Tips for inside photos with GX-1?

Discussion in 'Panasonic Cameras' started by jamest, Dec 16, 2012.

  1. jamest

    jamest New to Mu-43

    5
    May 6, 2012
    Boston, MA, USA
    Hello. I'm sorry if I'm repeating thread that is already taking place, but I have been unable to take good photos indoors with GX-1. When I tried to use the flash with the GX-1, I only see blur and extra colors of red in the photos. I try the intelligent Auto, program mode, tilting the flash back, and many other things.

    I'm using the 20 mm/1.7 and love the photos I can take outside. When there is plenty of light, the pictures turn out great. However, when I try to take photos indoors with the flash, it never seems to turn out well. Any thoughts or tips?

    Thanks.
     
  2. Steven

    Steven Mu-43 All-Pro

    May 25, 2012
    USA
    I don't usually use flash. I do try to use a 2 second delay so that the camera is more stable and hold the camera steadily. You have to watch what camera sets as shutter speed when you half press the button. If it's too slow I will go and increase the Iso so that the shutter speed can be faster, usually up to 1600 though sometimes 3200 is necessary if you are trying to capture people moving around. Camera usually sets Aperture at 1.7 .if it does not, you can do it in A mode.
     
  3. jamest

    jamest New to Mu-43

    5
    May 6, 2012
    Boston, MA, USA
    Thanks - I will try that. I have young kids so getting them to pose does not always stick for a while.
    At 1600, it seems a bit grainy at times. I guess I'm surprised (maybe naive?) that some of the standard shooting (like iAuto) doesn't give a decent indoor posed shot with a flash when shooting with a lens like the 20mm/1.7.
     
  4. greenlight

    greenlight Mu-43 Regular

    56
    Nov 16, 2012
    UK
    Colin B
    Some example pictures might help people give you better advice. Using flash should allow you to get sharp people pictures indoors with the GX1.

    You should also be able to get some decent pictures even without flash with the 20mm / 1.7 provided it's not too dark, although the slow autofocus may be problematic when trying to capture fast moving kids.

    I find ISO 1600 is often necessary indoors at night even with the faster PL25/1.4 lens, and yes, there is some noise, but unless you are making quite big prints it's not a serious issue imo.
     
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  5. Steven

    Steven Mu-43 All-Pro

    May 25, 2012
    USA
    Another thing I do when taking pictures of moving people in the dark is use the burst mode where camera keeps firing off as long as you hold the shutter button. Later when you review the photos on computer you can choose the best ones.

    Post processing is also big for these types of photos IMO. I use Lightroom and it has pretty powerful tools to improve these types of photos like noise reduction. There are other things I do like further darkening some of the shadows to hide ugly noise there if I don't care too much about details there.
     
  6. jloden

    jloden Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 15, 2012
    Hunterdon County, NJ
    Jay
    We really need a sticky on low light photo techniques for newcomers, this has to be an FAQ by now :biggrin:

    As others have stated, the 20mm f/1.7 and GX1 is capable of low light photos indoors, but you need to be aware of your exposure settings, and the 20mm has notoriously slow auto-focus which may impede your ability to capture moving subjects.

    You may find that iAuto mode works poorly with certain subjects, as the camera can only guess so much correctly. I would advise trying something like Aperture Priority mode with auto-ISO to keep your shutter speed as fast as possible, or even Shutter Priority, to force the shutter speed to stay at a certain speed. Just make sure you are paying attention to your exposure meter - if it's in the red it means it's under or over exposed, so you want to see the exposure in the black. The camera also tries to alert if the exposure is perceived as incorrect by flashing the shutter speed in red as I recall.

    If you use flash, bouncing it off the ceiling works pretty well with the GX1. If you're seeing blurry photos then it means your shutter speed is too low, which may be a result of iAuto/Program mode trying to adjust for the exposure without pushing up the ISO which adds noise.

    On a more general note, I highly recommend checking out a book like Understanding Exposure to give you a better grasp of the fundamentals of what the camera is doing in each mode. Even a few well spent minutes with that book should help you understand why you're not getting the results you want. You can also google the "exposure triangle" and read an article or two on it. Otherwise no matter what camera you get you may suffer the same frustrations.
     
