Sony A-100 Shortcuts...../\/\/\/\/???

Discussion in 'Sony' started by infiniteMPG, Jul 10, 2008.

  1. infiniteMPG

    infiniteMPG Guest

    I have a Sony A-100 with a Tamron AF 18-250/3.5-6.3 DI II Macro Lens
    and I like the camera and have been trying to learn this as much as I
    can. I am at the point where I like the manual setting to control the
    f-stop and shutter speed to control the image more then using all the
    automatic settings. The majority of use I have with this is nature
    pictures but the problem I have is the rapidly changing light
    conditions. I can go from a very bright setting to a very dim setting
    in a matter of seconds and trying to recalibrate the aperature and
    shutter speed and ISO settings and all that is time consuming. And
    sometimes with wildlife I don't have the luxury of trying a setting,
    seeing how it looks, trying something a little different, check that,
    then after a few attempts and the light set best, aim at the critter
    and shoot. Usually I am lucky if I have time to pop the lens cap off.

    My question is, how to best get the best use out of this camera in
    these conditions? I moved to the A-100 from a Konica Minolta Z3 and I
    loved the quick response I got out of that camera. 10X optical zoom
    and super-macro settings that gave me a focal distance down to about
    1/2". And the big thing was seeing thru the viewfinder what the
    picture was basically going to look like and the ability to tweak
    things and then shoot and get decent results. I seem to spend so much
    time fiddling with all the settings on the A-100 and then getting
    disappointing results, I often question if this is the camera I should
    be using.

    I also resist taking it in the kayak with me as I am concerned of salt
    spray or moisture getting in to it and it's bulk is hard to haul along
    on 20 mile hikes in the heat. I like the feel and the action of the
    A-100 and I am hoping I am just needed to get more familiar with it.
    I purchased the PDF version of The Complete Guide to Sony's A-100 by
    Gary Friedman and that has been a blessing but I still can't seem to
    get the hang of things. I am an old 35mm (former Minolta STR-201 and
    Maxxum 9000) user and wanted this camera (actually I wanted a Minolta
    7D but by the time I managed to work out buying one it was off the
    market and replaced with the A-100).

    Any hints on how to grasp this camera and get a more comfortable feel
    with using it?
    Thanks!
     
    infiniteMPG, Jul 10, 2008
    #1
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  2. infiniteMPG

    me Guest

    First, leave the lens cap off when carrying it. Use a UV filter and/or lens
    hood to protect the lens. Next, does the camera have an autoiso feature? If
    so try using aperture priority mode with autoiso set to control a minimum
    shutter speed.
     
    me, Jul 10, 2008
    #2
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  3. For wildlife, using matrix metering and setting -1 exposure for all
    conditions where the subject is against woods, grass, or other dark
    backgrounds is safe - and shooting RAW is essential. I suggest using ISO
    400 and no faster with the A100 for maximum detail in fur and feathers,
    it will beat the Z-series easily. Using manual will be pretty slow when
    shooting your type of subject.

    Avoid the temptation to use spot metering and auto - I did a couple of
    hours in this mode with the A700 + 70-300mm SSM lens, and found the
    response was pretty wild depending on animal subject colour and
    lighting. Centre weighted or matrix, plus some intelligently preset
    over-ride and raw file shooting to allow post process correction, will
    deliver the goods.

    David
     
    David Kilpatrick, Jul 11, 2008
    #3
  4. infiniteMPG wrote:
    []
    Maybe you bought the wrong camera? If you were happy with the results
    from the Z3, why change? What was wrong with your results before?

    OK, that's the Devil's Advocate part over! Use your DSLR in P mode to
    start with - stop fussing with manual settings! Learn where P-mode
    doesn't work well, and learn how to compensate quickly. For example, I
    have my camera permanently set to -1/3 stop exposure, as hat gives me best
    results. If a subject is unusually light or dark I simply expose on a
    nearby "18% grey" area or if I can't do that, I alter the amount of
    exposure compensation. Anything other than using manual!

    I also have a compact camera - the Panasonic TZ3 - and when the occasion
    arises (such as the kayak you mentioned) I take the smaller and lighter
    camera, and accept that getting some images is better than getting none at
    all, even if the quality is not as good. If you still have the Z3,
    consider it as a complement to the DSLR, and not as the DSLR completely
    replacing the compact. They both have their place, so take advantage of
    both!

