help with manual settings?
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  1. #1
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    help with manual settings?

    Could anyone help me with settings on my camera?
    It's Canon S100, it's a small camera, but a decent one. As far as I know everything can be selected manually instead of Auto mode.
    I don't know anything about photography and always use the Auto mode. Some pointers what to do to get best pictures of watches and small objects would be much appreciated.
    I'm not looking to photoshop etc. at this moment, just a bit of help with the manual mode to get some decent pictures.
    The specs are here:
    Canon PowerShot S100 - Canon UK

  2. #2
    Member revlimiter's Avatar
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    Re: help with manual settings?

    Truly, the best way to learn is trial and error. Set the camera in manual, select an F-stop (probably start with as wide open as it will go) and a shutter speed (maybe 1/60 to start?) and hit the shutter. See what happens.

    Here's a couple of links to explain aperture and shutter speed as well.
    This Infographic is a Complete Guide to Photography for Beginners
    (a short cartoon sort of tutorial)

    Learn Photography: A Comprehensive Beginner’s Guide
    A very long and in depth tutorial. It's got composition, photoshop, portrait tips, and a lot more besides just what the camera parts do.

    Hope that helps!

  3. #3
    Member Gunnar_917's Avatar
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    Re: help with manual settings?

    Do you have examples of the photos you've taken? can give you an idea of how to improve them.

    How close do you get to the object? That camera, for what it is, has a pretty decent macro function.

    As above, play with the aperture settings (put it in AV). The lower the number you use the more light gets let in and the more the background will be blurred. Depending on what you want this willed really work for shooting watches as a first and only step.

    I have an S95, a great point and shoot, even if it is nearly 5 years old. I generally shoot in the program mode as I have it set up how I like it.

    A couple of examples that, far from being my nice work, are okay. They have all been shot in Program mode and, from memory, I've just gotten close to the subjects:






    Last edited by Gunnar_917; December 27th, 2015 at 00:45.
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  5. #4
    Ard
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    Re: help with manual settings?

    Hi Stan,

    The easiest way to gain an understanding of what is going on between the aperture and shutter and that relationship to your exposures is to find the "Aperture Priority Mode" on a camera. In this mode of operation you select an aperture setting (also known as f-stop) and the camera should show you a corresponding shutter speed. I have been taking photographs since before there was any sort of automatic modes on a camera and would be remiss if I did not suggest that you find some introductory to photography reading so that you can understand such terms as 'depth of field' and so forth.

    The shame of todays cameras is that by being so automated many people live an entire life without learning the basic premise behind a good photograph digital or otherwise.

    I encountered a lady this past fall who had a tripod set up with a Digital SLR camera mounted to it and was taking pictures of Mt. Denali here in Alaska. I didn't want to make her uncomfortable by chatting it up too much because we were pretty much in the middle of nowhere but.................. In short order I learned that she was trusting her expensive SLR to deliver the goods. Poor thing had no idea of what a polarizer and some aperture control might do in the way of results. I gave some quick and easy pointers and suggested some reading on photography to her then went on my way as I was fishing and had left my boat some distance away. She had came all the way from Wisconsin to Alaska and once here decided to get serious about some photos.

    It is not my intention to speak in a condescending manner but I can't give advice without touching on the absolute value of good old fashioned book learning on some subjects.



    That done with no trick editing for color rendition, an October full moon over the Chugach Range. I did use a polarizer and shot at somewhere in the neighborhood of 170mm focal length at f16 I believe. The photo is from my photo bucket so I don't have the properties handy. The lighting is natural and at the very last of a sunset the light carries a great deal of magenta which is what illuminates the snow and turns the dark clouds behind the peaks to such a scene. To try getting that using auto exposure would take a long time and even if I could where would the sense of accomplishment be found. I went to that spot for 2 days prior to get the timing down so that I knew when to appear for the gravy shot. Also some practice exposures in the days leading up to the full moon were helpful so that there was little guess work involved in getting a keeper. Whether you are going to photograph a watch or something like I haul out to shoot having some foundation is really helpful so read my friend, read.

    Ard

    PS. Sorry, I almost forgot the obligatory watch shot............

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    Last edited by Ard; December 27th, 2015 at 01:19.
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  6. #5
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    Re: help with manual settings?

    Thanks guys. What started me off, was an image in this forum taken with a mobile phone which was miles better than any pictures I've taken with my camera.
    The only feature I use is the Time Value when taking pictures of my dog not to get them blurred - that's as much as I know about photography!

    I will have to do some reading about photography, some basics for now, just to take little better pictures than the camera would do in auto mode.

    I’ve taken a few close up pictures, it’s not quite as sharp as I would like and the light is always reflecting somewhere no matter whichever I turn.


