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fastshow Aug 20, 2002 12:19 PM

S404 Newbie questions
Hi, I've had an S404 for about a week now. My prevous camera was a Fuji MX1700z, which was great for a 1.5mp camera, but was basically point and shoot.
My questions are as follows :-
1) Is their a rough setting to get good, sharp results in daylight/ sunlight? I currently have the EV to +3, use Daylight WB, ISO 100, Focus Mode is set to AF, Sharpness = Soft, Contrast -1 and Sat. +1. I am trying to take shots of dogs running and a lot of the shots are blurred. Would changing the Metering mode from Multi to Spot help? and what about setting the AF mode from Wide to Spot focus?.
2) I am going to Vegas in September and doing all the usual touristy things (Grand Canyon, Hoover Dam Strip etc. Is there any way to take decent(ish) evening or night shots of the strip without using a tripod? Settings would be appreciated.
3) Can anyone point me in the direction of sample pic. sites that include all the relavent settings ISO, EV etc, so I can try similar pictures.
4) Whats the best way of reducing my pics so I can post them on a Gallery and show you some of my snaps? I use the fine setting.
5)I'm using the DIVU for my samples. Will this give me the best results for printing out pictures?
6)What is a good case to get as I've heard the Minolta ones are a bit naff.
Thanks in advance for replies. I'm new to the manual side of photography but I'm getting their slowly. Please don't be too technical in your replies ;)

whittonj Aug 22, 2002 9:34 AM

where to start?
I'm hardly a pro, but I've had my 404 for quite a while so I'll try to help with what I've learned...
1. daylight shooting still objects- I never jack the EV up that high, unless object is backlit (I'm facing towards sun) and never use soft sharpening-- there's been discussion that while using photoshop to sharpen photos taken with some cameras shot soft produces better results- the general consensus with the minolta cams was that you just loose detail that you can't get back. -- stupid question- how are the dogs running? like at a show where you're along side or like me trying to take pictures of my 5 month old puppy that darts and dives different directions without any indication which direction it will go next? If you're along side the dog- you can pan the camera the direction the dog is moving at slower camera speeds (low ISO and/or slightly longer exposure) to get nice shots- like shooting auto racing. If it's like my puppy- the best thing you can do is half press the shutter to lock focus at a point on the grass and wait for the dog to get within that range to completely press the shutter. Also try to get the dog to run towards you-- much easier to follow on the lcd or viewfinder.
2. Play with the exposure with your vegas shots-- you shouldn't have to go to a full second or anything with how lit up vegas is. Just so you know your ability- you can play with the exposure and see how slow you can go before your hand shake is noticable.
3. Sorry can't think of anything... you have a camera club in your area that will take in digital guys?
4. get photoshop elements or similar product at you local software company- I've bee nusing adobe photoshop for years- it not only lets you crop and resize the image but it has a save for web feature that optimized speed/file size for the web. Full photoshop is expensive.
5. Sorry don't print my own picts... color has been natural without converting to srgb in DIVU- only use DIVU to sRGB picts with wide range of bright colors or any shots that come off a bit dull.
6. Lowepro has a line of black and gray digital bags that I like, model 20 or 25 I think holds the 404 a spare set of batteries and an extra CF or two. I have a pelican case for travel, otherwise I got a good strap and leave it slung over my shoulder in the open.
Hope this helps a little... you might try posting in newbie or general qa forums- lots of people here with film/digital backgrounds much greater than mine.

fastshow Aug 23, 2002 4:32 PM

Thanks for the reply. FYI the dogs are just running loose in fields. I'll try focusing on the grass and I'll give the slower shutter speed/ panning a try too. Do you use spot metering or wide and also wide AF or spot AF or a combination. Which comination gives you the best results? Thanks again.:)

whittonj Aug 23, 2002 4:50 PM

I use spot AF as much as possible and spot metering in high contrast situations when I know what I want properly exposed (um oviously I guess)...

I'm more apt to use spot AF becasue I've been burned enough times by the camera choosing the wrong subject to focus on that I don't let it think for itself so much anymore.

I guess I don't really have settings I use all the time. When shooting manual I usually do AF on spot, manual exposure and aperture (really not that hard- you only have 2 f stops to choose from). I burn through CF-- usually try- 3 or 4 settings per shot (if object isn't moving)- just to see what minor tweaks will do. ISO setting is a sticky subject for me- I haven't been able to judge when going to 200 is going to give me a usable shot.

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