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Thread: NEW MEMBER: Looking for Guidance on using her Camera

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    NEW MEMBER: Looking for Guidance on using her Camera

    MOD EDIT - This message, from Diane, was copied from the 'New Member - Introduce yourself here thread'.

    :confused Diane here.

    I registered the other day.

    have a little Sony cybershot point & shoot 7.2 mg pixels. At my current stage of photo taking the Sony does well but doesn't have the telephoto lens capability and a recent buy of a Panasonic Lumix FZ100.

    The more I take pictures , the more I am about the settings. There are so many(lumix)settings! Where to start even? So far I mainly use the automatic point & shoot & a bit of Macro.

    I'd like to take night shots of the sky but still don't understand the lingo. & what would be the settings to start at. Is a tripod necessary all the time for night sky shots? Flash? It has night auto settings but any pictures are fuzzy so far. Don't know if it is my inexperience or the camera. We have some great northern lights & I'd like to capture some.

    Beginning to think I'd rather have enjoyed a Nikon of some sort with the lens available & lack of understanding to really make a good decision about them on my budget.

    I also have some additional lens filters but need to use the adapter to use them. I think maybe waiting before I play with them & get to know the camera better.

    Also the movie making has mutiple settings. Which setting may be a good starter for a beginner if there is one?

    I'm thinking of using the jpeg settings at first but like the idea of RAW files too. I know RAW files take up more space.

    I tried loading a picture but doesn't seem to work for me esp. since I am still on dialup. Was it the dialup or lack of understanding.

    I have a varied 'portfolio', dare I even use that word. of pictures & a few nature movies,e.g. family of rabbits playing in the early morning around the trees in the yard. Sometimes a lucky event like that comes very unexpectantly, once.

    I finally posted a photo here. Since I reduced the size I don't think the vibrant cloud colours are as visible as the original.

    hanx, still learning, Diane
    Last edited by Donald; 23rd April 2012 at 05:57 PM.

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    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: NEW MEMBER: looking for guidance on using her camera

    Diane - As you can see, I copied your post into this new thread where, hopefully, more people will see it and respond.

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    Re: NEW MEMBER: looking for guidance on using her camera

    Thanks so much! I posted a picture in My Album as well. Did it post well enought. I had difficulty adjusting the size on my application.
    diane

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    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: NEW MEMBER: looking for guidance on using her camera

    Diane - Yes, I can see the picture in your gallery. Well done.

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    Re: NEW MEMBER: looking for guidance on using her camera

    Allo Diane, welcome. I also looked at you picture and it look good.
    As a new photographe myself, I found the tutorials in here very helpfull. My knowledge in equipment is limited, I was told to buy the best quality that you can afford.
    Ah, there is a catch. This activity is highly addictive,hehe.
    It is a great adventure in learning, as much from the technical perspective, the mechanical side of the cameras, the artistic point of view, your perspective on life in general and what you focus on in particular.
    You mentioned the northern lights and the dial up, are you up north?

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    Re: NEW MEMBER: looking for guidance on using her camera

    Quote Originally Posted by Diane View Post
    Is a tripod necessary all the time for night sky shots? Flash? It has night auto settings but any pictures are fuzzy so far. Don't know if it is my inexperience or the camera. We have some great northern lights & I'd like to capture some.
    I've picked out the bits I can try and answer...

    Tripod for night sky shots? Certainly for the sort of long exposure shot that captures stars as arcs of light. Almost certainly for a decent shot of the moon, where you are likely to be using a long zoom so the slightest wobble becomes camera shake but with a good image stabilised lens possibly not. For firework displays a tripod is handy as it lets you position the camera in the correct general area then stand back and take in the whole scene, rather than the bit you can see through the view finder but fireworks are very bright and fast moving so to avoid them being over exposed you need shutter speeds that can easily be hand held. Not being far enough north to have ever seen the aurora I'm not sure about the need for a tripod. I would guess yes.

    Unless you are trying to light up something in the near foreground of your night pic, forget flash.

    As for why night pics can be fuzzy, autofocus usually relies on areas of high contrast to provide some sort of fixed point to lock onto. The night sky is likely to be low contrast = hard to get a focus lock = fuzzy pics.

    Others will correct me if any of this is wrong.

    Ken

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    Administrator Manfred M's Avatar
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    Re: NEW MEMBER: looking for guidance on using her camera

    Diane, the nice thing about a digital camera is that experimentation doesn’t really cost you anything. Try things to see how they turn out and leverage your successes and learn from your mistakes.

