• 03-05-2004, 10:52 AM
    lori
    35mm A/F or Digital - HELP ME, PLEASE
    I have a P&S Ricoh Shotmaster 130 that I am very disappointed in - the background is usually more in focus than the subject matter and the flash washes out the color...I don't know if I "shake" too much or what (I did have a "professional" person take some photos w/this camera and she thought that at times the shutter didn't close fast enough - thereby the out of focus photos ????) and l have a "washed out color" problem w/a Olympus Stylus Epic 2.8 fixed lens - I like to take INDOOR photos of my cats and now it doesn't wind my film in the camera! Years ago I had a 35mm A/F Konica that took decent photos - in focus and the color was good. Since I am not a technical person and will NOT be using different settings - is there a reasonably priced, simple, 35mm A/F camera out there that takes really good INDOOR photos or should I be looking at a Digital? My fear w/a Digital is that I have heard they are slow...and my cats are fast. Please help - the more I look, the more confused I get. I am really looking forward to your guidance. Thanks.
  • 03-05-2004, 02:26 PM
    Sebastian
    Well, it seems to me that you are trying to shoot moving subject, something that's VERY difficult for P&S cameras of any kind. The autofocus just can't keep up.

    As for the flash blowouts, that's 99% your processing. Find a different lab, or tell your current lab to process them better. Squeaky grease gets the wheel...

    WHen taking pictures of moving subjects, prefocus on where you want to take the picture, and when they come into focus take the shot. THat's something you'll have to do with all cameras in the low range, no matter if their digital or film.

    BTW, whoever told you digital is slow probably never held one before in their life... :)
  • 03-05-2004, 02:26 PM
    Franglais
    SLR or P&S rather
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by lori
    I have a P&S Ricoh Shotmaster 130 that I am very disappointed in - the background is usually more in focus than the subject matter and the flash washes out the color...I don't know if I "shake" too much or what (I did have a "professional" person take some photos w/this camera and she thought that at times the shutter didn't close fast enough - thereby the out of focus photos ????) and l have a "washed out color" problem w/a Olympus Stylus Epic 2.8 fixed lens - I like to take INDOOR photos of my cats and now it doesn't wind my film in the camera! Years ago I had a 35mm A/F Konica that took decent photos - in focus and the color was good. Since I am not a technical person and will NOT be using different settings - is there a reasonably priced, simple, 35mm A/F camera out there that takes really good INDOOR photos or should I be looking at a Digital? My fear w/a Digital is that I have heard they are slow...and my cats are fast. Please help - the more I look, the more confused I get. I am really looking forward to your guidance. Thanks.

    I think this is more of a "SLR vs Point&Shoot" issue rather than a "film vs digital" one.

    What you're complaining about is the slow response time and general lack of control you have with P&S cameras. SLR's are built with special devices to autofocus and expose quickly and precisely.

    Don't expect miracles, however - to follow-focus a speeding cat you need a professional camera and lenses built to go after a racing car. To do good photos indoors you need prime lenses (i.e. no zoom) or else a flash unit with a head you can tilt/swivel so the light is bounced off the ceiling or wall and looks natural.

    If I were you I would look at a good cheap film SLR like the Nikon F75 or the Canon Ti with kit lens and a cobra-type flashgun. It won't cost you an enormous amount of money but it should get you much closer to what you want to achieve.

    Charles
  • 03-05-2004, 03:02 PM
    another view
    I think you should look at a film SLR as well. There are some good less expensive ones out there that will give you pretty good results in average conditions on program (full auto) mode. The autofocus in a SLR should be much better, plus you're looking thru the lens so you can see what the camera is doing. I have film and digital SLR's and P&S cameras - the P&S cameras are both pretty slow to react, it's not a matter of digital vs. film it's a matter of P&S cameras vs. SLR cameras.

    If your flash images are too bright, it is probably the processing. They're probably flash shots taken inside a big room and the background is dark. The automated machine "guesses" at how light the print should be overall (it thinks the bright areas even out with the dark areas).

    For indoors in low light, try a 50mm f1.8 which can usually be bought for less than $100. Or an f1.4 version for about $300. Either one will be much faster than most standard mid-range zooms which are close to f4.
  • 03-05-2004, 10:19 PM
    lori
    Sebastian - P&S vs. A/F
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Sebastian
    Well, it seems to me that you are trying to shoot moving subject, something that's VERY difficult for P&S cameras of any kind. The autofocus just can't keep up.

