Happy Snappy - the new SLR user

Inland paddling
Steve B
Posts: 5699
Joined: Wed Jan 16, 2002 2:36 pm
Location: Taunton, Somerset

Re: Happy Snappy - the new SLR user

Post by Steve B » Mon Dec 12, 2011 2:49 pm

SimonMW wrote:The really good compacts like the XZ-1 also have a large advantage over any DSLR except for the very top of the range ones. The XZ-1 for example can have flash sync up to its fastest shutter speed of 1/2000th, even with external off camera flashes. A huge advantage if you want to freeze the action, but need to use fill flash and keep the picture looking natural.
True, but not much use in practice since a typical compact will have a shutter lag of up to 1/2 second or even more. If there is any action to freeze you'll most likely have missed it.

The XZ-1 is an expensive, high-specification camera but its shutter lag is no better than most (from http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/XZ1/XZ1A.HTM):
Full autofocus shutter lag is average, at 0.52 second at wide-angle and 0.54 second at full telephoto. Enabling the flash increased lag to 0.84 second. Prefocused shutter lag is 0.071 second, not the fastest, but still quick enough.
Steve Balcombe

SimonMW
Posts: 2184
Joined: Sat Jul 24, 2010 11:39 pm
Has thanked: 1 time
Been thanked: 2 times

Re: Happy Snappy - the new SLR user

Post by SimonMW » Mon Dec 12, 2011 3:25 pm

True, but not much use in practice since a typical compact will have a shutter lag of up to 1/2 second or even more. If there is any action to freeze you'll most likely have missed it.

The XZ-1 is an expensive, high-specification camera but its shutter lag is no better than most (from http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/XZ1/XZ1A.HTM):
I'm always dubious of paper specifications like that (especially when different sites have such wildly different test results for it, eg here http://www.digitalcamerareview.com/defa ... D=4689&p=3 which rates it at 0.01sec. It depends on the criteria ). If I'm at a spot to take a photo I can prefocus on the area I need and fully press the shutter when the object of focus goes through and I wont miss it. Shutter lag is only an issue if you try and focus at the exact instant you want the shot. This is an issue with DSLRs too, so I always prefocus whenever I can.) Even with the fastest focus system in the world, if you are after a split second action shot you should always have an idea of where you want the shot first, otherwise you will still miss it. Unless you can lock focus and track the object.

I haven't noticed the lag being an issue. It won't be as quick as a DSLR, but it is just a case of learning the limitations of the gear and working around it and finding solutions. In the real world the biggest lag that causes missed shots is the person operating the camera not having fast enough reactions, or not anticipating the shot enough. Which is why taking a high speed sequence of shots will increase the hitrate. The XZ-1 can do this at around 7fps in JPG mode and only 2fps in RAW. But as I say, there is no substitute for pre composing the shot. If you know the rapid you'll know generally what happens where, and you'll be able to do this.

User avatar
TheKrikkitWars
Posts: 5809
Joined: Fri Dec 29, 2006 2:44 pm
Location: Sheffield

Re: Happy Snappy - the new SLR user

Post by TheKrikkitWars » Mon Dec 12, 2011 3:29 pm

Steve B wrote:True, but not much use in practice since a typical compact will have a shutter lag of up to 1/2 second or even more. If there is any action to freeze you'll most likely have missed it.

The XZ-1 is an expensive, high-specification camera but its shutter lag is no better than most (from http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/XZ1/XZ1A.HTM):
Full autofocus shutter lag is average, at 0.52 second at wide-angle and 0.54 second at full telephoto. Enabling the flash increased lag to 0.84 second. Prefocused shutter lag is 0.071 second, not the fastest, but still quick enough.
I think that is what you make of it; I use a pair of mechanical linkage (AF rather than AF-S) Nikkor lenses predominantly, and the autofocus lag is significant; for paddling I always pre-focus or manual focus, and have moved the AF functionality from half pressing the shutter button to the dedicated AF-On button on the rear of the body.

That is assuming that the zx-1 is able to pre-focus without then automatically trying to re-focus before taking a picture.

