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Old Nov 25, 2003, 4:07 PM   #11
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Default Re: Looking for sage advice (confused newbie)

Quote:
Originally Posted by slipe
... There is not one of the cameras I listed that I couldnít have my grandkids taking decent pictures with a 15 minute explanation (their attention span limit). ....
Having watched my cousin spend pretty much all his time during his sister's 50th birthday party trying to figure out how to deal with the exposure compensation he had somehow locked into his camera, I am absolutely sure that 15 minutes would not be enough. Did that 15 minutes explain how to shoot a panorama, including when to plan for a rectilinear projection? How (and when) to switch white balance? Why not to use digital zoom, or at least to clearly understand what digital zoom is? How to swap batteries/memory? How to reset to factory defaults if all esle fails? Was it enough time to get a good feel for how long the batteries will last? To recognize the symptoms of impending battery failure? ...

About the only folks who will say that 15 minutes is enough time with a camera before a honeymoon are camera salespeople and proud grandparents:-)

If flipside is a normal human being, he will not want to spend a single minute of his honeymoon figuring out his camera. Some of us geezers still have our memories with us :-)
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Old Nov 25, 2003, 8:13 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by BillDrew
Having watched my cousin spend pretty much all his time during his sister's 50th birthday party trying to figure out how to deal with the exposure compensation he had somehow locked into his camera, I am absolutely sure that 15 minutes would not be enough.
My next door neighbor bought a Fuji 3800 earlier this year at Radio Shack. He showed me a large card full of photos he had taken on a trip to Key West. Some shots were spectacular and they were all good. When I asked for particulars it was clear he had never been in a menu and never intended going there. Evidently flash and macro are not accessed through the menu because some shots obviously had fill flash and others were apparently macro shots of a hermit crab. Neither of my cameras requires you to access the menu for the spot meter either. Neither requires the menu for EV corrections either but I guess your cousinís camera does. I can see myself screwing up something in a menu with a new camera and having to look it up in the manual, but it isnít necessary. My neighbor probably didnít spend 15 minutes studying the manual and came back with some great photos from a camera with plenty of advanced features Ė he just didnít use them.

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Did that 15 minutes explain how to shoot a panorama, including when to plan for a rectilinear projection?
We are anxiously standing by for your tutorial on how to do that with the disposable film camera you recommended. A simple pano doesnít require anything but some overlap. They stitch in linear mode just fine.

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How (and when) to switch white balance?
You would surely just get a quizzical look if you asked my neighbor what white balance he had set. He took some beautiful sunset photos, night party photos, and shots under varying light and they were all acceptable with the default auto white balance. I have always assumed that Steve takes his sample photos in program mode with default settings. Maybe you could point out some shots from his sample photos for the discussed cameras that are badly in need of white balance adjustments.

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Why not to use digital zoom, or at least to clearly understand what digital zoom is?
All of the discussed cameras have at least a 4X zoom. My 15 minute briefing need not include things buried in the menus that arenít going to be used. And I was only pointing out that my grandkids could go out and take some decent pictures with just knowledge of the zoom, flash and spot meter. Maybe a quickie on pre-focus holding the release halfway down to cut lag time.

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How to swap batteries/memory? How to reset to factory defaults if all esle fails? Was it enough time to get a good feel for how long the batteries will last? To recognize the symptoms of impending battery failure?
You are making the assumption he will take delivery from duty free at the departure gate. ..Even then it is a long and boring flight to Africa Ė even if he is in Europe. It isnít rocket science to change the battery and memory. I might be wrong but I donít get the impression he is planning on buying 3 Gigs of memory. Charge the battery at night and it will take at least 200 shots with any of the cameras mentioned, and likely with any other new model. Probably a lot more since there isnít a reason to always have the LCD on if you are not delving in the menus often.

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About the only folks who will say that 15 minutes is enough time with a camera before a honeymoon are camera salespeople and proud grandparents:-)
I never assumed flipside would spend only 15 minutes with the camera or that he would take delivery at the gate. I said I could have the kids taking decent pictures with a 15 minute briefing. They have actually used the C50 a few times around the house without the briefing Ė couldnít find a hammer to nail their pants legs to the floor for the full 15 minutes. With just knowledge of the shutter release and zoom control they took some decent photos. The first time there were some dark faces from backlight. I just turned the flash on and subsequent shots were all good except for a couple of blurred shots. It didnít seem to affect normal daylight scenics to have the flash on.

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If flipside is a normal human being, he will not want to spend a single minute of his honeymoon figuring out his camera. Some of us geezers still have our memories with us :-)
Put any of the cameras mentioned in full auto and they will take decent photos. No always perfect or the best they can do in every situation Ė but mostly good. A darn sight better than with a disposable film camera. With a couple of days before the trip to play with fill flash, spot metering and learning the eccentricities of the focus system they would probably be mostly excellent. No need to mess with the complexities unless one wants to. Just keep your cousin away from his menus. :lol:

We have a difference of philosophy. You take the approach that if you canít dissemble and reassemble the assault rifle blindfolded in less than a minute you are better off taking a club into combat. While admitting full competence might be optimum, I would get the quick briefing and take the M16 rather than carry the club.

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Old Nov 25, 2003, 10:44 PM   #13
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A good digicam in full auto is likely to take better pictures than a disposable camera, but IMHO they won't be enough better to come anywhere near to justifying the enormous extra price.
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We are anxiously standing by for your tutorial on how to do that with the disposable film camera you recommended. A simple pano doesnít require anything but some overlap. They stitch in linear mode just fine.
You may have missed it, but scanners do exist so any print or negative can be converted to digital.

