I recently bought a Panasonic FZ300. The camera is good, but to my surprise I found out that minimum aperture is f/8 and minimum ISO is 100. I tried to take some pictures of a stream with the circular polariser mounted, but still I could not get the running water effect. I took also a couple of over exposed pictures and tried to correct later the exposure with Darktable, but the result wasn't very good.

I heard I could use a ND filter, but beside the fact the with all accessories I bought I'm already over budget often the scene is always changing, animals move, the clouds that make a curious shape drift away, mounting a filter takes time.
Are there other solutions?

  • \$\begingroup\$ Is the whole frame overexposed? Or is the water fine, but the upper half not? In that case you could look at the black card technique. Could you perhaps edit your question to include a photo, with the used settings? Also, if you find that the only option is an ND filter, but are running into the issue that mounting it is too slow, could you edit your question to focus on that aspect? \$\endgroup\$ May 19, 2021 at 13:30
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    \$\begingroup\$ Cameras with small sensors ( I think this one is 1/2.33") have a large minimum aperture because diffraction would spoil images with smaller apertures. It is one of the tradeoffs for the small sensor letting you get a long effective focal length in a small package. My Nikon P900 has a minimum aperture of f/9.5. \$\endgroup\$ May 19, 2021 at 13:50
  • \$\begingroup\$ Does this answer your question? Long Exposure shot - subject too bright \$\endgroup\$
    – Michael C
    May 19, 2021 at 20:32
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  • \$\begingroup\$ @RossMillikan Thanks. It's good to know because I used to consider f/8 an aperture in the normal range, not too extreme. I didn't consider the impact on the smaller sensor. \$\endgroup\$
    – FluidCode
    May 20, 2021 at 13:43

3 Answers 3


Since that kind of effect can only be usefully done using a tripod, you don't really need to mount a filter if you feel that is holding you up but can just hold it in front. It's also worth noting that for something light like ND filters, you can just use the 52mm filter threads in front of the lens instead of using 58mm filters on the DMW-LA7 adapter tube (which would take additional time to mount).

There is actually little alternative to using something like ND filters for long exposure during daytime, and F8 tends to make for more of a hit in sharpness due to diffraction than one would usually care for. To go from F8 to F5.6 will already take one stop, and going from 1/1000s to 1/8s takes 7 stops, so depending on what you want to photograph in what light with what shutter speed, don't pick too low a strength. And don't pick too low a quality since any unevenness will be quite visible.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Thank you for your answer. I see that there are not so many options. \$\endgroup\$
    – FluidCode
    May 20, 2021 at 13:37
  • \$\begingroup\$ "Since that kind of effect can only be usefully done using a tripod ...". One of the advantages of doing long exposures via stacking over neutral density filters is that it is possible to hand hold. I've done this successfully, relying on the image alignment to compensate for the lack of a tripod. \$\endgroup\$ May 21, 2021 at 17:16

One popular solution which imitate usage of ND filter/long exposire is to make several photos and in software get the average of all photos (of course they must be aligned)



  • \$\begingroup\$ To get what the OP calls the "running water effect" (a milky-smooth impression) you need to average quite a number of photographs. Using long exposure for "adding" a large number of them and an ND filter for "dividing" the result by a large number tends to be less work, all in all. \$\endgroup\$
    – user98068
    May 20, 2021 at 14:11
  • \$\begingroup\$ @user98068, using ND filter is sample. But have you check the OP question, part about budget? Moreover good ND filters cost significant amount. And in my answer I said this is one method to emulate long exposure \$\endgroup\$ May 20, 2021 at 14:31
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    \$\begingroup\$ @user98068 I'm a filter person myself, and I don't normally like to point to Tony Northrup videos, but this video of his covers image stacking instead of using ND filters. Don't take everything he says as fact (primarily: polarizers cannot always be "simulated"; polarizers alter the incoming light in ways that cannot always be faked in Photoshop). But to the point of getting long-exposure smooth water by stacking lots of images, this demonstrates it well. \$\endgroup\$
    – scottbb
    May 20, 2021 at 16:21
  • \$\begingroup\$ It's also possible to hand hold. I've done this successfully, relying on the image alignment to compensate for the lack of a tripod. \$\endgroup\$ May 21, 2021 at 17:19

I didn't have a tripod, or an ND filter with me. Plus I was wrangling small children. So I tried a free hand stacking shot.

12 shots
1/2 second between shots
ISO                             : 100
Vibration Reduction             : Off
Aperture                        : 8.0
Shutter Speed                   : 1/60
Focal Length                    : 26.0 mm (35 mm equivalent: 39.0 mm)

Here is the middle shot (#6 of 12) scaled down #6 of 12

Here is the stacked image Stack of 12

Now some crops

Middle shot Crop-1 enter image description here

Stacked Crop-1 enter image description here

Middle shot Crop-2 enter image description here

Stacked Crop-2 enter image description here


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