Like many consumer digital cameras, the FZ18 tends to overexpose and clip highlights taking photos in bright light. I set my camera to a minus Exposure Value when light is bright. I keep the Contrast Setting set to -2.
The focus area on the FZ18 is sensitive, which is a good thing. I sometimes like to photograph the sky, a difficult scene to lock focus. I make sure the slightest edge of the focus box appears over an object, such as a tiny tree branch, and them lock the camera locks focus. With the main focus box still on the sky, the sky itself is properly exposed.
When shooting at the long end of the zoom, use the viewfinder to help prevent camera shake. When it’s difficult to view the scene, I switch to Image Stabilization One that helps steady the view on the monitor. By doing so, I can better frame a shot.
Intelligent ISO senses when a subject is moving and raises the ISO and shutter speed. It is said to help prevent motion blur when taking action shots.
When you turn on iISO, it overrides your current ISO setting. For example, if you have ISO set to 100 as default and you enable iISO, the camera will choose the sensitivity up to the maximum you specified. This is not always a good thing, so check your settings.
iISO can be a useful feature as long as you set it at the maximum ISO setting you’re willing to let the camera select. In this mode, the camera may select intermediate ISO number (eg. 160). The FZ18 seems to select the lowest ISO possible.
Sports mode for action shots
To obtain faster shutter speeds and slightly faster focus, use “sports mode.” It is accessed via the top dial on the camera. Next, select the appropriate option for “indoor,” “outdoor,” etc. You can also use Shutter Priority mode.