Having spent quite a bit of time over the past four years figuring out panoramas, I have never heard of "a simple linear mode". Could you explain that? Or is that just shorthand for saying that you throw your images at whatever stitching software you happen to have at hand? That will work with scanned images from a disposable camera.

We certainly do have a different philosophy, and mine in no way involves using either an M16 or a club. I try to make the best image I can, even though I don't succeed very often. My failures might be because I use images by folks like Adams as my standard instead of using the neighbor's snapshots as my standard.

To use your metaphor, I would rather drop a deer with a well placed shot instead of killing all the cows, sheep, and horses within a mile and a half.
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Old Nov 26, 2003, 1:44 PM   #14
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A good digicam in full auto is likely to take better pictures than a disposable camera, but IMHO they won't be enough better to come anywhere near to justifying the enormous extra price.
I canít figure where you are going here. flipside wants to buy a decent digital camera. The counter suggestion was that he use a disposable on his honeymoon and buy the camera when he returns. Iíve simply been saying that doesnít make sense.

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You may have missed it, but scanners do exist so any print or negative can be converted to digital.
So now he needs to buy a film scanner with the one use film camera? Since it is necessary in your mind to have knowledge of how to plan for rectilinear projection if he takes a digital on safari I presume it is also necessary to know how with the film disposable. Hereís a guy who wants to take some photos of his honeymoon safari and you are telling him he canít consider himself competent if he doesnít know how to plan for rectilinear projection for panoramas. Or was it my grandkids who need to know that?

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Having spent quite a bit of time over the past four years figuring out panoramas, I have never heard of "a simple linear mode". Could you explain that? Or is that just shorthand for saying that you throw your images at whatever stitching software you happen to have at hand?
Thatís about it. 90% of my panos are just a means to get a wide shot with a narrow lens. I want to be able to take them quickly and accurately and stitch them effortlessly. The Camedia software stitches with the least overlap and in the help file uses linear and automatic interchangeably. In my free stitch program I primarily use parallel and cylindrical. I havenít gotten into anything as complex as spherical panos and nothing I do requires perspective corrections I canít do in Photoshop. So I guess you could say I just throw the images at the stitching software. They accomplish what I want to do though.

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My failures might be because I use images by folks like Adams as my standard instead of using the neighbor's snapshots as my standard.

To use your metaphor, I would rather drop a deer with a well placed shot instead of killing all the cows, sheep, and horses within a mile and a half.
Could that quote have been from the same guy who said:

Quote:
That will give you time to figure outÖ.. how much you think you have to bracket to get a good shot.

You should also budget for memory - lots of memory. Enough to shoot at least 10 times as many picutes as you would think of taking with a chemical camera. More memory than you ever though anyone could ever use.
I read most of Ansel Adams writings and I donít remember him talking much about bracketing. The guy would spend hours setting up and figuring his zones Ė then take one shot. It seems like you are the one who shoots everything within a mile and a half.

I used a SLR with no internal meter. I thought I had died and gone to heaven when I moved up to a Minolta SRT101 with a match needle. I then went to Nikons and have had good darkrooms over the years. Iíve used a digital darkroom for 7 years now via my film scanner, but didnít go to digital cameras until late last year. I havenít gotten out of the habit of thinking out my shots and donít go through memory like you. Nor have I ever set a camera to bracket. I donít do spherical panoramas yet as Iím just settling into digital cameras, but I know at least as much about photography as you. No I donít judge my work by my neighborís snapshots, but Iím not so arrogant as to think he didnít accomplish his intended goal of getting some very nice memories captured.
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Old Nov 26, 2003, 5:02 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slipe
...
I read most of Ansel Adams writings and I donít remember him talking much about bracketing. The guy would spend hours setting up and figuring his zones Ė then take one shot. ...
I would suggest that you reread Adams: he always made two exposures when possible. Same exposure on each, but two. You would also find that he did not claim to be born able to do that without a lot of experience, nor did he suggest that a beginner should start that way.

You should also note that though Adams did not bracket with the camera, he did do an amazing amount of work in the darkroom. In particular, read up on one of his best know images, "Moonrise, Hernadez - New Mexico, 1941" where he says, "It was not until the 1970s that I achived a print equal to the original visualization that I still vividly recall." in "Ansel Adams An Autobiography". You might even notice how much time he spent setting up for that shot. It is even possible that you might notice that Adams did not spend hours setting up and figuring his zones. He often spent hours waiting for the light and clouds to be right, but not on technical or mechanical issues.

Quote:
Originally Posted by slipe
.. flipside wants to buy a decent digital camera. The counter suggestion was that he use a disposable on his honeymoon and buy the camera when he returns. Iíve simply been saying that doesnít make sense.
You are simply wrong. It makes a great deal of sense to put photograhy into a distant second/third/forth/.. place while on a honeymoon. You are also wrong in saying that I made the initial suggestion to use a disposable camera. Further you are wrong in failing to note that a disposable camera was a second choice after using a film camera he was used to. Most importantly, you are wrong to ignore the context of the proposed photography: a honeymoon.

It would be a very good recipe for a very quick divoce to follow Adams photographic techniques on a honeymoon. Bracketing and/or disposable cameras is a much better choice. Spend time before or after figuring out how to make a good image, but not while on honeymoon.
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Old Dec 1, 2003, 12:50 AM   #16
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I have to agree with Bill Drew on this...I've started using electronic still cameras back in the early 90's, and used a manual SLR for 20 years before I bought my current one, but it still took me a month to really get to know my current camera and get the best out of it.
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