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02-05-2009, 12:33 PM   #1
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What's your setting?

Got a question for those who are more experienced with DSRL's. I've had my k200d for a couple months now and love it. One thing gets me though. I don't know what settings I should leave on the camera. By this I mean, many of the places I've gone (3rd world, war zones for work), when I whip out my camera, I don't have time to mess with the settings (white balance, color, exposure settings, etc...), I just need to take some pics. What default should I leave on my camera? Often times in labs I visit, the lighting is very poor, but other times we're outside and its very bright. I know there's no easy answer, and some work will always have to be futzed with, but at minimum, what would you all recommend as my default settings to start with?

Thanks

02-05-2009, 12:41 PM   #2
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Here's how I handle "being ready":

1) Shoot RAW and forget about white balance

2) Set ISO whenever I walk into a new setting; e.g. go indoors or outdoors, walk into a darker/shadier area, out in bright sun. Just give it a tweak so you know you'll get reasonable shutter speeds. I generally leave it at 400 for normal outdoors, 100 for bright areas, 800 for shadier/early evening, 1600/3200 indoors if I don't use flash.

3) Use Program mode so that when you need to shoot the camera will have picked a reasonable shutter speed for you and then you can use program shift to change aperture/shutter. This is to avoid things like having the aperture at f/8 and get a shutter speed of 1/5th of a second when you really need that image RIGHT THEN.
02-05-2009, 12:47 PM   #3
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Shoot raw (raw +jpeg if offered). Set it to AWB. Set it to Auto ISO (and make sure you set the top end where you feel comfortable). Finally, shoot in (P)rogram mode. The camera will decide for you, and if you need to switch, the shutter speed or aperture are just an adjustment away.
02-05-2009, 01:06 PM   #4
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Agree with the above.
Sounds like you just need to take quick snaps of scenes all in sharp focus.
P mode will do that for you, and you can even allow the camera to decide the ISO for you in case the shutter speed is too slow for a scene you want to capture.

Otherwise, the auto scene modes could come in handy for you...

02-05-2009, 05:46 PM   #5
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I would take a different approach.

- Set WB to daylight
- Set ISO to 400
- Set to Spot meter
- Set Focus point to center
- Shoot JPEGs
- frame mode to continuous
- set AF mode to continuous
why do this?

Simple,
white balance
by setting WB to daylight, it is the easiest to correct to other off daylight colors. Assuming you need the shot right now, start at Daylight and correct if necessary later
ISO 400
This is a good ISO for the 10 MP sensor in the K200, with very little loss of noise control, yet reasonably fast for most things you will fall into
Spot meter
Setting to spot metering will probably get you the best shot in a hurry. If you need the shot right now you will be most focused on what is right in the middle of the view finder than in metering the total scene. Spot metering is the best for this.
center focusing
Like spot metering for correct light, center focusing will have what you are concentrating on the sharpest. it is rare, that when in a hurry you concentrate on the parimiters of the image, you are focused right at the middle of it.
JPEGs
shooting JPEGs will give you the most frames before stopping to clear the buffer, going to a war zone, where you can;t plan what you need and won't be able to anticipate the action like normal sports photography, you don't want to be stuck waiting for the camera to write huge files to the memory card. This type of photography demands an image, not art.
Continuous shooting
you don't want to have to continually press the shutter if action is fast, machine gun away, run in continuous mode
continuous AF
this will allow the shutter to trip even if not perfectly focused, and will continually refocus as things move. you cant afford to mis a shot that is a little out of focus and can be fixed with sharpening to a degree, lack of a shot because the shutter won't trip with the trap focus means you get nothing at all to work with in photoshop.

All these settings are the I need it now settings, when things calm down, you can make changes, or if you have a seccond or two in advance you can start to make changes. ISO is easiest.

edit note

I know after re-reading this, people will come up with a whole list of exceptions. Nothing is perfect, I accept that, but if you are going somewhere where you just can't predict what yo need it would be better to start with a known set, as opposed to auto everything.

