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Panasonic FZ* + 1.7 Teleconverter: Issues

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Old Tuesday 7th June 2011, 18:51   #1
Hobbes2
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Panasonic FZ* + 1.7 Teleconverter: Issues

I know of one other person (Hi Chris ) using one of the Panasonic FZ* bridge cameras with the 1.7 teleconverter but thought I'd bring this post to the public forum in case anyone else is interested.

I've just started using the converter with the FZ8 and although it's definitely given me more useable reach, I'm having some issues with focusing. I'm finding that a lot more of my shots are badly focused even though, in the field, I think I've locked onto the subject. Either that, or it's taking half a dozen attempts (or more!) to get the camera to focus on the desired area (if it ever gets there at all!). Prior to the teleconverter, I had very few problems with this. My 'keep rate' has taken a nose-dive - I'm lucky if 10 out of 200 are worth keeping.

Has anyone else had these problems and, if so, are there ways around it? I'm still using the 'spot focus' option - do I need to increase the area of focus?

Thanks
Hobbes
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Old Wednesday 8th June 2011, 12:34   #2
willito
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Hello, I've been using for a long time now my FZ28 with the 1.7 TC. Certainly this piece, although a very acceptable optics item, will bring you some limitations you have to deal with, but it shouldn't be a great deal. I for my experience already know I cannot use it at dawn and close to sunset. Stability plays also a crucial role, so you may want to kneel putting your supporting elbow on your knee to get better results. Measures like these should bring significant improvements to your pictures.
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Old Wednesday 8th June 2011, 13:15   #3
ChrisKten
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Hi Hobbes,

I've been thinking about the problems you've described, and I can't really think of an answer that might help.

I think I mentioned in a PM that the focus can be a fraction slower at full zoom, but not enough to cause any real problems. I use either Spot or High Speed Focus (slightly larger area - almost DSLR speed at times - but drains the battery), and neither are noticeably slower with the TCON17 attached (apart from perhaps at full zoom, and even then, not always).

There is one time when you'll get blurred pics, and that's when you're too close to the subject. With the TC attached, and at full zoom, 12 feet can be too close, and I often need to select Tele-Macro to get focus at those times. Obviously light strength/quality plays a part, but you're already well aware of this.

Oh, and if I see a focused image in the EVF, that's what I get when I look at the pics on the Laptop. So I've no idea what's causing that problem for you.

Like I said at the start; not really much help I'm afraid.
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Old Wednesday 8th June 2011, 14:01   #4
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I've been using the dmw-lt55 on my fz28 for a couple of months and am generally happy with it, barring the limitations mentioned above.

The only focussing issue I have is when the subject is too close.

Genrally I use area focussing because its easier to aim and hold steady than with spot.
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Old Wednesday 8th June 2011, 16:06   #5
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Thank you willito, Chris and bartolli for your input.

I suspect it is probably something to do with the older style/build/software of the FZ8 because, as you say, the newer models (FZ18, 28, 35, 45, 100 etc) don't appear to have this problem. Essentially, I can take a lot of images where everything except the subject is in focus (well, almost). The issue isn't so much the speed of focusing as the fact that it simply won't lock on to the subject. This is the case even when there is sufficient contrast, the camera is still, I'm a good distance from the subject etc etc. As I say, I think I've come to the conclusion that it's a limitation of the older FZ8 camera.

Never mind, it was worth giving the TCON a try and although the success rate isn't good, I do get some keepers which I would never have achieved without it. I'll continue to use it but be more aware of its limits.

Thanks again
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Old Wednesday 8th June 2011, 20:17   #6
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Remember that unless you're using the official Panasonic teleconverter it was established a while back that using different spacings between the FZ optics and the teleconverter will give different results. Unless you have a common combination of parts that others are also using with established success, you could experiment with different step rings or spacers or a different mount.
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Old Wednesday 8th June 2011, 20:50   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hobbes2 View Post
The issue isn't so much the speed of focusing as the fact that it simply won't lock on to the subject. This is the case even when (snip) I'm a good distance from the subject etc etc.
The difficult part is if the bird is a good distance away but relatively close to background. In those circumstances, many cameras struggle.

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Old Wednesday 8th June 2011, 21:43   #8
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I'm not familiar with the FZ8 but check in the setup menu if there is a tele-converter setting. My FZ 30 had a teleconverter setting in the setup menu

In case you are interested this is my experience with the 1.7 TCON. I used the 1.7 TCON on my FZ30 about 4 years ago. I gave the FZ30 away last year after buying the GH1 and the TCON is collecting dust in my closet. I only used it a few times.

The pictures were on the soft side but still acceptably sharp. Colour suffered more than the sharpness and you lose some exposure and darkening at the corners. Focus was not a problem with the camera set to teleconverter in the camera menu setup. (there was also a setting on the FZ30 for a macro lens converter) The additional zoom was not 1.7 but closer to 1.4 and even less at close focusing distances. There's a physical reason for this based on the distance from the lens to the sensor and will vary by camera. I found this out on a posting on the internet. I tried to refind the article but no luck this time. As another poster mentioned, the minimum focus distance becomes greater. You also end up with a shallower depth of field.

I almost scratched the lens on the FZ30 once when I was installing the TCON. The threads on the FZ30 are almost on the same plane as the bulge on the front element and the threading of the TCON is not very deep, so be careful when attaching the converter.

The other thing I didn't like was the added bulk and having to remove the converter if you wanted a shot without the zoom. So all in all it didn't suit my needs. I found that using the EZ zoom gave better results than the 1.7 TCON, especially since the TCON wasn't really giving me all of the the additional zoom I had expected.

Last edited by Paul Tavares : Wednesday 8th June 2011 at 21:45. Reason: spelling errors
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Old Wednesday 8th June 2011, 21:55   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Tavares View Post
the TCON is collecting dust in my closet.
Might be interested in buying it later. If for sale, what would you consider a reasonable offer?

Best wishes

//Lars
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Old Thursday 9th June 2011, 08:57   #10
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Thank you bkrownd, Niels and Paul for your helpful responses. I am using the standard Panasonic parts and set up, so no worries re: fit/compatibility. I think Niels point is helpful - perhaps I'm expecting too much from the teleconverter combination. At the long focal lengths it is struggling to distinguish between the subject and background/foreground when there are potential markers to lock on to (even outside the focus square/point). Without the TCON, the focus system is really accurate and I've always been impressed with how it picks out a bird in amongst foliage etc.
Paul, I tried using the in-camera Teleconverter setting but, as far as I could tell, all it did was lock the lens at full zoom. It didn't seem to change the focusing issues.

Anyway, I think I'm happy to keep playing with the setup. As I say, I am getting some shots which I would never have achieved before, and that makes it worth it for the moment.

Thanks everyone,
Hobbes
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Old Thursday 9th June 2011, 09:35   #11
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Hi Hobbes,I use the FZ45 with the Pana 55 Spacer &1.7 T/con and have no problems with poor image.As the others have voiced,if the subject is to close,the camera will tell you,in these instancies,I take a step back,otherwise no problems.
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