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by evan-pak

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I recently purchased the Lumix GH4 and I am having problems with indoor flash photos. I have a zoom lens that I rarely use, a Leica DG NOCTICRON 42.5mm/F1.2, and a Leica SUMMILUX 25mm f/1.4 Lens.

Regardless of the lens, the shutter speed is almost always too long and the photos are blurred when I use the flash with iA mode, like 1/5 sec or 1/20 sec. The lenses work well without a flash in low light conditions, but sometimes a flash is needed.

Should I not use the iA mode with the built-in flash?

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

Most cameras are set up by default in one mode or another to assume that you wish to use the flash as fill or to illuminate your subject only while the rest of the scene is properly exposed by the available ambient light. Your Panasonic GH4 behaves this way in iA mode. Most other cameras do this when set to Av/A mode.

Many cameras have menu options that allow you to limit the slowest shutter speed, usually from somewhere around 1/60 second up to the camera's flash sync speed. If you can limit the longest shutter time to 1/60 second or shorter you should be able to provide a relatively stable platform, even handheld, for use with the two lenses you mentioned. If you can't select the longest allowable shutter speed in iA mode, then it is time to start shooting in aperture priority or another mode that will allow you to select the slowest shutter time you wish the camera to use.

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This is working by design. In iA ("intelligent automatic") mode with flash enabled, Panasonic cameras attempt to balance ambient light with flash — dragging the shutter. And from what I've seen elsewhere, it tends to be pretty aggressive with this, resulting in shutter speeds like what you're seeing.

So, unless your subject is static or there is a lot of ambient light, don't use iA with the flash. It will probably be a lot better and more useful for fill, to smooth away harsh shadows if you are taking photos in the sunlight.

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