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Old Nov 29, 2002, 5:08 AM   #1
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Default Just bought my first digital camera:Lots of newbie questions

Hi,


There is a special offer at the moment in UK where the DX4900 can be had at a bargain price. I didn't need any more nudging to go and buy myself one.

So here I am, all happy. The only problem is that I've never owned a digital camera before. I'm a total newbie. If my questions are already answered in a FAQ, feel free to send me away to read it. Any bit of info helps.

So here are a few questions for the knowledgeable amongst you:


- I'm going through the manual now but I must say that the mentions of wide balance, exposure metering, iso speed, sharpness correction, ... are somewhat bewildering when you first encounter them. Do I need to fiddle with those settings to get good looking pictures or are the default settings generally OK? When would you start changing them?

- I got an Easyshare docking station with my camera as well as the accompanying Rechargeable batteries. Should those batteries always be totally emptied before being recharged? Similarly, is it safe to interrupt the charge midway through and restart it later on or do the batteries suffer from a memory effect?

- Do you always take pictures at the highest resolution or do you find that you can happily go down in resolution for certain picture types?

- What kind of rule of thumb do you use to switch from the close up portrait mode to the far away landscape one? What's the cut off between the 2?

- If I want to get the pictures processed by a high street shop, what's involved exactly? Do I simply bring the CF card with me, insert it in a machine and select which pictures to process? If so, can I still crop, ... the pictures there or should I copy the .jpg files on my computer, modify them there and copy them back to the card? And what happens if my cropping changes the aspect ratio? Remember, this is my first digital camera so I really have no idea what to expect yet. My impression is that the shots sent for processing should be touched as little as possible (to avoid losing information) while a copy should be made and resized/cropped for better viewing on the computer. Is that correct?

- Is online processing a reliable way to go? What about modifying the pictures before getting them processed? Same questions as above.

- Is there any way, since the camera has that information, to have the date and time at which the picture was taken printed at the back of the processed picture (similar to what happens with APS films)?

That's all I can think of now. Any answers would be much appreciated.

Best,
Wendelius
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Old Nov 29, 2002, 9:08 AM   #2
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First of all you should start taking pics with the automatic settings. This will soon give you some knowledge about how the camera perform. Is it good in sunlight, do you need speed (iso) a.s.o
Then after sometime you will easily find out what settings to adjust.

You dont have to take pics in the highest resolution all the time. For pics which you are certain not to print - choose a lower resolution - and otherwise around. If you choose a good - but not exactly the best - quality you will discover that you cant see the difference on you pc/tv screen. When I got the time I shoot at best quality - i.e I know the shot will get in my gallery or I'm going to show it as showcase.


What concern the diff. between closeup and landscape I think its pretty obvious - you must try out the difference for yourself and your cam.

Prosessing in a shop I do this: I crop all my photos to the printsize the shop offers typically 3:2 (36x24mm) as a konventional camera. This will prevent your pic from getting cropped in a way you dont want them do be cropped. You can easily work with them on the pc, but dont overdo the editing. Of couse this depends of the pics quality and your desired printsize. If you know your photoshop very well you will be able to watch how they crop each photo if your dont want to do it yourself. I have tried this - fun!

In my online processing is not advicable - it's like opening a box of chocolate - you'll never know what you get! (he he he)

some camara are able to print the dates on the pic. See your manual.

Good luck Wendelius and happy shooting.

Fell free to get inspired by my gallery below!
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Old Nov 29, 2002, 10:03 AM   #3
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Hiya Klaus,

Thanks for your reply. It helps a lot. A few more questions/comments...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Klaus DK
You dont have to take pics in the highest resolution all the time. For pics which you are certain not to print - choose a lower resolution - and otherwise around. If you choose a good - but not exactly the best - quality you will discover that you cant see the difference on you pc/tv screen.
That sounds reasonable to me. Based on a few tests I did yesterday, it looks like 2 to 3mp should be enough for pictures I want to keep on the computer (or use on a web gallery, ...) while I would go for 4mp if there is a good chance of getting the picture processed.

Quote:
Prosessing in a shop I do this: I crop all my photos to the printsize the shop offers typically 3:2 (36x24mm) as a konventional camera. This will prevent your pic from getting cropped in a way you dont want them do be cropped. You can easily work with them on the pc, but dont overdo the editing. Of couse this depends of the pics quality and your desired printsize.
Do you mean that you simply make sure that the end picture has got a correct size ratio, whatever the number of pixels or its actual size or do you make the image that size exactly?

