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Old Jun 1, 2008, 11:24 PM   #1
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Hello everyone! this is the exact email I sent OLYMPUS today



Hi there! I have a dilemma...I own both a sp 550 uz and a 740 ultra zoom.
Because of some of the quality of pix I was getting from my 550, I brought both with me today on the bike...the results are in...the quality of moving pics on from the bike..ie other bikers, scenery shots ect...from the 740 FAR EXCEED that of my 550..I am even beginning to think that the still pix are better too...and this is not a fluke..my bf has the same two cameras and we noticed it on both..the only advantage is the 18x zoom for wildlife and the sound avi format recording( we both dislike quicktime)
I cannot see any way of increasing the quality of our pix on the 550uz..and yes..I know it might seem a tad unusual to be taking pix from bikes..but we used to do it from my original 720 ultra as well...and so do a number of our biker friends..I have tried the stabilizer off and on..I am not sure how to use the manual zoom thingy...it's not quite clear in your manual...in any case...I am enclosing copies of pix taken from both cameras today...and hopefully you can give me/us some guidance as it is hindering my buying the 20x times zoom..I haven't considered the SLR mainly because of the extra lenses I would have to carry AND I don't think I can get the zoom distance..not too mention I am not that savvy on manual photography...
thank you for taking the time to read this and maybe even comment on it for me..I am reducing the size of the images for sending purposes only..thank you again

I am trying to add both but it's not working..so Iam including the 550 uz in this one and the 740 as an add on it a second posting..sheesh..

you will note that this is a repetitive problem...pix of other bikers come out grainy and or blurry..scenery shots etc..but yet with my 740 I have no such problems as a rule...any advice folks?
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Old Jun 1, 2008, 11:25 PM   #2
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here is the same shot from the 740 uz same time, same day, same position. ( back of motorcycle)
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Old Jun 2, 2008, 9:07 PM   #3
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I have the 765 and the sp560. I felt kind of the same way but one of the big issues the 550 had is focusing, especially at full zoom. The 560 is much better but still doesn't focus as quick IMO as my 765 does. Still the 560 gives some great shots and I'm glad I have it. My opinion is you have two cameras use them both. You might try using the sports mode if you're shooting from a moving object but as I said the 550 was known as having a hard time locking focus. I have seen some shots from the new 570 and it seems to have taken care of any issues the 550 had with focus and the 560 has with softness at full zoom. I'm not sure if they had a firmware update that would help you but that may be the thing to look into. As far as quality goes here is a 560 shot with tcon from 40 feet and cropped. Not terrible quality for a point and shoot camera
Eric
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Old Jun 2, 2008, 9:17 PM   #4
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Also the 550 and 560 are really not auto setting cameras. That meaning in any auto mode the camera will pick the shutter, aperature, and ISO for you. Have a little fun and start out by trying the manual modes. High ISO settings past 200 will not give good results especially if you're not photoshop savvy. I would set the ISO to 100, and try different settings to see what works and what doesn't. In sunlight use the aperature mode and let the camera decide how much light to let in. The 550 will take good shots but you need to learn how to use it and that just takes some practice.
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Old Jun 2, 2008, 9:25 PM   #5
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We would like to help you, but you did not include the EXIF data for the photos, so no one can tell the shutter speed, f-stop, focal length, ISO, etc.Without theinfo on the camera settings for the shots, it's impossible to be sure of your problem.

However, from the two pictures that are shown, it can not be said to be the cameras' fault. In fact, on the surface it appears to not be the camera. The first is obviously at a higher zoom range than the second, which requires a relatively higher shutter than the second shot. The wider angle of view willtend to mask focus problems or camera shake that will show up at a higher zoom range. It looks like the first shot is at too slow a speed, and also wasmaybe taken using manual focus instead of auto. But it's all a guess since youleft off the EXIF data.

