Panasonic FZ18

FZ18: Beyond Auto Mode

Written by Digicamhelp Editor

Why you should use P Mode instead of the fully Automatic Mode when taking photos with the Panasonic FZ18.

FZ18 There may come a day when you want to move beyond using fully automatic modes on the FZ18. To begin with, I highly recommend using P Mode, an automatic mode that lets you tweak key settings that affect overall image quality. I use P Mode more than 90% of the time. (pg. 25)

Listed below are some of the pages in the FZ18 manual I consider a must read. They all deal with the Record (picture taking) mode; not Playback mode. I suggest taking a few days to digest and experiment with each.

These are what I personally consider THE most essential things a digital camera user should know. They apply to all digital cameras:

  1. Two-step shutter button: use the two-step shutter-release button correctly to lock focus and exposure: on consumer digital cameras the process is two distinct steps! (pg. 25)
  2. If the two-step process isn’t used, photos will be improperly exposed and focused and/or blurred due to camera shake. The sequence also helps reduce shutter lag, the delay between when you press the button and when an image is actually taken.
  3. Exposure compensation: Adjust the Exposure Value to help control the amount of light entering the lens. It can make the difference between a mediocre photo and a great one. (pg. 45)
  4. Metering: The FZ18 has three metering modes. To get the best exposure of a particular scene, it’s important to understand the differences between the three and know when to use each. (pg. 78)

Setting up the FZ18

Menu set-up button: (pg. 17) Learn to use the MENU/SET button to access and scroll through menus and submenus. The Set-up menu in Record (REC) mode on the FZ18 has two basic sections:

  • The main REC section (signified by the red camera on the left side tab) is where you select camera settings that one may adjust for certain scenes). You really don’t need to fuss with them while using iA mode.
  • The other section is the SETUP mode (signified by the wrench), where you set up camera settings for such things as time/date and the brightness of the LCD. For the most part, once you set these to your satisfaction, you can forget about this section.

FZ18 camera settings

I’ve been into photography for a long time and use P Mode almost exclusively (pg. 25). Many FZ18 users have found my default camera settings a good place to begin. They can be tweaked when needed as well as adjusted to your own shooting needs.