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Old Oct 31, 2006, 7:51 AM   #1
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I have used polarizers on other cameras. S3 has a selective color intensifying feature. Which might be better way to go - polarizer or internal controls? Is it worth using both at the same time? Advantages, if yes? Thanks. Fred
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Old Nov 5, 2006, 10:21 PM   #2
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You did not mention what you are trying to do.

I have the S3. I have not used any color intensifying features yet. I have read the manual somewhat, but I need to read it more.

A polarizing filter takes away 1.5 to 2 "stops" of light. If you do not have enough light, you might be forced to use higher ISO (noise) or you might lose detail in the shadows. Or slower shutter speed may put you at risk for "camera shake". You can increase the brightness afterwards in software, but you cannot brighten up details that were never recorded because they weren't lit up in the first place. But the polarizer is color-neutral.

"Color accent" and "color swap" are in SCN (scene mode) only. They are described in the manual and seem to let you change one color at a time (simpler effects). In both of these, you can tell the camera to save both the original and the modified version on the card when you shoot. If you want these effects, the camera will do them so you won't need to take the time to do them with software afterwards.

"My Colors" mode is more complex and has several components. It seems to let you adjust more than one color at a time and sharpness, skin tone, etc. It is available in a number of modes (program, aperture priority, etc). I'm starting to ramble, so I'll cut out a bunch of stuff here.

I did not see the manual talk about saving both original and altered photo in "My Colors" mode. Try saving both original and modified images in "color accent" or "color swap" and then switch to "my colors" mode and see if it saves both when shooting in "my colors" as well.

It looks like any of these can really give you striking photographs.

I read somewhere that the camera can apply these effects to photos after they are taken. But I don't know which effects (color accent / color swap, "my colors", or both of these). With color accent or color swap, you might not need to apply effects afterwards, if you have already saved both original and modified images. But you might want to apply "My Colors" effects to them, to spice them up even more. I don't know.

In time I will probably find all the answers. Until then, keep experimenting, make sure to have fun, and let us know if this helps.

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Old Nov 5, 2006, 10:41 PM   #3
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All of that, and I forgot to answer your question!

Yes, there are advantages to using both at the same time. You could use a polarizer to make the sky a darker blue, and then:

(a) use "color swap" to change it to another color
(b) use "vivid blue" ("My Colors") to emphasize it more
(c) use "neutral" ("My Colors") to make all colors duller, like a faded 30-year old photo. But the sky would still be darker than it otherwise would have been, because of the polarizer.

The options are only limited by your imagination. I guess that's why Canon lists some of these modes as being in something they call "The Creative Zone".

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Old Nov 11, 2006, 10:57 AM   #4
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Hi ... it occurs to me to mention that a polarising filter is not targetting any specific colour but rather the angle of light as it hits and bounces off surfaces.

For example, colour enhancement would not make it easier to see what it beneath the surface of a lake which is glaring with sunlight. The filter when adjusted properly will remove the glare so you can see beneath it.

You have used one before so you will be familiar with how rotating the polarzing filter changes the quality of what you see ..... this is a very different function from what would be happenning with internal camera colour enhancement .....

With the polarising filter you have the creative control depending on how you rotate it. I od not have experience of your camera with internal enhancement.I would certainly recommend having the polarising filter to use.
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Old Dec 26, 2006, 12:53 AM   #5
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Fellow S3 users and polarizer filter fans,

The internal color controls of the S3 and the usage of a polarizer are two different applications that can be used together with good results, but never substituted for one another.

The internal color controls will apply a broad change to the entire image - sometimes too much. But it is needed for indoor or outdoor situations where you need to balance the color properly. I like to use the tungsten setting for all my nightime shots.

Here are a couple examples of the dome of the Adler Planetarium with a quarter moon overhead:

Here I used the normal outdoor setting. If you notice, the whole image is awash in light polluted mercury vapor illumination.

In this one, I switched to the "Tungsten" indoor setting. I think it imparts a much better view of the same scene, as it removes the ugly orange glow.

The polarizer will enhance present colors and increase contrast without imparting a color "influence" on the image. This effect works best with light reflecting off surfaces at a 90 degree angle, and is a great glare remover from shiny surfaces. This contrast effect is best seen with partly cloudy skies, and the sun to your right/left. Clouds just pop out and the sky is a nice deep sapphire blue.

I use a polarizer in my telescope to cut down the intense light from a full moon. And as a added benefit, it increases much needed contrast on the lunar surface. I have not seen any benefit from using the polarizer on other celestial objects, not enough light reaching the eye to play with.

There is really not a practical use of a polarizer for night time use, as it does cut down the amount of light, but it can enhance a handful of situations. In photography who's to say what's right or wrong?

Hope this helps.

Chicago Astronomer Joe

Telescope/Observatory Operator
Adler Planetarium & Museum
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Old Dec 27, 2006, 12:02 AM   #6
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FredBangeman wrote:
I have used polarizers on other cameras. S3 has a selective color intensifying feature. Which might be better way to go - polarizer or internal controls? Is it worth using both at the same time? Advantages, if yes? Thanks. Fred
Color intensifying and effects of polarizer are two different things. The color intensifying effect of a polarizer, if you insist to use this term, is due to the removal of reflecting light from the subject. So, it is actually not intensifying at all. Please see the "polarizer" page of my Panasonic FZ-30 user guide.



Nikon Coolpix 950/990/995/2500/4500/5700, Panasonic FZ-10/FZ-30, and Canon A95 User Guides

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