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Old Feb 12, 2005, 1:05 PM   #1
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I am about ready to toss my W1 in the trash or sell it to some unsuspecting fool on eBay. :evil:

No matter what I do, I have to mess with the damn settings over and over again to even get close to a decent picture.

My DSC-S85 was point and shoot. Bang, done.

This W1 takes terrible pictures. I have tried every setting combination I can think of in every scenario possible and still 3/4 of my photos are blurrry, dark, have halos, whatever.

The last straw was today at my son's floor hockey game. I spent more time fiddling with the settings and EVERY SINGLE PHOTO turned out terrible. I missed half of the game and had no good pictures to show for it.

One of a few scenarios are present that I can think of:
1) My camera is defective (doubtful)
2) I am just not getting the settings right (I shouldn't have to put THAT much effort into it)
3) Sony missed the boat with this camera (I know I am not the only one with these problems)

I feel like buying a used DSC-S85 from eBay and ditching this thing. Is Sony going to be coming out with the same style of camera that is NOT plagued with these problems and SOON?

Sorry, but I am at my wit's end. After dumping a few hundred dollars into this camera, batteries, memory sticks, etc. and struggling with it for more than 2 months, I am just feeling like I am out of options.

Does ANYONE have any advice to offer?

Jason
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Old Feb 12, 2005, 1:42 PM   #2
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Quote:
The last straw was today at my son's floor hockey game. I spent more time fiddling with the settings and EVERY SINGLE PHOTO turned out terrible. I missed half of the game and had no good pictures to show for it.
Jason:

Your Sony DSC-S85 has a lens that is much brighter compared to the lens on the DSC-W1.

f/2.0 (largest available aperture at wide angle on your DSC-S85) is twice as bright as f/2.8 (largest available aperture at wide angle on your DSC-W1).

When using zoom, the difference is even greater. Your Sony DSC-S85 only "stopped down" to f/2.5 at full zoom. Your DSC-W1 stops down toa largest available aperture of f/5.2 at full zoom. f/2.5 isabout 4 times as bright as f/5.2.

Chances are, your DSC-S85 was also boosting ISO speed more using Auto ISO. Each time youdouble theISO speed, the camera can use shutter speeds twice as fast for any given lighting condition and aperture.

So, for existing light use without a flash indoors, a model like the DSC-W1 is not a very good option. Shutter speeds required for proper exposure will be too slow without a flash (resulting in blurry photos). Unfortunately, the VAST MAJORITYof cameras will not have a lens as bright as the one on your DSC-S85.

In addition, newer models tend to have higher noise levels as ISO speeds are increased (because they are packing more pixels into the same size sensor, reducing the signal output from each photosite).

So, in most indoor conditions, you'll need to use a flash. Otherwise, you'll get blurry photos from shutter speeds that are too slow. You'll also need to make sure you're within the flash range. Otherwise, your photos will be underexposed (i.e., dark).

With the DSC-W1, that's around 12.5 feet at the wide angle lens setting, dropping down to around 8 feet at full zoom.

You can try increasing ISO speed. However, this will add noise. A good free tool to reduce it is Noiseware. But, unless your subject is relatively still, and you hold the camera very steady, even ISO 400 may not be good enough to take indoor photos of moving subjects without a flash (or outside of the flash range) with most newer Digital Cameras.

Staying at your wide angle lens setting will help (motion blur from camera shake is greatly amplified as more zoom is used, anddramatically less light reaches the sensor through the lens with most models when using zoom).

It is very unlikely that any current non-DSLR model will perform as well as your DSC-S85 did indoors at a hockey game. Even the DSC-S85 would be a "borderline" camera for this type of shooting (you'd still get a lot of motion blur with it, even though it's lens is much brighter than most models). One model to try would be the DSC-F717 (it's got a very bright f/2.0-2.4 lens). It'sbeen discontinued, and is a larger camera compared to the DSC-S85. Even it would probably give a higher percentage of blurry photos at a hockey game for many of the photos (motion blur from subject movement/camera shake).

Light is simply too low indoors for non-DSLR models. This type of shooting usually demands a DSLR model with a bright lens (represented by smaller f/stop numbers).DSLR modelscan shoot at much higher ISO speeds (since their larger sensors can gather more light).

