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Old Mar 18, 2004, 5:31 PM   #11
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Default auto mode

Also, if you want it to be almost as automatic but not quite, using P mode might be a good idea. It still takes care of the exposure automatically but, in my opinion, yields better results.
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Old Mar 18, 2004, 6:39 PM   #12
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Default Re: auto mode

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Originally Posted by bob877
Also, if you want it to be almost as automatic but not quite, using P mode might be a good idea. It still takes care of the exposure automatically but, in my opinion, yields better results.
I agree. With P mode (or A, S, or M, I believe) you get more menu options--three pages of options as opposed to one with Auto. These extra options, among other things, let you change settings like ISO sensitivity and toggle between AF and MF.
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Old Mar 18, 2004, 6:45 PM   #13
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I don't know the range of the Minolta external flashes, but I believe the camera's popup flash is good at up to 20 feet or so. If you're in the stands, that obviously won't do you much good. You would need a flash that could go much more than 20 feet, and like I said I'm not sure how far the Minolta flashes go. For my night racing pics, at the local dirt track I'll be in the infield just a few feet (or inches, at times :lol: ) away from the cars so it's not as big an issue, though at the local asphalt track no one is allowed into the infield so the only viable option for night pics there is to take them from the flagstand.
Bob, what external flashes work with the Z1? I've seen the three Minolta flashes mentioned, do you know others that would work?
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Old Mar 18, 2004, 8:04 PM   #14
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I have the 2500 flash. According to the documentation at ISO 100 and F2.8 it will go 30 feet and at ISO 400 F2.8 it will go 60 feet. The numbers decrease from there. I knew it wouldn't be much use for football since I can't get any closer than the sidelines without wearing black and white stripes, but I thought it would be good for stage events. It probably is much better than I give it credit for, I just have to learn to adjust the camera and not just push one button and expect good results regardless.

Another part of the problem is that I never owned a non digital camera so I don't think so great in all these numbers. I know it just comes down to light and getting the right amount with a combination of aperture size and shutter speed. Sometimes though I feel like I am just changing things and not seeing any improvement. I think I need to do a controlled study!
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Old Mar 18, 2004, 8:18 PM   #15
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With the Dimage viewer software (and I imagine other programs as well) you can look at all the different settings (shutter speed, aperature, etc.) for individual pictures. Try taking a picture, then try to get the same picture changing just one setting, like shutter speed. When you download the pics see what kind of difference the one change made and make note of it. With my Nikon film camera, I never had much luck with fireworks or nighttime Christmas parades because I did them so infrequently. I would take notes, but when it came time next year to do new pics, I could never find the notes telling which settings worked. With digital, I should be able to check the picture information and use that particular setting for the new pics. 8)
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Old Mar 18, 2004, 8:30 PM   #16
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I haven't done much football, and the bulk I did was 4-5 years ago with a Canon AE-1 at a weekly paper. As I recall, we didn't have a flash for the camera so I used the highest f stop (2.8, maybe 2), usually used ISO 800 film and shutter speed somewhere around 250. I THINK those were the general settings, but it's been a while so I could be totally wrong. :lol:
With racing pics at night using flash, I usually had my Nikon in S mode at max shutter sync speed, which I believe was 125. Worked pretty well as long as I stuck to taking pics of cars on my side of the track or within a reasonable distance. With football, you pretty much can't get pics when action is headed to the opposite sideline so concentrate on when the players are coming your way (of course make sure you don't get trampled either ), line of scrimmage plays or shots from the end zone.
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Old Mar 19, 2004, 7:13 AM   #17
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Default flashes

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Bob, what external flashes work with the Z1? I've seen the three Minolta flashes mentioned, do you know others that would work?
the Sigma Ef-500 DG ST has a guide number of 165 feet when you're using roughly 3x zoom (105mm 35mm equivalent). The flash actually zooms with the camera which is very handy. If you were using f/4 at ISO 400, this would in theory illuminate 165 feet, but to be conservative I figure it's more like 90 feet (it could well be more but I haven't really tried it out to see its full range). You can get it off of amazon via adorama for $129.

By comparison, the guide number on the minolta 2500 is 82 feet, and costs$139 at adorama. Since the Sigma can also interface with the minolta for metering information, I think this makes it the better choice, personally.

If you want more power there's also the Sigma EF-500 DG Super. It's really only a marginal incrfease, though, I think the guide number on it is around 185. Its big attraction is that it supports many more features, like a slave flash, wireless flash, high speed sync, rear curtain sync, etc. but it's wasted on the Z1 since the Z1 doesn't support most of these features anyway. It's great, though, for minolta's SLRs or the A1 or A2.

Aside from that you can get dummy flashes that fire when they detect your on board flash is firing. They're cheap and can help a lot, but you'll have to set the exposure manually. (For outdoor venues though you can probably get away with just having everything set to max and setting your exposure to something plain, like ISO 400 1/30s f/4. The shutter speed won't matter toooo much since the determining factor is mostly the duration of the flash.

www.bhphoto.com is a great place to look for slave flashes. They have a big selection and are honest people, in my experience. Decent (but not rock-bottom) prices.
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Old Apr 13, 2004, 2:07 AM   #18
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Ah, this is the thread I was looking for earlier. Thanks Bob for the comparison between the two DG 500 models. It looks like I'll focus on the ST model, or look at other flashes like Phoenix if I can get more information about ones compatible with the Z1.
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