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How about a technical ramble?


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Hi All

It strikes me that there could be a few keen photographers out there, who may not necessarily ever move away from the automatic settings, and therefore may not necessarily be getting the most from their camers.

I am most certainly not the most gifted or expert here, but I am one of those sad gits who reads instruction manuals!

If anyone would be interested in maybe setting up another wander with the focus more on explaining things like Depth of Field, motion blur, shutter speed, ISO rating, focus points, exposure lock etc etc, then let me know and we'll see what can be sorted.

Again, this would be applicable to both SLR and compact camera owners, although with compacts, a lot of the functionality is removed or hidden.


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Guest chriscraft

Good idea,an non auto day,perhaps we would need 2 or three set sceens to demonstrate the different effects,ie long exposure shots ect,wouldn,t have to do it all day but would be a great way to learn...especialy when weather warms up!!

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Yes, thats the sort of thing I was thinking, Trevor. Maybe wait a few weeks until we start to see some life from the spring bulbs and see how many people are interested. It would probably just be a morning or afternoon session to demonstrate the basic principles.

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Hi Jonny

You'd be surprised! Basically p&s compact cameras still have the same adjustments inside them, but the camera has control, not the user. The various settings available on most compact cameras do have an effect though.

Try taking a close up portrait photo of someone using the portrait setting on your camera, and then take the same photo with the camera set to landscape mode. You will find that in the first one the background is blurred, whereas the background is in focus in the second. The camera achieves this by adjusting the aperture for you, just like you would do on an SLR.

The night-time setting can also sometimes be used in the daytime to force the camera to use a slow shutter speed to capture movement in water, for example.

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Mark this was the basic principal behind the very first photography walk. I had never envisaged it being an SLR wielding event full for people shooting RAW and using Lightroom but on the day these were the people that turned up. Only a couple, from memory, were shooting with P&S and both of those had very capable compacts aimed at the more discerning user and had left fully auto mode long ago. Indeed one of them, Pete, won the award for the best photo on the forum.

I would certainly be happy to join such a venture (any excuse, you know me) but don't be surprised if you find that the people who actually turn up are not quite those you expect. With this in mind I created the original guide to getting more from your camera which is now a sticky on this forum. It might be worth referring to again.

viewtopic.php?f=80&t=3389 (probably could use an update by now)

Also, don't expect too much from a compact. They're designed for a slightly different job and most of them will do that well if used within their limitations. My compact is a joy, its metering and AF are almost infallible - none of the SLR's I've used even come close in terms of "right first time". But the manual controls it affords are little more than bragging rights. Yes, using pre-set white balance and pre-determined ISO can improve final image output, plus I've had a load of fun playing with exposure compensation but start playing around with DoF and you'll end up disappointed. Compacts typically use 1/1.8" or even 1/2.5" sensors which are tiny compared to the APS-C sensors in SLRs and the tiny, limited lenses only offer 3 or 4 aperture options which don't translate in any way to those you would use on an SLR. The laws of physics with such lenses and sensors means that in almost all cases the foreground and background will be either perfectly or very nearly in focus which, at a stroke, renders A, S and M modes of limited use. I've even got things like manual focus, AF sensor select, hot shoe flash, spot metering, multi-frame advance, remote shutter release, wireless flash sync etc on my compact. All pointless.

In fact the wireless flash got me into trouble - I was at a friend's wedding a little over a year ago and people were taking pictures during the church service, including me. However, as it turned out, my little compact actually triggered the professional's lighting gantry causing the entire church to be bathed in white light from all directions (including above) and accompanied it with a dull thud each time it fired so I had to stop shooting whilst everyone else carried on.

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Hi Simon

I'll bet the pro wasn't too happy in the church eh? ;)

My thought for the technical ramble was more aimed at those that maybe have just upgraded from a compact to SLR and want to explore more creative photography than simply pointing and shooting. It may well be there aren't many people from the forum like that, in which case such a theme would be a bit of a non-starter, as you say Simon. Having chatted to Bob (Happy Days) on the last one when he was wondering why his autofocus would not work, and explaining about selecting individual focus points, I think it became a little clearer for him. That was really my basis for the idea.

Obviously I'll go with the majority. A couple of people have expressed an interest, and the last couple of wanders we have had have been more about content and composition. I'll go with the majority of course, but I guess we don't really need a reason to get together and take photos, we can just do it for the enjoyment! However, if anyone does want a bit of help I'm happy to oblige :grin:

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He never saw me, Mark, he looked around, confused, and I didn't push my luck. I waited until after the service to come back and take some shots of the flowers etc.

You can definitely count me in any time other than the last week of this month when I'll be away skiing (and wincing at the exchange rate). But like I said, this is pretty much what I had aimed for with the original photo walk but that's not how it turned out on the day.

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