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Old Sep 18, 2005, 11:15 PM   #1
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For those coming directly to this thread, I started discussing the P850 and posted the first samples in http://www.stevesforums.com/forums/v...mp;forum_id=18
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After finishing with the manual, which is not that thick and relatively easy to understand, I decided to venture in the "Manual" area today. I will post some photos after this, but first some more info, opinions and possible answers to questions posted in this forum:

- it was sunny today, so I checked how easy it is to use the LCD in bright light.In short, surprisingly good!I actually held the camera with the LCD in direct sunlight, and I could still see pretty well what was going on. The LCD brightness was set to 3, which I think is the default value (up to 5 max).

- today I also used the EVF, and it is impressive. The colors are good and the menus look excelent (both contrast andsharpness). I found the EVF very comfortable. The rubber fits the eye area very well. This is one of the things that I checked on the Canon S2 and the Sony DSC-H1 at BestBuy, and I liked Kodak P850 the most :-).

-AF issues: the AF is pretty slow at full 12X zoom, especially in low light conditions. There is a menu option to change it from continuous to single, but I only found that option in the Advanced Settings Menu which is not visible in the Auto and Scene mode. I changed this option in the Manual mode to single and I discovered that the vibrations some people noticed even when simply holding the camera in the hand are most likely due to the AF system. With the AF in single mode I could not feel those vibrations. With the AF in continuous mode, I put the camera on top of my hand (facing upwards) and I moved it around while on, and I could feel the AF working while the camera was randomly pointing at different things. However, when framing and taking pictures, I could not feel anyvibration - so it probably depends on how one holds the camera and how sensitive one is to this kind of things.

In several occasions I could not get the AF system to focus at all. In one of these cases I was also trying to use the Macro setting to photograph a small flower. The camera was mounted on the tripod, and the distance between the lens and the flower was about 30 cm. I wanted to use the zoom to get as close to the flower as possible, but beyond ~ 6X the AF failed. The light was pretty good - the flower was in direct sunlight and the camera was placed at about 90 degrees from the sun - flower line. When I was about to experiment with other settings, the battery died :-).

- the battery lasted for 133 pictures on the first charge. But I also played with the zoom, the EVF and the LCD without taking any pictures. The flash was used for some of those pictures and the LCD on most of them. I think that is pretty good, but I hope to get close to 200 pictures and more after a few more charges.

- loud zoom. The zoom is indeed loud. I cannot compare it with any other camera but my CX7530 (which ismuch more quiet) but that comparison would not be fair. I did play with the zoom of the Cannon S2 and the Sony DSC-H1 at BestBuy, but I don't remember how loud they were. I guess this is an issue when shooting movies with the camera, but I don't intend to, so this is not an issue for me.

- black LCD and EVF after taking the picture. Both the LCD and the EVF turn black for about 1 second (and even more when the shutter speed is slower) after the shutter is fired. I don't know what to say about this. Is it happening with other cameras?

- saving speed. This may be related to the speed of the SD card. I have an old 256 SD card (with probably very low transfer rate), and after the LCD returns from the "black" mode it takes 4+ seconds until I can see live images in the LCD. I set the file type to "Fine". During this period, the LCD shows the picture being saved. I intend to get a faster SD card, but not very soon. I haven't tried the burst mode to see how fast that works.

- manual controls. I found the command dial / set button combination very easy to use, and very handy. This allows the fast modification of key parameters like ISO and shutter speed without the need to go through the menu.

- lens cap. I read about the issue some people have with the lens cap for the Canon S2. The P850 lens cap is attached pretty well to the camera, but if you turn on the camera with it attached, in less than a second the cap pops off, which I think isa nice feature, given the fact that I found myself forgetting to take it offabout 50% of the time :-). Make sure it is strapped to the camera :lol:.

All this being said, I like my P850 a lot. Most of the things I mentioned above or in the other thread do not really bother me, with the possible exception of the AF. More pictures coming soon....

