digital camera help please

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Aug 24th, 2005, 12:26 PM
  #1
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digital camera help please

Well, I'm shuffeling down the path of camera enlightenment here with a very small candle. I barely understand my question, but here goes...what do you suggest for a default metering and AF mode for my panasonic fz5?
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Aug 25th, 2005, 08:50 AM
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Hi, mzcuriouz,

Most use "multiple," which measures light by taking an average of the whole screen automatically. I find that this kind of metering will sometimes cause highlights to "burn out" and once a highlight is burned out, there is nothing you can do later with your computer to restore the lost detail.

I use the Panasonic FZ-20, and always use "spot" metering. I place the spot metering target (the little bracket in the center of the frame) on the brightest spot in the picture -- the highlight. That will make sure that that the brightest spot is properly exposed. Everything else may get a touch darker as a result, but I usually prefer this look. If I don't want it quite as dark, I can always adjust the exposure later in Photoshop. I find that with spot metering, I have much more control over exposure.

I chose the Spot focusing AF mode as well, which focuses on the area I am exposing for. If I don't want it in the center of the frame, I just keep my finger on the button, holding it halfway down, and shift the subject to where I want it, and then make the picture.

You can easily test different exposure methods and see which one works the best for you.

Phil
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Aug 25th, 2005, 08:54 AM
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I use pretty much the same settings Phil does, though I will occasionally use multiple (but Phil's pictures are a lot better than mine, and this may be one reason why...)

Cheers,
Julian
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Aug 25th, 2005, 07:44 PM
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thanks you guys...is that with a little spot rather than the larger one?

who said there are no dumb questions anyway? Ha! As my 4yo grand-daughter would say, "that's crazy!"
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Aug 25th, 2005, 07:54 PM
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This was most certainly NOT a dumb question. I took some photos with "burned out" areas this weekend, and now I know about a technique to avoid this from happening in the future.

I'm glad to learn this trick before leaving on my trip.
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Aug 26th, 2005, 09:44 AM
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mzuriouz,

Yes, the spot meter mode is indicated by a tiny dot in the middle of the frame.

dlemma,

Glad to help spare you the burnout. I am glad to see you practicing the technique before you go on safari. If you have any questions, I will be glad to help if I can. (I will be around until Tuesday, and then will be away on an OAT trip to Croatia and Greece until September 23.)

Phil
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Aug 26th, 2005, 09:56 AM
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I often use the same technique - metering for the highlights rather than the midtones or shadows and therefore ensuring that the highlights are not blown out.

Sometimes I'm not sure that this is the best option though (as there's a limit to what one can do even with Photoshop) so I bracket - that means to take the same shot but with 3 different exposures - better chance of getting a good exposure.

Many cameras offer an automatic bracketing option with variables such as being able to specify that the two additional shots are half or a full stop above and below the central shot. Even if they don't you can simply do one shot metered on the highlights, one on a midtone area etc.

Digital means that this doens't cost anything (though it's not an option I use all the time or I'd fill up my cards too quickly).
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Aug 26th, 2005, 10:14 AM
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I am off on my honeymoon to Tanzania next June but plan to buy a decent SLR digital camera and a zoom before I go. Could anyone advise of the best camera and lense to get for around US$1000.
Many thanks
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Aug 26th, 2005, 10:15 AM
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You'll find lots of information in this thread http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...4&tid=34562663 and others too.

May I suggest a skim through these and then post a thread with any further requirements/ questions?
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Aug 26th, 2005, 10:43 AM
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chrisamug,

There is no such thing as a "best" camera. A camera is a tool. Nothing more. Cameras do not make pictures. Photographers make pictures by using tools that fit their needs and their skills. I tell my students that each of us must define our own goals, purposes, budget,and photographic style, and assess our own skill levels before we can even begin to make an intelligent choice of camera. To blindly buy a camera that somebody else feels is "best" is never to our advantage.

Kavey offers a virtual crash course in the basics in the thread she recommends above.

I have tried to add a bit of my own insight in a more recent thread you might want to study:

http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...4&tid=34562663

If you have any questions, I will be happy to help.

Phil
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Aug 26th, 2005, 11:37 AM
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Phil, we've both linked the same thread...
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Aug 26th, 2005, 11:57 AM
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bwanamitch
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I guess Phil meant this one:
http://www.fodors.com/forums/pgMessa...4&tid=34660477

Mitch
 
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Aug 26th, 2005, 02:06 PM
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Thanks Mitch. That's the one I meant to post.
Phil
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Aug 27th, 2005, 08:25 AM
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Phil,
Thanks for the tips and the offer to help. I don't know if I'll have any more questions before Tuesday - they seem to pop up at random intervals.

I will agree that practicing your photography before safari is a good idea. I've learned much more than I expected. It's a cyclical thing - take some photos, see what I like or don't like, figure out what I should have done, read the camera manual, take more photos, etc. It's a lot of fun though I bet it will be even more fun in Africa.
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Aug 27th, 2005, 10:24 AM
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dlemma,

The greatest asset of digital photography is its instant feedback which allows you to notice your problems before they become serious, and fix them. You appear to be doing just that.

You will also find the more you practice, the more familiar you become with your camera, so that when you get to Africa you can concentrate on what you are trying express in your images, instead of worrying about what button to push and why.

Phil
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