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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Seattle
    Posts
    5

    Clueless in Seattle

    Hi - I'm Jess

    While I've been taking pictures for a long time, I'm just now getting into photography. Yesterday I received a shiny new Sony A100 DSLR in lieu of an engagement ring, and I have literally no idea how to use it, although I am learning quickly.

    I've been perusing this forum, but I'm wondering if a fellow A100 owner would mind pointing me in the direction of a few resources they have found helpful. Here's what I'm after:

    I have the booklet that came with the camera, but I think I need to back up a few steps and learn what some [most] of these terms actually mean. Can you recommend a good "for dummies" book or a tutorial site? My major malfunction currently is that I can't seem to find out how to even view through the LCD rather than the viewfinder - ARG!

    I also am looking for a general tutorial site on photography - a good one, where people discuss what lighting, angles, lenses, etc were used to accomplish certain looks feels. Any suggestions?

    I appreciate any advice you all might have - I'll keep browsing this in the meantime.

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Des Plaines, IL
    Posts
    9,554
    Well ... first off... almost all DSLR cameras cannot "preview" shots with the LCD (there are now a couple of exceptions, but it is still very uncommon). The viewfinder (or through-the-lens view) is all you have.

    Name:  Slr-cross-section.JPG
Views: 164
Size:  14.9 KB

    This crossection of how an SLR works may be of some use to you.
    1. Image comes in through the lens.
    2. Hinged mirror
    3. Shutter
    4. Sensor
    5. Mirror in "up" position, during shutter release
    6. Imaging Grid
    7. Pentaprism
    8. Viewfinder


    So, you are not doing anything wrong ... other than expecting your new DSLR to act like a P&S (Point & Shoot). All the time you are focusing and ranging, the image is being reflected to the viewfinder. The only time the camera ever sees the image, is when you press the shutter release and capture the image. It is then immediately processed by the camera's buffer and sent to the memory card and the LCD panel.

    Other than this small fact of operation, I have nothing I can contribute to improve your use of the camera.

    Good luck.

    BTW: Read through some of the forum material, someone will assist you, you are in the right place. I invite you to read first, though ... and then ask ... it'll save some time, as many questions have already been addressed here.
    Last edited by DonSchap; 04-20-2007 at 02:54 PM.
    Don Schap - BFA, Digital Photography
    A Photographer Is Forever
    Look, I did not create the optical laws of the Universe ... I simply learned to deal with them.
    Remember: It is usually the GLASS, not the camera (except for moving to Full Frame), that gives you the most improvement in your photography.

    flickr & Sdi

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Seattle
    Posts
    5
    Thanks, I appreciate that. The booklet alludes to using the LCD, but doesn't actually speak much about it - good to know I'm not as dumb as I look

    I'll keep reading, thanks!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Des Plaines, IL
    Posts
    9,554

    Post a self-portrait

    You've got this new toy, pop a self portrait and post it here.

    Here's one of mine to start ...

    Name:  DSLR-user.jpg
Views: 174
Size:  32.9 KB

    Good luck, once again
    Don Schap - BFA, Digital Photography
    A Photographer Is Forever
    Look, I did not create the optical laws of the Universe ... I simply learned to deal with them.
    Remember: It is usually the GLASS, not the camera (except for moving to Full Frame), that gives you the most improvement in your photography.

    flickr & Sdi

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Seattle
    Posts
    5
    Thanks for the diagram and description, much appreciated

    First attempt at self-portrait:



    I also posted a few of the better photos that I took today, if you'd like to take a look.

    Constructive criticism much appreciated!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Des Plaines, IL
    Posts
    9,554

    Lightbulb White Balance

    Quote Originally Posted by OneArmedBandit View Post
    Thanks for the diagram and description, much appreciated

    First attempt at self-portrait:



    I also posted a few of the better photos that I took today, if you'd like to take a look.

    Constructive criticism much appreciated!
    Your image seems a trifle "warm" ... and this could be due to AWB (Automatic White Balance). If you using the "AUTO-Mode" (Green Bar) on the A100, this setting automatic. If you use any of the other Mode (P, A, S, M, you control this setting yourself.)

    Half the fun of having a DSLR is your control of all it's functions to improve your results. Call it, "Your level of creativity."

