Go Back   Steve's Digicams Forums > Digicam Help > General Discussion

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old Jun 15, 2004, 1:00 PM   #1
Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 38
Default

I recently bought a Dimage S414 and was pretty happy with it. It was on sale for $199 and we were trying to keep it cheap.

This weekend was it's first big job - a family reunion, outdoors, under a pavilion, mixed sun and clouds. When I got the pictures into the computer, I was OK with them, I though they looked a little high on the contrast, but not bad. Then I transferred the pictures from a relatives old Olympus Camedia camera (not sure of the model number right now- but it was a lower end Oly) and they absolutely blew away the Minolta. In some cases where we literally were standing next to each other taking pictures of the same thing, it was night and day difference.

The Olympus was much better at keeping the subject (in the shade) bright enough without making the background (in the sun) look nuclear. With the Minolta, if the background looked decent, the subject was too dark and if the subject looked ok, the background was terrible.

I have the pictures on my family website - http://www.thewyatts.net/reunion.htmlPage 1 and 2 are the Minolta, and page 3 and 4 are the Olympus - am I doing something wrong with the camera, or is the Olympus that much better of a camera?

I have a couple of weeks left that I can return the Minolta for full value on a trade in, but I don't know what to trade to - been looking at a Canon A75 possibly since the camera store it came from doesn't carry Olympus.

Thanks
rctoyguy is offline   Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
Old Jun 15, 2004, 2:09 PM   #2
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Indian Rocks Beach, FL
Posts: 4,036
Default


Mess around a little in the Custom 2 settings. You might want to try the camera with lower contrast or mess with sharpening and color.

I saw some shots that should have used fill flash. No camera is going to be able to get the right exposure for inside a shaded pavilion and get the exposure for the background correct.

Perhaps if you had been using the Oly and your relative the Minolta you would see the difference the other way round. Things like spot metering, fill flash and settings can make a difference. I doubt the Oly has a wider exposure latitude than the 414.

One of our experienced members has a 414 and he seems to like it except for the battery life.
slipe is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Jun 15, 2004, 4:04 PM   #3
Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 38
Default

Both cameras were in full auto mode - the Olympus was on highest quality largest image, the Minolta was on 1600x1200 (next to highest) and normal quality. I know this wasn't a direct comparison, but I didn't think image size or compression setting woiuld have an affect on exposure.
rctoyguy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Jun 15, 2004, 5:18 PM   #4
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Indian Rocks Beach, FL
Posts: 4,036
Default


I have never had a flash set on automatic. I either want it or I don't. There were obviously shots where the camera saw the bright background and elected to not fire the flash. I usually shoot people with fill-in flash even if they are standing in bright sunlight – avoids shots like this:
http://www.thewyatts.net/pix/0406reu...d/p6120054.jpg The shadows are harsher in bright sunlight than that and you don't want people squinting into the sun.

Image size and compression shouldn't affect exposure. But cameras can have different algorithms for when to fire the flash. My Power Squadron recently had an event at Caladesi Island and I took a bunch of photos for our monthly publication. It was at a pavilion similar to your reunion and I think I took all the shots with fill-in flash for anything within about 12 feet. They all came out well even though I was using my little pocket camera.

Your Minolta has a separate flash button and a nice status panel to read the flash mode on. I wish my little cameras had a status panel like that. I have problems seeing the LCD in bright sunlight and have memorized the button pushes to get the flash on and off.
slipe is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Jun 16, 2004, 12:50 PM   #5
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2002
Posts: 88
Default

Something to try before you thrown in the towel on the 414. Go to manual mode and switch to the spot metering/af mode (sorry I sold mine a while ago and don't remember the exacts). Instead of getting a bunch of boxes when you focus you should only get the one in the middle to light up.

What is probably happening is the 414 is trying to meter the entire scene and has to make compromises. If you put it center only you can autofocus and check on the LCD on how the shot looks. If skies are blown- tiltup a smidge and refocus- if foreground is black tilt down a bit. (You can get good at this after a bit- better than the camera guessing what you want properly exposed). The other thing- shoot with the sun at your back when possible- probably the best chances of getting a bright blue sky and properly exposed foreground. I usually shot with the lcd on at least for the first few shots because the lcd on it was so good at showing exactly how the shot would come out and I could play it by ear from there. I also bought a huge card and often take 2 shots in a row (not continuos just in a row) with a slight tilt in the camera on the second shot. (I came from TV where we always shoot at least twice as much as we'll ever use.)

Sorry I took down my S404/414 page when I switched to a Elph for everyday use and back to an all manual film SLR for special occasions- I could have shown examples.
whittonj is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Jun 16, 2004, 2:35 PM   #6
Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 38
Default

Since we still have 2 weeks on the return/upgrade deal, and it sounds like everyone is pretty impressed with the 414, I think we will give it a little more time before I do anything crazy.

style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #000000"I was looking for a very simple, "grab it and shoot" kind of camera mostly for my wife to keep handy. We have our first baby on the way and wanted a camera to keep with the baby stuff. I am planning on replacing my primary digital cam (old faithful Sony Mavica) with a higher end camera soon - this is just as an extra, but I still want/need it to be point and shoot.
rctoyguy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Jun 16, 2004, 2:54 PM   #7
Moderator
 
calr's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Beaverton, OR
Posts: 8,466
Default

Well I, for one, am not completely satisfied with it. I have had mine since last summer and have gotten some outstanding shots with it. On the other hand, I have gotten just as many bad ones. The autofocus performs very poorly. The LCD screen is just about impossible to use in bright daylight. I have tried one of the Hoodman LCD shades but it doesn't help much. The viewfinder is ok for composing mid to distant shots but it can't be used for focusing. There is a manual focus mode but it relies on the LCD screen to see the focus...I can't see it. Battery consumption is very high.

I continue to use the camera. I carry is in my briefcase almost all the time. However, it is not my primary choice for serious photography. For that, I use a Nikon D100.
calr is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Jun 16, 2004, 2:54 PM   #8
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2002
Posts: 88
Default

Even if you leave the camera in manual mode- switch your metering/AF setting once and leave everything else set to auto in the menu- you won't notice the fact you're in manual mode- it's all the same except for how much of the frame the camera is using to determine exposure. It's worth a shot- I think the price for that camera was quite a deal- I almost bought it back when I saw it that cheap.

Not to mention- lots of indoor flash pictures for the next year with a baby- maybe you should check to make sure you like the flash range and skintones as well.
whittonj is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Jun 16, 2004, 3:49 PM   #9
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Indian Rocks Beach, FL
Posts: 4,036
Default


One nice feature of the 414 is that it has a continuous focus mode. Once your newborn becomes a rugrat it is an essential feature IMO. You can hold the pre-focus until you want to take the shot and it will keep adjusting the focus and give you a very fast shutter release. Even if you don't pre-focus it continues to focus all the way to taking the picture rather than lock the focus when you push the button. I have two cameras with and two without continuous focus. All of my rugrat pictures and pictures in dynamic situations are in focus with the feature on. It is frustrating shooting a perpetual motion kid without it.

The 414 is a bit of a battery hog and continuous focus exacerbates the problem. But spares are cheap with NiMH.

If turning on and off the flash is too much of a problem for your wife just turn it on and leave it on. Other than shooting through a window or doing available light for effect it won't do anything but improve family type photos. It doesn't seem to affect landscape shots. Some cameras switch to a higher ISO with the flash on, which would give a little more noise. But if you aren't even shooting at full resolution and quality I doubt it will show at the sizes you display or print.
slipe is offline   Reply With Quote
 
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off



All times are GMT -5. The time now is 9:25 AM.