Monday, February 27, 2006
You should have already installed the software provided along with the camera. I have a Pentax OptioS5nDigital Camera. ACDSee software for Pentax is installed in my PC. The software installed by you in your PC should be equally good. However I am giving you the broad guide lines based on ACDSee. The step- by-step approach should be the same for other software also. Go thro’ the PC Connection Manual given to you.
Setting up the USB connection mode of your camera to PC
1.Press the menu button in the camera and have the setting menu displayed in monitor.
2There will be two options for USB connection. One will be for PC and another for PictBridge. Select PC andpress ‘OK’. The setting will stay on. (Need for the option for PictBridge is to enable you to print images directly from the camera without using a PC. i.e. by connecting the camera to a printer that supports PictBridge using the USB cable specific to the camera.)
The camera should not be connected to the PC in PictBridge mode and should not also be connected to the printer in PC mode.
Transferring images to a PC
1.Turn your PC - ‘ON’
2.Keep your camera turned ‘OFF’ and connect it to your PC with USB cable.
3.Turn your camera ‘ON’
4.Device Detector screen appears automatically. Confirm ‘Acquire images from the device’ is checked and click OK.
5.Click ‘Next’ and select the images to be copied. Click ‘Next’
6.Specify name and save destination of the images and click ‘Next’. The images are copied to the PC.
7.Click ‘Finish’ and close the application of software.
Disconnecting the camera from your PC
1.A ’Safely Remove Hardware’ icon in the case of Windows XP or an ‘Unplug or Eject Hardware’ icon in the case of Windows 2000/Me will be there in the task bar. Double click the icon.
2.The ‘Safely Remove Hardware’ screen will appear. Select ‘ USB Mass Storage Device’ and click ‘Stop’.
3.The ‘Stop a Hardware device’ screen will appear. Select ‘USB Mass Storage Device’ and click ‘OK’.
4.A message ‘Safe to Remove Hardware’ appears.
5.Now disconnect the USB cable from the PC and the camera.
Friday, February 24, 2006
The camera has number of modes for operation. Each manufacturer gives a list of modes available with distinct names. Automatic, Landscape, Portrait and Night Scene may be common among them.
To start with it would be ideal to choose the Fully Automatic Mode .By what exact name it is called in your camera is to be identified. It maybe called Green Mode in one camera and Program mode in another.
An User Mode may also be there with default settings for functions such as flash, focus
mode, position of focus, recorded pixels, quality level, white balance, sharpness, saturation contrast, EV compensation, color mode etc; You can change these settings to suit your custom needs for a particular situation. Your settings will be kept in separate memory and when your need is over you can reset for default. You can shift to this mode later.
In the automatic mode, the camera chooses a preset shutter speed-aperture combination corresponding to a particular situation after the main sensor (which acts as the light meter also) measures the available light at the scene. In advanced camera versions, the focal length is also reckoned and a higher shutter speed is chosen to effect image stabilization.
But you have to keep in mind the fact that the choice made by the camera in automatic mode is all right for most of the situations but it may not be all right for each and every situation.
Anyway, for you as a learner getting into the groove, this mode should be the first step.
Learn about Lighting
You get the best outdoor lighting at twilight i.e. at dawn and dusk. Sony’s Cyber-Shot W-Series cameras have a twilight mode and a twilight portrait mode. A desirable warm glow effect is created in the shots taken in twilight. When you are taking photographs in an outdoor setting, you should ensure that the sun is always behind your back and also see that shadows are not affecting the captured images. Always try to capture images away from the sun. Sunlight over powers the colors.
In an indoor setting keep light sources at lower angles. Move the light sources around and compare images captured at different arrangements.
Study the Background and Compose the Image
Study the background around the subject. An electric cable dangling loose on the wall should not appear in your shot as climbing up from the ear of the subject or a window frame should not appear as resting over the shoulder of a subject. The background around the subject should be plain or
homogeneous. Compose the image in the LCD Monitor and ensure that the image you want to be the sharpest is getting into the focus area in the center of the monitor. Position your subjects in the way you want giving them clear directions in order that the shot gets well composed, Ensure that some interesting element fills up at the rear of the subject but not totally distracting.
Move closer to the subject as far as possible to get better results. The aim should be to fill 85 percent of the frame with the subject and only 15 percent of the frame with background content. You can adjust the optical zoom and arrive at a compromised position to capture whatever you have in mind.
If you take a picture beyond the flash range of the camera, the result will be very dark. In most of the digital cameras, the flash range is approximately 0.2m - 3.5m in wide mode and 0.2m - 2.0m in tele mode. So it will be always better to position yourself at a distance of less than 10 feet from the subjects.
Now you keep the camera in automatic mode and hold it at the subject’s eye level. See that the subject or subjects do not stare or squint. Everything is to be candid.
Study and compose the image in the LCD monitor.
Press the shutter release button halfway down to enable the camera to set focus, exposure and white balance.
Press the shutter release button fully. The image appears in the LCD monitor for a second and then gets recorded in the memory card.
