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Old Aug 4, 2010, 1:20 PM   #11
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Default Beginner's Guide for Z980

Originally Posted by mtclimber View Post
That looks good, 1denny-

I am very pleased that all worked out well for you. I know that you were very apprehensive about the Z-950 and how it would work for you. I have attached my Z-950 Beginner Guide for you. I hope that it will be useful to you

Kodak Z-950 Beginner’s Guide:

The easiest way to get started is to first read completely through the Owner’s Manual and charge the battery. When you are ready to take your first photos, do this:

(1) Set “P” on the Mode Selector. “P” stands for Programmed Auto Mode. It is an Automatic Mode that allows the user to make adjustments to the ISO, to the Exposure Compensation, the Flash Compensation, the WB or White Balance, the Burst Mode, the Scene Modes, and the Focusing Options.

Note: Stay out of the Little Red Camera icon if you are interested in camera shot to shot speed, as that mode puts each photo through the Kodak “Perfect Touch” in camera post processing procedure.

(2) Set to ISO to “Auto ISO. You probably want to consider limiting how far the
camera can increase the ISO setting by itself. I would recommend that for outdoor
photos that you limit the ISO increase to ISO 400. For indoor use limit the ISO
increase to ISO 800.

(3) Set the WB to White Balance to “Auto WB” when shooting out doors. If you are shooting with flash indoors you can keep the Auto WB in place. If you are shooting indoors without flash, use tungsten or incandescent WB, it is indicated by the small logo symbol of a light bulb. Set the Flash mode selector to the Auto Flash position. This is not a perfect mode and there are two instances where the camera can be confused on when to deploy the flash.

(4) Set the AF (Auto Focus) control (still) to single. Selecting continuous, just runs
down the camera’s battery.

Note: Here is how to set up your first photo, and for that matter, every other photo,
Thereafter. Frame your desired photo using the Z-950’s LCD screen. When you
have what you want, slowly squeeze down 1/2 way on the shutter release. That
will make the camera focus, and when the focus has been achieved, your
focusing bars on the LCD screen will turn green. Now fully depress the shutter
release and the photo is taken.

(5) The main thing you want to avoid is jabbing at the shutter, as this will cause sudden camera movement overpowering the IS or image stabilization system and blurring the photo. Use the shutter release gently!

(6) After the photo has been recorded, check how the exposure looks on the cameras LCD screen. If it is to light, it is over exposed. If it is too dark, it is under exposed. You are looking for the midway point where the properly exposed photo looks like are properly tuned TV set.

(7) Exposure Compensation (with the camera in the “P” Mode) is located in the center, bottom of the LCD screen. A photo that is too light can be corrected by using Minus Exposure Compensation. Make the initial Minus Exposure Compensation setting EV-0.7, take the photo, and check the result on the camera’s LCD screen. Then increase or decrease the Exposure Compensation to attain the proper LCD screen appearance. If the photo is too dark, you will have to apply Positive Exposure Compensation. Begin with a setting of EV+0.7, and then again adjust the Exposure compensation again, as required to attain the proper LCD screen appearance.

(8) After the photo is taken, you will notice that a flashing red light will blink on the camera. This is an indication that the camera is recording the image to the camera’s flash memory card.

(9) If you are indoors and desire to take a flash photo using the camera’s built-in flash unit (a) check that the Flash Selector, located on the top of the camera and indicated by a small lighting bolt is selected to the Auto Flash mode (shown by a lighting bolt with the capital letter A next to it is the upper left hand corner of the LCD screen). (b) recheck that the WB is still set to Auto ISO. (c) Keep the camera to subject distance at 11.5 feet or less to achieve the proper exposure. If you are photographing a group and you must increase the amount of light projected from the camera’s built-in flash unit so that the Flash Range can be increased from the normal maximum Flash Range of 11.5 feet, to a greater value. The adjustment on the Flash Compensation scale works in the same way as Exposure Compensation did. Positive Flash Compensation increases the flash output and the Flash Range. Negative Flash Compensation reduces the flash output and the Flash Range.

(10) If you want to take a close up photo (also called a Macro Photo), where the camera to subject distance is 30 inches or less, you will have to select the Macro or Close-up Mode. The easiest way on the Z-950 is to switch the Mode Selector to SCN (Scene Mode) and, then, using the 4 way controller, select a Flower shot. Again the same photo taking procedure will apply. Gently depress the shutter release to the half way point, the camera locks the focus and gives you the focus locked signal. Re-frame your focus as necessary after allowing the camera to focus on the exact point desired. If the photo environment’s lighting is low, select the Flash (top of the camera with a lighting bolt), Auto WB , and Auto ISO, as previously described. The built-in flash unit will reduce the light output of the flash due to the reduced Flash Range between camera and subject in this Macro or Close-up shot. After taking your close-up photo check the camera’s LCD screen for proper exposure. If the exposure is too light or too dark you will use the Exposure Compensation procedures outlined above. If you are taking the Macro or Close-up photo while employing flash, once again check the LCD screen for proper exposure. If the result is too light or too dark, you will use the Flash Compensation feature as described previously.
(10)As lighting conditions change you will have to adjust your camera’s WB to get
the correct color in your photo. There are fixed WB settings for bright sunshine,
cloudy or foggy conditions, tungsten or incandescent lighting, and for fluorescent
lighting (several varieties).

(11)Keep in mind that there are indeed minimum focus distances for each lens
position. In the Macro or Close up mode, the minimum focus distance is roughly
2.0 inches. You must receive the focus confirmation to be sure that you are not
too close and that your photo is properly focused. In the normal focus mode,
without any zooming, the minimum focus distance is around 36 inches, or 3 feet.

Note: As the camera zooms out further, expect the minimum focus to also increase. So, in a Macro photo, if the camera will not lock focus, the problem is most probably that you are at less than the minimum focus distance for that lens setting.

(12) The better the light, the better your photos will be. As the light level decreases
measurably you will find the photo quality will fall and the camera will have a
harder time recording your photo. So good light is essential to good photos.

(13) Photographers are like concert pianists: the more you practice and learn the
better their photos will be.

(14) Take your time and learn how the changes that you make to your camera,
directly affect how your camera records your photo.

(15) Here is a quick review of the options on your Mode Selector:
Small red camera icon: Remember that this is a slow operating mode as it includes “Perfect Touch” in camera post processing.

P=Programed Auto. This is the mode I use most often. This works just like Full Automatic only it allows you to make some changes to ISO, flash options, Exposure Compensation, Flash Compensation, White Balance etc.

S=Shutter Priority. You select the shutter speed and the camera adjusts for the proper exposure by adjusting the aperture.

A=Aperture Priority. You select the aperture and the camera automatically sets the proper exposure by adjust the shutter speed.

M=Manual Mode. You select the shutter speed and aperture and the camera reports if your selection will produce the produce the proper exposure, by displaying the wrong exposure in red color and the correct exposure in green color. So understand that using the Manual Mode will require some big time manual adjustments on your part. My advice is do not use this mode until you know a lot about the Z-950 camera.

Sarah Joyce
Sarah, do you have one for the Z980. I just got mine last week.

Chester Ludlow
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Old Aug 5, 2010, 9:16 AM   #12
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Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Oregon, USA
Posts: 18,143


Welcome to the Forum. We're please that you dropped by.

I wrote the Z-950 Beginners Guide especially for the Z-950 folks. Most of Beginners Guide will apply to the Z-980 as well. That took several hours of research and writing, so it will be a week or so before I can get one done for the Z-980.

I am a full time care giver to a severely disabled husband, so my free time is very limited.

Sarah Joyce
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