For instance, the images I took yesterday at 3mp are much bigger than the size of a normal print. Should I crop to the correct ratio and then resize it to the correct size (in centimeters) or let the shop do the resize bit?

Sorry if I'm being a bit thick here but I don't think I understood what you meant.

Quote:
In my online processing is not advicable - it's like opening a box of chocolate - you'll never know what you get! (he he he)
He, he. Being Belgian, I do like most chocolates but I certainly get your point.

Quote:
some camara are able to print the dates on the pic. See your manual.
My camera has a menu that allows it to display the date in a format of my choice on the front of the pic. I was just wondering if that information could appear at the back when the pics are processed. You get that when processing an APS film. It's kind of nice to be able to look at the back of the picture and know exactly when it was taken without spoiling the picture itself with a date.

Quote:
Fell free to get inspired by my gallery below!
I have already watched a few pictures and I must say there are quite a few nice ones. Good job!

By the way, you took 2 pictures very close to my office on the 19th of November. I could probably have waved to you.

Cheers,
Wendelius
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Old Nov 29, 2002, 11:15 AM   #4
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Before you go to the fotoprocessor you must make sure you pics is in the ratio of 3.2 (its equal to ordinary film). You simply crop them - dont change the resolution or anything. Simply crop them so they fit the 3:2 dimensions. You WILL in this way change the dimensions but not the resolution and your photos will remain sharp and NOW fit the fotopaper. Some camera has this feature i.e my Coolpix 5700. So I seldom crop to exact dimensions. Most editors can do this.
(if your printing out yourself its another story)!

The size of the pic is not the same as the resolution. Dont count on the shop to resize you pics the right places - maybe they cut in the botton or maybe they cut you head of...in the top. What a shame!
Do it youself!
(ofcourse some dealers will be able to print your shot on large paper so you will get the white edges - then you will get the problem when you go and buy a frame...) Do it yourself.




Quote:
My camera has a menu that allows it to display the date in a format of my choice on the front of the pic. I was just wondering if that information could appear at the back when the pics are processed. You get that when processing an APS film. It's kind of nice to be able to look at the back of the picture and know exactly when it was taken without spoiling the picture itself with a date.
Frankly I dont know - let this question stay open - others here will be able to answer that.

please tell me what pics that were - with your office!
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Old Nov 29, 2002, 3:20 PM   #5
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Hiya Klaus,

Thanks again for the reply. I'm still a bit confused but I think many things will work themselves out when I actually get to that stage. It's still very theoretical at this point.

Quote:
please tell me what pics that were - with your office!
The picture near the Thames, with Big Ben and the House of Parliament in the background (very nice) and the one from the London Eye. I can see both from my office. I work in a building you couldn't miss when you were wandering around there. It's called the Shell building (because it belongs to Shell ), is about as high as the London Eye and is only about 100 metres from the Thames and the Eye. It's got a very nice view on the Thames and London. I should actually go up the tower and take a few pics from up there one of these days. :idea:

Best,
Wendelius
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Old Nov 29, 2002, 3:53 PM   #6
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Thank for the kind words. Sorry if I got you confused - but my english is not too well!

It was my first trip to London. I stayed in Bayswater for four days with my wife. You know we have been to Rome, Paris, Barcelona, Berlin, Munich a.s.o - but we soon realised that London was THE town.
Your city has so much to offer...great town and a mecca for a photomanic like myself. But very expensive compared to Copenhagen.
And the London Eye - uhh - almost in class with the Eifeltower in Paris. If photographering gets to be your hobby - what a town to live in. If it wasn't for my daughter - we'd move.
By the way the shot of Westminster Abbey was a clean nightshot.
No editing at all exceps straightening up its line.
Feel free to ask if you need some answers...
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Old Nov 29, 2002, 4:17 PM   #7
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Hiya Klaus,

I must say I enjoy working in London. I haven't taken a camera there yet but I could easily see myself going places to take pictures during lunch time. Great idea!

As for expensive, believe me, I know. :?

OK, I have 1 more question for you or anyone who happens to be familiar with the Kodak (DX4900 or not) cameras. Don't hesitate to jump in. The more the merrier.

The camera is behaving a bit strangely. And I'm wondering if it's normal behaviour or if there is a defect of some kind:

- First of all, it appears to freeze itself once in a while. I believe this happens when you change to the mode where you can take pictures when its trying to display a picture on the LCD. It just seems to get confused and freeze up. We have to switch it off or remove the batteries to get it back.