As an aside the Nikon-1 Series look like an interesting development in the "prosumer" bit of the camera spectrum between basic compacts and SLR's. Were they not new, rare and fairly expensive then they (or other cameras like them) could actually be what a lot of paddlers are looking for in a camera.
ONE BLADE, ONE LOVE, [TOO] MANY PIES


Joshua Kelly

SimonMW
Posts: 2184
Joined: Sat Jul 24, 2010 11:39 pm
Has thanked: 1 time
Been thanked: 2 times

Re: Happy Snappy - the new SLR user

Post by SimonMW » Mon Dec 12, 2011 3:47 pm

for paddling I always pre-focus or manual focus
Definitley. It is the only way to go. I have also done a lot of rally photography too and you are always guaranteed to miss the shot if you try and get the camera to focus at the same time as trying to get the shot. Much of the stuff I shot was also with fully manual lenses where you don't have the time to mess around with focus. It is possible to follow focus, but...
That is assuming that the zx-1 is able to pre-focus without then automatically trying to re-focus before taking a picture.
It's bizarre. One review I read of the camera said that it wasn't possible to focus and then recompose because it doesn't have an AE lock button. However in actual use you can half press the shutter to lock onto the place you want focus, and keep it half pressed until the subject passes through the frame. This isn't as good as an AE lock, but just a case of working around how the camera does things.

I took a serious look at the Nikon-1 series of cameras. But what brought me back to the XZ-1 was that none of the lenses were very fast. At f/1.8 on the XZ-1 you are getting similar depth of field to the average DSLR with a kit lens that is limited to f/5.6. Most of the small/compact interchangeable lens camera lenses seem restricted to around f/5.6 unless you really paid through the nose. I also looked at the Sony NEX cameras, and they have a similar issue. In order to get f/1.8 or so you need much bigger lenses, which kind of defeats the point of trying to keep things small and inexpensive.

I put a write up on my thought process here. http://kayakjournal.wordpress.com/2011/ ... uggestion/

User avatar
Big Henry
Posts: 1920
Joined: Tue Aug 01, 2006 11:31 am
Location: North East

Re: Happy Snappy - the new SLR user

Post by Big Henry » Mon Dec 12, 2011 4:23 pm

We recently got a new DSLR and to be honest, we don't know what we don't know, yet, so it's solely set on auto for the moment while we read up!

User avatar
Mark Gawler
Site Admin
Posts: 2306
Joined: Tue Apr 02, 2002 8:42 pm
Has thanked: 48 times
Been thanked: 33 times
Contact:

Re: Happy Snappy - the new SLR user

Post by Mark Gawler » Tue Dec 13, 2011 8:50 am

A slight hijack of the thread, I need a recommendation of a Photography book for a Christmas present. Something that is aimed at someone that already takes good well composed photos with an SLR, but never ventures beyond the "Auto" setting.

Any suggestions?
Mark Gawler

User avatar
Poke
Posts: 4826
Joined: Mon Nov 11, 2002 4:35 pm
Location: Wigan
Been thanked: 9 times
Contact:

Re: Happy Snappy - the new SLR user

Post by Poke » Tue Dec 13, 2011 9:15 am

Mark Gawler wrote:A slight hijack of the thread, I need a recommendation of a Photography book for a Christmas present. Something that is aimed at someone that already takes good well composed photos with an SLR, but never ventures beyond the "Auto" setting.

Any suggestions?
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Understanding-E ... 0817439390 ??
Uniyaker - Uni expeditions
Team Pyranha - My adventures

flashollie
Posts: 182
Joined: Fri Jul 17, 2009 10:07 am

Re: Happy Snappy - the new SLR user

Post by flashollie » Tue Dec 13, 2011 9:33 am

A few years ago for Christmas someone bought me a years subscription to a digital photography magazine, I forget which one but it had articles starting in January and then in each month from basics to expanding your knowledge by using full manual settings. Each month had a project to aid your understanding and learning of the techniques described each month for the 12 months period.
That format of dry techie paper based stuff but with actual projects putting it in to practice really helped me learn and develop.

