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Old Sep 25, 2007, 6:20 PM   #1
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I just bought a Canon PowerShot S3 SI. Does anyone have suggestions for settings for indoor and outdoor use, with the Creative Zone Items?
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Old Oct 2, 2007, 10:54 PM   #2
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The Creative Zone is where you choose Program Mode, Shutter Priority, Aperture Priority, and so forth (thanks for making me look in the manual!).

Do you have any experience with film cameras? Changing the aperture lets you limit the depth of field. But digital cameras have a larger depth of field than film models. Deliberately making the background out of focus is hard, unless you use Macro or super Macro mode (shooting flowers close-up). I have never used aperture priority.

Experiment with different modes. For the last steeplechase I shot (Rolex Kentucky 3-Day Event), horses were traveling up to 20 MPH (600 meters per minute). I used ISO 80 and chose Shutter Priority. I chose between 1/100 second and 1/160 second (usually 1/125). There was a little blur in some shots. I checked, and I could have chosen 1/250 for all shots and still let enough light in. (The aperture would have been wider [lower number]. In film, depth of field would be shorter, but digital basically always gives you a large depth of field anyway.)

Years ago, I had to use grainy ISO 400 film and a shutter speed of 1/125 second [I think] in the same lighting conditions. I had to focus and set the aperture manually, and I couldn't see the results until I got the pictures back from the drugstore. Digital is so much nicer!

For indoor car shows or museums, I recommend a tripod (a monopod is less bulky) and the lowest ISO you can "get away with" (I hate noise in my pictures) and Program Mode. If you use a flash, put a napkin over it to diffuse it a little. I'm sorry but I don't have a lot of experience with parties and formal dinners.

And please remember: the settings you last used for Program Mode (say, 1600 by 1200, vivid colors mode, whatever) can be different from the ones you last used for Shutter Priority Mode, and so forth. The camera remembers separate settings for each (except maybe Auto, where the camera decides each time, and Manual, where you decide each time). The manual didn't explain this very well.

Also, the flash can be adjusted to add or subtract two stops of light, in increments of one-third stop. In some modes, with the right settings (menu button), the flash is adjusted differently (in only three steps). Page 82 of the manual does not explain this very well.

I have never used Automatic mode. I have used several digital cameras. Sometimes Automatic Mode (or sports mode, or fireworks mode, or whatever) will choose settings (like noisy high-ISO) that I do not like. This is why I recommend P (Program) mostly (shutter priority for outdoor sports).

Experiment and have fun!

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Old Oct 3, 2007, 8:51 AM   #3
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Thank you very much for your answers to my question!

I usually use a Petri FT 35mm film camera for outdoors. I use the widest aperture opening with the highest shutter speed possible that will keep the light meter centered, using the lowest ISO speed film I can obtain. My goal is to capture a picture of a subject, or object in motion with the least amount of blur, and least amount of grain in the picture.

Currently, with the Canon S3IS, I find I am getting my best results using the P setting with an ISO of 80 for indoor and outdoor. I have minimally experimented with the Av and Tv settings, mainly because I am afraid I will miss getting good pictures during my learning stages.

Page 82 seemed vague to me, thank you for clarification.

After reading your post, I will stay with the P (Program Mode) for indoors, and experiment more with Tv (Shutter Priority) for outdoors, using the lowest ISO possible, for I too, hate noise.

Again, thanks!
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Old Oct 20, 2007, 5:56 PM   #4
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Thanks again, to "saturndude" for the tips onwhat settings to try for indoor and outdoor shooting with the Canon Powershot S3 IS.

I have shot approximately 2000 pictures with my Canon PowerShot S3 IS. I have been using mode setting Program (P) for indoors with ISO 80 and the Large Superfine compression setting. For outdoors, I have been using Shutter Speed Priority (Tv) with ISO 80 and the Large Superfine compression setting.

Indoor pictures have been shot with and without flash, depending on the available indoor light sources. The flash seems a bit weak beyond ten feet, and a bit slow to recharge if you are trying to shoot quick successive shots. Knowing these limitations, I have had very nice success with my indoor pictures.

Outdoor pictures in bright sun and no shade have been shot from 1/1000 shutter speed with some clouds in the sky, to 1/1600 shutter speed with hardly any clouds in the sky.

Outdoor pictures in bright sun, but in shaded areas have been shot from 1/250 shutter speed to 1/800 shutter speed.

Pictures at an early morning outdoor sports activity with bright sun and long shadows from trees have been shot with a shutter speed of 1/500.

At the early morning outdoor sports activity with the bright sun and long shadows from trees, there was no problem viewing the subjects with the Viewfinder. Also, Continuous Shooting Mode worked very well. It perhaps, works a bit too well, because you start running out of card space quickly.

There have been no problems using the LCD Monitor or Viewfinder with the indoor shooting.

However, outdoor shooting is a different story altogether, except with the outdoor sports activity as mentioned above. The LCD Monitor is extremely hard to see in bright sunlight. Also, the Viewfinder is extremely hard to see in bright sunlight. You point at your subject as best as you can make it out, and if there is enough time take a second shot, hoping for the best to obtain a good composition. Here is where a computer photo program with cropping comes in quite handy.

I have had very nice success with my outdoor shooting.

Battery life has been over 300 pictures with alkaline batteries.

About the strap. It seems to be holding up well, except that the lettering is starting to come off, and I have not had the camera a month, yet. The side of the strap that had PowerShot, now reads PowerSho. Not a big deal, but if you are going to put your company name on the camera strap, do it well, or not at all. It just looks tacky.
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