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Old May 22, 2009, 12:45 PM   #11
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I was noting that LCD hood, seemed like an interesting accessory but is it something that would really be necessary or do some of you find it difficult to use the LCD screen in bright sunny days.
I found it a bit hard to see the LCD screen under bright sun. However there are many ways to walkaround this... under tree, or simply use your body/cap to provide shadow (which don't work very well for me).

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One other thing I mentioned in the introduce yourself forum, their is a local college which offers a once a week 2 hour camera course for 8 weeks. Do you guys think something like that would be worth about $110.00 to learn how to get the most out of one's camera?
I am not the expert here, but if you've been shooting with M mode on your P&S, you probably don't need to head down for the course. Unless they are focused on DSLR.

Just my two cents.
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Old May 22, 2009, 1:15 PM   #12
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I do, specially when shooting under high contrast conditions. I usually use spot metering to obtain the correct light reading from the area I want to have it properly exposed then lock the exposure, recompose and shoot. I use this technique quite often.

As for the A300 vs. A330, if you are going to use lenses other than the kit lens, then the A300 may be a better choice. It's kit lens has a better range than the new one but it's mediocre (IMO). I don't know how much better (optically speaking) the new kit lens is over the old one but I want to believe that it is significantly better and if you are not buying other lenses to replace the kit AND you don't care for the AEL button (which I personally do), then the A330 may be a better choice.
Thanks Tullio,

Initially, I am going to be relying on the kit lens. I am trying to shoot for the 2 lens kit so I can have at least a second option and better range. There was a deal at Best Buy last week for the 300 kit with a second lens that went from 75-300mm f/4.5-5.6 for $650.00. Pretty good deal just wasn't quite ready to jump in though.
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Old May 22, 2009, 1:21 PM   #13
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I found it a bit hard to see the LCD screen under bright sun. However there are many ways to walkaround this... under tree, or simply use your body/cap to provide shadow (which don't work very well for me).

I am not the expert here, but if you've been shooting with M mode on your P&S, you probably don't need to head down for the course. Unless they are focused on DSLR.

Just my two cents.

I'll have to keep that in mind about the hood. It can always be added to the equipment later

Unfortunately with the awful P&S that I have I really couldn't take any nice shots in M mode. Every time I tried they came out pretty bad, for the most part. I am a quick learner for the most part, so once I get the camera maybe I will just give it a go and turn here for advice. If after a month or two I still feel lost and in need I'll turn to the course perhaps.

BTW here is a link to the course offering, it is the first one at the top of the page. They also offer a Still Life course.

Edit: the link brings you to the search page so I copied the description instead.

CSPI101 - Photography I/Film/Digital

Summer II 2009
Prerequisites: N
Learn to avoid common errors and transform your snapshots into photographs. This class will teach you to use your camera to its fullest potential and show you how to see like the camera sees. The class will be technical only enough to show how your camera works; how to manipulate the controls to achieve the effect you desire; regardless of the subject. Topics to be discussed include using natural and artificial light, camera accessories and digital camera settings as well as working with digital images. A film or digital camera with manual controls is recommended. This is not a darkroom class.

CSPI105 - Still Life Photography Skills

Learn the simple techniques of still life photography. This two evening class will teach and show you the basic skills and equipment needed to produce better still life photos for hobby or business. A manual control camera is required for the second class meeting.

Last edited by oman321; May 22, 2009 at 1:38 PM.
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Old May 22, 2009, 2:48 PM   #14
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I do, specially when shooting under high contrast conditions. I usually use spot metering to obtain the correct light reading from the area I want to have it properly exposed then lock the exposure, recompose and shoot. I use this technique quite often.
Yes, but if your camera didn't have a dedicated AEL button, you'd find another way to do it. ;-)

You could use Manual Exposure instead in harsher lighting with Spot Metering. It may not be as fast as using a dedicated AEL button (depending on how fast you can spin a dial while watching the meter in the viewfinder). But, you could accomplish the same thing.

Or, you could use Exposure Bracketing instead, with a burst of photos using that feature and pick out the one that's exposed better later.

Or, you could take a photo, look at the histogram, tweak Exposure Compensation, and take another shot.

