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Old Dec 21, 2005, 10:55 PM   #1
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Be forewarned as you read this that I know almost nothing about cameras, so don't hate me for any idiotic questions I may post, just bear with me. I bought a new Minolta Z5 a couple months ago for my wife, she really would love to learn more about photography. Anyways I am having a couple of problems and don't know if it the camera or just my lack of knowledge. Here are the probs:

1) The camera shake warning seems to be on more often than not, which is very annoying, is there anything I can do to make the pictures better aside from using a tripod or holding my breathe til I am blue to stay still?
2) The LCD and pics are always very dark when the setting is on "S" for shutter speed
3) Not sure if this is a problem so much as a question but on with it... Is there any way to, how to do I say it, make an image in the foreground focused while making everything in the background not, or is this only able to be done with much more expensive cameras. I love the effect but have yet to figure it out.

Alright I know these may be broad and maybe even dumb but thx ahead of time for any help it is sincerely appreciated.
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Old Dec 21, 2005, 11:52 PM   #2
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Dude, ask away. We all had to start somewhere, and this forum is a great place to ask these questions.

1) Shake-induced blur can be reduced by using faster shutter speeds, by a good image-stabilization system, or by holding the camera in a steady way. The Z5 does have good IS, so that's one thing already helping you. To use faster shutter speeds, you may try raising the ISO a little bit, but don't raise it too much or the picture gets too noisy/grainy. And finally, hold the camera steady: put your eye to the viefinder, bring your elbows in against your chest, push the camera into your face a little bit, and press the shutter button slowly. More thorough tips on getting good low-light pictures (such as how high you can raise the ISO and how slow the shutter speed can go before blur becomes excessive are at


2) In Shutter Speed mode, if the pictures keep coming out too dark, raise the EV adjustment a little bit. Dig around the menu, you'll probably find an "EV" option that can be adjusted to plus or minus one (or plus and minus two), with stops every 1/2 or 1/3. Go to plus one. This will make the camera over-expose by one stop every time, which may be more to your liking if the default looks too dark. (Also, make sure that the images look too dark on your computer, not just on the camera's LCD screen. If the camera's LCD screen brightness can be adjusted, make it brighter, see if that helps. I overexposed all the pictures I took on my 10D for about a month until I figured out that the LCD brightess was set to minimum and this made the pictures look OK on the camera but too bright on the computer).

3) This effect is called "shallow depth of field", where the DOF is the range of distances in which an object will be in acceptable focus. Depths of field become shallower when you use wider apertures (so set your aperture as wide as it goes), when you use longer focal lengths (unless this causes aperture to drop, then the net effect may be a deeper depth of field, so never mind), and when the distance from the lens to the subject is small (so you'll always get shallow depth of field when taking pictures of small objects, and never when taking pictures of distant things). Since fixed-lens digital cameras have lenses with extremely short focus lengths when compared to the "real lenses" used on SLRs and on film cameras, it's much harder to get a shallow depth of field with a fixed-lens digital camera than it would be with a film camera or with an SLR.

I hope that helps. And if you have more questions, ask away!

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