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Old Dec 13, 2003, 11:50 PM   #1
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Default PDR-M700 Auto Focus Problem HELP

hey all....

This is my first digital camera. So far i'm quite happy with it, the only problem that I found is with auto focus in low lighting. I'm having a really hard time focusing indoors with say couple lights on (virtually I find it impossible), unless I'm taking pictures of objects that are right next to the lamp. I find that limited manual focus not so great.
Today I saw some posts regarding upgrading the firmware which gives ability to focus manually. WOW what a relief. How does it work? I mean how do you guys find taking pictures indoors now with manual focus? Is it full manual focus or it's more of those preset focuses?
I've played with this camera quite a bit over last week, and I'm very happy with it, allthough all the pictures that I took were outdoors. So I ran into problems when I moved indoors.
Let me know how the manual focus works. Is it possible to take nice shots indoors using manula focus? I usually take quite a few picutes indoors too.

I'm asking all those questions because I sitll have an option of exchanging this camere for Minolta DiMage Z1, but that means more expanses. I'd have to pay for shipping and another $110 CAD for that camera. The only thing that I like about Z1 is that it has better auto focus (that's what they say) and it has full manual focus.
Do you think it is worth exchanging this camera for Z1? Oh yeah I paid $438 CAD for M700. ( I think it is a good deal compared to other prices )

I'm looking forward to you thoughts and suggestiongs regarding this matter.
Thanx in advance
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Old Dec 14, 2003, 12:20 AM   #2
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One more thing.
Can I install this new firmware on the current card that came with the camera and then by new card? Will the upgrde work then?
Currently I have 16 mb card. But on monday I'm going to order 256 mb card. But I'd like to fool around with that manual focus before I start by accessories for this camera.

Thanx again.
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Old Dec 14, 2003, 1:00 AM   #3
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Default firmware

The 1.10a firmware upgrade is 2 mb, so you can put it on the 16mb card without a problem.
I had't had the time to fully test the manual focus, by the first trials look promising, also indoors.
I've read that the Auto focus is improved with the new firmware, (as is the AE and AWB)
Rudi
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Old Dec 14, 2003, 7:47 AM   #4
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I bought the PDR-M700 specificaly because I knew that there was a firmware upgrade that would give me the manual focus. So I have upgraded my firmware to version 1.10A

Now the FOCUS can be automatic, selective with preset or FULLY MANUAL.

The new firmware also fixed some problems in the overall shooting and also it let you have larger icons in Auto mode.

Let tell you, that when I bought the camera, I've read the review and what I saw was, 50% loved the PDR-M700 and 50% hate it. There were no inbetween, you have to understand that there are some other and more expensive cameras that are much better in full automatic. But at what price.

If you like to take picture, and are willing to take the time to learn the way the PDR-M700 works, I am sure that you will LOVE your camera specialy at that price.

You have to take time to learn how to use it.
When you understand the functionality and you take the time to make the right adjustement, you will be extremely surprise of the goods results.

My personal feeling about this camera are that for 438$ cdn, and the new 1.10A firmware, it is quite difficult to have a better quality/price ratio even if you compare it to the BIG (costly) camera like Minolta, Olympus, Sony and Canon

When I take photos, I place the dial in Manual, that way I can see all the adjustement on the screen, like the aperture, shutter speed, compensation even if the Focus is in Automatic and the AE is in prg.

An other and last thing, when you are shooting inside, I found out that the camera is very sensitive to mouvement, especialy when pressing the shutter, so I take my picture using the 2 sec delay timer. That way you can press the shutter, place your self, get steady and have some beatiful photos.



Hope it can help you,


Marc
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Old Dec 14, 2003, 10:59 AM   #5
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I completely agree with you, Lamouna. Since I've only payed 242 euro (approx. $250), it's the best price/quality camera i could buy.
In spite of its low price it's a full featured camera, that takes good quality pictures, ideal for a first digicam and learning digital photography.
Rudi
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Old Dec 14, 2003, 12:18 PM   #6
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Just to let you guys know I've decided to keep PDR-M700 after doing the firmware upgrade!!!
Lamouma.
Thank you very much for you posts regarding firmware upgrade and your opinions. I just did the firmware upgrade following your procedure and everything went perfectly. I am very happy with the manual focus!!!!!!! and I've decided not to return this camera. I havent found any problems with this camera outdoors but now it looks like this camere will do awsome job indoors as well. Although I don't have to much time to play with this camera until wednsday afternoon. But I will get back to all of you to let you know how the pictures are turning out.
Thanx to all of you.!!
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Old Dec 15, 2003, 7:04 PM   #7
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The firmware for the PDRM700 is now posted on the US Toshiba site at http://www.toshiba.com/taisisd/isd_s.../drivers.shtml
Instructions are included and a instruction manual on how to access the new features. This is a great camera for the price. Using the preset or manual focus for low light indoor shots has really enhanced my use of this camera. I plan on taking a lot of pictures this holiday. Enjoy!!
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Old Dec 15, 2003, 10:26 PM   #8
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Default Bad indor Focus or not ?

If you look carefully at many PDR-M700 review, I have notice that the Shutter lag, or if you prefer the Shutter time of reaction was very fast compare to many other camera. It is a good thing if you are in a Fast Shutter speed setting, but what happend if the shutter speed is slow, like shooting indoor with the Flash.

What I think is, when you press the shutter button halfway to lock the camera adjustment is OK. But when you continue to push it to take the picture, there is the problem, you are moving a little bit, the shutter speed is 1/2 to 1/30 of a second and the Shutter reaction is SO FAST that your mouvement is capture on the photo as a BLUR and everybody are talking about a bad FOCUS.

I have made many experience regarding that problem.

If in low light situation, with a long exposure time setting and taking the picture directely, no tripod. even if the Manual FOCUS was OK, the picture came out blured. With the same setting, and the picture taken with the 2 sec. delay. The picture came out SHARP. I have made the same test with the remote control, no flash, 5 sec. shutter opening extremely low light situation in my basement, and the picture came out sharp and very well lighted.

An other test I have made was to adjust the ISO setting to 400 for inside picture using the Flash. There is a little bit of noise, but the pictures came out Sharp and clear. The shutter speed was around 1/500 of a sec. and the aperture was around f 4.

So keep on shooting and poste some feedback of your testing with your PDR-M700
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Old Dec 17, 2003, 1:37 PM   #9
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Now for the wishlist for the next upgrade. Here are a couple items that SHOULD be easy to implement in the camera.

1. The ability to have different (read: saved) focus settings between the record manual and record auto dial settings. Changing this in the menu is a pain.

2. The ability to scroll backwards wrapping from the first setting to the last setting icon. It's a small nit, but sometimes you set the first setting (forgot which it was) then need to set the focus setting. Pressing teh button three times instead of once.

3. The ability to completely remove all information from the LCD on the manual record mode.

Bob Dimond
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Old Dec 17, 2003, 6:40 PM   #10
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Keep the focus setting independant between auto and manual mode.
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