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first digital Canon A720 is
Hi,.

Maybe I shouldn't be posting this under "beginners", as I am very familiar with photography but very much not with digital. Anyway, I'm confused. I know film photography. I shoot large format with a hand held meter, did it as a pro for years ending about 2 decades ago, and have taught photography at the college level. After much research I picked this camera as my intro into (sigh!) digital. Playing around with it I liked it a lot largely because like all "A" series it had a lot of manual control, and like all the newest cameras it had "IS".

Even shots of a lawn with fallen leaves, which is pretty close to 15% reflectance. In "M' I am fine. Perhaps it is just that the newer cameras try to make everything look like daylight and there are "modes" I should be choosing, or; and here are the two questions,... Is there something obvious about digital or point and shoots that I might be missing?, or is there something inherently wonky about the metering in this camera? I am awaiting reviews. Maybe I'm just a dinosaur with too much knowledge..

Comments (7)

Hello. About the overexposure. Most digital cameras use reflective metering, and usually overcompensate for bright/dark scenes. In these situations you would bump EC up or down to compensate. Do you know how to read histograms? I would meter the shot, and then take the best of the bunch from there. Also, put your camera in "neutral" picture style.

These two traits also help in reading histograms (less blown/clipped areas from less contrast) and post processing. The DSLR picture styles for standard and neutral are like day and night though, on the "A" series they're very restrained. The metering for the "A" is very basic, but whenever you half click, you can see where it's looking for exposure. You can use the evaluative metering as a big, self adjusting spot if you change the AF mode to flexizone, then move the frame around, or you can just use spot metering and click the * button to lock the exposure. If I can think of anything more, I'll post it.

I've only used disposable cameras and cameras which resemble disposables except you can change the film, and I barely used those. I think any switch is tough..

Don't touch any non-creative modes. They'll limit your creativity a lot, and are for people who don't know even the basics of photography...

Comment #1

Use exposure compensation. Unfortunately A720 has no live histogram. Usually if some sky is involved you got underexposed shadows. The centerweighted metering is a little better but from experience you'll find out what compensation to use either way.Or you can try spot metering with positive compensation (+1.33 or +1.67EV).VictorBucuresti, Romaniahttp://s106.photobucket.com/albums/m268/victor_petcu/..

Comment #2

Interesting on a few fronts. Yes, I know how to use exposure compensation. I can shoot in manual as quickly as in the various automatic modes. I understand exposure. I shoot 4x5 film and have taught photography..

This camera (as I guess is common to all the "A" series), tends to "blow out" highlights. I went to your link and noted that the skies were much the same. ie. skies with no detail at all, basically just grey/white. Perhaps I expect too much from digital, and from such a simple little camera..

Interesting also that you have a series from Heidelberg. In the late 60's I lived in Germany (as a child, Dad was in the Canadian army-It was the cold war), and would often go there, so I know the area. Nice memories from your photos...

Comment #3

Commando1854 wrote:.

Interesting on a few fronts. Yes, I know how to use exposurecompensation. I can shoot in manual as quickly as in the variousautomatic modes. I understand exposure. I shoot 4x5 film and havetaught photography.This camera (as I guess is common to all the "A" series), tends to"blow out" highlights. I went to your link and noted that the skieswere much the same.

Skies with no detail at all, basically justgrey/white. Perhaps I expect too much from digital, and from such asimple little camera.Interesting also that you have a series from Heidelberg. In the late60's I lived in Germany (as a child, Dad was in the Canadian army-Itwas the cold war), and would often go there, so I know the area.Nice memories from your photos..

Digital sensors have a limited dynamic range (less than the film) and blow very quickly the highlights (best dSLRs have about 3 stops while small sensor cameras 1.67 or 1.5 stops). That's why the sky that usually is 1/1000 s, f/4 (at ISO80) is blown if the picture needs 1/250 s, f/4.JPEG has maximum 4 stops. If you shoot RAW you can squeeze more in the JPEG.Here is an example:JPEG from the camera (Canon A610).

Image control:Zoom outZoom 100%Zoom inExpand AllOpen in new window.

JPEG obtained from the RAW (10 bit).

Image control:Zoom outZoom 100%Zoom inExpand AllOpen in new window.

My company is near Heidelberg in Schwetzingen. It is quite near the NATO village. From time to time I go to the headquarters ans spend some months there.VictorBucuresti, Romaniahttp://s106.photobucket.com/albums/m268/victor_petcu/..

Comment #4

Thanks Victor..

Unfortunately I didnt see much difference between the JPEG and the RAW image. Anyway, as I understand it, the A720is doesn't support RAW, just a version or JPEG..

Odd that the histogram doesn't show clipping when it is seriously clipping highlights..

My girlfriend had a now cheap HP R607 which had nowhere near the capabilities of the canon but it didn't seem to clip so much of the highlights..

Guess I still have a lot to learn. As someone new to digital, here is a possibly stupid question; is there sometimes a software fix for such problems?..

Comment #5

Commando1854 wrote:.

Guess I still have a lot to learn. As someone new to digital, hereis a possibly stupid question; is there sometimes a software fix forsuch problems?.

People often underexpose their digital photos to avoid clipping and then use software on the computer to adjust the slightly too dark photos without blowing out the highlights..

It sounds to me like you are doing a good job in your adventures with digital. If you can get results you want with Manual then I'd say you're in great shape..

When you go to automatic you are basically letting the computer in the camera do the work. As you are finding out it's not the smartest thing in the world. What you end up having to do is get a feeling for how the computer in the camera "thinks" or reacts to different scenes and different light. The best you can hope for here is that the camera will make consistent decisions. Then you use a few tricks: prefocusing (which also sets the exposure values), perhaps different metering modes, and the ev adjustment to nudge the computer-in-the-camera towards the results you want..

Note that highlight clipping and overexposed dark scenes are common on many digital cameras. I don't think yours is particularly bad as far as these things go...

Comment #6

You can see the shadows (the tree green leaves) are almost black in JPEG and are with the proper colors in JPEG from RAW. The same goes for the sky (not in that case though)..

Most digital cameras have problems with highlight clipping and underexposed shadows. You have to use quite often the exposure compensation because the camera light meter thinks that black cat and white cat are both gray cats.VictorBucuresti, Romaniahttp://s106.photobucket.com/albums/m268/victor_petcu/..

Comment #7

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This question was taken from a support group/message board and re-posted here so others can learn from it.

 

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