Steve B
Posts: 5699
Joined: Wed Jan 16, 2002 2:36 pm
Location: Taunton, Somerset

Re: Happy Snappy - the new SLR user

Post by Steve B » Tue Dec 13, 2011 10:35 am

Poke wrote:
Mark Gawler wrote:A slight hijack of the thread, I need a recommendation of a Photography book for a Christmas present. Something that is aimed at someone that already takes good well composed photos with an SLR, but never ventures beyond the "Auto" setting.

Any suggestions?
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Understanding-E ... 0817439390 ??
I was going to suggest the same. This is the book that people who are actually in that situation say they liked and learned from.
Steve Balcombe

User avatar
Mark Gawler
Site Admin
Posts: 2306
Joined: Tue Apr 02, 2002 8:42 pm
Has thanked: 48 times
Been thanked: 33 times
Contact:

Re: Happy Snappy - the new SLR user

Post by Mark Gawler » Tue Dec 13, 2011 2:04 pm

Poke wrote:
Mark Gawler wrote:A slight hijack of the thread, I need a recommendation of a Photography book for a Christmas present.....
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Understanding-E ... 0817439390 ??
Steve B wrote:I was going to suggest the same. This is the book that people who are actually in that situation say they liked and learned from.
Thanks for the recommendation, that's one Christmas present solved.
Mark Gawler

User avatar
Randy Fandango
Posts: 3387
Joined: Thu Dec 11, 2003 5:10 pm
Location: London/Kent/Somewhere flat and dry

Re: Happy Snappy - the new SLR user

Post by Randy Fandango » Tue Dec 13, 2011 2:23 pm

Mark Gawler wrote:
Poke wrote:
Mark Gawler wrote:A slight hijack of the thread, I need a recommendation of a Photography book for a Christmas present.....
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Understanding-E ... 0817439390 ??
Steve B wrote:I was going to suggest the same. This is the book that people who are actually in that situation say they liked and learned from.
Thanks for the recommendation, that's one Christmas present solved.
I was in exactly the same place either last year or the year before and asked the same question with the same response and also received a copy for christmas.
Now -- all I have to do is remember where it was put away straight after christmas and my photography should finally come on in leaps and bounds.
Its amazing how children get totally in the way of all the fun stuff in life... :-)
Giles

SimonMW
Posts: 2184
Joined: Sat Jul 24, 2010 11:39 pm
Has thanked: 1 time
Been thanked: 2 times

Re: Happy Snappy - the new SLR user

Post by SimonMW » Tue Dec 13, 2011 4:51 pm

Just as a followup to my earlier post about the XZ-1, I have put some test shots with it up. Afraid I haven't yet had a chance to test it kayaking, but will try to do so this weekend. So I shall see how it performs in less than ideal conditions.
http://simonwyndham.smugmug.com/Photogr ... est-shots/

I reckon there's some scope for an interesting kayaking shot using the panorama function.

User avatar
SwamP
Posts: 3101
Joined: Fri Feb 01, 2008 6:14 pm
Location: Edinburgh

Re: Happy Snappy - the new SLR user

Post by SwamP » Sat Dec 17, 2011 5:15 pm

Mark Gawler wrote:A slight hijack of the thread, I need a recommendation of a Photography book for a Christmas present. Something that is aimed at someone that already takes good well composed photos with an SLR, but never ventures beyond the "Auto" setting.

Any suggestions?
And also don't overlook buying someone a subscription to a good magazine as they generally give better advice and far better tutorials than any book.

Digital Camera and Digital SLR are both fairly good....hope someone buys my either :(
Lets not try to understand each other. Thanks.

User avatar
Big Henry
Posts: 1920
Joined: Tue Aug 01, 2006 11:31 am
Location: North East

Re: Happy Snappy - the new SLR user

Post by Big Henry » Tue Apr 17, 2012 5:16 pm

Now that I've had time to have a fiddle (it's a technical term!) with our Nikon D5100 dSLR, and read some bits and pieces I thought it was time to go back to this thread and ask what is very probably a basic question!

I know about depth of focus relative to aperture size, and shutter speed relative to catching action shots etc. I have a reasonable understanding about ISO and light levels. But from what I have so far read, I haven't seen anything about starting points for taking the pictures. Since this could easily end up as a rambling rant I'll try to break it down.

