taking pictures with a point and shoot. Tips? - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 11-23-2007, 10:11 PM Thread Starter
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taking pictures with a point and shoot. Tips?

Who's got tips for me on setting the exposure, white balance, sharpness, contrast and saturation for taking pictures of my tanks? The brights are always too bright, I have trouble getting the camera to focus on what's inside the tank if I don't use the flash, I have all kinds of issues. Who can teach me something about what all these menu selections mean?

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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 11-23-2007, 10:44 PM
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camera make & model please.


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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 11-23-2007, 11:05 PM Thread Starter
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Casio Exilim EX-Z55

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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 11-23-2007, 11:53 PM
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when shooting with flash, shoot at an angle above the subject.
I use manual focus a lot of times because the fish is always on the move..
try to keep your shutter speed less than 1/16 of a second.

Sorry, I don't know about this camera's menu.


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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 11-24-2007, 01:44 AM
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For tank pictures, you want

Flash off
Tripod or bean bag or something else to sit the camera on
No room lights/windows (take pix at night)
Take your time. Give the camera time to autofocus before pressing the shutter all the way.

If your camera has exposure settings, you might want to try to adjust them to -1 to prevent those ugly blown out highlights.

The other stuff isn't that important, you can play with white balance if you can set that manually, put something white in your tank and set it that way. Or leave it on auto. Play around with contrast and color and such settings. Take lots of shots, take notes, compare them and take more notes. It's not like a few years ago when film was expensive and you had to wait to develop it to see how it came out. The more you shoot, the more you learn. Maybe.

Quote:
Who can teach me something about what all these menu selections mean?
Often the manual!


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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 11-24-2007, 02:13 AM Thread Starter
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Joey, are you serious? You came to ask me what type of point and shoot I had then you answered me again, and we are still exactly where I started? I.e. messing with the settings myself to try and figure out whats what.

Don't you think I tried that before I came to you for advice? I've had the camera for two years! Dude, send me back those sails. (of course, what could I expect for a dollars worth of postage) :

I know, I could try setting everything, taking a picture, downloading where I could see it on a screen that's bigger than 2 inches, then reset it again, take another picture, bring it back to the computer, etc. It should only take me 150 years to figure out.

I guess my question is kinda vague. Lets try to narrow it down a little. I am specifically looking for advice on setting the fine points- the stuff on the camera that aren't self explanatory if you don't have photographic experience. I get the flash part, and the macro/manual/auto focus, its the way one might modify ISO, contrast, saturation, EV shift (WTF is EV shift?), and sharpness specifically for full tank shots, in a dark room, on a tripod, without a flash, to try to get the best results. Someone's gotta know...

Besides, cameras now a days don't come with manuals, they give you a web address that's specifically suited to sell you more crap, a la Apple, not to help you figure out the proper photo taking skills. It tells you if you want to reduce the contrast, use the wheel on the camera to highlight that option then use the up down arrows to increase or decrease the setting. No help at all

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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 11-24-2007, 02:20 AM
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Not sure if this will help you on the EV and white balance:


Bright Light, Big Color: Using EV and White Balance to Make Your Photos True to Life

Sorry, but my pix are proof that I'm no photographer......


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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 11-24-2007, 05:53 AM
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do you have photoshop?
you don't to worry about the contrast and such. Or just use the automatic settings for portraits or still-lifes.


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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 11-24-2007, 08:24 AM
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There's a lot of good articles on APC on using point and shoot and other cameras. Wasserpest gave you a lot of good advice. A tripod is pretty important. Also, try to use the timer to prevent camera shake from pressing the button. With a point and shoot, you may want to take a whole bunch of pictures and pick out the good ones. I hear this is still probably the best way to get a good shot. Also, clean the glass really really well. Little specks make the camera focus on the specks and not what's in the tank.

http://www.aquaticplantcentral.com/f...-articles.html

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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 11-24-2007, 12:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by turbosaurus View Post
Joey, are you serious? You came to ask me what type of point and shoot...


OK, I'm going to give you the honest dope;
you have a wonderful compact P&S,
but without a Manual Focus Mode
you are screwed when it comes to
taking aquarium photos. that camera
may also lack a true Close Up Mode,
which means you must zoom into a shot,
not push your camera into the frame.
make sure to turn Digital zoom OFF.
your camera also lacks a high speed
mode for taking action shots, which
helps make moving fish appear blurred.
so if you just bought that thing,
I would return it, and start over.
there, I said it, now can we move on?

Being someone who like you is stuck with a
great, but Manually Focus Challenged P&S
I have found the following to help me make
maybe one in five photos as usable. I'll try
to keep my advice specific to your camera.

1. get a deskpod, or any cheap tripod
assuming your compact even has a *pod hole.
if you depend on flash, you're already in trouble,
and once flash is off, the slightest movement
while taking the shot will blur the results, so
you really have no choice, just get the *pod,
and get used to setting the 10 second Self-timer,
not depending on the shutter button directly.
I use a $5 deskpod, a dining room chair, a box
on the seat of the chair, to get my tank shots,
so getting a cheap tripod may be worth the cost.

2. push the shutter button half way down to
get the focus you want. re-centering the shot
to a slightly different subject may help get the
focus you want. then push the shutter down all
the way, pray, and let the Self-timer do the rest.

3a. try your no flash modes such as;
- Candlelight portrait
- Night scene portrait
- Portrait (disable flash manually)
however, since your tank has more light than
candles and stars, you will need to adjust;
3b. EV shift bring that down to -1.0
this will keep the excess light from putting
too much white glare in your no flash photos.
3c. ISO set to 400 may also help here.

4. as others have advised, always take
flash photo's of moving fish at an angle to
the glass, using Flower Mode or Text Mode
along with your *pod and timer. if you must
take a no timer flash shot, try Party mode.

it's trial and error with only 1:5 photos usable,
all because you bought a $400 camera without
something as basic as Manual Focus Control
don't feel too bad, as most overpriced compact P&S
cameras lack short focus points and manual focus,
which are both critical to aquarium photography.
BTW having a large 512k-1mb memory card helps
dull the pain when dealing with all this trial and error.

for the purpose of preparing photo's for posting;

5. reformat your memory card and set all
your photos to; 1600x1200 Normal resolution.
or 2048x1536 Economy resolution, as this will
help keep your photos a manageable file size.

6. use a free graphic viewer such as IrfanView
that allows you to do the following things;
- fit large images to window view
- crop the photo on the fly
- resize/resample the photo
- sharpen the photo
- adjustable Save File quality

what I do is take a 2048x1536 photo,
crop out all the irrelevant content,
then resample it down around 800x600,
then sharpen it, (very important)
then save it at 80%-90% quality
then upload it to www.tinypic.com
cut&paste the IMG link offered
to my post here, and I'm done.
my photos load quick as a wink
and stay hosted for 6 Months.

So am I still your slave from those MTS,
or can you let me off the hook soon?

some stuff on this APC thread may help & inspire;
http://www.aquaticplantcentral.com/f...till-good.html


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