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10-18-2011, 11:04 AM   #1
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Best settings to hand to a stranger in 'almost point and shoot'/green mode?

Hi all,

I'm now coming up on 2000 or so pictures on my K5, and it's been a lot of fun, and taken some good pictures so far. We recently went to the mountains for the weekend and while some missed shots are definitely down to user error or me playing around, I also got some wonderful pictures (even if some were on take 4 or 5 ).

What seems to fail pretty consistently is most times handing the camera to a stranger to take a picture of my wife and I together. One shot in particular was on the patio of a building, with a somewhat bright outside, but us in the shadows - every picture taken was significantly underexposed on us, while being somewhat exposed correctly for the bright area outside of the arch. Of some interest was the guy taking the picture, had a Nikon, and I took a few pictures of him and his wife in the same situation/position/lighting, also in 'auto mode,' and I saw in the lcd review that the pics I took of him seemed to be much better exposed overall - likely losing some highlights in the background, but the couple were easily recognizable in the LCD, while by comparison, my wife and I were simply part of the shadows, to the point that I *might* be able to recover a 4x6 sized print from a DNG by increasing the exposure and fill light in Lightroom, but it's definitely a very compromised picture. I did take some of her by herself, and it wasn't the easiest, but was able to balance out manually between the background and foreground, as well as trying to use flash to help balance the scene - those pictures are printable if not perfect, at higher sizing. I think I was mostly surprised that the shots I saw from the Nikon were much closer to 'balanced' in auto mode...followed by wondering if I should have made some changes before handing the camera over, as well as wondering if there's any way to reduce the on camera flash strength to use as fill flash in such situations? (I handed the camera in flash down/disabled mode to the guy trying to take out pic, but it seems sensible to be able to reduce the flash strength - is it possible?)

I know, I know - post example pics. That's great for landscape and other pics, but I just have no desire to post family pictures on forums, sorry.
Does anyone have any suggestions, or favorite settings for when they do hand their camera to a stranger to take similar pictures?
I realize in this case metering was set to single point/spot, 18-55 kit lens.
I also realized that green mode seems to only take images in JPG format, is that correct?
Assuming that's the case, I'm quite sure HyperProgram mode does honor the default image type settings, so I guess this makes more sense to use as the mode to hand the camera off to someone with?
Should I have bothered with 'face recognition' modes for such pictures? I've never used it, and honestly spend most of my time with an SMC-A 70-210mm f/4.0 attached to the camera in P, TAv, or M modes..

Any tips appreciated.

10-18-2011, 11:18 AM   #2
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You have a number of choices. First avoid high contrast situations, never shoot against a white wall, as you have learned whatever your trying to shoot will underexpose. You should use fill flash it can be dialled down using flash compensation. select the flash options menus and using the rear dial, turn until -1 is selected, review the shot and adjust as required.
10-18-2011, 11:35 AM   #3
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You state that the camera was set to spot metering. That's the explanation. The spot that was metered on was on the background.

If you want the camera to evaluate the scene and adjust accordingly, you need to use multi-segment metering.
10-18-2011, 12:52 PM   #4
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You should manually set the correct exposure - aperture settings in M mode.

10-18-2011, 01:04 PM   #5
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Moreover use a bounce or diffused fill-in flash and always shoot raw.
10-18-2011, 01:23 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by snappychappy Quote
You have a number of choices. First avoid high contrast situations, never shoot against a white wall, as you have learned whatever your trying to shoot will underexpose. You should use fill flash it can be dialled down using flash compensation. select the flash options menus and using the rear dial, turn until -1 is selected, review the shot and adjust as required.
Ok, I think I need to somehow remove green/auto mode from the dial completely. No RAW image output (I guess one could press the RAW button for a one-off DNG, but that's not reasonable to ask a stranger to press after every picture if they're taking more than one), so I have had a more difficult time to convert the 'stranger snapshots' into anything printable at even small sizes, and after having the camera handed back to me, I managed to miss the fact it was in green mode - I had enabled the flash for a subsequent shot of my wife, then pulled up the flash menu looking for a way to reduce the amount of flash, but was still in green mode so saw nothing except red-eye reduction or auto-flash. Moving back to P, M, or TAv modes and there's the flash compensation - thank you very much.

This trip is literally the first time I've handed the camera to anyone, and it's been a learning experience. I don't mind the metering on single point meter mode as I can always select what to meter off of, and adjust from there, but yeah, it definitely seems like the 'stranger shots' were metered entirely from the (bright) background.