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  7. JoeV

    JoeV Mu-43 Regular

    85
    Aug 22, 2012
    Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA
    Joe Van Cleave
    My advice for users of any u4/3 camera indoors: turn up the ISO to +1000 (at least), then set the mode to "S" (shutter speed priority) and select at least 1/125s shutter speed. Then let the camera choose the aperture it needs to maintain adequate shutter speed.

    If the light is still too low to get 1/125s shutter speed, increase ISO further, or add artificial lighting and/or flash.

    ~Joe
     
  8. jamest

    jamest New to Mu-43

    5
    May 6, 2012
    Boston, MA, USA
    Thanks everyone. I really appreciate it. I am definitely not a pro and these are definitely some things to experiment with. Naturally, with the holidays upon us, I'm going to try some of these ideas out to see if I can get some better shots.
     
  9. vtsteevo

    vtsteevo Mu-43 Regular

    96
    Nov 20, 2012
    I am having some trouble implemeting this. I set the camera into shutter priority mode and ISO to Auto. For some reason my GX1 will not bump ISO past 1600. I can manually set it to 3200, but it won't do it when ISO is in auto mode! I checked the menu settings and I don't have an ISO limit set. What am I missing?
     
  10. jloden

    jloden Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 15, 2012
    Hunterdon County, NJ
    Jay
    I know on the GX-1 you can set the auto-ISO limit to ISO 3200 in aperture priority mode and if you don't set a limit it stops at 1600 but I'm not sure, it's been a while. All I remember for sure is in Aperture Priority I had my auto-ISO set to max at 3200. Unfortunately I loaned mine out to a friend so I can't check at the moment if that works the same in Shutter Priority.
     
  11. vtsteevo

    vtsteevo Mu-43 Regular

    96
    Nov 20, 2012
    For an odd reason, if I set the ISO limit to 3200, only then it bumps it up to 3200. If I set the limit to off then it won't go past 1600. Really odd.
     
  12. Steven

    Steven Mu-43 All-Pro

    May 25, 2012
    USA
    I think there's a setting in the menu where ISO can be instructed to use smaller increments. I am not sure if that affects auto ISO behavior though.
     
  13. jloden

    jloden Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 15, 2012
    Hunterdon County, NJ
    Jay
    Right, that's what I remember it doing as well. I'm not sure what the logic is for that, maybe "no limit" is more like "default" or something. Anyway, should work fine if you keep it expressly set to 3200.
     
  14. spatulaboy

    spatulaboy I'm not really here

    Jul 13, 2011
    North Carolina
    Vin
    Honestly if you are regularly shooting in conditions requiring 3200 ISO or higher then you should really learn some flash photography.

    If you are using flash you will not need ISO to be that high. The cool thing about the GX-1 is you can manually tilt the pop-up flash to use as a bounce flash. Make sure you have a fast-ish shutterspeed (1/125?), pop the flash and with your finger tilt the flash upwards. This lets the light bounce off the ceiling and gives you a more diffused and natural light. If you point the flash directly at your subject it will be too harsh and the result will not be very pleasing.

    I do not own a GX1 so these are just general advice I'm giving. Experiment and see what works!
     
  15. rhoydotp

    rhoydotp Mu-43 Top Veteran

    609
    Aug 5, 2012
    Toronto, Ont
    rpamparo
    i'm with you here.
     
  16. zucchiniboy

    zucchiniboy Mu-43 Regular

    136
    Oct 13, 2010
    San Francisco
    I had the same trouble with my GX1, and the solution is to stop down. Once I dropped down to f/3.2 or f/4, the blurred colors went away and it looked more "point and shoot" like.

    I think the default is slow sync with flash on the GX1, so shooting wide open grabs too much light, not to mention white balance problems (too amber).

    Hope that helps!
     
  17. jamest

    jamest New to Mu-43

    5
    May 6, 2012
    Boston, MA, USA
    Jay - thanks again for this post. I have used it a couple of times, bought the Understanding Exposure book and I had some really nice shots indoors over the holidays. Appreciate it.
     
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  18. jloden

    jloden Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 15, 2012
    Hunterdon County, NJ
    Jay
    Awesome, glad to hear it!