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digitalpilot
01-11-2006, 12:54 AM
I am contemplating purchasing a DMC-FZ5 for
aerial photography. This must be a point-and-click
operation. I need to be able to disable auto-focus
and preset for focus at infinity (otherwise the
camera may auto-focus onto bugs on wind-screen!)
Can this be done with the 'FZ5?

Also I am hoping that image stabilisation will overcome
aircraft vibrations. Does anyone have any experience
with this?

genece
01-11-2006, 07:04 AM
The FZ5 has no manual focus ...but I doubt it would focus on a bug.
The FZ20 and 30 do have manual focus and can be locked on infinity.
until you zoom or turn the camera off.
I am sure they will all take nice photos from a small plane.

digitalpilot
01-11-2006, 02:07 PM
Thanks - maybe bugs was a bit of an exaggeration -
what I am more concerned about is that often parts
of the plane body, window catches, etc are visible
in these shots. These might be substantial enough to
trigger a re-focussing. Also I have the camera resting on
a seat between shots. Here an auto-focus will go
to one extreme, then just before the shot with the camera
aimed, the auto-focus will have to adjust to the other
extreme (infinity). Is it possible to avoid this cycling (and delay)
with the FZ5? (or with any non-manual focus digital camera)

genece
01-11-2006, 02:41 PM
I do not have a FZ5 but I believe if you zoom then the camera will not focus on anything closer than 7 ft.....also you can use spot focus so you should be able to avoid things you do not want it to focus on.

But the FZ20 or 30 will do what you want, once you set the Manual focus and do not zoom or turn off the camera the focus will remain.

I do not think you are giving the autofocus enough credit it is very accurate and quite fast.

While I do not have a plane I have taken lots of pictures thru a window of a car.

Phineas
01-11-2006, 04:05 PM
AF Trigger [AF TRIGGER]
When taking a picture with prefocus, set
the button for starting AF (Auto focus) to
[FOCUS] on [AF TRIGGER].
Prefocus is a technique to focus on the
point where you take a picture of the
subject with quick motion.
This function is suitable when the distance
between the camera and the subject is
pre-determined.


Quote from the manual, seems pre-focus is available on the FZ5 (Haven't had a chance to try it yet, just got the cam)

edit: http://www.panasonic.co.uk/customer-Support/download-centre.asp?did=131750&fmt=pdf (Link to the manual download, if you want to read more, page 77)

WildWinds
01-14-2006, 05:03 PM
The FZ-5 has the prefocus option which would ultimately lock it. You set the AF Trigger to 'FOCUS', point it at the subject you wish to focus on, press the focus button on the camera body until the subject is in focus. Then as long as you don't touch the focus button again it will stay in the same focus. Although you do have to focus again if you zoom in/out. I think this would work good for you if the plane stays at a relatively consistent altitude.

Using the autofocus would also work IMO because unless you have the camera set on continuous auto focus then it won't focus on the cockpit of the plane, then have to focus on the ground. It would stay focused towards the ground but would re-focus once the shutter button is pressed halfway.

So there is a way to lock the focus on the FZ-5 so you should be able to take aerial photos fairly quickly. I hope this helps you decide on which camera to purchase. Good luck!

digitalpilot
01-15-2006, 12:08 AM
I tried a FZ5 using prefocus - and it seems to be
an even better solution to a manual focus camera -
(i.e. on FZ20 with a manual focus ring) which could
be accidently rotated when picking up the camera.

Thanks to all for the advice.