from someone who's got a gx7 and uses it under the conditions I've listed.
     
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  6. Bif

    Bif Mu-43 Veteran

    380
    May 28, 2012
    San Angelo TX
    Bruce Foreman
    The problem is not WB, it is the size of the flash. The built in/pop up/or tiny clip on flash for most of these cameras just does not have the power or the reflector size to get enough light out there to do much. It is intended mainly as a close up solution and in order to "compete" with ambient incandescant or flourescent lighting there would have to be a lot more power and minimum 3" reflector to "punch" the light out.

    One ad for Metz (I believe) pro flash use to read:

    "Do you take the Bride & Groom, minister, wedding party and altar all in one shot?"

    (Image of a "potato masher" flash with fair size rectangular head) "I do!"

    I used to work weddings with flash that had 5" minimum reflector.
     
  7. fortwodriver

    fortwodriver Mu-43 Top Veteran

    959
    Nov 15, 2013
    Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    Frank
    Can't you just gel the flash to match the incandescent lighting? As far as I can remember, I always gelled my flash units in tungsten light to balance its colour temp.

    Do that and then set your white balance to incandescent.

    Otherwise, even if you set a custom white balance and don't gel the flash, you're going to end up with some off-colours because the flash is daylight-balanced. By gelling the flash to the same colour temp as the incandescent light, you'll solve the problem - albeit with reduced output from the flash - so the flash unit will have to work harder to throw the same amount of light.

    I believe the usual gel is CT Full Orange... I could be wrong though.
     
  8. shepx13

    shepx13 Mu-43 Regular

    196
    Aug 7, 2012
    Tyler, TX
    Ken
    Hey Bif, I agree for the most part. But the simple fact is that I've seen plenty of other cameras do better with similar size flashes. I'm not expecting perfection, just better.



    I could gel the flash, if I knew it would be incandescent lighting beforehand or I was with her. My issue though is more due to when I'm not around, she has no idea how to handle different lighting conditions. I've tried to encourage her to use a camera instead of her phone. But it's really discouraging when she does and the output color makes some of the photos look so poor. At that point, she says she'd just rather user her phone for convenience.
     
  9. shepx13

    shepx13 Mu-43 Regular

    196
    Aug 7, 2012
    Tyler, TX
    Ken
    Well, with the prices the gx7 are going for now, I'm going to give it a shot anyways. Hope it works out for me.

    Sent from my XT1058 using Mu-43 mobile app
     
  10. fortwodriver

    fortwodriver Mu-43 Top Veteran

    959
    Nov 15, 2013
    Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    Frank
    Hmmm... What if you just dial down the saturation and enable RAW+JPEG in the camera settings for when she goes out alone? Have you got an example you can show us?

    Also, I would think by now the mad dash to swap out incandescent light with CFL and LED would create a whole host of other colour balance problems eventually anyway.
     
  11. shepx13

    shepx13 Mu-43 Regular

    196
    Aug 7, 2012
    Tyler, TX
    Ken
    I didn't dial down the saturation, but did have it set for raw + jpeg last time. I can put up some samples in a few days.

    You're right about the change of light bulbs playing a factor lighting. I've been trying to keep bulbs in my own house mostly the same. At least in each room.
     
  12. T N Args

    T N Args Agent Photocateur

    Dec 3, 2013
    Adelaide, Australia
    call me Arg
    The sansmirror review of the GX7 specifically says its AWB is much better than some older models, but still not perfect.

    OTOH shoot raw and ignore all AWB issues, just include a spydercube (or grey card) test photo in each lighting setup. My spydercube is fabbo doodo because it can pick up primary and secondary light sources in one shot, for independent white balancing.
     
  13. LowTEC

    LowTEC Mu-43 Regular

    I agree, just program a key to set one touch custom white balance on a grey card, with the flash on, no more weird color cast :)
     
  14. Drdave944

    Drdave944 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    701
    Feb 2, 2012
    You need to prioritize your light source. With the GX-7 the built in unit is pretty weak. You can boost the flash with the controls. It won't be good at more than 10 ft. Then set WB on flash or AWB. Put your camera in S mode and set at 1/250 sec.Your background light will be minimized. That.s about all you can do
     
  15. shepx13

    shepx13 Mu-43 Regular

    196
    Aug 7, 2012
    Tyler, TX
    Ken
    I ended up having much better luck with the gx7. It was pretty much a non-issue, so it's good to see Panasonic made great strides in this regard.
     
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