  7. #6
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    Re: help with manual settings?

    Hi Stan_G

    I don't know what you are trying to accomplish but I'll take a guess and maybe this will help.

    The manufacturers have spent a lot of effort to make photography easy for dummies like me so their Auto modes are not bad at all. The Canon S100 I would expect would be very competent in this area and will give very good results on auto.

    However, you may want to tweak a few things like depth of field and flowing water.
    Depth of field with a P&S will mostly be done with the macro mode. Not sure about the S100 but it seems to have SMART AUTO so if you hold the camera very close to a watch for instance, it probably tells you it is going to take a macro shot. Or you can more the selector to manual and try yourself. Best thing about digital cameras, as others have already suggested, is that the film is cheap so just go your hardest. No good? just delete..delete..delete.
    Outside the macro mode I'd suggest it is difficult to get low depth of field unless you are pretty close to the subject. My camera has f1.8 as the largest aperture so that helps, but as soon as one zooms that goes by the wayside.
    I use point and shoots like the S100 but before you start to get your expectations too high you should take a browse on the internet on depth of field with point and shoot cameras.

    Other reasons for playing with settings is to use low shutter speeds for instance to get the effect of running water. 1000/sec just doesn't cut it here and you will need to be probably around 1/10 sec. Therefore to get that you will also need a tripod.

    I think you will also learn a lot by understanding what settings your camera is using when it shoots Handheld Night Scene, Beach, Underwater, Foliage, Snow, Fireworks,for instance.

    If you want to learn I believe you will need to play.

    You have a great camera but remember that experience really helps. And experience is what you get when you don't get what you want!

    You also mentioned about light reflections.

    Best way is to light the subject with a diffuse light source and you can also try a polarising filter.

    HTH
    Last edited by 1afc; December 28th, 2015 at 11:45.

  8. #7
    Member Gunnar_917's Avatar
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    Re: help with manual settings?

    Quote Originally Posted by Stan_G View Post
    Thanks guys. What started me off, was an image in this forum taken with a mobile phone which was miles better than any pictures I've taken with my camera.
    The only feature I use is the Time Value when taking pictures of my dog not to get them blurred - that's as much as I know about photography!

    I will have to do some reading about photography, some basics for now, just to take little better pictures than the camera would do in auto mode.

    I’ve taken a few close up pictures, it’s not quite as sharp as I would like and the light is always reflecting somewhere no matter whichever I turn.

    So on this photo, focus on the '6' on the dial (30 on the bezel). It will make the whole image slightly sharper and brighter (judging on how the light is falling from that photo). Also move a touch to the right and that way you will have slightly better light hitting the watch

  9. #8
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    Re: help with manual settings?

    I'm playing around, increasing/decreasing every option and it's getting better!


  10. #9
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    Re: help with manual settings?

    pictures are getting better. one of the things that makes macro photos stand out is called bokeh, which is where the stuff that is not in focus is quickly out of focus. in order to get the best bokeh possible set your camera to av(aperture variance) and set the value as low as possible(in your case f/2.0) note: also zoom out as much as possible on yours, if you need a tighter shot move the camera closer(minimum focus on yours is 1.2 inches) if you need tighter than that crop the image to desired view after taking it.

    aperture explanation: aperture is the size of the "hole" that light passes through in your lens. the aperture is directly tied to your focus length, if your current focal length is 24mm and your aperture is 2.0 the "hole" is 24/2.0=12mm if it is 5.6 it is 24/5.6=4.28mm

    if this is your lens the light that is in focus is the X:

    front of lens
    |-----|<--the lens focuses most of the light to follow the x, but not all
    |\|||/|
    | \|/ |
    |-|X|-| <--this is the aperture, if you have it wide, it lets in lots of out of focus light which gives you good bokeh
    | /|\ |
    |/|||\|
    sensor




    iso: set as low as you can. when you are doing watch macro your subject doesn't move, you have full control of light, camera should be supported
    iso explanation: originally was a measure of the size of the silver halide crystals on film, the larger a crystal the more sensitive(less light to activate) the smaller the more detail you got, we want detail :).

    other advice regarding last shot: i know you mentioned this, but be careful of glass reflections. the top half of the watch has a reflection on it that detract from the subject of the image. tilt the watch/move the light to reduce/eliminate glare.
    also if you cropped the image so that it didn't have the black in the top right it would be less visually distracting

    happy shooting!
    BillyBobBubba

  11. #10
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    Re: help with manual settings?

    I think what you need is to learn about the fundamentals of your camera, exposure, etc as well as composition, light and so forth. Find what learning methods work best for you and start building those basic fundamentals. You'll be surprised how much you can learn in a short period of time and improve your ability to see/compose a shot and capture one.

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