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Old 2008-01-07, 20:42   Link #1
Ledgem
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Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Northeast USA
Age: 28
Digital photography

Greetings everyone,

A few months ago I birthday-presented myself with an Olympus E-410, a digital SLR. Until then my only experience was with an Olympus D-435, a point-and-shoot model. Boosting to a DSLR allows you to take some amazing pictures, but it also requires a fair bit of knowledge and skill not necessary with most P&S models. The DSLR has an auto mode, sure, but let's just say that you'll know when you're not achieving well, and it's very easy to mess it up. I think I've done enough self-learning, and I'd like to receive advice from those with more experience.

I'd be thrilled to find that more people on this forum were photography nuts and if we could all discuss photography tips and technology. I'm aware that most DSLR users choose Canon and Nikon, and Olympus are in the slim minority there. More likely I'm going to need to join a specialized photography forum. So here's my question: who here is into photography, what are you using, and how long have you been using it/how good are you? If we don't have too many, does anyone by any chance happen to have a favored photography community that they could recommend to me?
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Old 2008-01-07, 21:14   Link #2
Verist
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That is a nice camera! Don't worry about all those Nikon and Canon elitists. The camera isn't as critical as your eye and your lenses. Practice! Since you're dealing in a digital medium, its cheap to try different things. Just keep shooting!
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Old 2008-01-08, 00:39   Link #3
Mitsuomi
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I want to buy a digital slr so badly... but they're too damn expensive >_<'
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Old 2008-01-08, 01:00   Link #4
Potatochobit
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most people like nikon because its heavier than the others so you can hold it steady with ease.
it's not really being elitist, it's just a good camera. however, I think your lens choice is far more important than camera brand. definately look at tamron. sorry, but I don't know of an active photography forum.
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Old 2008-01-08, 17:35   Link #5
Ledgem
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Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Northeast USA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mitsuomi View Post
I want to buy a digital slr so badly... but they're too damn expensive >_<'
Depending on what your price range is, they're pretty cheap now actually. I felt really foolish, as the camera I bought (in the $700 range) can now be had for about $200 less in certain deals.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Verist
The camera isn't as critical as your eye and your lenses. Practice! Since you're dealing in a digital medium, its cheap to try different things. Just keep shooting!
I've done a fair bit of experimentation and reading up about what the functions do, but there's still quite a bit to learn.

For example, yesterday I was at the Statue of Liberty and by luck I was there with a sunset:



(Poor compression and all are intentional on my part - not that I think this image is good enough to get swiped and put on postcards or anything, but you know how it is. If anyone on here wants the full version, I'd be happy to share.)

The trouble occurred later when the sun had set. Here's one of the clearer pictures I took that shows the problem:



(Image resized)

There's that jitter/ghosting, and the image is extremely unclear. For my camera I have quite a number of options. I wasn't shooting in RAW mode here: I dropped the sharpness and contrast a bit, set the focus to manual, but left everything else on automatic. At best the shutter speed could be reduced to one second; anything less and the image was extremely underexposed. I know that for night photography, bracing yourself, using a tripod, anything to reduce motion will help. The problem here was that I was on a boat - this image was taken with the camera braced on a hand rail. How can you account for that?

I need to read up on the effects of aperture control again. I doubt it's possible, but perhaps manually setting the aperture to one thing would have allowed me to set the shutter time to be less? The lens I'm using is a relatively fast lens. Without going professional-grade, I don't think that there's a lens that could overcome that scenario. I'm really curious about what could be done in that situation.
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Old 2008-01-09, 11:45   Link #6
LynnieS
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Join Date: Mar 2003
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Shooting in RAW format isn't too important, IMHO, unless you want to keep the full details of the shot that are available, and as long as you still have the software to interpret the RAW images, you should then be able to convert to a JPEG or something later.

For your last photo, what were your camera settings, do you still remember, at the time? And by "setting the focus", did you mean that you had set the f-stop manually, and left the shutter speed to the camera? Because the f-stop is the setting of the aperture, so by setting that value, you were already controlling the amount of light coming into the camera. If I remember correctly, if you set your aperture manually (to a lower f-stop, for example), your shutter speed might have needed to be made faster to keep the exposure correct.

Your last photo might not have come out perfectly, though, if the boat was rocking a lot.