    Based on your questions, you are still getting your head wrapped around your cameras and are determining what the camera can and cannot do for you. When you shoot in “point & shoot” mode, you are essentially letting the camera make some decisions for you, that you will want to make yourself as you gain experience and confidence. I firmly believe in the KISS principle for beginning photographers; Keep It Simple Stupid!”, and don’t try to overwhelm yourself with all the bells and whistles. A good introductory book on photography might be useful. Your local community college or school board might offer introductory courses as well; you might want to consider looking into them. I would not suggest you get a more complex camera until you outgrow your present equipment, now that you have spent money on it. You will get more bells and whistles to overwhelm you.

    You will find as you figure things out, you will be doing less and less photography in “automatic” mode and will be setting shutter and aperture settings manually. If you want to shoot the aurora, you will need to use a tripod; as you won’t be able to hold the camera steady enough without one. Your automatic settings may get you a reasonably good shot of the Northern Lights, and if not you are going to have to shoot on manual until you get a setting that works for you. Practically, it’s a tripod is something you would want to consider for shooting video as well; most pro video is shot off a tripod or other camera support. Pros shoot with a tripod, but amateurs think they don’t need one; go figure…

    Video standards vary a bit in North America versus Europe. For video settings, most Hollywood films are shot in 24P and all DVDs end up playing at this frame rate, but that might give you choppy results when you pan, and most North American broadcasters have standardized on either 720p at 60 fps or 1080i at 30fps for HD broadcasts. P stands to progressive scan and I for interlaced. Fps = frames per second. Your camera may have some other settings as well. The Panasonic camera uses something called an AVCHD codec; you will find Sony and Panasonic use this but pretty well no one else does, so unless you have one of their televisions, you may not be able to play back your videos on other equipment without some additional processing. Video editing is a whole different topic and makes image editing look simple…

    RAW versus jpg. Pros and advanced amateurs do use this, but this is really because they will do a lot of post-processing work on the files. RAW files cannot be viewed directly and have to be processed by software supplied by either the camera manufacturer or a third party software supplier. Unless you are planning to get into image editing, you might want to consider shooting jpg for now. You should look at image editing, regardless. Resizing and tweaking are part and parcel of serious photography and there are lots of products out there. The “gold standard” is Adobe Photoshop; but it is quite expensive and has a steep learning curve. Other software like Photoshop Elements are much more affordable and might be something you would like to look at.

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    Re: NEW MEMBER: looking for guidance on using her camera

    Welcome Diane: By your post you have lots of questions, members here will help you. Let us know what it is that, you want us to answer, try not to use the "What do you think?' because if you do not know how do we. So take lots of images and then take more shots, you will find many new and creative ways of not taking good images, learn from these. Even post some (what is he crazy, post those), yes, list those things that you believe are incorrect, we will probably agree with you, however you might get, I like the idea of what you were trying to do, what if you try to to this. It is all about learning so welcome to Cambridge in Colour (Cambridge is that not a place of higher learning, or is it a place near Waterloo Ontario)

    Cheers:

    Allan

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    Re: NEW MEMBER: looking for guidance on using her camera

    Thanx Ken,
    I didn't know the night sky is considered low contrast. I wondered why the stars etc. set against a black sky wouldn't be sharp
    contrast. too simplistic thoughts.
    The lumix camera has a manual setting as well as auto.
    diane

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    Re: NEW MEMBER: looking for guidance on using her camera

    Thanx,
    Adobe Photoshop is a good tip. There are so many out there & I've heard it before but don't really know why. The Lumix came with its own software but I'm really not at the point of adjusting everything. Resizing seems very necessary these days even for emailing/sharing & I shall get a tripod. I did post a photo in my album. The sky was amazing.
    diane

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    Re: NEW MEMBER: looking for guidance on using her camera

    Thanx ,
    Quite addictive lately. My excuse shall be 'newbie". I look forward to improving. I live in the country where high speed is a truck going fast.
    Diane

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    Re: NEW MEMBER: looking for guidance on using her camera

    Hi Diane,
    When my daughter was at your stage a few years ago I put together a simple guide to explain the various functions and a few 'How to ..' tips. If you'd like a copy send me a Personal Message with your email and I'll send it to you. It's about 1MB so on your dial-up it may take a while. Also it's a pdf file (to save space), so you'll need to download Adobe's free Reader if you haven't already got it.
    Best of luck.

