Tips & Tricks
Tips & Tricks give you the inside track on how to get the best out of your Lumix G camera.
Most of us have experienced an amazing sunset at some time in our lives, but we don’t always have a camera to hand or even if we get the shot, the result is not always as good as we remember.
Try these tips to improve your chances of capturing a stunning sunset – like this gallery shot from Luismex:
Click here to see the image:
1. Check out the shooting location. Get to know where the sun goes down and find a quiet spot to set up – you may be there for some time!
2. Use a tripod or place the camera somewhere stable.
3. Use a wide-angle lens.
4. Use Aperture Priority and select a narrow aperture, unless you want to include a defocused subject in the foreground.
5. Use exposure compensation if you need to darken the image.
6. Take several shots (every few seconds), as colours and patterns can change quite quickly.
7. Use the ‘Romantic/Vivid Sunset Glow’ scene mode settings on the camera to add deep, rich warmth and enhanced colours to the shot.
8. Don’t stop shooting too soon. Often the sky will continue to give amazing colours and patterns for quite a while after the sun has gone below the horizon.
9. ‘Romantic Sunset Glow’ is particularly good for shooting after the sun has gone down.
The introduction of Ultra High Definition recording in the form of 4K video has been a major advancement for those shooting video, but the 4K photo mode (introduced on the GH4) also opens up a number of opportunities for the traditional stills photographer.
Before 4K, grabbing a still frame from a Full HD video sequence meant capturing a rather disappointing 2 megapixel image (1920 x 1080). But 4K video recording changes all that by offering a resolution four times that of FHD. This means that each video frame contains approximately 8 megapixels (depending on chosen aspect ratio, example: 16:9 = 3840 x 2160), and as 4K video is shot at 24, 25 or 30 frames per second, split second timing of a motion sequence can now be captured as a high resolution still. When you consider that even the highest spec DSLR cameras only achieve up to 11 frames per second (with Continuous AF), it’s clear to see how much easier it is to capture that elusive magic image.
With the GH4 you don’t even have to worry about using a computer to grab the frame of your choice. Set the 4K photo mode before you start to record your video, on playback you can convert any individual video frame to a high quality 8MP JPEG still image on board the camera – it’s as easy as pause, choose, convert.
Sometimes video is the best way to convey an action or motion sequence, but did you know that while recording video with LUMIX G it is possible to simultaneously capture a still picture?
Before you start recording and press that shutter button though, you first need to decide on what picture quality you want for the still image. To do this, go to the ‘Motion Record’ menu and select ‘Picture Mode’. This will give you the option of Motion Picture Priority or Still Picture Priority.
Motion Picture Priority means up to 30 stills can be captured simultaneously during video recording but each still image will be 16:9 aspect ratio and 2MP size (1920 x 1080 pixels).
For higher resolution stills, use Still Picture Priority. This offers a maximum of 4 stills to be captured during video recording, each using whichever ‘size’ setting that the camera has set for still picture shooting (albeit at 16:9 aspect ratio).
Once the recording is finished and the images captured, in ‘Playback’, they are displayed separately from the video, so that you can locate and review them easily.
So remember, next time you are recording a video sequence, don’t be afraid to press the shutter button, you may just catch a stunning still picture as well as capturing a classic video piece.
Note – Simultaneous still picture capture is not available when shooting video in ‘Creative Video’ mode.
Capturing a starburst effect around a strong light source can add an interesting element to your shot, as this gallery image by summerhouse demonstrates.
Sometimes, you may have noticed, it can happen by accident rather than design, but here’s what to do if you would like to create the effect yourself. Use a narrow aperture such as F22 or F16 and a reasonably long exposure such as 1/6th or 1/5th second. A tripod and a 2-second timer or remote shutter release will also help.
The intensity of the light source will make a difference to the strength of the effect. If the light is too strong, try to partially obscure it, as in the shot through the trees above (also remember never to shoot or look directly at strong sunlight).
