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Old Dec 20, 2005, 4:19 AM   #1
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After a couple of years just using a point and click digial camera, I just purchased a more advanced one, since I want to do some more advanced photographing (I bought a Panasonic FZ5)

I spend last weekend learning about exposure, Iso types etc. And at least now I know what everything means :-)
I want to go and experiment in different situations with different settings. I was just wondering if anyone knows if there's a site on which you can find a sort of "default" values, for different situations, so that at least I have a starting point to begin from.

(for example which settings to use for a sunrise, indoor portret, landscapes etc.)

Thanks in advance for your reactions,
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Old Dec 20, 2005, 7:54 AM   #2
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Someone asked this question a few weeks ago, and was given this link:


It seems pretty good to me.

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Old Dec 20, 2005, 3:14 PM   #3
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That looks like a very good link.

Here is my statement and I think it will go along with what that link says.

There is no "correct" setting for different situations (well, in a few cases there are, but for the vast majority there aren't.)

Unless you're really good, you'll depend on your camera to meter the scene. It will suggest a shutter speed and aperture.

The trick is that it isn't always right. You'll have to learn how it works and when its right and wrong. For example. I was photographing birds (hooded mergansers) today. They have a partially black body but their crest is pure, absolute white. If I trusted the camera, it would have over exposed the whites. I know this, so I used exposure compensation to reduce the exposure by almost 2 stops so the whites were correct. The image is too dark, but the whites are right. I'll fix in photoshop.

There is absolutely no other way to photograph them. You can't get both the blacks and whites right. The camera can't represent that wide a range of brightness and still retain detail. So I used my brain, "fixed" the exposure, and got a usable image. (I haven't edited it up yet, or I'd include a link to it.)

So you need to learn two things. First, as said above, is when the camera is right and wrong about the suggesting settings.

Second is how the different settings effect the image. And then you have to think about what you want in the image. Let me give you an example:
If you use a higher f-stop, the depth of field will increase. More will be in focus. This is good if you want to take a picture of something big. But it reduces your shutter speed. If that big thing is moving or is alive (like a moose) then the lower shutter speed could produce a blury picture of a moose. If you use a small f-stop you'll get the sharp picture (because of the higher shutter speed) but you'll end up with only a portion of his big nose in focus. Not very good either.

You need to learn what the settings do and how to use them to your advantage. Books on photography can teach you this, as can just doing it... change the settings and see if you like the images.

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Old Dec 20, 2005, 3:41 PM   #4
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Hi eric,

question to u...

even i tried a picture of a INN here where there was nice sun light on the interior of the INN but the outside was kinda dark brown bircks and had a wonderful sky line. But the problem with the S70 i tried with was it was over exposing the Whites. i tried the Exposure Compensation a cuple steps down and it still never let me have the picture i wanted.

I finally shot it with a much lesser shutter speed to totally under expose.

now my question is that, if i take it in raw, does any of the settings i set my camera will affect the raw image. Even the shutter speed and stuffs.

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Old Dec 20, 2005, 9:34 PM   #5
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Yes, your exposure settings will affect how your raw image will look. It's things like sharpness, noise reduction, color manipulation, and JPEG compression that "kick in" when the sensor output is processed into an image file. The exposure settings, like aperture and shutterspeed, as well as focus, will definitely influence the sensor output.

As for general tips on what settings to use, the link I suggest is


To start off: Set the aperture as wide as it goes, set the ISO to minimum. If the image on the LCD looks too bright, make the shutter speed faster (more towards the 1/1000-of-a-second end of things). If the image on the LCD is too dark, make the shutter speed slower (more towards the 1/2-of-a-second end of things). If your shutterspeed gets so low the whole image looks blurry, make the shutterspeed faster until it matches your equivalent focal length (1/20s or 1/30s at wide angle, 1/100s for 3x zoom, 1/400x for 12x zoom - slower if you have IS and depensing on how steady your hands are) and raise the ISO.

These aren't specific numbers, but it's a relatively simple process for exposing well, minimizing motion blur, and minimizing grain/noise. (It's not so much about starting out with the right numbers; It's about knowing how to adjust the numbers to the current situation. The Panasonic FZs give you a "preview" of how the image will come out, in real time on the LCD/EVF while you change these settings, so it's fairly easy to be in the right ballpark with a few quick adjustments, just by looking at the LCD/EVF until it's not too bright, not too dark.

There are reasons why you may not want your widest aperture - such as to capture motion blur / panning, or to have an easier time focusing - but the photographer will probably not want to worry about that so much before building an intuition of what settings to use.

(I learned about exposure, aperture, shutter speed, ISO, motion blur, depth of field, etc, by doing this kind of trial-and-error with my FZ10).
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Old Dec 20, 2005, 9:49 PM   #6
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Your question is like the philosophy professor's... "Describe the world and give three examples".

What you're asking for is for an answer to produce great photographs. There's no simple answer. You'll have to find out what combination of appature/shutter speed/ISO will work in any situation. That's why photography is an art.

The good news is that digital photography lets you experiment and get instant feedback.

Enjoy the journey. You'll eventually get some great shots. I finally get some pretty good exposures after a year or two of experimenting, but I learn something every time I take the camera out.
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Old Dec 21, 2005, 9:43 AM   #7
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If you shoot RAW you will be able to adjust the exposure during post processing but only within limits. So you can compensate for an over or underexposed shot but far better to get it right in the first place.
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Old Dec 21, 2005, 4:21 PM   #8
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You've gotten some answers already, but I'll throw out some more info.

As said, RAW does let you adjust for incorrect exposure to some extent. I've never used the RAW files from that camera, but with mine (a much more expensive camera) I can adjust around 1/2 to 1 stop either way before the quality degrades too much (do note that "too much" is a relative statement. I have *very* high standards. I've spent over $10,000USD on camera gear.)

The only thing that effects the RAW file are the physical settings & ISO. aperture (f-stop), shutter speed, focal length and ISO. All the other electronic things (listed above) don't effect it.

You are exactly correct about what the camera is doing in that shot of the Inn. It wants to turn the dominate color to 18% gray. So it saw the darker outside of the building and over exposed the scene to get that right... and blew out the light colors of the interior. I just wanted to say congradulations, you did what you should have done to fix it. This is great, many people don't understand what was going on.

The problem is that a digital camera doesn't really have enough dynamic range. You can't capture deep dark colors and really bright colors. They just can't do it. The scene you're trying to photograph is really hard to do (many films can't either, but some of the best ones can.)

If exposure compensation didn't help (probably because you couldn't adjust it enough), you have three choice that I see.

The first is use a different metering mode. I don't know if you camera supports them, I know my camera has 3 (but again, its a more expensive camera.) If you're camera supports a "spot" meter (or something that uses only a small portion of the image to figure out the exposure from.) the advantage here is that you could meter off the window (which will turn it to gray) but then reduce the exposure slightly to lighten it up. That would probably get you the best results.

The other option is to look at the settings you're using after exposure comp and then switch to manual. Put it at the same settings (taking into account the exposure comp) and then reduce the shutter speed even more.

First I'd use exposure comp. Since that didn't work, I'd then do this last step. But you gotta use a tripod for it to work.
I'd take two pictures, one exposed for the windows and one for the side of the building. Then I'd blend them in photoshop. This requires that you take two images from exactly the same location, which basically requires a tripod.

I hope that helps.

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