Take as many shots as you need of that scene itself at different angles and at different zoom settings.
Turn your camera sideways and take some vertical shots. If the results of any one shot were not all right you can just erase it after analyzing a bit as to what would have gone wrong. Possibility to erase the captured images is a great advantage in digital cameras. Exploit that provision to the fullest extent.
Now, let me share with you a ‘Quote’ that I had read somewhere.
Q: What makes a good photograph - or makes a photograph good?
A: A good photographer.
Sunday, February 19, 2006
I will now list out and detail the digicam accessories, which should be part of the camera package.
Even if the accessories are obtained in a pick and choose manner, none of these accessories should
get missed. I shall also include accessories, which are normally called optional but in fact practically essential and are to be procured along with the package.
The camera specific rechargeable battery pack is an important dedicated accessory. A lithium ion battery pack designed for the camera has longer life and shorter flash charge time.
Battery Charging Stand or Battery Charger
The charging stand with inbuilt charger is specific for the camera and battery together and the charger is just battery specific. Battery pack can be inserted inside the camera, which can then be placed over the charging stand to get charged. If you get a charger alone, you have to remove the battery pack from the camera every time you want to charge it and fix it in the charger.
The charging stand may have another slot to fix a spare battery and charge it simultaneously while the
battery loaded in the camera is getting charged.
If you have got to choose between the two, you should choose the charging stand for the additional benefits it offers.
Memory card gets into the memory slot of the camera and allows you to increase the number of captured images stored. The amount of increase is only limited by the size of the card. A ‘starter’
memory card of 64 MB size is sufficient now for a beginner like you. If the camera dealer wants to dump on you a 512 MB card with a heavy price tag by narrating in detail about its great virtues, say
firmly ‘No, Not now’.
On gaining experience and confidence after sometime, you will yourself know at some stage the size of additional card or cards you want based on the needs that have developed and the line of activity to which you get engaged. It may be 128MB, 256MB, 512MB or even 1GB (if your camera permits). By browsing the website of the camera manufacturer you may have to find out the highest capacity or size of the memory card, the specific version of the camera is designed to permit.
Software CD with User Guide
The camera specific software is to be installed in your PC to acquire the images stored in your camera and to edit them with automatic correction of exposure and also the red glare that appears in the eyes of the subject of exposure and then the adjustment of brightness and contrast of the image to a level of fine refinement. Number of tools to create various other effects will also be there.
USB Cable with PC Connection Manual
This cable is used to connect the camera to the USB port of the PC.With the computer ‘ON’ and the camera turned ‘OFF’ one end of the cable is connected to the USB port and the other end to the PC/AV terminal of the camera. The camera is then only turned ‘ON’ for transferring images to the PC.
Disconnecting the camera hardware from the PC is to be done carefully following a procedure specific to the operating system of your PC. Only when the message appears that it is safe now to remove the hardware, the USB cable is to be disconnected from the PC and the camera. The procedure can be seen in the manual.
You may have to check whether this distinct cable is included in the package. Inadvertently or otherwise an AV cable (which is an optional accessory) might have been included in its place by the dealer.
Operation Manual for the Camera
This is virtually the Bible for the camera. You have to read this again and again before you start your first venture. All information needed by you would be available here but the presentation may not be orderly. You may have to highlight important points and jot down Do’s and Don’ts separately if necessary. After understanding essentials, you can insert the battery first and charge it full. Then you can insert the memory card and format it. Now the camera will be ready for the first capture of image!
You know the battery gets drained when the images are transferred to the PC.If you happen to use a large size memory card the drain will be heavy. If the level of charge is also low at that time, such heavy drain will cause an error to develop in the memory card. When you switch ‘ON’ the camera
subsequently, the message ‘Memory Card Error’ will flash on the LCD monitor screen and the camera will not function. You will have to throw out the memory card. Such problem may not occur if the card size is only 64MB and if the charge level is fairly high.
These problems are totally eliminated if you use an AC Adapter that converts power from AC mains and leaves the battery free. If your camera has a lithium ion battery pack it need not also be removed from the camera when the adapter is put to use.
Adapter is also very much necessary when you are taking short movies with the Digicam.
The adapter is to be procured along with the camera or with an assurance from the dealer that it would be procured and supplied at an early date.
The strap should be attached to the camera. If you allow the loop of the strap to wrap around your wrist it will be a safe guard to prevent accidental slip and falling down of the camera. However wrapping the strap of the camera around the neck is dangerous.
Camera case saves your camera from unnecessary wear and tear. Choose a weatherproof camera case with separate zippered packets for spare battery and spare memory card.
This is an optional accessory, which is used to view captured images on a TV. Keeping both the camera and TV turned off, one end of this cable is connected to the PC/AV terminal of the camera and the other end to the image input terminal and the sound input terminal on the TV after opening the terminal cover. This can also be procured along with the package.
Now you can go ahead to shop around with your choice!
Next: Image Capture with Digital Camera