    Cheers,
    David
     
    David J Taylor, Jul 11, 2008
    #4
  5. ....

    Going from a very bright setting to a very dim setting in seconds will be
    a problem whatever camera you're using, if you're manually setting both
    aperture and speed. If you simply preset the aperture as many people do
    so as to control the DOF, and let the camera decide the speed, then that
    should be less problematic. If you're trying to capture fast moving
    subjects however which need a faster speed then you'll need to set a wider
    aperture regardless of the resulting DOF in any case.


    ....
    ....

    Leave the lens cap off and settle for the UV filter for starters.

    ....
    ....

    If you're shooting outdoors there should be very few settings to worry
    about which can't be decided well beforehand - things such as white balance,
    ISO, appropriate aperture for the conditions etc. etc.

    The biggest problem many people seem to experience when changing
    to DSLR's is focussing, either back-focussing or front-focussuing
    problems when using auto focus - or limitations with the focusing screen
    in some models as compared to film SLR's, when it comes to manual focus.

    ....


    A weatherproof superzoom bridge camera (if there is such a thing) would probably
    be a better bet, providing some quite passable wildlife and scenery shots
    providing you don't blow them up too much. (You'll maybe need to blow them
    up to convince yourself that the extra spent on the DSLR was money well spent.



    Like everything designed for actual use - rather than simply for appearance
    the longer you use the camera, the sooner you'll get used to all its little
    quirks. Humans are infinitely adaptable - basically just keep at it.

    If you read the relevant newsgroups and forums you'll find many cases of people
    new to digital or more commonly DSLR's convinced there's something wrong
    with their particular model of camera - more especially as compared with
    what they'd used before. When there's not. The real problem is that almost any
    DSLR is capable of far much more adjustment than was possible before. And so there
    are far more things that can go wrong because the default settings can't cope with
    every possible situation (outside of the automatic modes ). Details which users will
    need to learn about. However once they have finally mastered all the details
    then they should then be able to appreciate what the camera is capable of.
    Same with all the camera reviews and comparative tests. IMO 90% of the results
    you can get from any camera - however highly or lowly it's rated - is down to
    the person behind the viewfinder.

    The difference from film is that with digital you can afford to learn from
    your mistakes. And maybe the hardest part is developing the discipline to
    immediately delete the majority of the stuff you take. IMO, life is simply to
    short to wade through hundreds of photos on a daily or weekly basis, post
    processing, archiving , and sorting them into folders etc etc.

    I don't care who it is, even the likes of Alfred Steiglitz would have probably
    been hard pushed to take 5 photographs every day which were definitely worth
    saving for posterity.


    michael adams

    ....
     
    michael adams, Jul 11, 2008
    #5
  6. infiniteMPG

    infiniteMPG Guest

    First, leave the lens cap off when carrying it. Use a UV filter and/or lens hood to protect the lens.

    I have a UV filter on it and also leave the hood on but I have found
    using the build in flash, the hood blocks some of the flash from the
    subject. I can pop it off for those situations.

    I have used that but the pictures seem to get washed out. Should I be
    using RAW, RAW + JPEG or JPEG? I like the DRO+ feature but that only
    works in JPEG mode.

    Thanks!!!
     
    infiniteMPG, Jul 14, 2008
    #6
  7. infiniteMPG

    infiniteMPG Guest

    For wildlife, using matrix metering and setting -1 exposure for all conditions where the subject is against woods, grass, or other dark backgrounds is safe

    I am assuming you mean multi-segment metering where it looks at many
    areas of the image to determine the metering. I have been using spot
    metering, I need to play with this.

    Another tip I need to play with as I have been trying to use ISO 100
    or 200, which has been limiting my shutter speeds (and blurring my
    subjects).

    I agree with that :O)
    I think that's been a big part of my problem. As I move the main
    subject slightly my exposure goes all over the place.

    What app do you recommend for post processing?

    Thanks!!!
     
    infiniteMPG, Jul 14, 2008
    #7
  8. infiniteMPG

    infiniteMPG Guest

    Maybe you bought the wrong camera?  If you were happy with the results from the Z3, why change?  What was wrong with your results before? OK, that's the Devil's Advocate part over!  

