Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Getting to grips with it

I bought my new camera when we went to visit Cartagena in early June. I’ve used it a lot since then and even bought an external flash and a telephoto zoom lens to use with it.

It is only now though that I am getting used to it and finding the best ways to get the photos I want. Like all digital cameras it has a fully auto mode where you just point the camera and shoot. With my Olympus I used to use that mode for most of my pictures because it was the easiest way to use that camera.

With my new Canon the manual settings are much easier to achieve than they were with the Olympus so I am using them a lot more. For example you can easily select which of the five focus points are going to be used for auto focus. Choosing the right points ensures that what you want to be the main subject is rendered sharp. On the Olympus you could choose spot or average focussing with or without assistance. The process required a lot more button pressing so I tended to forget to do it.

The simplest way to use the external flashgun is to set it and the camera to auto. The camera sets itself to 1/60th second shutter speed and the widest aperture of the lens. That gives the flash the longest possible range but doesn’t necessarily give the results I want. Like all lenses, mine work best at the mid range of apertures so even for normal flash it is best to set the aperture manually. For fill in flash where the flash is used to lighten part of a daylight photo setting the aperture manually is essential. Fortunately setting the camera manually is very easy to do. Set the camera to aperture priority and then once the flash is attached, the camera selects the right shutter speed to use. The flash then sorts itself out according to the chosen aperture. For fill in flash I can therefore choose the right aperture to balance the flash and daylight exposures.

The biggest improvements over the Olympus though are the speed at which the camera works and the lack of digital noise in pictures taken at higher film speed ratings. Auto focus on the Olympus could be very slow on pictures with limited contrast especially in low light. The Olympus also produced pictures with distinct digital noise at 400ASA. The Canon focuses very quickly and is still useable at 1600ASA.

There are a lot more features that I haven’t delved into yet. Using these features might take me longer to get my photos but it should be worth it. Hopefully when I have mastered the camera you will see the improvements in the pictures that I post.

No comments: