Oh why did I buy this camera?

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by Dagwood56, Dec 27, 2008.

  1. Dagwood56

    Dagwood56 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Hi there

    Well, I know why I bought it, I wanted an SLR camera again and it made sense to get one that used my existing collection of minolta lenses [Sony A100]

    Perhaps I'm showing my age - really not familiar with all these digital gadgets of the 21st century:er:. Anyway I'm back now with yet another question.

    What is the best metering setting for general landscape and nature shooting. The Sony has spot - which my husband and i agree probably isn't the best choice. Then there is "local" and "wide" [default] the wide apparently selects what "it" thinks is the best metering point. So could that be why my shots are turning out so awful [blurred & darkish] My husband said perhaps the local setting would be the best. What do you all choose when shooting nature. We hike [walk would be better to say at our age] and I take the camera snd shoot what appeals to me - trees, birds, lakes.....

    I feel like a total idiot! :blushing: I have read the lantern guide manual for the camera [several times] as the one that came with the camera requires three college degrees to decipher,:lol: but I'm still having problems with clear, sharp focus. I did find out that high contrast situations require use of the D-range optimizer set at advanced, but haven't had a chance to try it yet to see if it would make a difference when shooting ducks on the water.

    As I mentioned in my earlier post [what am I doing wrong] I don't save junk - when I go through my shots, if they aren't good I get mad and just hit delete so can't post anything to show you and won't have a chane to go out again before next week. But those shots were of hundreds of seagulls on a beach at a nearby lake and some were floating in the frigid water.

    I used the camera on program mode, and focused on the gulls on the beach with some of the water [which was pretty choppy] in the back ground. The camera was on auto focus and it looked clear to me too when the camera fired, but later in photo shop, those few shots that looked clear on sceren were horrible when I zoomed in just a bit to crop and get a bigger image of a few birds.

    Another thing - the A100 automatically adjusts for noise reduction in photos, but it has an added feature of noise reduction if taking long exposures [I do not take long exposures] So realizing this special feature was "on" I have now turned it off to see if it will have a good or adverse efffect on future shots. Do you think turning it off was a good idea?

    Boy ---talk about a new toy thats more frustrating than fun! Well, I have one! But I guess its just going to be trial and error and LOTS of patience which I'm not real good at right now, to get it right.

    Thanks for any help & suggestions you can offer. I'd really like to have this figured out by say---at least this coming spring!:lol:
     
  2. ksmattfish

    ksmattfish Now 100% DC - not as cool as I once was, but still

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    I am not familiar with your camera, but the "wide" meter setting probably averages the scene, and should work well for most landscapes.

    It sort of sounds like camera shake may be your problem with focusing.

    Stop thinking of it as newfangled technology. The fundamentals of exposure are pretty much the same whether using a camera from 1908 or 2008. If youu understood how to do it with a 35mm SLR it's the same.
     
  3. benhasajeep

    benhasajeep TPF Noob!

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    Take a picture of something else. Maybe even with another lens. See how the pics come out then. Not sure how many controls you have changed. But you should have some kind of factory reset key combination. Reset the camera to factory defaults. Then take some shots and check them out. Just try some normal pictures in well lit areas.
     
  4. Dagwood56

    Dagwood56 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Thanks ksmattfish: I agree that camera shake is probably some of the problem as I have had medical issues over the past year and walking usually causes me to stagger when I tire - then standing steady can be hard especialy on windy days, like it was that day at the lake, but according to the stability feature in the camera viewfinder settings, the steady shot was working and found no real stability problem.

    Thanks:benhasajeep - I just said to my husband this morning that next time out I want to try several different settings, then reset to defaults and try same shots and maybe even take my canon p&s along and take the same shots with it to see which turn out best. Its been a long while since I handled an SLR and its a lot heavier than I remember and somehow I think the DSLRS, imo, are bulkier to hold onto than the old film SLRs.

    Thanks Again
     
  5. OldClicker

    OldClicker TPF Noob!

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    Well, I know why I bought it, I wanted an SLR camera again and it made sense to get one that used my existing collection of minolta lenses [Sony A100] Good choice. The old Minolta lenses are freat if you don't exceed there limits.

    Perhaps I'm showing my age - really not familiar with all these digital gadgets of the 21st century:er:. Anyway I'm back now with yet another question. Everything from a film camera is still there. Focus, ISO, Aperture, Shutter Speed and Light Meter. Find these and use them just like always. BUT, when you get them down, go back and explore what these modern marvels can do - it's amazing.

    What is the best metering setting for general landscape and nature shooting. The Sony has spot - which my husband and i agree probably isn't the best choice. Then there is "local" and "wide" [default] the wide apparently selects what "it" thinks is the best metering point. Wide averages the whole scene. If everything is capable of being properly exposed, use wide. If you have to get the subject exposed properly at the expense of other things, use a narrower metering. So could that be why my shots are turning out so awful [blurred & darkish] My guess is that you are exceeding the limits of the camera (actually, the limits set by the camera because of the limits of the monitor). Your not going to get a picture of a dark duck on highly reflecting water without compromise. My husband said perhaps the local setting would be the best. What do you all choose when shooting nature. We hike [walk would be better to say at our age] and I take the camera snd shoot what appeals to me - trees, birds, lakes..... Just like film, it depends on each situation.

    I feel like a total idiot! :blushing: I have read the lantern guide manual for the camera [several times] as the one that came with the camera requires three college degrees to decipher,:lol: but I'm still having problems with clear, sharp focus. The manual doesn't require a college degree, it (like most manuals) requires some time and effort by Sony. I'm guessing your focus problem is from the choppy water and not using spot focus. Is there a 'wave' that is in focus? That was where the camera picked. Set it on spot focus and get that spot on the duck that you want in focus. I did find out that high contrast situations require use of the D-range optimizer set at advanced, but haven't had a chance to try it yet to see if it would make a difference when shooting ducks on the water. I have not used this, but it may help.

    As I mentioned in my earlier post [what am I doing wrong] I don't save junk - when I go through my shots, if they aren't good I get mad and just hit delete so can't post anything to show you and won't have a chane to go out again before next week. But those shots were of hundreds of seagulls on a beach at a nearby lake and some were floating in the frigid water.

    I used the camera on program mode, and focused on the gulls on the beach with some of the water [which was pretty choppy] in the back ground. The camera was on auto focus and it looked clear to me too when the camera fired, but later in photo shop, those few shots that looked clear on sceren were horrible when I zoomed in just a bit to crop and get a bigger image of a few birds. If there is someplace on the photo that is in focus, it is a focus problem. Use spot focus and be sure you get the spot on what you want - or manual focus. If nothing is in focus, it is camera shake. Tripod and fast shutter speed are what you need. This is no different than film.

    Another thing - the A100 automatically adjusts for noise reduction in photos, but it has an added feature of noise reduction if taking long exposures [I do not take long exposures] So realizing this special feature was "on" I have now turned it off to see if it will have a good or adverse efffect on future shots. Do you think turning it off was a good idea? Probably has nothing to do with your current problems.

    Boy ---talk about a new toy thats more frustrating than fun! Well, I have one! But I guess its just going to be trial and error and LOTS of patience which I'm not real good at right now, to get it right.

    Thanks for any help & suggestions you can offer. I'd really like to have this figured out by say---at least this coming spring!:lol:

    Take a few shots (I would start indoors with nothing moving and with good wondow light) and post them and ask what's wrong. It's the fastest way to learn.

    TF
     
  6. Dagwood56

    Dagwood56 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Thanks OldClicker: I'll take this all into consideration. To be honest it is my husband who keeps pushing the part of the camera being "digital" I can't even get him to try it out because he keeps saying he knows nothing about digital photography. He's only been away from photography for a few years, whereas, except for using the point and shoot canon last year, I have been away from it for almost 10 years and I have forgotten a lot and my mind doesn't seem to retain some things as long as it used to. I will keep in mind what everyone has said, I'll re-read the manual and scan through some of my photography books and just keep practicing till I get it right. Thanks again for the input.
     
  7. dxqcanada

    dxqcanada Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    My wife and I both have the Sony alpha A100.
    After a couple weeks we both switched to shooting raw.
    Most of the in-camera processing is disabled when shooting raw.

    Try not to enable the stablizer at high shutting speeds ... it is very effective at low speeds (ie 1/15s or lower).

    I sometimes use the progam modes to affect shutter/aperture ... ie sports when shooting birds.
    Most times I shoot in shutter or aperture priority.

    Light metering is an interesting thing, especially with these new matrix metering systems. I have found that in most cases the camera does a fine job. Sometimes this will fail ... ie subjects with bright / dark backgrounds.
    I have programmed my AE lock button to Spot Metering for easy access.
     
  8. Dagwood56

    Dagwood56 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    dxqcanada : Do you use the DRO or do you have it set to off? After reading the manuals last night and looking through the lantern guide as well, I am wondering if the in camera processing DRO provides can cause the same problems as the "automatic adjustments" made in stores when you have film put ont a CD.... I shoot jpg because I only have one 2BG card at the moment and I like to shoot a lot of photos when I go out, so shooting in raw is a long way off for me. The manual says DRO provides very little if any adjustments to RAW shots....so I was just curious as to whether you use the DRO set to off, standard, or advance.
     
  9. dxqcanada

    dxqcanada Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    I left the DRO enabled (as per the default setting), which is set to standard.

    We only shoot in RAW, and I don't see any affect of DRO on the image ... though it has been a while since I tested that.

    If you want to ensure you retain image quality then shoot RAW.
    Get yourself some more memory cards.

    You can also test this out by setting the camera to capture RAW + JPEG ... then compare the images.
     
  10. lvcrtrs

    lvcrtrs TPF Noob!

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    I used the camera on program mode, and focused on the gulls on the beach with some of the water [which was pretty choppy] in the back ground. The camera was on auto focus and it looked clear to me too when the camera fired, but later in photo shop, those few shots that looked clear on sceren were horrible when I zoomed in just a bit to crop and get a bigger image of a few birds. If there is someplace on the photo that is in focus, it is a focus problem. Use spot focus and be sure you get the spot on what you want - or manual focus. If nothing is in focus, it is camera shake.
    THIS IS REALLY HELPFUL IN TRYING TO FIGURE OUT WHERE TO START WITH OUR FOCUS ISSUES. Simple concept but a noobie would not have thought of it.

    Try not to enable the stablizer at high shutting speeds ... it is very effective at low speeds (ie 1/15s or lower).

    I sometimes use the progam modes to affect shutter/aperture ... ie sports when shooting birds.
    Most times I shoot in shutter or aperture priority.
    HELPFUL AS WELL
     
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2009

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