Street lights, candles or indoor lights are usually OK to be shot without shielding, but it is best to experiment. Of course, if you are not getting the effect you want, you can always cheat by using the built-in Creative Starburst effect as found on the more recent LUMIX G models. A good example of the built-in effect, as available on the G5, was used by stewart.a.reid here:
Try these tips for capturing that silky vail water shot:
– Any lens will do the job depending on how close you need to get to your subject, but you may need to fit a filter, so make sure it has a filter thread on the front.
– Set the camera to ‘S’ (Shutter Priority) on the mode dial.
– Set the ISO to the lowest setting available (100 or 160 is good).
– Depending on how ‘silky’ you want the water to look, a shutter speed of ¼ second or longer should be sufficient.
– Due to the length of the exposure, use a tripod or securely rest the camera on a solid object. Use a remote shutter release or set the timer to 2 seconds, so as not to jolt the camera.
– Use the ‘Shutter Preview’ function and view on the LCD screen to see how the shot will look before you take it.
– While in ‘Shutter Preview’ mode, you can adjust the shutter speed to ensure you get the desired effect.
– Finally, the correct exposure will depend on the ambient light. Anything approaching bright daylight will be difficult to shoot slower than 1/8th second. If your results are too bright (over exposed) you will need to fit a Neutral Density filter in order to reduce light entering the lens.
Some Lumix G models include a Panorama shooting mode that is capable of producing a very impressive panoramic picture without fuss. It is set from the ‘mode dial’ and, once selected, will indicate in the display the direction of shooting (4 direction options are available – Left to Right, Right to Left, Down to Up and Up to Down). Choose a scene where people or objects are not moving.
It’s best to use a tripod with a good fluid head, but if not, follow the tips here:
– Keep the horizon level, (there’s a line guide on the display to help).
– Stand firmly and practice turning from your waist at a steady speed, in order to cover the shooting area.
– From your starting position, half press the shutter button to focus, then fully press and hold while panning in the direction of the shot.
– A 5 or 6 second burst of images will be taken. Do not pan too quickly or the shot will fail.
Once complete, review and check for a good clean image. If you can see problems, try the shot again. To see a great example of Greenwich, looking across to the City of London taken by ‘mrt’, on a Lumix G6: click here
Want to be able to take photos in complete silence? Well, since the introduction of the LUMIX G5, it’s been possible. Firstly, check your camera’s ‘Record Menu’ and select ‘Electronic Shutter’. Select mode to ‘On’.
Next, go into ‘Camera Set up’ (spanner icon) and select ‘Beep’. Here you will be able to turn off electronic shutter sound and any beeps the camera makes when focusing. Once these sounds are switched off, the camera will be completely silent when shooting. N.B. GM1 & GX7 models offer ‘Silent Shooting’ mode in the ‘Custom Set up’ that makes all the above settings in one go.
Many of the LUMIX G lenses include silent Aperture and Focus operation and the ‘HD’ models include silent zoom, so even shooting video benefits from the ‘silent operation’.
So remember, the next time you are in a shooting situation that requires total silence, reach for the ‘Electronic Shutter’ or ‘Silent Shooting’ mode.
When using the LCD screen for either low or high level shots, turning the auto EVF function to off is very beneficial. If this function is ‘ON’ the LCD screen can turn off as you change a setting or are moving the camera for framing, as your hand or body may trigger the sensor.
You will find this option in the custom menu.
If you have the 14 -45mm and 45–200mm lens it’s nice to carry both lenses – ‘just in case’ you need them. It’s a good idea however to think about what and where you will be taking photos of, before leaving and fix the most appropriate lens to the camera.
If you are going to an outdoor party, the 45-200mm is a great lens to use. So before you go outside, make sure this lens is already fitted to the camera.
Later on if people move indoors, when you get inside put the 14–45mm lens on straight away.
This means when you want to take a photo, the camera is ready to go and your subjects are not waiting for you to change the lens, or worse that you miss a shot because you are changing lenses.
When taking group shots of family or friends using the self timer, set the camera up to take 3 shots. This option is available in the Record Mode menu. You can then decide whether to tell your subjects to get 3 posed photos, from which you can select the best one, or don’t tell them to try and get a candid shot!