Indoor lighting is VERY low compared to outdoor lighting (even though a Hockey Game appears well lit to the human eye).

See this handy online exposure calculator to get a better idea of how lighting levels, ISO speed and Aperture impact the shutter speed a camera can use for proper exposure:

http://www.robert-barrett.com/photo/...alculator.html

Chances are, the light levels at most indoor events are at an EV (Exposure Value) of around 6 or 7). In lighting this low, you're going to get motion blur without a flash (since the shutter speeds needed for proper exposure will be too slow).
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Old Feb 12, 2005, 2:04 PM   #3
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Well, I don't have a W1 but I am sure that people will be willing to help.

Let'stalk about the floor hockey game situation.

Where are you when you were taking your shots? At floor level?...on the sidelines or in the stands?

The reason I'm asking is because you are probably far enought away to set the focus manually at a preset distance or even infinity. That should remove the need to adjust focus or rely on AF for action scenes. But, I expect that the majority of your blurry shots are the result of slow shutter speeds when trying to shoot action shots AND camera shake magnified by using telephoto to get closer to the action.

The best way to increase shutter speed is to increase light levels but in a public arena you are unlikely to have control over the lighting and flash would be ineffective at the distances we are talking about. So, if we can't change the level of the light then we will have to increase the ISO sensitivity of the camera for the light that we have to work with.

The W1 can be set to ISO400 which should give you a much better shutter speed but you will have to get over 'Noise Phobia' that infects some people. If it is a metter of getting the shot or NOT getting the shot...you can live with the noise of a high ISO!

The next thing is to stabilize the camera while you are shooting with the zoom. A tripod is impractical in the gym but a monopod might work give you a stop or two of of steadiness. Of course, the closer you get the better everything will be. Light levels will be better, zoom will be needed less.

I was watching WWE wrestling and noticed their official photographers for the magazine position themselves right at ringside even though they have the benefits of television level lighting. See if those tips can help.

I'm sure real W1 owners can provide hands on suggestions as well.


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Old Feb 12, 2005, 11:49 PM   #4
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Well, guys, first let me say that I very much appreciate you both taking the time to attempt to explain things. I made a previous post a while back that was less of a "rant" and it didn't get much attention. I heard this was the palce to get info and help, so I decided to give it another shot.

Now that I have that out of the way, I should probably add one more scenario to my first post in this thread...

4) I just don't know how to use my camera properly

I have read through the manual dozens of times, and I have read a lot of threads here and on other boards. I even took a quick online digital photography class on CNet. I guess I am just not getting it.

Perhaps I was spoiled by the S85? I dunno...probably. I had an Olympus C-2020Z before the S85 and I never had these problems either. I guess it is just the way the cameras are these days.

So, on to the conversation and my Q&A:

JimC wrote:
Quote:
f/2.0 (largest available aperture at wide angle on your DSC-S85) is twice as bright as f/2.8 (largest available aperture at wide angle on your DSC-W1). When using zoom, the difference is even greater. Your Sony DSC-S85 only "stopped down" to f/2.5 at full zoom. Your DSC-W1 stops down to a largest available aperture of f/5.2 at full zoom. f/2.5 is about 4 times as bright as f/5.2.
Yep, I just learned what these numbers mean and you just clarified it for me.

Quote:
So, for existing light use without a flash indoors, a model like the DSC-W1 is not a very good option. Shutter speeds required for proper exposure will be too slow without a flash (resulting in blurry photos). Unfortunately, the VAST MAJORITY of cameras will not have a lens as bright as the one on your DSC-S85.
Well, that kinda stinks. So getting a current Sony camero with that bright of a lens is pretty much not possible?

Quote:
In addition, newer models tend to have higher noise levels as ISO speeds are increased (because they are packing more pixels into the same size sensor, reducing the signal output from each photosite).
Makes sense to me!

Quote:
So, in most indoor conditions, you'll need to use a flash. Otherwise, you'll get blurry photos from shutter speeds that are too slow. You'll also need to make sure you're within the flash range. Otherwise, your photos will be underexposed (i.e., dark).