Does your lens have some kind of motion reduction/compensation mechanism BTW?
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Old 2008-01-09, 15:55   Link #7
Ledgem
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LynnieS View Post
For your last photo, what were your camera settings, do you still remember, at the time?
I think they were the same as what was used for the first. The settings as recorded in the file info are as follows:

Color space: RGB
Focal length: 14
FNumber: 3.5
Exposure time: 0.625 (this might be different for the exact picture I posted; I'm looking at a similar picture taken during that time. All other settings should be the same.)

Quote:
And by "setting the focus", did you mean that you had set the f-stop manually, and left the shutter speed to the camera? Because the f-stop is the setting of the aperture, so by setting that value, you were already controlling the amount of light coming into the camera. If I remember correctly, if you set your aperture manually (to a lower f-stop, for example), your shutter speed might have needed to be made faster to keep the exposure correct.
For the focus I was referring to the focal distance (not sure what the official term is). Basically everything that I was shooting was at focal length infinity, I believe, so there was no point in having the camera trying to adjust the focus each time when it would ultimately keep returning to the infinity focal point. Since it was dark, occasionally it wouldn't be able to determine the focus, either, losing more time. So I just set the focus to manual and didn't touch it. (Normally I use static auto-focus + manual focus.)

The shutter speed and aperture were determined by the camera. I did try to adjust the shutter speed occasionally (leaving the camera to adjust the aperture in response) but as I mentioned, if the speed was too fast then the picture was greatly underexposed. The lowest I could drop to was about 1", which was what the camera was choosing most of the time, so I just left it on auto.


Quote:
Your last photo might not have come out perfectly, though, if the boat was rocking a lot.

Does your lens have some kind of motion reduction/compensation mechanism BTW?
Unfortunately the boat was rocking quite a bit It makes me wonder how professional photographers do it, especially the ones who take shots from helicopters. I guess that those thousand dollar lenses really do make a difference?

I don't think that the lens has any image stabilization, but I'm not positive. It's an Olympus 14-42mm lens that came with the camera (I also have a 40-150mm). Advice on the internet is to avoid getting a kit lens as they're always terrible, but I've also read that Olympus lenses are some of the best. There are very few 3rd-party lenses for Olympus cameras, and the added cost of two lenses coming with the camera was basically the cost of a single lens, so it was worth it.

I love the E410, but I really have to wonder about that image stabilization aspect. I've read that many other lens manufacturers put some sort of image stabilizing solution in the lenses themselves. Olympus' solution, used with the E-510 and the E-3 only so far, was to incorporate image stabilization functionality at the camera body. When I was choosing between the E410 and E510 I did look over the differences, and nearly all of the reviews that I read downplayed image stabilization and stated that it didn't really help that much. I'd imagine that it would have helped a bit here, although I doubt it would have provided for sharp images.

edit: The E-410 does image stabilization at the body of the camera, but what the E-510 and E-3 use is a technology Olympus is calling "Sensor Shift Image Stabilization."
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Last edited by Ledgem; 2008-01-09 at 16:10.
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Old 2008-01-09, 20:44   Link #8
Neaco
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Join Date: Oct 2004
um, I'm no expert at this stuff, however, I asked a friend of mine who used to use a dslr and he sent me these links -


explaining the connections of aperture, shutter speed and ISO in an easy to understand format

http://www.pbase.com/wlhuber/the_basics

two more good sites some technique and tutorials on different shoots...

http://www.cambridgeincolour.com/tutorials.htm
http://www.luminous-landscape.com/tutorials/


hope they are of some help
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Old 2008-01-10, 08:52   Link #9
LynnieS
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Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: China
I have not heard of a shutter speed of 0.625 (equivalent to 1/1.6 seconds?) before, but that seems pretty slow. With a slow shutter speed, a stable platform really matters, IMHO. You had a low f-stop of 3.5 so your camera's aperture is large - letting in more light - and a long shutter speed. With the boat moving and all, blurring can happen.

Was the ISO setting done manually also, or picked by your camera? Your lens's lowest f-stop looks to be 3.5, so you can't let in more light now. Decreasing the aperture by going to a higher f-stop, I don't think, will help since that would mean keeping the shutters open longer to keep the exposure correct. If you can increase the ISO setting (and it wasn't set for you), you might try and raise that - basically making the sensor more sensitive - which might let you (or in this case, the camera) pick a faster shutter speed.

High ISO settings can mean more noise and not a great shot at the end, though. That depends on your camera. Nikon's new D300 is supposed to be great at up to ISO 6400, and the D3 should (and at US$5000 or so full retail, it should be!) be just as, it not better. Speaking personally, I'm jealous at that rating for the D300 as my D200 only got a "Low" review at ISO 1600 two years ago. Technology moves fast.
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