Also, as you become accustomed to a camera's metering, you could dial in a setting with Exposure Compensation when you recognize conditions that may require a darker or lighter exposure than the camera would normally meter.

Yes, a dedicated AEL button would be nicer if you use one frequently. But, that's probably not a big deal to most users buying a camera in this market niche.

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As for the A300 vs. A330, if you are going to use lenses other than the kit lens, then the A300 may be a better choice. It's kit lens has a better range than the new one but it's mediocre (IMO). I don't know how much better (optically speaking) the new kit lens is over the old one but I want to believe that it is significantly better and if you are not buying other lenses to replace the kit AND you don't care for the AEL button (which I personally do), then the A330 may be a better choice.
The new kit lens is significantly better based on comparisons I've seen so far, with virtually no CA compared to the old kit lens.
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Old May 22, 2009, 3:20 PM   #15
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Thanks Tullio,

Initially, I am going to be relying on the kit lens. I am trying to shoot for the 2 lens kit so I can have at least a second option and better range. There was a deal at Best Buy last week for the 300 kit with a second lens that went from 75-300mm f/4.5-5.6 for $650.00. Pretty good deal just wasn't quite ready to jump in though.
Be aware that the Sony 75-300mm is another mediocre lens. It has the reach but not the quality. I believe the standard A330 two-lens kit comes with the 55-200mm (not sure this is also a re-designed lens). Even though it has a shorter FL, I believe IQ is much superior than the 75-300mm.
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Old May 23, 2009, 10:34 AM   #16
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IRT my last post, one more thing you'll find with most modern dSLR models using Matrix metering, is that your focus point is given more weight for exposure purposes (reducing the need for using spot metering in more conditions if your select a focus point that's on your subject). Yes, it would still be nice to have more dedicated buttons. But, if you put too many features in the entry level models, then you'd reduce incentive to upgrade (and Sony still has some gaps in the lineup that I'd expect them to try and fill at some point).
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Old May 23, 2009, 10:53 AM   #17
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My understanding of Matrix metering (despite where the focus point is), is that the area which the camera will use to meter the light is wider (from where the focus point is) and the algorithm used (weight) is also different than that of center weight or spot metering. Say that you set the camera to AF Mode "Local". This will allow you to choose one of the 9 focus points (A200) as where you wish to focus on. In terms of how the metering is performed, there is no difference between this technique or having the AF Mode set to Spot (center), point the camera to the subject, half press the shutter to focus and meter the light, recompose and shoot. The camera will meter the light in the same exact way. You just eliminate the re-composition step by selecting one of the 9 focus point. The metering process, however, remains the same. When you choose Spot metering however, the camera will then use a much tighter area (around the focus point) to which a greater weight will be applied. Center Weight uses an area somewhere in between.
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Old May 23, 2009, 11:22 AM   #18
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With many modern dSLR models, Matrix metering is actually weighting the selected focus point more (even though it's still taking the entire scene into consideration). It does this with my Sony A700.

How much it weights the focus point tends to vary by camera brand/model. For example, I've seen a number of complaints that some of the Nikon models tend to weight the selected focus point too much using Matrix metering.

You'd have to experiment with your A200 to figure out how much it may be weighting it. But, the selected AF point probably has more impact on metering than you think.
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Old May 23, 2009, 11:27 AM   #19
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You can find some discussion of it on this Wikipedia page, and if you dig around the net, you can sometimes find examples users have posted using different focus points with a given camera model.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meterin...-zone_metering
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Old May 23, 2009, 5:54 PM   #20
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The new kit lens is significantly better based on comparisons I've seen so far, with virtually no CA compared to the old kit lens.
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Be aware that the Sony 75-300mm is another mediocre lens. It has the reach but not the quality. I believe the standard A330 two-lens kit comes with the 55-200mm (not sure this is also a re-designed lens). Even though it has a shorter FL, I believe IQ is much superior than the 75-300mm.

Thanks Guys,

This is definately helping me make my decision. My understanding is that the new kit lens' are better. They also feature SAM Smooth Autofocus Motor. Looking foward to checking it out in person.
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