    As for the flash blowouts, that's 99% your processing. Find a different lab, or tell your current lab to process them better. Squeaky grease gets the wheel...

    WHen taking pictures of moving subjects, prefocus on where you want to take the picture, and when they come into focus take the shot. THat's something you'll have to do with all cameras in the low range, no matter if their digital or film.

    BTW, whoever told you digital is slow probably never held one before in their life... :)

    Sebastian - I am not trying to take photos of moving cats...they are usually sitting - but at the last second they will close their eyes or move their head....what is the difference between a digital SLR and a film SLR other than film - is a digital SLR what everyone refers to as a digital? Sorry - if this sounds stupid....
    Lori
  • 03-05-2004, 10:25 PM
    lori
    Another View
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by another view
    I think you should look at a film SLR as well. There are some good less expensive ones out there that will give you pretty good results in average conditions on program (full auto) mode. The autofocus in a SLR should be much better, plus you're looking thru the lens so you can see what the camera is doing. I have film and digital SLR's and P&S cameras - the P&S cameras are both pretty slow to react, it's not a matter of digital vs. film it's a matter of P&S cameras vs. SLR cameras.

    If your flash images are too bright, it is probably the processing. They're probably flash shots taken inside a big room and the background is dark. The automated machine "guesses" at how light the print should be overall (it thinks the bright areas even out with the dark areas).

    For indoors in low light, try a 50mm f1.8 which can usually be bought for less than $100. Or an f1.4 version for about $300. Either one will be much faster than most standard mid-range zooms which are close to f4.

    Please see my reply to Sebastian...I don't what what a 50mmf1.8 or f1.4 is - a camera or a lens - what film slr or digital slr cameras would you suggest?
    Thanks. Lori
  • 03-05-2004, 10:33 PM
    lori
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Franglais
    I think this is more of a "SLR vs Point&Shoot" issue rather than a "film vs digital" one.

    What you're complaining about is the slow response time and general lack of control you have with P&S cameras. SLR's are built with special devices to autofocus and expose quickly and precisely.

    Don't expect miracles, however - to follow-focus a speeding cat you need a professional camera and lenses built to go after a racing car. To do good photos indoors you need prime lenses (i.e. no zoom) or else a flash unit with a head you can tilt/swivel so the light is bounced off the ceiling or wall and looks natural.

    If I were you I would look at a good cheap film SLR like the Nikon F75 or the Canon Ti with kit lens and a cobra-type flashgun. It won't cost you an enormous amount of money but it should get you much closer to what you want to achieve.

    Charles

    Charles
    Please see my replies to both Sebastian & Another View. I think you are right regarding the flash - I was just hoping to get a camera that I didn't have to make any adjustments...which is why I probably purchased a P&S - but I am not happy w/them. I don't think I know what a kit lens means nor a cobra type flashgun...sorry...
  • 03-05-2004, 11:05 PM
    Cowgirl
    Lori -


    Since you want the camera to do 'everything', and you just take snapshots of your cats, then stick with an easy to use p&s. Don't complicate things even more with brand new, harder to use equipment. Modern day p&s cameras are pretty darn smart, and they can produce some pretty good results. When your ready, then upgrade to a SLR body and fast lens.

    Get a good book and understand basic camera metering, focusing, and on camera flash lighting. For instance, if your cat is in the foreground, and your middle and background is dark, then the camera will produce more flash output, because it 'sees' overall darkness. Then your cat/subject will be 'washed' out.

    Perhaps you need faster film (ISO 800, 1600, 3200), more window/natural lighting, and a better lab.

    Perhaps your current camera does have a shutter problem. Take it to a good camera shop, have it inspected and cleaned.

    Overall, a digital p&s would save you $$ in the long run with film/developing costs.

    Study photography more, practice, and you will get better results. Don't get too frustrated!

    Kathy
  • 03-06-2004, 01:23 AM
    Franglais
    Some definitions
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by lori
    Charles
    Please see my replies to both Sebastian & Another View. I think you are right regarding the flash - I was just hoping to get a camera that I didn't have to make any adjustments...which is why I probably purchased a P&S - but I am not happy w/them. I don't think I know what a kit lens means nor a cobra type flashgun...sorry...

