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Tips for making the best out of GF1?

Discussion in 'Panasonic Cameras' started by Rider, Dec 30, 2010.

  1. Rider

    Rider Mu-43 Regular

    Oct 14, 2010
    I just side-graded from EPL1 to GF1; so far I think it was a good move for me (partly because of the 20mm lens), but I'm kind of stumped by the long manual. What are some of the top suggestions for settings that you have?

    Has anyone experienced the GF1 overexposing when a person takes up a small part of the picture (skin is blown out)?
    • Like Like x 2
  2. Fiddler

    Fiddler Mu-43 Veteran

    Having recently picked up a Gf1 myself, I'm interested in seeing what people have to say in answer to your question. I haven't had any chance to try mine out yet due to bad weather, so I can't comment on the exposure question.

    All the best,

  3. dsteady

    dsteady Mu-43 Regular

    Nov 8, 2010
    My gf-1/ 20mm tend to over-blow luminescent highlights -- streetlamps, etc -- pretty easily. In daylight hours I often set my EV to -1/3. This helps, and I've also gotten better at correcting this in Lightroom3. When you press the thumb wheel in Aperture priority it will toggle back and forth between aperture and ev settings, so it's pretty easy to play with this.

    I only shoot RAW now, but I'll often set the GF-1 to Dynamic B&W (in 'film mode' in the REC menu) while shooting. This gives me a good sense of tonality/contrast as I shoot and lets me adjust exposure accordingly. (If you shoot in RAW then LR will convert the files back to color when you import them).

    I find that thinking in b&w, especially with the 20mm/1.7, is a nice way to use this setup. Often the color makes a better image, but B&W helps me thing more creatively about each shot.


    ps -- the manual is useless. just get it set up and go shoot. there's a 3rd party book on Amazon just for GF-1 users though. You might do a search for it.
    • Like Like x 2
  4. ~tc~

    ~tc~ Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Oct 22, 2010
    Houston, TX
    IMHO the david bush book isn't much better than the factory manual.

    As for tips, I find I'm using either face detection or center focus modes only, and correspondingly matrix or spot exposure.

    You can turn on the highlight feature so the display will link when you have blown highlights
    • Like Like x 1
  5. Grant

    Grant Mu-43 Veteran

    I suspect everyone uses there GF-1 differently but this is my take on it.

    As has been pointed out the manual is difficult to use. While everything is there it is to small for my eyes. I downloaded the electronic version and store it on my computer and my iPad.

    In the beginning I set the camera up the way I liked it. Then I used these setting and four preferences to set the Custom Modes, I use two different two B&W and two colour preferences. While I always shoot in RAW the Custom Modes are just to give me a feeling. Next in Menu I have set Fn button to Meter mode. So now I can access Metering, focusing, ISO, and White Balance easily by way of buttons. Then I programed AF/MF button to AE lock. This way I can select the area I want my exposure to be. Then I formatted my memory card and cleaned my sensor this way it has put those two features in “My Menu.”

    Once that is done I hardly ever use my menu system. All the controls I need to use are on five buttons and one dial. The only time I use the Menu is to format my card and clean my sensor and they easily accessible in “My Menu” so I don’t have to search for them.

    In any event there are many ways to set up your camera but these are the ones that work for me.

    As far as over blown skin goes I have not problems. I am really pleased with the metering of the GF-1 but then I do switch my metering modes to suite my subject.
    • Like Like x 3
  6. Rich M

    Rich M Mu-43 Veteran Subscribing Member

    Mar 2, 2010
    I'll do the prequel to Grant's recommendations....

    The manual is NOT as bad as some...I would recommend going through all your MENU screens (starting with REC) while opening the manual to that page. (Page 114).

    Go through each setting and follow along using the manual to give you a description of it.

    Here are some of mine:
    Film mode - STD
    Aspect ratio - 4:3
    Picture quality - Large
    Quality - RAW
    Face recognition - OFF
    Stabilizer - MODE 1
    Flash - Forced (lightning bolt....so if I pop up the flash it shoots no matter what)
    Red eye - OFF
    Flash syncro - 1st
    Metering mode - Evaluative
    iExposure - OFF
    Long shutter NR - ON
    ISO limit - 800
    ISO increments - 1/3
    Color space - Adobe RGB (unless you post directly to screen, then sRGB)

    Then go and shoot LOTS of pictures before you get into the Custom menu's.

    Keep your 20/1.7 set at f/1.7.....shoot in the A(perture mode)....

    Learn to use your thumbwheel....it doubles (for example in A mode)...a single push adjusts lens aperture....another push gets you in to EC (exposure compensation)....very helpful if you are getting blown highlights.

    Enjoy......shoot plenty.

    • Like Like x 1
  7. Pelao

    Pelao Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Feb 3, 2010
    Ontario, Canada
    What a great forum. Some great input for the OP.

    Most of what I would say has been covered, especially not knowing too much about your specific needs.

    The manual is a bit of a dog, but if you take your time the relevant info is all there.

    I set my GF1 to match as closely as possible the way I work with my DSLR. The GF1's excellent controls made this simple.

    Spend time working through each menu item, consider the settings others have noted and then chose one to suit your needs. If you are not sure exactly what a setting will do, ask here.

    Most of all, shoot a lot. Get to know the camera and it's results and tweak settings accordingly. One of the best things about this camera is that it is very easy and swift to change settings.
  8. pjohngren

    pjohngren Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Oct 15, 2010
  9. Rooz

    Rooz Mu-43 Regular

    Dec 13, 2010
    how do i increase the minimum shutter speed in Ap mode/ auto iso ? at the moment, the SS is 1/30s which is too slow.
  10. ~tc~

    ~tc~ Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Oct 22, 2010
    Houston, TX
    If shutter speed is important, you should be in S mode.