With the DSC-W1, that's around 12.5 feet at the wide angle lens setting, dropping down to around 8 feet at full zoom.
Okay, help me out there. If I am "zoomed out" I need to be around 12 feet from the subject when using the full flash? And if I zoom in all the way, I should be 8 feet from the subject? Sorry, I got lost with this one.

Quote:
You can try increasing ISO speed. However, this will add noise. A good free tool to reduce it is Noiseware. But, unless your subject is relatively still, and you hold the camera very steady, even ISO 400 may not be good enough to take indoor photos of moving subjects without a flash (or outside of the flash range) with most newer Digital Cameras.
Okay, so basically, unless it is VERY well lit indoors, use a flash...got it. Should I use the histogram or ignore it? I will ask this later on, as well...

Quote:
Staying at your wide angle lens setting will help (motion blur from camera shake is greatly amplified as more zoom is used, and dramatically less light reaches the sensor through the lens with most models when using zoom).
To zoom seems almost useless in medium to low light situations...unless I have a tripod perhaps?

Quote:
Light is simply too low indoors for non-DSLR models. This type of shooting usually demands a DSLR model with a bright lens (represented by smaller f/stop numbers). DSLR models can shoot at much higher ISO speeds (since their larger sensors can gather more light).
Is there ANY current Sony camera that I should look into switching to to help avoid the problem that I currently have? I suppose that upgrading to the DSC-V3 (or *gulp* a higher model) won't help? I think it might makes my situation worse to get a more advanced camera. If this is the case, does it just simply come down to the fact that I just need to learn how to use the camera and basically forget that it is marketed as a "point and shoot" camera...because it really isn't?

Quote:
See this handy online exposure calculator to get a better idea of how lighting levels, ISO speed and Aperture impact the shutter speed a camera can use for proper exposure:

http://www.robert-barrett.com/photo/...alculator.html
I was trying to play with that...but since we are talking about digital, what do I set the film speed to be?

Quote:
Chances are, the light levels at most indoor events are at an EV (Exposure Value) of around 6 or 7). In lighting this low, you're going to get motion blur without a flash (since the shutter speeds needed for proper exposure will be too slow).
Okay...and even if I set the EV to the highest level on my camera (2.0), it is less than half of what is required for an indoor shot without a flash? The histogram showed everything being okay as far as lighting goes. Should that not be used as gospel and only a rough guide?

and then on to Meryl:

Meryl Arbing wrote:
Quote:
Well, I don't have a W1 but I am sure that people will be willing to help.
Thanks! I think you can tell I need all the help I can get.

Quote:
Let's talk about the floor hockey game situation.

Where are you when you were taking your shots? At floor level?...on the sidelines or in the stands?
This was a kid's indoor floor hockey game in a high school gymnasium. It was rather well lit and I was standing at floor level (basically, right on the line of the play area). I have attached a pic (scaled down a bit) showing the typical output. As mentioned above, the histogram looked fine.

Quote:
The reason I'm asking is because you are probably far enought away to set the focus manually at a preset distance or even infinity. That should remove the need to adjust focus or rely on AF for action scenes. But, I expect that the majority of your blurry shots are the result of slow shutter speeds when trying to shoot action shots AND camera shake magnified by using telephoto to get closer to the action.
I had the Focus settings sometimes on "Multi AF" and sometimes "Center AF". Neither one seemed to work for me. I was holding the camera as still as I could, and didn't zoom or use a telephoto lens.

Quote:
The best way to increase shutter speed is to increase light levels but in a public arena you are unlikely to have control over the lighting and flash would be ineffective at the distances we are talking about. So, if we can't change the level of the light then we will have to increase the ISO sensitivity of the camera for the light that we have to work with.

The W1 can be set to ISO400 which should give you a much better shutter speed but you will have to get over 'Noise Phobia' that infects some people. If it is a metter of getting the shot or NOT getting the shot...you can live with the noise of a high ISO!
A VERY good point. I believe I had my ISO setting on 200.