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    Re: NEW MEMBER: Looking for Guidance on using her Camera

    Have a look at the tutorials on this site, Diane. There is a lot of useful information in them.

    Agree with the comment about posting photos that you are not happy with on here. I belong to a number of photographic forums (should that be fora?) and this is the most civilised one by a wide margin. No one will have a go at you if your photos are not too good, but they will try to help. BTW also post photos that you are happy with

    I don't know how much editing of your photos you have done so far, but there are a few free editors that are worth looking at.

    The two I use almost exclusively are

    Photoscape. This is very easy to use but relatively limited in features, however, sometime it does all I want, and

    GIMP. This is more advanced but can do many of the things that the more expensive paid for editors can do

    There are others that you'll find by Googling "Free photo editors"


    Dave

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    Re: NEW MEMBER: Looking for Guidance on using her Camera

    The tutorials on this site are very good. I would start there.

    For learning about basic exposure I recommend "Understanding Exposure" by Bryan Peterson. I have this book and it's very good.

    Auroral photography is something I have not done as I live in too low a latitude but here is a link on how to do it:

    http://www.dpreview.com/articles/821...orthern-lights

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    Re: NEW MEMBER: looking for guidance on using her camera

    Quote Originally Posted by GrumpyDiver View Post
    Diane, the nice thing about a digital camera is that experimentation doesn’t really cost you anything. Try things to see how they turn out and leverage your successes and learn from your mistakes.

    Based on your questions, you are still getting your head wrapped around your cameras and are determining what the camera can and cannot do for you. When you shoot in “point & shoot” mode, you are essentially letting the camera make some decisions for you, that you will want to make yourself as you gain experience and confidence. I firmly believe in the KISS principle for beginning photographers; Keep It Simple Stupid!”, and don’t try to overwhelm yourself with all the bells and whistles. A good introductory book on photography might be useful. Your local community college or school board might offer introductory courses as well; you might want to consider looking into them. I would not suggest you get a more complex camera until you outgrow your present equipment, now that you have spent money on it. You will get more bells and whistles to overwhelm you.

    You will find as you figure things out, you will be doing less and less photography in “automatic” mode and will be setting shutter and aperture settings manually. If you want to shoot the aurora, you will need to use a tripod; as you won’t be able to hold the camera steady enough without one. Your automatic settings may get you a reasonably good shot of the Northern Lights, and if not you are going to have to shoot on manual until you get a setting that works for you. Practically, it’s a tripod is something you would want to consider for shooting video as well; most pro video is shot off a tripod or other camera support. Pros shoot with a tripod, but amateurs think they don’t need one; go figure…

    Video standards vary a bit in North America versus Europe. For video settings, most Hollywood films are shot in 24P and all DVDs end up playing at this frame rate, but that might give you choppy results when you pan, and most North American broadcasters have standardized on either 720p at 60 fps or 1080i at 30fps for HD broadcasts. P stands to progressive scan and I for interlaced. Fps = frames per second. Your camera may have some other settings as well. The Panasonic camera uses something called an AVCHD codec; you will find Sony and Panasonic use this but pretty well no one else does, so unless you have one of their televisions, you may not be able to play back your videos on other equipment without some additional processing. Video editing is a whole different topic and makes image editing look simple…

    RAW versus jpg. Pros and advanced amateurs do use this, but this is really because they will do a lot of post-processing work on the files. RAW files cannot be viewed directly and have to be processed by software supplied by either the camera manufacturer or a third party software supplier. Unless you are planning to get into image editing, you might want to consider shooting jpg for now. You should look at image editing, regardless. Resizing and tweaking are part and parcel of serious photography and there are lots of products out there. The “gold standard” is Adobe Photoshop; but it is quite expensive and has a steep learning curve. Other software like Photoshop Elements are much more affordable and might be something you would like to look at.
    Thanx for the KISS. This is the best method for me at this stage. I'm beginning to realize just how little I do know.
    I can see how image editing can enhance a photo that the camera didn't quite capture after viewing the Whale shots with someone elses questions on the site.
    My camera came with the SILKYPIX software & really is way above my knowledge now. How might this software compare with Adobe?
    diane

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    Re: NEW MEMBER: looking for guidance on using her camera

    Though I am a Panasonic owner I have not bothered to open SilkyPix becuase I have an editing programme and I have assumed Silkypix is for handling RAW files whereas jpg's can be handled by any programme. My editing programme does what the Adobe editors do and compared with Photoshop is much cheaper but not that less competant, different and superior in some respects, more user freindly, I've uised both. Compared to Elements I would rate it superior though I have not used the latest version[ E10?]. I have been using Paint Shop Pro almost from when I started for originally the simple reason that it was at a price I could just afford while Photoshop was wildly expensive, back then there were no others on the market ... it helps if you are student which I was not at around 65yo :-)

    As a 'tip for beginner' I would stress that editor and camera are companion tools, neither to be neglected in favour of the other.

