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Chuza

Trying to take better photos

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I have a Canon Powershot A40 camera and have played with it some what and still can not get clear pictures of minis. Currently I have been using it in manual mode with an exposure of 1/1000 and the photos are not so good.

 

As can be seen here

 

Any suggestions?

 

Thanks

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The first thing I noticed from the example is that the focus doesn't seem sharp to me. I don't know the capabilities of that camera, but it is possible the pictures were taken too close for proper focusing.

 

1/1000 seems like a really fast shutter speed to me. Most of my pictures are at f16 or f22 with exposure times around 1/8 to 1/15 of a second. Using a high ISO speed setting on the camera will give a shorter exposure at the cost of digital noise in the final picture.

 

Do you use a tripod and do you use the self-timer? These can both cut down on vibrations and make the pictures sharper.

 

hope that helps.

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For a shutter speed of 1/1000th of a second, you're probably dealing with a very low f number, like maybe f2.5 or so. The lower the f-number, the smaller your depth of field.

 

Having a tripod would certainly beneficial. Also, if your camera has a macro mode, use it. That way, you can get much closer to your mini. Don't use a flash if you can help it. It's best to use two or more lights very close to the mini to help illuminate it.

 

I have an article on depth-of-field and aperture size on my website in the "Tips & Tricks" section.

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I tried what you said Eastman and got basically a field of white ::(:

 

I do not have a tripod but can use something for that purpose.

 

I'll take a look at your site Flynn.

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In very close photos such as ones taken in macro-mode, the focus field is so shallow that even a slight movement of the camera can cause blurring. Even the action of pushing the shutter button could be causing a problem.

 

If your camera has either a photo timer or a remote shutter button, try using them.

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It's possible that your camera settings are not what you think. According to the EXIF info accompanying you image it was shot at 1/60 sec and F4.5 using undefined flash. Even with flash 1/60th at 4.5 in macro will allow blurring. These little gems have so many defaults that it's easy to have incorrect settings.

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OK, went & looked at the pics.

 

1. get a tripod - cheap tabletop models are available for digi cams for less than the price of a warlord.

 

2. Get some swing arm lamps (3 preferably), some halogen or reveal bulbs to go with them. too. and lose the flash. This may cost a bit, but will be much cheaper than true photo flood bulbs that have a life in 10's of hours.

 

3. Read the manual. Learn how to set the timer as long as possible. 1/8 or 1/16 second or so - this will increase your depth of field. Learn where the macro function is and what it changes.

 

4. Go to the mall and find the portrait guy. Look at the way the lights are set and recreate that in miniature. 2 lamps near the camera - slightly above and pointed at the subject. optional 3rd lamp over the subject pointed at the background to eliminate any shadows.

 

5 use a neutral grey background or a blue/white fade (here)

 

6. check out some other mini photo sites (this, or here

 

7. Finally, get some decent photo software: Photoshop (very $$$$), MS Picture-It (not so $$), or GIMP (free, but not as easy) and learn to crop and adjust brightness.

 

Yes, there is almost as much (some say more) to taking pics of the minis as there is to painting the things. I am still yet to master either art.

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It's possible that your camera settings are not what you think. According to the EXIF info accompanying you image it was shot at 1/60 sec and F4.5 using undefined flash. Even with flash 1/60th at 4.5 in macro will allow blurring. These little gems have so many defaults that it's easy to have incorrect settings.

I am curious. How do you get this information about image files? I tried clicking "properties" and all that told me was URL, filesize, filetype, date and soforth.

 

Are you a cyberpsychic, or is this yet another thing I can't do cuz I was a dingbat and bought Windows XP Home Edition?

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I'll echo the need for good lighting. That Canon you're talking about doesn't do particularly well in low light settings, resulting in that graininess. Better light on your subject can also help with focus, too.

 

kit

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I am curious. How do you get this information about image files? I tried clicking "properties" and all that told me was URL, filesize, filetype, date and soforth.

 

Are you a cyberpsychic, or is this yet another thing I can't do cuz I was a dingbat and bought Windows XP Home Edition?

If you save the image on your local disk, and then use a program to open it which reads the EXIF info, you'll find it there.

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Can Adobe Photoshop read EXIF info? I noodled around with my various photo-viewing software, but with no luck so far.

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It doesn't seem to be able to.

 

Fuji FinePix Viewer can, as can the Pentax software I have.

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Found this EXIF viewer with Google. It's free. May be worth what you par for it, at least. :;):

 

Photoshop 7 honors EXIF information. You can view it using the file info command (though I'm not in front of my Photoshop right now, so I can't be 100% about this).

 

kit

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Thanks Kit. I only have Photoshop 5 LE. And now that I've grokked the gimp, I haven't used Photoshop in a while.

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Can Adobe Photoshop read EXIF info? I noodled around with my various photo-viewing software, but with no luck so far.

Yes. In PhotoShop (PS7/CS) -File-FileInfo-Exif. Not all imported images will have file info. It depends on the camera/image editing software used. I have to use file info alot to enter the data required by image agencies, copyright etc so i automatically look there for image specs.

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