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Old Sep 18, 2005, 11:29 PM   #2
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I took this one around 2 pm today, in mostly sunny weather, in a park near my home. The camera was mounted on a tripod. I used the "Sport" mode from the "Scene" selector, with full 12X optical zoom. The flash did not fire. Other EXIF info:

- exposure: 1/640
- shutter speed: 1/644
- ISO 100
- aperture: f/3.6

No post processing except resizing the image from 2592x1944 to 800x600 and saving as high quality (9).

I think the result is pretty good, but can be better.

I am new to this kind of "speed" photography and I struggled with the tripod at first, until I discovered that I can set the tripod to allow free horizontal movement such that I can easily follow the action on the field. At full 12X zoom the AF gave me a few problems, but I managed to take a few decent photos.

style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #000000"This is one of the times I wished the P850 had a flip-out and twist LCD, because my tripod is not tall enough for me to stand fully erect behind it, so I had to crouch behind it - not very comfortable for long periods of time! :-)

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Old Sep 18, 2005, 11:45 PM   #3
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Red Mustang :-)

I took this picture in Auto mode, hand held with my elbows on a table. Very small zoom (less than 3X I belive). Flash did not fire. I used the EVF for this shot. It was sunny and the trees have nice shadows both on the ground and on the building wall. Other EXIF info:

- exposure time: 1/100
- shutter speed: 1/101
- aperture: f/3.2
- ISO 50
- focal length in 35mm film: 98

No post processing except resizing the image from 2592x1944 to 800x600 and saving as high quality (9).
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Old Sep 19, 2005, 12:10 AM   #4
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Pond with a wooden bridge

The sun just hid under a cloud. The camera was mounted on the tripod, in auto mode, with flash turned off and very small zoom (less than 2X I believe). Other EXIF info:

- exposure time: 1/80
- shutter speed: 1/80
- aperture: f/2.8
- ISO 50
- focal length in 35mm film: 75

No post processing except resizing the image from 2592x1944 to 800x600 and saving as high quality ( 8 ).
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Old Sep 19, 2005, 12:27 AM   #5
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Parking deck at dusk/night

I shot this in Manual mode, after experimenting with different ISO and shutter speed settings. The camera was mounted on the tripod. I used the 2 second shutter delay to make sure that my pressing the shutter button has no effect on the image quality :-). The flash was turned off, and there was no zoom (1x). I left the white balance on auto. Other EXIF info:

- exposure time: 0.4 sec
- shutter speed: 0.4 sec
- aperture: f/3.6
- ISO 125
- focal length in 35mm film: 36

No post processing except resizing the image from 2592x1944 to 800x600 and saving as maximum quality (10).

I think the noise is not that bothering in this one.
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Old Sep 19, 2005, 12:42 AM   #6
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One more picture for today.

The camera was mounted on the tripod. I used the 2 second shutter delay. I left the white balance on auto. The flash was turned off. The camera was in manual mode, with the optical zoom close to (but less than)9X (I believe). Other EXIF info:

- exposure time: 1 sec
- shutter speed: 1 sec
- aperture: f/3.6
- ISO 400
- focal length in 35mm film: 322

No post processing except resizing the image from 2592x1944 to 800x600 and saving as high quality ( 8 ).

The noise is quite visible even at this size, especially around the street light. That place was across a pond from where I was, so the zoom really counted :-). I started with the full 12X zoom at which the camera could not focus, and I decreased it until I got a decent focus - you can see the results in the picture.
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Old Sep 19, 2005, 5:46 AM   #7
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Thanks for posting your pics FAVA98. I've been waiting to see some pics from the p850. So far they don't look to bad.

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Old Sep 19, 2005, 8:48 AM   #8
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Some things I forgot to mention in the first post:

- when I set the AF to single and checked the camera for vibrations, I also checked how the zoom worked in this mode: at 12X full zoom, for the particularshot I was framing (and with the sunbehind a cloud),the image on the LCD was blurry, so I switched back to continuous mode, the AF kicked in and the LCD image was properly focused again.