    Devil's advocate position accepted :O) I questioned that, too, but
    always felt very limited in the results from the Z3, always felt a
    little boxed in. Coming from the 35mm world I wanted a little more
    flexibility and honestly, I like the feel of that size camera. I like
    the optics to do more of the work then the computer. I was happy for
    years with my STR-201 where the only thing electronic was the stick
    and lolly pop light meter and got some award winners with that. Had a
    nice compliment of lenses that I thought I could use with the DSLR but
    found afterwards that pre-digital lenses don't give very good
    results. Devil's target over! :O)
    Can you expand on that some more, in a kind of "Stop Exposure for
    Dummies" kind of way :O)

    Sounds good if I can master the stop settings.
    all, even if the quality is not as good.  If you still have the Z3,
    consider it as a complement to the DSLR, and not as the DSLR
    completely replacing the compact.  They both have their place, so take
    advantage of both!

    So far I do but with the Z3 being held together with JB Weld and cut
    pieces of bike inner tube I think I need to think of a better compact
    camera.

    Thanks for the help!!!!
     
    infiniteMPG, Jul 14, 2008
    #8
  9. infiniteMPG

    infiniteMPG Guest

    Going from a very bright setting to a very dim setting in seconds will be a problem whatever camera you're using, if you're manually setting both aperture and speed. If you simply preset the aperture as many people do so as to control the DOF, and let the camera decide the speed, then that should be less problematic.

    Very good idea! More time needed to play!

    Do you think using the presets (sports, portrait, etc) are every worth
    it?
    Consider it done!
    I think I have been restricting myself too much trying to use ISO 100
    most of the time.
    I agree, focusing is a big thing and that's what puts my bad shots in
    the recycling bin most of the time. The lens seems to do good a lot
    but sometimes it hunts and hunts to focus and the focusing motor can
    scare the wildlife.
    Seem good cases from EWA but the case ends up being as much as the
    camera :O/
    Planning on it and all the help, helps...
    http://www.infinitempg.com/pix <---- Z3 work comparing this to.
    I agree. Just tried to shoot some family portraits for a co-worker
    with an ailing dog and having he, his wife, his 6 year old, his 11
    month old, and his dog all together, I found that trying to get five
    subjects all to have a good pose and expression at the same time is
    almost impossible. Maybe if I had another 2Gb card I could of gotten
    three good shots :O)

    Thanks!
     
    infiniteMPG, Jul 14, 2008
    #9
  10. I use Adobe Camera Raw or Lightroom for raw conversion as they offer the
    greatest highlight recovery and dynamic range, but not the best colour.
    They are also very fast. After that, Photoshop CS3.

    I am just trying out the new version of DxO Optics Pro and it seems
    impressive especially for high ISO, but very slow indeed.

    David

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    David Kilpatrick, Jul 14, 2008
    #10
  11. whatever camera you're using, if you're manually setting both aperture and speed. If you
    simply preset the aperture as many people do so as to control the DOF, and let the camera
    decide the speed, then that should be less problematic.
    then you'll need to set a wider aperture regardless of the resulting DOF in any case.
    I'm lucky to live within an hour's travelling time of the British Museum and
    so I do a lot of photography in there. Mainly smaller objects, cunieform tablets,
    boxwood carvings, Greek vases etc, all of which are behind glass. Almost a new
    category with every visit in fact. Digital photography has really revolutionised
    museum photography as it allows you to "take the museum home with you", to study
    objects at your leisure at whatever magnification you choose. And in much
    greater detail than is possible in the actual museum. The thought of being
    restricted to 36 or 72 shots per visit as before, or having to pore over the
    resulting prints with a magnifying glass to see the detail, really doesn't
    bear thinking about.

    The only time I ever tried any presets for anything was the "museum mode". This selects
    a large aperture, sets the white balance to tungsten and a high ISO as it assumes the
    museum won't allow flash. As it happens the BM will allow flash (but not tripods).
    However unless you're right up against the glass - or use off camera flash it's no
    use as all you get is the reflection of the flash. But the lighting is good enough
    not to need it in any case, more especially with image stabilisation to compensate
    somewhat for the necessarily slower shutter speeds. However a large aperture also means
    very restricted DOF at close distances - o.k for cuneiform tablets, coins and medals etc.
    But not for vases in the round, when you want to capture as much detail as possible. The
    museum mode would be o.k for statues and other large objects photographed from greater
    distances however, I've no doubt.


    michael adams

    ....
     
    michael adams, Jul 15, 2008
    #11
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