Do those of you that sometimes find yourself handing your camera to someone actually leave it in green mode, or do you use program mode, adjust manually or shoot sample/adjust or use green button, and then hand the camera off in program (or other?) mode instead?

I figured the single spot metering was biting us as soon as I saw the pictures taken, just trying to sort out as close to 'foolproof' as possible for next time.

Thanks guys, keep 'em coming if you've got other tips/practices useful for the inevitable 'quick family snapshot from someone else' scenario..
10-18-2011, 02:37 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by rtpguy Quote
What seems to fail pretty consistently is most times handing the camera to a stranger to take a picture of my wife and I together.
Here is what has worked for me. Although I always worry that one day somone will run away with the camera

I take a picture of my family in the chosen aperture in Av mode, see how it turns out, then change settings if needed until I get a picture I like.

Then place those settings in Manual if it is a tricky lighting situation and give the camera to the person.

Personally I have found that the problem is that many of these people have not used more than a point and shoot and often there is camera shake. Many of them use the lcd rather than the viewfinder which often makes that worse...
10-18-2011, 02:53 PM   #8
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I never recommend using spot-metering. It takes experience to learn, and you should be able to use a little EC instead (except in Green :-(. P mode works like green but has some options...

Center-weighted might have helped with a dark center and bright background.

10-18-2011, 03:37 PM   #9
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Set it for JPG/RAW for stranger shots, so when they inevitably over or underexpose you you may have a chance to recover in post.
10-18-2011, 06:40 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by psychdoc Quote
Here is what has worked for me. Although I always worry that one day somone will run away with the camera

I take a picture of my family in the chosen aperture in Av mode, see how it turns out, then change settings if needed until I get a picture I like.

Then place those settings in Manual if it is a tricky lighting situation and give the camera to the person.

Personally I have found that the problem is that many of these people have not used more than a point and shoot and often there is camera shake. Many of them use the lcd rather than the viewfinder which often makes that worse...
Yeah, that same thought ran through my mind as well (someone running off), but I figure I can run 'quick enough' if need be.

They won't be using the LCD unless I put the K5 into liveview.

Thanks to everyone, this has been helpful. Next time, I'll never hand it off in green/full auto mode again, unless I'm positive it will be one picture only and can toggle the raw 'one shot' mode..probably not even then.
I'm going with it's better to just do a test shot(s) yourself, adjust until satisfied, then hand it off, in RAW or RAW+JPG mode (only! I wish I'd realized sooner green = jpeg only!!). I will also smack myself and never leave the camera in spot meter mode - I was really wondering where they were aiming the camera for that pair of shots.
10-18-2011, 07:40 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by rtpguy Quote
Next time, I'll never hand it off in green/full auto mode again, unless I'm positive it will be one picture only and can toggle the raw 'one shot' mode..probably not even then.
You could set it up for bracketing, too.
10-18-2011, 10:18 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by rtpguy Quote
Ok, I think I need to somehow remove green/auto mode from the dial completely. No RAW image output (I guess one could press the RAW button for a one-off DNG, but that's not reasonable to ask a stranger to press after every picture if they're taking more than one), so I have had a more difficult time to convert the 'stranger snapshots' into anything printable at even small sizes, and after having the camera handed back to me, I managed to miss the fact it was in green mode - I had enabled the flash for a subsequent shot of my wife, then pulled up the flash menu looking for a way to reduce the amount of flash, but was still in green mode so saw nothing except red-eye reduction or auto-flash. Moving back to P, M, or TAv modes and there's the flash compensation - thank you very much.

This trip is literally the first time I've handed the camera to anyone, and it's been a learning experience. I don't mind the metering on single point meter mode as I can always select what to meter off of, and adjust from there, but yeah, it definitely seems like the 'stranger shots' were metered entirely from the (bright) background.

Do those of you that sometimes find yourself handing your camera to someone actually leave it in green mode, or do you use program mode, adjust manually or shoot sample/adjust or use green button, and then hand the camera off in program (or other?) mode instead?

I figured the single spot metering was biting us as soon as I saw the pictures taken, just trying to sort out as close to 'foolproof' as possible for next time.

Thanks guys, keep 'em coming if you've got other tips/practices useful for the inevitable 'quick family snapshot from someone else' scenario..
I don't use the green mode---ever. I see it as being there for people who get the dials so screwed up that can't get a picture at all.
I actually use the program mode most of the time, but feel free to override it
10-18-2011, 10:44 PM   #13
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Green mode irritates me. It's ALMOST good enough for stranger mode or (forgive me) wife mode, but why can't it keep my preferred raw format?

So P mode it is. Or in many cases, Av mode with aperture and ISO preselected by me.
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