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Need a camera for your food shots--try this one (Panasonic DMC-FX01)

I just went to Asheville, North Carolina, which is a great little city with many restaurants (okay the sushi is better here in L.A. and it's warmer in November...). For this trip I bought a Panasonic DMC-FX01, which is a nifty little 6 megapixel camera with a huge LCD screen, wide angle lens and a Leica 3.6 optical zoom (for all those shots of fall foliage I took) and optical image stabilization (and $150 or so cheaper than an equivalent Canon model). It also has a number of different scene modes. I tried the food mode with my first ever meal of fried green tomatoes (on a croissant--very Asheville--Southern but hip) and the picture is so good everyone who sees it thinks I'm a professional photographer!! (and actually I'm a complete dodo as far as photography is concerned). I highly recommend this camera and I think I will take it with me to shoot some sushi that I'm about to eat tonight (Sushi Zo--for those of you in the L.A. area).

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    1. re: Candy

      I just put it on a page. (Had never posted a photo link before on CH).


    2. Hmmm, didn't realize I need a new camera till I saw your post. What does the food "scene mode" do for you? That picture of a fried green tomato sandwich does look great.

      1. More pics please!!!

        1. I want to eat that RIGHT NOW!

          1. I got great shots with my inexpensive 3.2 megapixel camera (photo below):

            But for reproduction, the resolution was not high enough. I just purchased a 10.2 megapixel camera. I'm excited that the photos will not only look good, but will be useable/"sellable".

            9 Replies
            1. re: Funwithfood

              Wonderful shot! Was that an automatic setting on your camera you used? What's nice about the Panasonic (and some recent Canon ultracompacts have this as well apparently)--there are scene modes for the absolute newbies. I just set it to food mode and the camera did the rest (fortunately there was a lot of nice natural light and it was daytime, which helped). It also does very nice macro shots of plants and flowers. The one thing I don't like about this camera is it doesn't have an optical viewfinder, which I didn't like in bright sunlight--the LCD screen mirrors your face. There is power LCD setting, which I will have to experiment with more. Which 10.2 MP camera did you get?

              1. re: ThatPat

                That was an automatic setting (wouldn't even know how to change it to manual!)

                My new camera is a D200 Digital SLR camera with an 18-200mm lens. I have never had a "real" camera, so there's learning curve. Fortunately it has an automatic setting, so it's very much like my other "point & shoot" camera.

                1. re: Funwithfood

                  If you want to take the first step into the SLR style shooting realm set it on Aperature priority- then all you have to set is the aperature. The bigger the number the smaller the aperature. The smaller the aperature the more depth of field. Also the samller the number the less light gets in the lens, thus the longer the exposure needs to be. The general rule is that for you to hold a 200mm lens steady the shutter speed needs to be at least at 200. Thus you can balance all of that out. We can talk more DSLR camera techniques via im should you wish :)

                  1. re: jpschust

                    Thank you. Believe it or not, I just got back from Samy's Camera where they taught me just that!
                    (I might contact you with further questions tho... :)

                    1. re: Funwithfood

                      15 years as a photographer will teach you some things :)

                        1. re: Funwithfood

                          Depends where the house is and how cute the lady of the house is :)

                1. re: doctor_mama

                  Thank you doctor mama :).

                  I was *very* disappointed when a stock photo website rejected it due to "imperfect lighting" (grrr). (Especially when a beautiful, top-notch food photo site wanted it...that is until they realized it was "too low res", that is taken on a 3.2 MP camera.)

              2. WOW! This confirms my decision that my next camera will be a Panasonic. I currently have a great little Nikon SL, though, so it'll be awhile before I need a new one.

                When I bought my camera, my research told me the following:

                Canon, if price is no object.

                Nikon or Panasonic if you want the best bang for your buck.

                Casio or Olympus if you want to save a bit, but really not bad at all.

                Sony, stay away from unless you highly value style over performance and have a lot of money to burn.

                1. Very nice, Pat. I've got a Casio Exilim with food mode and I'm pretty happy with it, although the flash is not very powerful for non-food shots of people and such. Maybe I'm just crass, but I never ask permission to take pictures in restaurants (unless it's a direct shot of the chef, which isn't always easy in Spanish or Japanese!) and so far no one has ever said everything -- and that's after two solid years of blogging.
                  Although I think they're pretty touchy at Joans on Third about having their precious cupcakes photographed.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: Chowpatty

                    This took better shots of food and flowers indoors than of people (flash also weak like your Casio)--altho' it takes fabulous outdoor shots (has a wide angle 28 mm lens). I have an older Canon S400 that I think takes better people shots indoors.

                    When I tried the camera at Sushi Zo, the pix came out pretty bad (the light was too yellow without the flash and with the flash overexposed). I also took photos of the chef and his wife (with the flash off). They didn't seem to mind, but I'm ashamed to say I didn't ask first.

                    Best low light ultracompact is supposed to be the Fujifilm F30--that's just what all the camera forums say. But it's not supposed to be very good for outdoors. I'm not ready to upgrade to a DSLR at this point (if ever), but browsing the camera forums got me curious to compare other cameras.

                    1. re: ThatPat

                      if you have a food mode there must be a white balance option. on my camera (canon digital ixus 700) it's there and i tend to avoid "modes" and create my own by playing with the exposure, speed, white balance, etc until i'm happy or rushed. if you're in a restaurant and the lighting is really off, i can use the white balance and point it at a dish/napkin that has the ideal white i'd want.

                      super super happy with my canon (you can see photos here: http://tongueandcheek.ca/ ), now if only i could stop shaking.... another good investment is a mini tripod.

                    2. re: Chowpatty

                      We also use a Casio Exilim (7.2 MP), mostly because it, like the Canon A-series, allows the user to set aperture and shutter speed manually. It has a slimmer form than do the Canon A's, which were our former big faves.

                      But quite honestly, I like the Casio Exilim MUCH better than I do most of the digital SLR cameras I've used.

                      Lots of pictures on our site and on our Flickr photostream ( http://www.flickr.com/photos/nycnosh/ ).


                      NYCnosh* http://nycnosh.com

                    3. If you want to see what a cheap Canon (A620, 7 Megapixels) can do, check out my blog - http://planetborscht.blogspot.com/

                      It has a great close-up lens and does pretty well in low light. I've been taking a lot of pictures in my darkish kitchen lately - the latest post shows my attempt to duplicate my husband's favourite fish and chips from Halifax.

                      1. YAY! I have that camera too! Got it in May this year, but still have to play around with it. So far, I've been very satisfied with its quality.

                        If you want, visit my flickr page: http://flickr.com/photos/carbonxiv/

                        Most of the pictures were taken with this camera... or my cell phone. You can check out the property if you're not sure.