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Old Mar 21, 2005, 11:46 PM   #1
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I am looking for a camera which will allow me to take better picture of snakes than my Kodak cx6330 that I currently use does. The problem is that usually i'll take a picture of a snake in some bushes or on a log and the bushes or log will be in focus and the snake will not. I need something that allows me to change what subject the camera focuses in on but don't want to go with an SLR. I was thinking of going with a higher megapixel Kodak such as the cx7530 but think that will give me the same problem, and wanted to see if anybody has a recommendation for something that allow me to change the focus point. Heres basically what I am looking forin the camera:

3+megapixels, 3x+optical zoom, somewhat slim meaning about the same as the cx6330 or smaller, needs a way to change the focus point, good macro is important also, and I would prefer a camera that uses and SD memory card since I have a bunch of them. Any help is appreciated, thanks.

Heres an example of what I am talking about, this picture was taken last week and in my opinion is very poor quality, I took about 40 of them that day so this isn't the only one that came out this way, but there should be a camera out there that will allwo me to focus in better even in this mess of trees, etc.

http://home.earthlink.net/~saleenada...aRhombifer.JPG



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Old Mar 22, 2005, 12:02 AM   #2
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IMHO for wildlife Panasonic FZ20is unbeatable. But it is big - almost DSLR size. What about focus - there is simple trick works on almost any camera. Frame you shoot, then shift camera in such a way that desirable subject became in center of viewfinder, half-press button - at this stage camera make focus and lock it - reposition your camera to original frame and depress button fully. Sounds too long, butwith practice it is easy and fast method. Changing focus point IMHO is way too cumbersome and slow for wildlife and IMHO useless; probably in studio would be different story, but definatelly not on the field.

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Old Mar 22, 2005, 8:18 AM   #3
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I have tried that also by moving so that it is in the center of the screen, but usually I use the viewfinder due to being in direct sun...actually the picture above was taken with it in the center but it wouldn't focus at all except on the logs which didn't come out too great either, i've never looked at Panasonics yet going to have to check it out, thanks.
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Old Mar 22, 2005, 10:32 AM   #4
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How far away were you for that shot?

Chances are, focus is not your problem. That photo was taken with an actual focal length of 10.8mm at f/4.0.

If taken from a distance of 10 feet, everything from about 6.15 feet to 26.7 feet would be acceptably sharp, shooting at f/4.0 (with your camera).

Because the sensor in your camera is very tiny, a much shorter focal length lens canbe used to get a given 35mm equivalent focal length. So, the lens on your camera has a focal range of only 7.6 - 22.8mm (to give it a 35mm equivalent focal range of approximately 37-111mm).

As a result, you've got tremendous Depth of Field (amount of the image that is in focus, as you get further away from your focus point), compared to a 35mm camera. See this DOF calculator to get a better idea of how this works.

http://www.dofmaster.com/dofjs.html

What I do see is an overexposed subject with blown highlights (with some lens flare mixed in). This photo also appears to be oversharpened (and/or too much JPEG Compression). Was this shot post processed in any way with software? Are you using the camera's default settings for everything?Are you using some kind of filter that may be contributing to flare (and is your lens clean)?





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Old Mar 22, 2005, 3:38 PM   #5
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That shot was taken using the Auto mode of the camera all the factory defaults, which has worked well for me for the last two years until about 3 or 4 months ago they started looking poor like this. I did not process it through anything just transferred it to the computer using the Kodak software, every picture of that snake was horrible that day I realize it was very sunny out but still all the pictures were very poor. I was probably about 10 feet away in that shot and the lens is clean..just cleaned it about two weeks ago. It seems that all pictures I take with other things than the snake in them come out poor looking like that lately very bright looking, but ones with just the snake or closer up look pretty good still. For instance, this shot was taken on the same day about 15 minutes later but from a distance of only about three feet using the same Auto mode, and came out looking a whole lot better.

http://home.earthlink.net/~saleenada...isproximus.JPG



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Old Mar 22, 2005, 3:58 PM   #6
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Hmmmm....

If you get consistently overexposed photos in similar conditions, you can set your camera's exposure compensation to a -EV Value.

You may just be seeing a "quirk" with the Kodak's metering algorithms (i.e., since the area you're shooting into is probablyrelatively dark, it may be trying to expose the scene too much, since most of the image is not as bright as the snake and limbs).

So, setting the camera to a -EV Setting will help insure proper exposure in similar conditions. From reading through the review of the CX6330 here, it looks like this can be set in 1/2 stop increments from -2.0 to +2.0. I'd probably go with about a stop to start out with (-1.0 setting) in similar conditions (and perhaps take the shot at more than one setting to see what works best).

What bugs me is that the image looks very overprocessed (perhaps JPEG Compression?!?).

Out of curiosity, have you upgraded your camera's firmware?

Sometimes, manufacturers don't let you know everything that was improved in a firmware update. Make sure to get the version that includes English if you decide to upgrade. ;-)

http://www.kodak.com/global/en/servi...?ekn=EKN026823


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Old Mar 22, 2005, 5:11 PM   #7
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saleenadam wrote:
Quote:
I have tried that also by moving so that it is in the center of the screen, but usually I use the viewfinder due to being in direct sun...actually the picture above was taken with it in the center but it wouldn't focus at all except on the logs which didn't come out too great either, i've never looked at Panasonics yet going to have to check it out, thanks.
FZ20 has electronic viewfinder, so in this regards it is similar to DSLR (I mean you can see exactly what you shooting, no parallax), although quality is suffering versus optical viewfinder. Plus you always can use manual focus - it never fails and it is no problem on daylight.

From another hand I agree with JimC - usually there is no problem with focusing and DOF for small-sensor camera. Your shoot looks to me a bit overexposed, but most of all ithas really washed out colors. I may suggest you try to shoot something in different condition - i.e. indoor with flash, in this case you will be able to determine if you got any problem with your camera. And again, make sure that you are using highest available setting in your camera (i.e. large/superfine)

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Old Mar 22, 2005, 10:32 PM   #8
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I have updated the firmware not too long ago, it's the most recent version but really I couldn't tell a difference before and after so I can't blame that. As far as other situations the camera still works good it just seems to be whenever in a very sunny area with lots of bushes or logs around like that picture it really doesn't come out well. Which is a problem because a LOT of the pictures I take are in that exact same place since theres about 8 different types of snakes that bask on that same log depending on the weather..almost always a picture to be taken there.
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Old Mar 22, 2005, 10:53 PM   #9
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Try using the spot meter. The metering system is trying to average out the shadows and blowing the highlights. You would lose the shadow detail, but you will do that with the lower EV setting as well. The shot of the snake on the pavement didn't have any deep shadows to confuse the metering system.


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