- there is a battery icon visible both on the LCD and the EVF, close to the upper right corner, and it has 3 bars (I think I read somewhere that it has 5 - nope, mine has just 3 bars :-)). The bars also change color as their number decreases (if I remember well,the 3 bars are light blue and the last one is yellow), and that makes it even more easy to spot. When the battery is almost empty, the last bar flashes.

- the digital zoom has 3 modes of operation: "continuous", when the camera smoothly switches from the optical zoom to the digital one, "pause" when the zoom stops when reaching the maximum for optical and you need to press again on the zoom control to switch to digital, and "off" when the digital zoom is disabled and the graphical display on the screen only shows the optical limits. I set mine to "off" for now.

- both the LCD and the EVF can show useful info as icons andnumbers along the margins of the screen. There is an Info button that can change what info is visible and can (of course) remove them from the screen. Most of the info is available in the Manual mode: in the default setting, on the top of the screen there is info that cannot be changed (like the camera mode, the resolution, the type of the file being saved, the flash mode, how many pictures can still be saved with the current settings until the internal memory/SD card are full, zoom status, battery status, and so on). There is some info on the right side, like the AF mode, the white balance, the status of the AF/AE lock (when the shutter button is halfway pressed - green if OK, red if not). The info/settings that can also be changed are displayed on the bottom of the screen: aperture, shutter speed, exposure compensation, flash compensation andISO. When such a setting cannot be changed it is displayed in gray. There is a "Command" dial in the upper right corner on the back of the camera that can be used to circle among the settings that can be changed - a dark blue triangle is positioned on top of the current setting. There is a "Set" button right under the command dial - when this button is pressed, the corresponding (selected) value turns yellow, and the command dial can be used now to increase/decrease the selected setting in the predefined steps. Once the desired value is reached, another press on the Set button saves the new value. Pretty convenient and easy to use! I used this facility while framing through the LCD, but I think it should beequally convenient withthe EVF too, since you can use your thumb to do all these operations while keeping your finger ready on the shutter button :-). I didn't get to use the live histogram, but I'm really looking forward to it after I learned what it's good for (in a short tutorial posted on the web), and used the one in Photoshop Elements 3.0 for a little hands-on post processing test.

The manual says that the operations of the other buttons (like the focus, the flash and the drive buttons) can also be performed using the command dial but I haven't triedthat yet.

Now, being a newbie at this, I'm not sure whether this is how it should be or it was because Idid not set something right, but in the manual mode I could not directly change the exposure compensation with the command dial. It was linked with the shutter speed, so whenever I changed the shutter speed, the exposure compensation was automatically adjusted by the camera.



Hmmm, so many other things I still haven't had timeyet to playwith.... :-) (exposure bracketing, white balance settings, manual focus, burst mode - just to name a few). If only I had enough time...

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Old Sep 19, 2005, 10:13 AM   #9
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Hi Fava

I've read your message, and nice to read that and see your kindness.

Thanks for telling such a lot of details of the camera. Sure that you'll learn in few weeks quite a lot, and soon you won't be a "newbie" anymore.

About the exposure compensation in manual mode, the "exposure compensation" isn't that, but a measure between the exposure you've selected (in manual) and the exposure the camera would select. In other words: withe the "exposure compensation" numbers, in manual mode the camera tells you how your exposure is far from its one.

Reading at your posts the AF speed is slow at telephoto or with dim lights, which is pretty common in ultrazoom models (though some do better than others), but in normal ligth or not in tele, is it responsive enough?

Thanks again for sharing all this stuff!

Un saludo.
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Old Sep 19, 2005, 1:04 PM   #10
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fava98-

I think you have done a wonderful job of giving us a lot of information and some excellent photo samples as well. Many thanks.

Sarah Joyce
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