    Some terms, applied to your case:

    "SLR" is "Single Lens Reflex". This what you would consider to be a complex camera where you can change the lens, fit an external flash, do all the settings yourself, etc. In fact the modern ones like the Nikon F75/Canon Ti have an all-auto mode where you just turn it on and it does all the rest for you. If you want to take control yourself then you can. When you have a specific problem to solve - like focussing precisely on a cat's head AND having the camera fire immediately when you press the button AND getting a nice light because you are using a sophisticated lighting setup with bounce flash etc. then this is the way to go. There are digital SLR's and film SLR's but they work just the same way.

    A "kit lens" is what usually comes with a consumer SLR. It's built down to a price but it does the job as long as you don't ask too much. In particular, the "maximum aperture" of the lens is usually limited to f3.5-5.6 i.e. the maximum amount of light that the lens will let through. This is important for your cats because indoors there's not much light. The film/digital sensor of the camera requires a precise amount of light to give a correct exposure so dim light + dim lens = longer exposure time. With a living subject like a cat, plus the effect of "camera shake" because you can't hold the camera steady, an exposure that is longer than 1/60 second is likely to be blurred. You can use more sensitive film/change the sensor gain but from 1600 ISO upwards the grain/noise is a real problem.

    A "prime lens" like the "50mm f1.8" has a fixed "focal length" i.e. you can focus it but you can't zoom in and out, you have to move the camera till it looks right. It has the enormous advantage for you of having a "maximum aperture" that is wider than a kit lens i.e f1.8 rather than f3.5 = 4 times more light passing through. So in dim light you can use a faster shutter speed. Just one problem - as the aperture increases the "depth of focus" decreases so you may find that you have sharp focus on the closest eye of your cat but the ear behind is slightly blurred and the background completely out. Get it right and it looks lovely, however.

    A "cobra" is a flash unit that fits on the top of the camera with a head pointing forwards, rather like a snake. You need one that is fairly powerful and has a head that can be pointed at least upwards and preferably sideways as well. A flash can resolve lots of your problems. It freezes the subject and provides enough light for a dim kit lens and slow film. However a flash on the camera or pointed straight forward is like shining a torchlight in your subject's face. It gets the picture but it looks really unnatural and it will hurt your cat's sensitive eyes. If you bounce the flash off ceiling or wall you can get an effect that looks quite natural. You need a powerful flash, though, because you lose a lot of light in the bounce.

    Charles
  • 03-06-2004, 09:09 AM
    gahspidy
    Lori,
    For you I think you would be best off getting a P&S digital.(assuming you have a computer. You could edit your photos on the computer with the simple program that would come with your camera and then only print the ones you like) A Canon 3mp would be great for you. Then you can see right away how your shot came out right after you shot it. You don't like it, you just do it again trying something different. And you can keep shooting till your hearts content and not worry about film.
    But I think you also need practice getting the shots as you like, and the digital p&s will let you spend time shooting pictures and not fidgeting with lenses and flashes and other equipment settings.
    Cats are very difficult to get right because as you said, they are always fidgety. As I know very well. You want to learn how to manipulate your cat and get faster with the shot. Know how to keep your cats interest so that it keeps looking up or whatever pose you want them in. But it's a numbers game, the more you shoot the better chance of getting one right. With the digital you can just keep shooting away knowing at least one for that afternoon will be a keeper. I personally shoot with a film slr , but there is lots to learn first when you use this equipment(and still does not mean you will get a good shot) For you, the point and shoot digital is the way to go. A Canon or Fuji 3mp will be right for you. Good luck
  • 03-06-2004, 03:07 PM
    lori
    Kathy
    Thanks for your suggestions. I have tried ISO800 - it didn't make a difference. You have a good point as far as the lighting...do you still have to worry about camera shake with a P&S Digital? As I mentioned in my post...I had a 35mm A/F Konica and as far as I am concerned that was the best p&s camera I ever had and I didn't have to worry about camera shake, settings, etc. etc. Can you recommend a P&S Digital?
    Lori
  • 03-06-2004, 03:14 PM
    lori
    Gary, thanks for you suggestions...what about camera shake and flash w/a digital p&s? Charles recommended a tilt flash and I thought that was a pretty good suggestion...since almost all my photos seem to be so washed out...even the date on the photo!
    Lori