1) If I want a particularly narrow depth of focus, I would set the camera onto aperture priority and pick a f-stop setting. Why would I choose one over another, though? Why would I choose f4.5 as opposed to f5 or f5.6 or 6.3 etc? Would it solely be down to whether I am shooting an action shot or not?

2) If I was photographing an action shot, I take it I would set the camera on the shutter priority, but do I choose 1/4000, 1/3200, ..., 1/200 etc? Would that be simply down to the ambient light?

3) If I'm not going for an action shot, or a narrow depth of focus, which settings should I be choosing first - aperture or shutter speed? And why should I choose one over the other?

(From SimonMW's comment earlier, I suppose I put the ISO onto auto and let the camera sort that out for me for most, if not all situations, do I?)

To help with the answers, here are two photos I took a couple of years ago using a basic Olympus Stylus/Mju Tough 6000, using the auto setting for the first and continuous shooting to get the second.

What sort of setting should I be thinking about first to take them again but on my dSLR?

Image
(They could be in a window in Amsterdam with poses like that!)
and
Image

Hope I haven't asked too much, and thanks for any answers.

(I have the following books that I am slowly picking things from: Understanding Exposure, 3rd Edition: How to Shoot Great Photographs with Any Camera, by Bryan Peterson, Nikon D5100 Digital Field Guide by J. Dennis Thomas, and Nikon D5100 For Dummies.)

SimonMW
Posts: 2184
Joined: Sat Jul 24, 2010 11:39 pm
Has thanked: 1 time
Been thanked: 2 times

Re: Happy Snappy - the new SLR user

Post by SimonMW » Tue Apr 17, 2012 6:02 pm

As a certain kayak coach once told me, there are no absolutes :-)
Why would I choose f4.5 as opposed to f5 or f5.6 or 6.3 etc? Would it solely be down to whether I am shooting an action shot or not?
The answer is, it depends.

Lenses are usually at their sharpest around f/4 to f/8 with the sweet spot usually being around f/5.6. In real world shooting those smaller adjustments just mean that you have more fine adjustment. On a fully manual lens video camera the iris is totally analogue with infinite variation. Most stills cameras adjust their iris settings in set clicks, so sometimes you will need to balance between the settings with some variation here and there.

If you make a decision to use f/5.6 because of ideal lens sharpness and have the camera on iris priority, you can pretty much not worry about whether to use f/4 or f/6.3 etc. In other words don't be too concerned about it.
2) If I was photographing an action shot, I take it I would set the camera on the shutter priority, but do I choose 1/4000, 1/3200, ..., 1/200 etc? Would that be simply down to the ambient light?
Beyond a certain amount, usually around 1/1000th, maybe less, any increase in shutter speed isn't usually worth it for anything other than the very fastest of objects.

Lets say that you had the camera on shutter priority and had set it to 1/1000th to capture fast kayaking action. But you found that even with the camera automatically adjusting all the other settings the sunlight was just too strong. The camera may also, in bright light in shutter priority mode, be adjusting the iris right down to f/16 or even f/22 where diffraction becomes an issue (in other words the picture becomes noticeably softer at those settings depending on the lens that you are using).

Likewise if you set the shutter speed too high in dingy light the camera may have to increase the ISO to levels that are really too grainy. Most modern cameras are low noise, but it can still be an issue on some older models. So in this case you may need to lower the shutter speed.

To stop this from happening, and to help the camera get a good exposure, you may need to increase or lower the shutter speed, even though it may not offer any real benefit to the photo. In full manual mode adjusting the speed to be quicker just gives you more options for balancing the other settings.
3) If I'm not going for an action shot, or a narrow depth of focus, which settings should I be choosing first - aperture or shutter speed? And why should I choose one over the other?
Again there is no right or wrong answer/reasoning. In such a situation you need to be choosing the settings based upon how you want the photo to look. For example for a landscape you might decide to use f/11 for the best compromise between lens sharpness and obtaining deep depth of field. Then you could set your ISO to a minimum to make sure that noise is not an issue at all. You would then adjust your final exposure using the shutter speed. The process is vastly different in video however because you should not adjust the exposure with the shutter unless you want the video to look extremely amateur.

So it all depends on what you want to get from the final photo. Experimentation is the key.

