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Old Feb 17, 2006, 10:43 AM   #1
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Hi all. Just purchased an Olympus E500 and know very little about photography. I purchased for a couple of reasons, easy of use and reviews I read here and elsewhere at other digital camera sites.

I alsohave a Kodak EasyShare DX4900 and its o.k., but is lacking taking pictures of my daughter's volleyball games and closeup shots of flora and wildlife.

Our family will be cruising the southern caribbean in December and I want to be able to get some great shots. One of the reasons I purchased soooo early, so I can have some time learning the camera and how to compose a shot.

I've been to some websites, such as NYIP and betterphoto.com and notice that the digital photography courses might be a good way to develop some good skills. NYIP has a payment plan, which is nice and betterphoto.com's class is more expensive andsold out.

Should I invest in an online/correspondence course like this or would you recommend some books that would help. I'm wondering if I should stick to the preset settings of the camera for various shooting conditions or venture out into manual mode and experiment that way.

Another question is I don't want to lug around a laptop while on vacation to transfer pictures to. So, how big of a CF or xD card should I get. I will be shooting in HQ mode (unless you can convince me otherwise) and will probably get a 2GB Extreme III CF card from SanDisk.

Well, I've asked a few questions in here somewhere. Look forward to hearing from the community.




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Old Feb 17, 2006, 10:59 AM   #2
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With the 2gb card you should be able to get at least 200+ shots when shooting in jpeg HQ. JPeg is fine, and certainly easier to use although RAW files allow the most flexibility and quality but need much more time to get from digital file to final processed image you might say want to print. One thing of note though is that if you have all your files on one card and something should happen before you download them, well your SOL. Most touristy destinations will have photo places though so you can take your card in and get them transfered to a cd if you want. I have never had a card fail, but it can happen.

Auto settings should be fine for most situations, and probably safer for the inexperienced if its a shot that that is of some fleeting moment. For a static subject like a tree or whatever, take your time and experiment with different settings and see what the final result produces. You can view the Exif information on the shot so you can see exactly what the settings were at a later date and compare. And remember, its digital so you can delete what doesnt work in the camera if need be. One feature that might be helpful is the exposure bracketing, which will take 3 shots at different exposure levels so you will have a better chance at getting it right if its tricky lighting say.

As for the classes im not familiar with either, so I cant say. I think a good book and getting out and testing what you read would be a great start.
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Old Feb 17, 2006, 12:35 PM   #3
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Keys,

Congratulations on your new purchase! I'll take the easier question first - the memory - you're in luck, Sandisk just dropped their prices by about 40% - you can pick up a 2gb Ultra II for around $95 at B&H. The Extreme IIIs are $115. I would recommend at least 4 gb of cards. I have the 20d and I can fit 500 images in high quality jpeg on my 2gb card. So 4gb gives me 1000 images. Some people can blow through that in a day though :-)

As to your other question. I recommend a book or simple on-line tutorial for starters. The most important concepts are to learn how ISO, aperture and shutter speed work together to set a proper exposure and what affects (both positive and negative) increasing one of those values has on a photo (how aperture affects depth of field, how shutter speed works with motion blur or camera shake, how high ISO affects noise etc...)

A book I would recommend is Understanding Exposure by Bryan Peterson. Or any photography book from the local library. The good news is: even film-based books still apply. ISO, aperture, shutter speed - they are all still the same concept. The other benefit to a book is it's easy to carry around with your camera so you can practice (heck take a couple hundred shots at a time - you don't have to print them all). In short order you'll understand how each of the 'preset' shooting modes are adjusting iso, aperture and shutter speed to best suit that style (portrait, landscape, sports, etc...).

My other piece of advice after you've got a handle on those concepts - start displaying and using your histogram on the LCD. It seems frightening at first, but it is a much more useful tool than the image in determining quickly if you've over or underexposed a shot to much.

Finally, one last warning - a big issue people using a DSLR for the first time run into is out of focus shots. Don't get discouraged though!!! This is do to the shallower depth of field (DOF) caused by the larger sensors on the DSLRs (among other reasons). You can read up on DOF, but what it means to you starting out is you need to pay attention to the focus points on your camera and make sure the camera is focusing on your subject (and not the tree off to the left 10 feet behind him).

WhileI think photography classes are a great idea if you can attend I think you can learn a lot just with a book and practicing. Take lot's of pics and enjoy your new toy!!
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Old Feb 17, 2006, 8:56 PM   #4
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Keys - congratulations on having the foresight to get a camera well in advance of a major trip. Having the better part of a year to figure it out will get you answers to your questions with enough time for them to sink in. Enough time that you don't have to be in a big rush to buy more memory - after several outings/family gatherings you will have a better idea of how much you need.

I agree with JohnG's comments: get out shooting, pay attention to what your camera is doing, look at your pictures, do some reading, ... repeat.

If you don't have a good one now, get an EXIF viewer. (I like EXIFER, but ask in the forum for your camera since some EXIF readers are better at getting specialized data from specific cameras.) With a digital camera, you don't have to take notes on the camera settings - all that info (f/stop, ISO, shutter speed, focal length, sharpening, contrast, white balance, flash use & settings, ...) is in the header of each image. That will help you figure out what went wrong/right.
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Old Feb 17, 2006, 10:29 PM   #5
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BillDrew wrote:
Quote:
With a digital camera, you don't have to take notes on the camera settings - all that info (f/stop, ISO, shutter speed, focal length, sharpening, contrast, white balance, flash use & settings, ...) is in the header of each image. That will help you figure out what went wrong/right.
Ahhh, fond memories of learning photography. Carrying a notebook around to record the f-stop, aperture and exposure compensation (no need for focal length as I just had a 50mm prime lens) so I'd have a clue what the difference was on the 25 shots I developed 2 weeks after I shot them : I actually think that notebook is still in a box somewhere with some black and white 8x10s from 18 years ago.
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Old Feb 18, 2006, 10:12 AM   #6
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keys2heaven wrote:
Quote:
Our family will be cruising the southern caribbean...
Make sure lens you have has good wide angle, depending on ship you might have lot to photograph inside it. (basing to name of ship you could find quite good datas)


Quote:
So, how big of a CF or xD card should I get.
Definitely go for CF, they work faster and have bigger capacities
http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/olympuse500/page10.asp
(there's also file size there which you can use to calculate amount of images fitting to different capacity cards)



BillDrew wrote:
Quote:
If you don't have a good one now, get an EXIF viewer.* (I like EXIFER, but ask in the forum for your camera since some EXIF readers are better at getting specialized data from specific cameras.)
While Dalifer is for Minolta it reads quite much data from at least Fuji's makernote tags (and basic EXIF datas ara standardized) and it's very convenient, you can look EXIF data by right clicking image in explorer and selecting Dalifer from menu.

Here's also one other which should support quite many makernote datas.
http://www.takenet.or.jp/~ryuuji/min...h/history.html
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