    On the "Function Dial" (As you look at the rear of the A100, on top ... the left one), select "WB" and press the center button. Looking at the LCD .... ramp the setting down to "3200" and press the "AF" button in the circle of the dirction circle (just to the right of the LCD). That locks in an adjustment for use of "tunsten" lighten (normal incandescent bulbs)

    Re-take your Self-portrait, one more time, and check it's color against the prior shot. It should look a tad "cooler" and not so ... yellow. If there is no change ... well, humor me here and try it. I'd like to see.

    Now, if you run back outside, you will need to set this WB-setting back to "5500", which it the setting for Daylight or FLASH/Photo Strobe. It is important to keep an eye on this, if your go back and forth between MANUAL (P, A, S, M-Modes) settings, as it will stay at whatever setting you put in, until you reset it and can cause a color cast to your images. In other words, if the camera is set to "3200" (Indoor lighting) and you using manual controls (P-Mode, A-Mode, S-Mode, M-Mode) and you shoot outdoors or with a flash, your images will have a blue cast to them. If you have the camera set to "5500" (Daylight or Flash/Strobe), your images will have a warm yellow tone to them.

    If you shoot under fluorescent lighting, you will need to adjust it for that, also. (See the operating manual for further use of WB controls and setting. It's definitely worth a quick read.)

    "AWB" (Automatic White Balance) works most of the time, but I usually examine my lighting and set to the the appropriate level, before I start popping shots off. That way, I know what to expect and don't waste time reshooting. AWB can be tricked, occasionally.

    Remember: Your bright whites need to look WHITE. If they have a color cast (blue or yellow) to them, you can touch that up in post-processing software, such as Adobe Photoshop Elements or try to correct it BEFORE that step by having the appropriate WB-setting already plugged in.

    In your image ... the letter's "SONY" across the top center of your camera are the whitest white in the image. I used that set of pixels to color correct on in the following image:

    Name:  one-armed-bandit-cc.jpg
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    According to Adobe ... this is the true color in the room. Check out that "SONY" logo on the camera.

    So go ahead ... give it a try and see if it improves the color.
    Last edited by DonSchap; 04-21-2007 at 12:20 PM.
    Don Schap - BFA, Digital Photography
    A Photographer Is Forever
    Look, I did not create the optical laws of the Universe ... I simply learned to deal with them.
    Remember: It is usually the GLASS, not the camera (except for moving to Full Frame), that gives you the most improvement in your photography.

    flickr & Sdi

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Seattle
    Posts
    5
    thanks for taking the time to write that out - i'll try, and repost later on today.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Des Plaines, IL
    Posts
    9,554

    Exclamation I added a change, recently

    Please review the prior post, as I modified it.

    Good luck
    Don Schap - BFA, Digital Photography
    A Photographer Is Forever
    Look, I did not create the optical laws of the Universe ... I simply learned to deal with them.
    Remember: It is usually the GLASS, not the camera (except for moving to Full Frame), that gives you the most improvement in your photography.

    flickr & Sdi

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Seattle
    Posts
    5
    yes, i can see the difference after you color corrected it.

    thanks again!

    i'll try your suggestions in a bit - cross your fingers for me

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Des Plaines, IL
    Posts
    9,554

    Cool Live and learn ...

    Hey ... it's a learning curve. The equipment has nuances that you need to be aware of in order to make adjustments for ... going forward. I like to do a series of tests with my images ... that allow me to inspect color changes and see if there is something in my source lighting or filtering that may need adjustment.

    Once again, a lot of corrections can be done in post-processing, except each correction takes TIME. "Time" is the one currency we have a finite supply, so if I can find and neutralize a problem before I go through a big shoot ... then I have saved some serious time.

    Have fun taking your shots ... inspect them for problem areas, when you can and make the necessary adjustments. It's not like you are going to run out of film.

    Also inspect your the properties or EXIF data, especially if you are using AUTO alot. This will help you understand what the camera is doing to solve the light issues it sees. It does a "general job" of this ... and there will be times where its choices simply will not produce a usable image, either due to the limited light source or the movement of the subject. You need to understand the relationships between APERTURE, SHUTTER-SPEED & ISO to help you arrive at a solution to get your desired image.

    Again, good luck ... I digress
    Last edited by DonSchap; 04-21-2007 at 03:01 PM.
    Don Schap - BFA, Digital Photography
    A Photographer Is Forever
    Look, I did not create the optical laws of the Universe ... I simply learned to deal with them.
    Remember: It is usually the GLASS, not the camera (except for moving to Full Frame), that gives you the most improvement in your photography.

    flickr & Sdi

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