I would highly recommend messing around with the full manual settings in order to understand what the camera needs to do and what it does when you use priority modes.

User avatar
Jim_MWX
Posts: 127
Joined: Mon Jan 02, 2012 3:23 pm
Location: Lancashire
Contact:

Re: Happy Snappy - the new SLR user

Post by Jim_MWX » Tue Apr 17, 2012 9:38 pm

The great thing about digital is the ability of trial and error without cost.

Back in the day when I started training we worked with slide film. There was no "margin of error".

However, these days all sorts can be achieved by trial and experience.

For what its worth, I find full manual the easiest to use, even when focusing. It's possible to get some great shots while manually focusing, it just takes a bit of practice to get it right.

For those that ask about off camera flashes, it depends on the system used. Some Nikons have the creative lighting system (CLS) built into them. This is normally the mid end upwards (D90 etc). What this means is that you can control external flash guns from the camera and can change the power of the flashgun etc. Otherwise I recommend Pocket Wizards, they have great control.

For what it's worth, you don't always have to use a high shutter speed to get a shot. The one I've attached was taken with a speed of 1/90th. This is by no means quick, but you can see the results I achieved. SimonMW makes a good point about apertures. In the old days it used to be that depending on the aperture used it depended on the depth of field (amount of background in focus In simplified terms). This is still true, but I find that unless its a prime, or fixed focal length lens the effect is not as pronounced.

Image

Another thing to consider is the rule of thirds. This is fairly self explanatory. Take your viewing angle and split it into three. Then place your subject in one of the edge thirds. This often improves the composition and helps give the image a better dynamic.
Pro Photographer -www.jimsnape.co.uk
@mountainworx

User avatar
Wildswimmer Pete
Posts: 1321
Joined: Sun Sep 19, 2004 10:07 pm
Location: Runcorn, Greater Liverpool
Contact:

Re: Happy Snappy - the new SLR user

Post by Wildswimmer Pete » Tue Apr 17, 2012 10:43 pm

RichA wrote:
Any recommendations for freeware? The noise reduction utility in Photoshop CS2 isn't great, at least not with me as the user.
Try the Gimp - I use it but I've never used the advanced features 'cos I prefer film. Apparently the Gimp is reckoned to be as good as Photoshop and has the advantage of being free.

http://www.gimp.org/

Wildswimmer Pete
Nili illegitimi carborundum

User avatar
Tom_Laws
Posts: 8122
Joined: Mon Aug 09, 2004 8:37 am
Location: North Wales
Contact:

Re: Happy Snappy - the new SLR user

Post by Tom_Laws » Tue Apr 17, 2012 11:05 pm

Wildswimmer Pete wrote:
RichA wrote:
Any recommendations for freeware? The noise reduction utility in Photoshop CS2 isn't great, at least not with me as the user.
Try the Gimp - I use it but I've never used the advanced features 'cos I prefer film. Apparently the Gimp is reckoned to be as good as Photoshop and has the advantage of being free.

http://www.gimp.org/

Wildswimmer Pete
I found it an utter dog to use. PS elements is pretty cheap. Also, I like the combo of "try the gimp" with your avatar.... ;-)

User avatar
Jim_MWX
Posts: 127
Joined: Mon Jan 02, 2012 3:23 pm
Location: Lancashire
Contact:

Re: Happy Snappy - the new SLR user

Post by Jim_MWX » Wed Apr 18, 2012 11:15 pm

Tom_Laws wrote:
Wildswimmer Pete wrote:
RichA wrote:
Any recommendations for freeware? The noise reduction utility in Photoshop CS2 isn't great, at least not with me as the user.
Try the Gimp - I use it but I've never used the advanced features 'cos I prefer film. Apparently the Gimp is reckoned to be as good as Photoshop and has the advantage of being free.

http://www.gimp.org/

Wildswimmer Pete
I found it an utter dog to use. PS elements is pretty cheap. Also, I like the combo of "try the gimp" with your avatar.... ;-)
+1 on userbility (is that even a word?). Sure it gets you there, but you really can't beat photoshop.
Pro Photographer -www.jimsnape.co.uk
@mountainworx

Post Reply