Quote:
The next thing is to stabilize the camera while you are shooting with the zoom. A tripod is impractical in the gym but a monopod might work give you a stop or two of of steadiness. Of course, the closer you get the better everything will be. Light levels will be better, zoom will be needed less.
Agreed, but there will be times that I won't be able to carry a tripod with me. I guess I just need to deal with that as it cannot be helped?

Quote:
I was watching WWE wrestling and noticed their official photographers for the magazine position themselves right at ringside even though they have the benefits of television level lighting. See if those tips can help.
That's an interesting point as well.

Quote:
I'm sure real W1 owners can provide hands on suggestions as well.
I hope so...I need all the help I can get.

Thanks again, all!

Jason
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Old Feb 13, 2005, 12:24 AM   #5
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The sample helps. Light levels look good at ISO200 so you should try ISO400 to see if you can get faster shutter speeds to freeze action.

Most of what I see in the sample is camera shake...yes the players that are moving are blurred (we might expect that) but even referees and players away from the action and not moving are also blurred as is details of the gym floor etc.

I use a monopod successfully in situations like this and, since the monopod collpases to about 18" long and can extend up to almost 6' it canfit inplaces where a tripod would be difficult or impossible.

Do you use the LCD for framing the shot or the optical viewfinder? I ask because the posture holding the camera in front of to see the LCD is about the least steady of all. The advantage of the optical viewfinder is that it allows you to steady the camera against your face. Even if you use a monopod, you can use the optical viewfinder and still track the action...but if you want to use the LCD then the monopod will give you extra support.

Also, if you sit in a chair (and use the monopod at a shorter length) you will be more on the level of the kids and, sitting is easier than standing for steadiness.
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Old Feb 13, 2005, 4:13 AM   #6
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Do you hold the shutter button halfway down to lock focus? You need to do that for every picture and then don't move the camera. I got some excellent shots with my W1 when I had it. I've had a couple cameras after it and keep going back, wondering should I buy the W1 again!!! It was compact and took beautiful pictures!!

If you want to see some, tell me and I'll post some here.


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Old Feb 13, 2005, 6:46 AM   #7
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1. Kski is right.

2. Picture above shows movement mostly of photographer, but not shooting scene. Hands must be steady first! Then let autofocus run properly.

3. W1 is wonderful camera.

4. I'm shooting withit during 9 months and none ofdesire to exchange my W1 has appeared yet...
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Old Feb 13, 2005, 7:32 AM   #8
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did you used in the past on the W1 a flash? Ext.? turn it off, even if you not useing the flash.!!

Regadrs Wolfgang


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Old Feb 13, 2005, 7:37 AM   #9
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Looking at the sample picture I also feel that the lack of sharpness in this particular case is caused by camera shake due to slow shutter speeds. You can check your EXIF data to see what was the shutter speed for this picture. Zooming in makes things much worse. On one hand you need faster shutter speeds to avoid shaking at telephoto end, but the lens is 1 2/3 stops slower at the long end making it almost impossible to get decent shutter speeds. There is an old rule of thumb from film camera days that says that the slowest shutter speed at which you have a good chance to avoid camera shake is equal to the focus length of the lens, i.e. for W1 at the teleend it would be around 125 (1/125s). This is providing your subject is not moving and you half press the shutter release to prefocus and keep it steady.

There is little you can do about this. True the w1 is slightly slower than the norm at the tele end but the difference is only 1/3 stop which is not much. If you plan to shoot mainly indoors in low light you'll need another camera. One possibility is to get an image stabilized camera. Panasonic and Minolta make such cameras and they work much better in low light without a flash. You can expect 2-3 stops slower shutter speeds to give sharp results with the IS. Another option is to spend a lot more, get a DSLR and shoot at ISO 400, 800 or even 1600. This will also give you several stops advantage. Some compcts have ISO800 but the quality is plain bad. Third option is to find a camera like Olympus C5050. It has the brightest zoom lens I've ever seen-f1.8-2.4. This is a whole 2 stops faster than the W1 lens at the telephoto end.


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Old Feb 14, 2005, 5:39 PM   #10
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The picture of the basket ball court is 100% user error, I get those two when i shake my hands or move.

Put the camera on a table and then take a picture, when you see how clear it is . if its not then come back
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