    While your FZ100 is a very competant camera, I was using the FZ20/30/50 before going to M4/3, you do not have to confuse yourself with all its abilities and most of the time I am using "A" mode which enables me to keep the aperture at the 'sweet spot' for best image quality, f/5.6. But you do have to watch, in the viewfinder when you take half trigger, what shutter speed the camera is picking to give a correct exposure for the light.
    While Image stabilisation is great to have it is not a miracle worker and it is good to remember the old and trusty rule that your shutter speed should not be less, or not much less with OIS, than the reciprocal of the focal length. You have a pretty long zoom, x24 from 28mm I gather, so when we express the angle of view in 35mm camera terms that means at full zoom you are using a 24x28= 672mm lens so you should not use a shutter speed less than 1/500 unless you are supporting the camera adequately, good tripod or nice brick wall etc :-) At wide angle, 28mm you should be able to use a shutter speed of 1/30 with care hand-held.

    Most trouble I am convinced comes from how people press the trigger, punching down on it in their haste. It doesn't need that and the best word I can think of is to 'caress' the trigger, taking first half trigger to tell the camera to set-up on what it is looking at and when you see the 'red'[?] ball stop flickering complete full pressure[full caress :-) ] to take the shot. If you do not wait for the confirmation that the camera is ready it will probably take even longer before it takes the shot and could be out of focus.

    Finally, since this could be a book, remember that the more you learn the more you will realise what you don't know, so try not to let it bother you. It applies to both of us, you a newbie and me after sixty years plus in the game :-)

    PS. if I can up-load a file to go here, I'm a newcomer to this site, it shows the difference and how to get a good shot of the moon ... starting by using auto exposure to get a starting figure and then in manual setting the camera about two or four stops less light. The moon is a light source, like fireworks, and doesn't need long exposures, but all the blackl sky around it leads AE to give a wrong exposure which causes a buirnt out white moon. My moon was shot with a x8 zoom and 100 ISO and the cropped in editing.

  17. #17

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    Re: NEW MEMBER: looking for guidance on using her camera

    NEW MEMBER: Looking for Guidance on using her Camera

  18. #18

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    Re: NEW MEMBER: Looking for Guidance on using her Camera

    NEW MEMBER: Looking for Guidance on using her Camera
    Closer shot of moon at 432mm zoom ... the FZ100 should give a x4 bigger image at full zoom.
    Had fingers crossed OIS would help me with the 1/80 shutter speed :-)
    In other situation have shot 950mm AoV [ Telephoto adaptor on FZ30 ] 1/400 shutter
    Last edited by jcuknz; 29th April 2012 at 10:07 AM.

  19. #19

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    Re: NEW MEMBER: Looking for Guidance on using her Camera

    Quote Originally Posted by jcuknz View Post
    NEW MEMBER: Looking for Guidance on using her Camera
    Closer shot of moon at 432mm zoom ... the FZ100 should give a x4 bigger image at full zoom.
    Had fingers crossed OIS would help me with the 1/80 shutter speed :-)
    In other situation have shot 950mm AoV [ Telephoto adaptor on FZ30 ] 1/400 shutter

    Thanx so much,

    The pics are an added bonus, visual & written info makes so much more sense tho' still figuring out where & how to change some of the settings along with learning the terminology. Yikes, seems daunting yet is slowly unravelling.
    I'm practicing using the auto zoom. Its touchier than a manual for me.
    I took a deer pic today & a robin. The robin has a branch crossing under it that interferes with its full body and which i'd like to remove. Any program out there that is simple & would let me do that.

    For some reason I am having difficulty uploading pics. I think dial up is part of the problem.
    I'll keep trying until they load.
    diane

  20. #20
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    Re: NEW MEMBER: Looking for Guidance on using her Camera

    Diane, I also would recommend the books in a series call Photo Workshop. They are a great tutorial tool for beginners in photography. If you buy on Amazon.com they are allot less expensive than any other book store or online site.

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