- Secondly, it's currently working with 2 rechargeable batteries that came with the craddle (generic Kodak batteries). It looks like, when the LCD is used regularly to watch pictures taken and to take pictures, we get maybe 20(!) minutes of use before the warning saying that the battery is low starts appearing. The camera then seems to become less responsive (need to switch off then on to be able to take pictures again). I think the rechargeable batteries I got are probably not the best ones around but isn't 20 minutes autonomy a bit on the low side? Also, should the camera start to behave strangely like that?

EDIT: Looks like the batteries weren't really that far gone. Half an hour in the docking station and all 3 green lights indicating fully charged batteries are lit. Strange. Not sure what's going on here. Could I have a defective battery pack, causing the strange behaviour?

Wendelius
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Old Nov 29, 2002, 5:16 PM   #8
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Quote:
If I want to get the pictures processed by a high street shop, what's involved exactly? Do I simply bring the CF card with me, insert it in a machine and select which pictures to process? If so, can I still crop, ... the pictures there or should I copy the .jpg files on my computer, modify them there and copy them back to the card? And what happens if my cropping changes the aspect ratio? Remember, this is my first digital camera so I really have no idea what to expect yet. My impression is that the shots sent for processing should be touched as little as possible (to avoid losing information) while a copy should be made and resized/cropped for better viewing on the computer. Is that correct?
I've just had my first batch of 34 3Mpix photos done by Photobox uk. All pics were shot in the cam Auto mode. I uploaded the full res. images which took 20 mins on ADSL and the pics arrived 24hrs later at 24p per print. Your cam is 1.5:1 aspect so your images fit 6x4 without cropping. If you do any post processing their machines will not compensate at all, you then might need to learn about colour matching your monitor etc as prints might come back dark or light. I sent all my images uncorrected from the cam, uncropped for 6x4.5 (my cam) and every print was perfect.

You might want to try Kodak's service since their colour matching of your cam to their paper and printer may be better. Photobox use Fuji Frontier 370 printers.

I haven't tried using Asda/Walmart yet. But I think I'd rather burn a CD. They tell me they often have to do the uploading as customers can't handle it. I wouldn't trust leaving an expensive flash card with my original images on with them. You're new, dont try editing pics and putting files back on the same card you use in the cam. You could end up busting it and posting for help to fix it! If you've got a spare card exclusively for print making, that's ok.

If you need to crop or rotate for say 7X5 prints, I use a lossless crop prog, do it in the pc and burn to cd. You always have an exact electronic copy on CD then of the prints you had done, and can see if their printer is auto-correcting or cropping by comparing the prints with your monitor display.

I was in Victoria today and the Wheel looked great - Vorsprung DurTechniqe!!
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Old Nov 30, 2002, 3:27 AM   #9
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Woxmagna is right. YOUR digicam is able to shoot in the 3:2 format I mentioned earlier. No cropping needed if you have choosen this setting.

I've tried several on-line processors in DK...the quality was not what I wanted - had to go to my local shop to get it right. But Woxmagnas advice is very interessting I think!

You should get a set op spare interchargeable batteries. Check that they have no less power than 2000 mAh. I could imagine that yours are less than 1700mAh. And if you get a fastcharger too (lots of expenses here... ) you will be able to bring the camera on to your next vacation without worrying about batteries.

I suppose you've already read this:

http://www.steves-digicams.com/2002_...tml#conclusion

Note that the batteries are more powerfull now!

Klaus
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Old Nov 30, 2002, 4:58 AM   #10
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Hi Voxmagna,

Quote:
Originally Posted by voxmagna
I've just had my first batch of 34 3Mpix photos done by Photobox uk. (...)

You might want to try Kodak's service since their colour matching of your cam to their paper and printer may be better. Photobox use Fuji Frontier 370 printers.
Thanks for the reply. That is very good to know indeed.

Quote:
If you need to crop or rotate for say 7X5 prints, I use a lossless crop prog, do it in the pc and burn to cd. You always have an exact electronic copy on CD then of the prints you had done, and can see if their printer is auto-correcting or cropping by comparing the prints with your monitor display.
That is one part that still confuses me. Are you saying that, if I do any editing at all, then I have to crop the image so that its properties tell me its size is 7x5?

When I look at the properties of the jpg files I got from my CF card, they are:

- 3mp pics: 9.39x6.26 inches.
- 4mp pics: 10.64x7.10 inches.

So I can either send my pictures as is (they are in the correct ratio anyway) or, if I edit them, I should at the very least preserve the ratio or, even better, size them to the final size myself.

Have I finally understood this right?

I currently only have version 7 of Micrografx Picture Publisher (got it with my scanner). How do I know if it's a lossless crop program?

Thanks again for the reply,
Wendelius
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