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Old Sep 20, 2009, 2:43 PM   #371
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Default What an External Flash Really Looks Like

Hi there again, Folks-

I realized that I keep referring to “external flash”, but perhaps you are not familiar with the equipment involved. So, to overcome that gap, here is an attached photo showing the Sony A-230 camera with the Sony HVL-F56AM external flash attached to the camera. The F56AM has now been replaced with the somewhat more powerful HVL-F58AM flash. So that makes the older, but still very effective, F56AM flash an excellent buy at used equipment dealers such as www.keh.com. www.bhphotovideo.com and www.adorama.com. You might also find the F56AM on E-Bay as well.

So attached, here is a photo of the set-up that I used to provide the necessary “front lighting” in the backlighting discussion.

Have a great day.

Sarah Joyce
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Old Sep 20, 2009, 2:47 PM   #372
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Default What Actually Does EXIF Information Look Like?

Finally, Folks, one more topic, please-

You might have been wondering how we can take your posted photos and learn the actual settings your camera used when taking your photo. Attached to each and every photo taken by a digital camera, is a small “digital tag” that is attached to each and every photo taken by any digital camera. We call that “digital tag,” the EXIF information.

It takes a separate program to read that small “digital tag.” Some photo editors also include an EXIF information reader as well, so that if you did not make any notes on your camera settings, it can read that small “digital tag,” and tell you exactly how your camera was set up for any particular photo.

The software program that I mentioned previously, Photo Studio 6.0 from ArcSoft Software includes an EXIF reader. So here is how the information looks when it is retrieved.

Sarah Joyce
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Old Sep 21, 2009, 11:15 AM   #373
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... The logical question is this: How do I provide this so called “front lighting?” In this case you light the front of your photo with an external flash. ...
This is one way to do it. However, in case you don't have an external flash (the built-in flash most likely will not be strong enough to light up a large room) or you do not wish to use the flash at all, you can use SPOT metering. Point the camera to an area that you want the exposure to be taken from, half press the shutter and use the exposure lock button to lock that light reading (oh yes, I don't believe the A230 offers this feature...it was removed from the A200 and many people said that it would not be missed...) or, simply half press the shutter, recompose and shoot. The problem here is that the camera will also lock focus so make sure you not only point to the correct area you want the exposure to be accurate but also close enough to the subject you wish to have in focus.
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Old Sep 21, 2009, 11:34 AM   #374
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This is one way to do it. However, in case you don't have an external flash (the built-in flash most likely will not be strong enough to light up a large room) or you do not wish to use the flash at all, you can use SPOT metering.
Unfortunately this really doesn't solve the problem. What spot metering would do is allow you to make sure your intended subject was exposed properly - which is good. BUT, it doesn't help with the fact the backlighting overpowers ambient exposure for your subject. SO you still end up with extremely blown highlights in the background which detracts from your subject.

So you really do have to either use powerful enough flash or change the time/makeup of your shot so the backlighting isn't so severe. But the dynamic range of strongly backlit subject is simply too great for a camera to overcome.
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Old Sep 21, 2009, 2:30 PM   #375
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JohnG and Tullio-

You both make excellent points. Personally, I prefer to use the external flash approach. It keeps the exposure overall much more even.

Sarah Joyce
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Old Sep 21, 2009, 2:32 PM   #376
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09/21/2009

Controlling the Output of Your Camera’s Built-in Flash Unit


Good Morning, Folks-

In a recent posting, the shot of the Anniversary Cake, which I have attached for your reference, I mentioned than the A-230’s built-in flash unit properly dampened or reduced the flash output when I moved in close to take the shot of the Anniversary Cake.

That naturally that raises the question: What control do I really have over my camera’s built-in flash unit? Well, most cameras have a menu item call “Flash Compensation.” When you use that camera feature, you can actually increase or decrease the output of your camera’s built-in flash unit.

You might keep that in mind if you are shooting close-up shots and the flash provides too much light. As you will recall, your camera’s built-in flash unit also has an effective range. That is simply how far your camera’s built-in flash unit can provide sufficient light to take a well exposed photo. Flash Range is measured in feet.

Remember there is another way to extend the Flash Range of your camera’s built-in flash unit as well. That is done by numerically increasing your camera’s ISO setting. However, when you numerically increase your camera’s ISO setting there is a trade-off. As the ISO setting is increased, in most digicam and super zoom type cameras, you will also increase your chance of seeing electronic noise or “graininess” in your photo.

We hope that you are enjoying a great day.

Sarah Joyce
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Old Sep 23, 2009, 5:03 AM   #377
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The A500 has a much better Sony 12MP CMOS Sensor (as used by models like the Nikon D5000, Nikon D90, Nikon D300 and Sony A700), if you need better performance at higher ISO speeds. It's a more expensive model though (body only price of $749.99 for the A500).
Correction. A500 sensor is not the same that is in A700, D90, D300. A500 has a brand new sensor. The old A700 sensor goes from ISO 200-3200 with 6400 expanded. The new sensor goes from ISO 200-6400 with 12800 expanded. The new sensor is probably better than the 2-year old sensor in Nikon D90/Sony A700.

The new Pentax k-x probably has the same new Sony sensor that is in A500.

Both A500 and A550 have brand new sensors. A550s has a 14MP sensor. Between A500 and A550, A550 is definitely worth extra $200 due to much higher resolution LCD screen (same LCD that is in A700, A850, and A900).
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Old Sep 23, 2009, 2:16 PM   #378
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oneguy-

Thanks for clearing up the confusion. Yes, I also thought it was a totally new imager, quite like the one on the new, or soon to be introduced Pentax KX model.

I was pleased that the Sony A-500 and A-550 models are slated to compete against the likes of the Nikon D-90. That means that the rumored A-700 will be more technically up scale.

Sarah Joyce
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Old Sep 23, 2009, 4:05 PM   #379
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oneguy-

quite like the one on the new, or soon to be introduced Pentax KX model.

Sarah Joyce
The k-x probably has the exact same sensor. All Pentax sensors are either Sony's or Samsung's. All Nikon sensors, except D700, are Sony's. And I think all canon's sensors in p&s models are made by Sony too. Canon makes their own sensors for DSLRs.

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Old Sep 28, 2009, 7:43 PM   #380
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I've been reading that the Sony a200 and the A230 have the same IQ. Is this true ?
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