Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Camera Problems

It’s getting difficult to relate whether one drab day is worse than another at the moment. After a sprinkling of over-night and early morning rain, Monday was yet another dull and dreary day.

I mentioned in my last post that I’d had some camera problems over the weekend whilst out filming The Tin Bath. This problem first came to light on Saturday. We’d made the short trip out to video and photograph 34067 Tangmere with The Valentines White Rose Express at Colton Junction near York which was the trains destination. You won’t be surprised to hear that the weather was cloudy with intermittent light rain. We arrived in decent time and sat out a couple of short spells of rain in the car. With a few minutes to spare before the train arrived it was time to venture out of the car to prepare for the train’s arrival. I’d decided this was going to be my first real test of 4k video which my Panasonic DMC FZ 1000 is capable of capturing. The view through the eyepiece and screen was very dark. Too dark to see anything much at all. 
No time to mess about with settings as The Valentines White Rose Express was due any moment. At the time I sort of decided the problems must be due to the high video demands made in taking 4k video combined with a very dull day. I made a decision to shoot the video in 4k quality and see what the outcome would be. The above picture is a screen grab from the video showing just how dark and unusable the video turned out.

Once back home as soon as the video was downloaded it was obviously too dark to use and even my video editing package couldn't do anything to improve the image quality. I set the camera back on a its highest HD video setting and checked through the viewfinder. The screen images looked reasonably bright and usable and I thought the problem had been sorted out.

On Sunday it was off to the Vale of Edale for hopefully a better day’s videoing but as it turned out I hadn't actually solved the problem of the dark screen. As soon as I checked through the viewfinder I could see the problem had returned or more likely never been resolved.
Sue was getting ready to capture a few still images and the corresponding view from her camera looked like this.
As you can see from the comparison my image was very dark again and obviously the camera was in need of some attention. Standing in the gateway to a field on a misty dull morning isn't the ideal place to be messing about with the menu settings on a camera. Fortunately I’d taken along our Sony Camera and this was used for the video of the train in the Vale of Edale.

Sue suggested that resetting the camera to its original factory setting might sort out the problems. This sort of issue had cropped up a couple of times with her Panasonic camera and a factory reset had done the trick.  So over lunch I checked out the camera settings and performed a factory reset.
And what do you know, the problem was sorted out and the bright imagery returned. I didn't try any 4k video of the train crossing the viaduct at Denby Dale but given the conditions the video taken using my Panasonic camera turned out well enough in the afternoon.
I’m guessing that the light was even worse for the filming at the viaduct as the sun was a least trying to make an appearance in the Vale of Edale. So perhaps we've found a bit of a problem with Panasonic cameras in that they may need a reset to factory settings now and again. Providing you can remember where to find the reset it’s only a minor problem as it only takes a few seconds to perform the required operation. Hopefully I won’t be missing any more video opportunities.

Will I be trying any more 4k video? I’d tried some short clips of a few seconds and these seemed to work well enough but I found out at the weekend that trying to deal with a five minute clip of 4k video puts real demands on my computer which I don’t think has the memory to process such vast amounts of data. So for the time being at least I’ll be sticking to full HD quality video.

Finally for the record here’s the video. The footage in the Vale of Edale was shot using my Sony DSC HX300 and Denby Dale using my Panasonic DMC FZ 1000.


  1. I shall remember that now that Eleanor has a Panasonic camera.

    1. It is worth making sure that you can find the reset menu on the camera.

  2. Glad you sorted the problem. Re-setting to the original factory settings is a good tip.

    1. A bit scary doing it for the first time. Lost a few setting which I'm gradually restoring.


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