    Also, check the auto-ISO limit in the menu and make sure it's allowing it to go as high as you would like.
  11. Rooz

    Rooz Mu-43 Regular

    Dec 13, 2010
    I dont want to be in S mode, i want to choose my aperture.
  12. ~tc~

    ~tc~ Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Oct 22, 2010
    Houston, TX
    Then you live with the shutter speed appropriate for the exposure or dial in a manual ISO

    "P" mode allows program shift, showing a bit more clearly what shutter speed you will get for a given aperture and ISO.
  13. Rider

    Rider Mu-43 Regular

    Oct 14, 2010
    I think I understand Rooz' conundrum. You can't choose M mode and auto ISO, which is a setting I often chose on my other camera. P with program shift could be a decent substitute.
  14. Rooz

    Rooz Mu-43 Regular

    Dec 13, 2010
    Have now pretty much found out how auto iso works on the gf1, it doesn't enable you to set a minimum SS which is a significant flaw in its operation.
  15. ~tc~

    ~tc~ Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Oct 22, 2010
    Houston, TX
    I dont see that as a flaw. With the noise issues on these sensors, I would rather not have the camera deciding to jack the ISO way up. Yes, it makes it a bit more of a manual process, but it makes you confirm that's what you REALLY want instead of "surprise! Here's your nice stop action but worthless due to noise image!"

    Personally, I hope they come out with more bright lenses this year so this becomes less of an issue/concern.
    • Like Like x 1
  16. Rooz

    Rooz Mu-43 Regular

    Dec 13, 2010
    then perhaps you dont understand and/ or have never used an adequate auto iso feature. minimum shutter speed is even available on my LX3 incidentally.

    the camera would not jack the iso up any more than what would be required in order to obtain the correct exposure. its just doing it automatically.

    digial media is free. in the circumstances you mentioned, 3 things are going to happen:

    1. the image is too dark and unrecognisable
    2. the shutter speed is so slow that your pic looks like an oil painting by clifford the big red dog.
    3. you're image is noisy.

    only the last option is really suitable becasue i can already set a max iso value. if i find iso3200 worthless, then i just max out the auto iso to iso1600...no surprises.

    owning a camera doesn't mean you cant identify the flaws and criticise them accordingly. thats how cameras improve. they dont improve by owners being fanboys and not acknowledging the camera's shortcomings.
  17. ~tc~

    ~tc~ Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Oct 22, 2010
    Houston, TX
    If I want the camera to make all the decisions for me, there's a fully automatic mode already.

    The current system works just fine FOR ME, I'm not about to use the equipment as an excuse for a bad photo.

    Once again, if shutter speed is the critical factor in your image, you should be using S mode. If DOF is critical, you should be using A mode. Fine tuning of the parameters selected for proper exposure is available through manual ISO adjustment, program shift, exposure compensation, and I'm sure other means also. Your revision of the way auto-ISO works sounds to me like a solution looking for a problem, or the desire of a Canikon fanboy thinking since that's the way it's been done in the past must be the only right way to approach the problem.
  18. Pelao

    Pelao Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Feb 3, 2010
    Ontario, Canada
    I have a similar take.

    While I find auto ISO useful, I take care for it not to become a crutch. Just getting the shot is not my goal: I want to get it within my parameters. I like have as much control as possible.

    This is one of the joys of digital photography. I can alter the ISO, and I have a live histogram and can make changes very quickly and intuitively to meet my photographic goals - the way I see the final result.
  19. Rooz

    Rooz Mu-43 Regular

    Dec 13, 2010
    no, i dont want a fully automatic mode. i want the camera to determine the iso required for shots in variable lighting conditions.

    then thats what you should have said, it works fine for you, great. doesnt mean that its not flawed. it just means you dont know what yopu;re missing and/ or talking about.

    neither am i; i never said that so dont make straw man arguments.

    one is not necessarily interdepedant of the other.

    iso can be done manually yes. the otehr factors are not exposure variables. they are gain and PP variables. and that is the whole point, i want it done automnatically.

    it is absoultely the right way to do it, nikon havbe done it this way for years...please argue the downside of it. please argue it rationally. please tell me how tbeign able to set a min shutter speed is NOT the right way to do it. the whole idea of this is to give the users options and thoughtful implementations of user assists. otherwise its a half-assed solution or as i said at the very beginning...flawed.

    if i was a nikon fanboy, i wouldnt have bought a lumix camera would i ? so there goes that arguement aswell...please, if you;re going to debate with me use rational and well thought out arguments and try not to confuse my post count with my experience kid.

    like i said...present rational arguments or go back to the naughty corner.
  20. ~tc~

    ~tc~ Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Oct 22, 2010
    Houston, TX
    You contradict yourself so many times it's not even funny. You say you want control, but then you say you want it done automatically. So I guess you want a psychic camera? Saying shutter speed, aperture, and ISO are not dependent shows a fundamental lack of knowledge of photography. I would suggest you pick up a copy of "Understanding Exposure" by Bryan Petersen.

    Before getting all b$++ hurt, realize you started the name calling first.

    I have presented a number of solutions to the "problem" - none of which you have listened to other than demanding a firmware update. Get over yourself, learn to use your equipment within it's constraints to generate the image you want, and get out and take pictures instead of tilting at windmills as an Internet toughguy
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