Not entirely snap-happy - Grin with cat attached — LiveJournal
Previous Entry Next Entry
Not entirely snap-happy Oct. 30th, 2004 10:28 pm
There's a reason I sometimes take vast numbers of pictures, and it's to let me experiment - the pics I took today would have up to 5 shots of the same thing with a slightly different angle or camera setting. And I experiment with subjects and angles that deliberately won't work as stand-alone images (as they're useful as future background or sample sources).

That said, I'm not hugely happy with today's shots.

Too many of them aren't perpendicular. This is probably my fault, and may be an artefact of using the LCD display as a viewfinder (which I was doing a lot today, and isn't my normal MO). It may also be affected by the awkward shape of that camera, which doesn't fit conveniently into the hand.
I do have a flash-shoe spirit level, but wasn't using it today - I might try that in future.
Solution: try and use the optical viewfinder more.. although that always makes my eye go funny - anyone else have this problem?
Note to self: in high angle shots, verticals aren't. Don't try to make them.

A fair few are out of focus. This is down, I can say with certainty, to the apalling autofocus of the whole Nikon Coolpix digital range. It's slow, it shifts back and forth, and it frequently misses. This has long been my biggest complaint against this camera. To some extent I can fix this with manual focus, but my range-estimation skills are poor, and to be frank, I shouldn't have to do this nearly as much as I do.

Some are blurred. This is fairly inevitable in the low-light conditions I was working it today (both in that I was working indoors without flash, and in that I was taking some pictures between dusk and sunset. Solutions: a monopod(?) (I have a tripod but it's unwieldy and not suitable for tourist sites), increase ISO-equivalent number (used with considerable sucess today), and learn to stabilise better (possibly not helped by a heavy jacket and a rucksack?).

The colour balance on a few is shot to hell. Some of these are where auto white balance failed, some are where I had "sunny" selected in too much cloud (results in blue-gray washout) and some are where I had non-auto selected when the flash fired. I'm tempted to say that the white-balance should override in this case, but I can see both sides of the argument. Equally, "auto" works poorly in incandescent light.
However I don't really have a problem with this behaviour. If I set the white balance right, I the picture gives me what I ask for (this is the equivalent of film type selection on film cameras). And I'm getting better at setting it correctly - although there are a few sequences from today where I recall thinking "damn, worng setting" - and the next pic of the same thing will be just right. I was moving in and out of doors a lot on the ship, which added to the confusion, but I generally managed to work around it. So score one for me there ;)
Note to self: Try setting "cloudy" when shooting against the sun, to reduce blue tones.

There's some flash glare in some pics - mitigated in most cases by not standing perpendicular to the picture target. Beyond that, the fact I have an onboard flash only, with minimal standoff, limits my options. Flash carry is also an issue (pics too dark in the background) which is another reason I was trying to avoid flash today.

That reminds me - I seem to have managed to keep my shadow out of all today's pics. Sucess there too.

Composition: Not bad today. Applying (if loosely) the rule of thirds does usually work pretty well. Never centre anything! ;) Also some luck with using picture features to frame.

Contrast / colour vibrancy: Some problems with this today - particularly with over-bright skies. I should probably try and find an ND grad, but using filters on that camera is awkward as you need the extension tube, which is one more large part to carry (could have down with trying the polariser on some of the glass surfaces too). My increasingly educated guesses on up- and down- stopping seem to have done well today. I'm wondering if there's a control option for colour intensity levels.
Contrast is always an issue with cloud, but I don't know if it's also a weakness of the electronics in this camera.
At the other end of the scale, hard silhouettes can work well.
Night shots have the issue that the camera tries too hard to reach daytime light levels - stopping down hard helps.

One of the problems with working on an LCD display is the fact that the colours look different at every angle. Knowing how it'll look on other displays, and when printed, can be tricky.

Cranes *always* look like errors in pictures. As, frequently, do shadows.

Random pic from today:

I'm tempted to start looking to replace this camera - the processor issues aren't really good enough - but this time I've got more time to do so, can keep an eye on reviews, and know what to look for and avoid. I'm already toying with adding a high-quality micro-digicam (eg the new Olympus mini) and a film SLR to my collection though.

This "excess spare time" thing can actually be quite useful - both for pics & analysis.

Really must finish the washing up tomorrow, though ;)

From: reddragdiva
Date: October 30th, 2004 - 11:17 pm (Link)
My camera has a feature where it puts grid lines on the LCD if you want. I always use this .
From: azekeil
Date: October 31st, 2004 - 05:21 pm (Link)
As you know I have the newer version of yours and I don't really get on with it - mainly due to the fact the camera locks up when saving to flash card, and because it takes *so* *damn* *long* to save as well. A couple of my friends have the Cannon G5 and are very happy with it.
From: azekeil
Date: October 31st, 2004 - 05:22 pm (Link)
Lol except that should be 'Canon' of course :S
From: davefish
Date: November 1st, 2004 - 11:41 pm (Link)

I think that a full reply to that entry might be a bit much for tonight, but hopefully you won't mind me shoving my h'penneth in.

I've never had the viewfinder problem before. I'd say that you should at least try to do some more of those, especially if you are going to try and do the manual focus thing. It can also help with keeping things steady, since if you think that you are likely to get blur then keeping your elbows in quite tightly at your side, and pushnig the camera back into your face slightly as you look throught the viewifnder can help to steady things up. I'm not sure what it is about it, but I really dislike the idea of using the panel as a viewfinder unless you have a tricky angle such that you can't get your head into position.

I've not tried a monopod, but I suspect that I will be looking out for one soon, for exactly your reason of the tripod size and aquwardness.

What sort of film SLR are you after? A do everything yourself manual, or a slightly more modern autofocus? New or second hand? I occasionally do trawls around ebay, so if there is something that you are interested in then if I see something that fits the spec I can give you a shout.