The SP550 is capable of very good picture quality, as evidenced by millions of shots. However, it is much more complicated than the 740UZ, and requires much more time to learn than any of the 700 series models. This forum has many members who will be glad to help; but always leave the Exif data on the shots, and tell us how much time you have spent learning the new camera.

Good luck.

Steven R.
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Old Jun 3, 2008, 10:35 AM   #6
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Hi..basically both cameras were at auto mode and on sports. and with the 550, I did try "I have tried the stabilizer off and on.."

the reason for the difference in the zoom is we were moving..and AROUND a curve..so of course I could not take both pix at the same exact time..both cameras did not have zoom on.

I agree with erahim on the focus problem. yes you can zoom in closer but the focuzing IS a problem. You mentioned a firmware upgrade POSSIBLY? how does that work?

as for playing with the settings, I am game, but as I said to OLYMPUS, there isn't much in the manual and hte little bit that is there hasn't offered good results..

so where do I start? b cuz right now I am not happy with my camera to the point where i Have ordered the TCON-17 and step up ring for my 740 uz. and am looking at seeing what else is out there for a camera..and I am a BIG OLYMPUS fan.

I am also very hands on..I learn from watching others...

I am game to play wih the ISO,..that is one thing I learned through experience with standard film cameras. and I am really not interested in photoshop..I am using my photos as subject matter for painting...so I will "photoshop" them in my work.lol

thanks for taking the time to read my original email..

as I said ..this is an ongoing problem..and yes I tend to use it as I did my 740uz ..point and shoot..so when I go to my dau's volleyball/baskeball games and take action shots I was expecting the same results..and it's not even coming close.

so what advice do you have for ACTION/SPORTS/MOVING photos? What are some of the things I can do and experiement with?

Does anyone else know if the focuz problem HAS been addressed in the 570uz? AND is the stabilizer actually a good or bad thing? B cuz I do find if I turn it off, it definately increases the speed at which i can take a photo and also seems to take a better photo ON MOVING TARGETS..or me moving..lol..plus the aggravation of it deciding WHERE I want to focus is gone, even on STILL photos. Reminds me of Microsoft word and autoformat...lol
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Old Jun 3, 2008, 10:38 AM   #7
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thats what I would like to be able to do...that is an amazing photo!
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Old Jun 3, 2008, 11:13 AM   #8
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here are two more photos..both with sp550uz at fulll zoom, auto mode..one with stabilizer ...one without..I am on the back of the bike..not moving, though it is running so there is some vibration ( didnt want to chance them coming down the hill!)

theblurry one is with stabilizer..the other not.
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Old Jun 4, 2008, 5:21 PM   #9
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after taking MORE pics since on auto, I am beginning to think there is something wrong with my camera...seriously..my shots are all grainy...and the quality is NO where near that of errahim's red finch foto.

but I will play with it and I can always reset the settings to default if need be.




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Old Jun 8, 2008, 10:32 PM   #10
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Get off the auto settings and try something in manual mode where you can play with the settings. The blurry shot you took may be movement or lack of focus or both. Use a tripod and take a series of shots, that's what the cards are for, you can shoot 100 and toss a 100 and try again, the tripod will rule out human error for the most part on movement. Set the aperature at 4.5 or 5 and your in camera settings to 100 ISO, plus 2 on contrast and sharpness. Then as you adjust the shutter up and down you'll be able to see what it does with the given light. Make sure the sun is behind you to begin with. And use the viewfinder not the screen on the back. The screen will sometimes look like it's in focus but it won't always be. The viewfinder is much more reliable. Once you have the object you're shooting locked in focus with the green light and looks sharp to you in the viewfinder press it down easy till it clicks. If you push quick it sometimes causes movement, hopefully the tripod will help that issue. Try different settings, you may only get two out of 50 that are sharp to begin with, don't worry about it, you'll get better as time goes on. The remaining downside is yes the 550 has problems locking focus but with practice you'll get better with it and I've seen some nice 550 shots on pbase.
Eric
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