You will notice also I did not pick an operating mode, but just camera settings. I assume you will have enough warning of where you are going to know if Program, Tv, Av or Manual is the right selection. Nothing is that unplanned, but if you are truely needing to get an image as you are on route to what ever you are doing, I agree with those who picked program mode, but that is I think more relying on the totally unexpected for your shot than you should be.

Last edited by Lowell Goudge; 02-05-2009 at 05:55 PM.
02-05-2009, 06:10 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by pingflood Quote
Here's how I handle "being ready":

1) Shoot RAW and forget about white balance

2) Set ISO whenever I walk into a new setting; e.g. go indoors or outdoors, walk into a darker/shadier area, out in bright sun. Just give it a tweak so you know you'll get reasonable shutter speeds. I generally leave it at 400 for normal outdoors, 100 for bright areas, 800 for shadier/early evening, 1600/3200 indoors if I don't use flash.

3) Use Program mode so that when you need to shoot the camera will have picked a reasonable shutter speed for you and then you can use program shift to change aperture/shutter. This is to avoid things like having the aperture at f/8 and get a shutter speed of 1/5th of a second when you really need that image RIGHT THEN.
see, #1 is most definitely not the way to go about it. You should ALWAYS try to get the white balance as close as possible, even when shooting RAW. Completely disregarding it will, sooner or later, cost you...
02-05-2009, 06:26 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by dave sz Quote
see, #1 is most definitely not the way to go about it. You should ALWAYS try to get the white balance as close as possible, even when shooting RAW. Completely disregarding it will, sooner or later, cost you...
Please explain how since WB does not come into account at all for the RAW file (other than being recorded).
02-05-2009, 08:54 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by pingflood Quote
Please explain how since WB does not come into account at all for the RAW file (other than being recorded).
Actually, on a couple of older Pentax models, the in-camera WB setting did apparently cause there to be some adjustment applied to one or more channels to reduce the possibility of clipping, but I don't think any recent models do this.

The one reason why it *might* pay to get WB close in camera is because it affects the histogram - even the channel histograms work post-conversion, it seems. So if you're trying to expose to the right or other use the histogram to base any exposure decisions, it could make sense to have the WB at least close. Otherwise you might be led to think something is clipping that isn't, or vice versa.

02-06-2009, 05:48 AM   #9
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Thanks all, this is much appreciated.

Oren
02-06-2009, 05:57 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Lowell Goudge Quote
I would take a different approach.

- Set WB to daylight
- Set ISO to 400
- Set to Spot meter
- Set Focus point to center
- Shoot JPEGs
- frame mode to continuous
- set AF mode to continuous
why do this?

Simple,
white balance
by setting WB to daylight, it is the easiest to correct to other off daylight colors. Assuming you need the shot right now, start at Daylight and correct if necessary later
ISO 400
This is a good ISO for the 10 MP sensor in the K200, with very little loss of noise control, yet reasonably fast for most things you will fall into
Spot meter
Setting to spot metering will probably get you the best shot in a hurry. If you need the shot right now you will be most focused on what is right in the middle of the view finder than in metering the total scene. Spot metering is the best for this.
center focusing
Like spot metering for correct light, center focusing will have what you are concentrating on the sharpest. it is rare, that when in a hurry you concentrate on the parimiters of the image, you are focused right at the middle of it.
JPEGs
shooting JPEGs will give you the most frames before stopping to clear the buffer, going to a war zone, where you can;t plan what you need and won't be able to anticipate the action like normal sports photography, you don't want to be stuck waiting for the camera to write huge files to the memory card. This type of photography demands an image, not art.
Continuous shooting
you don't want to have to continually press the shutter if action is fast, machine gun away, run in continuous mode
continuous AF
this will allow the shutter to trip even if not perfectly focused, and will continually refocus as things move. you cant afford to mis a shot that is a little out of focus and can be fixed with sharpening to a degree, lack of a shot because the shutter won't trip with the trap focus means you get nothing at all to work with in photoshop.

All these settings are the I need it now settings, when things calm down, you can make changes, or if you have a seccond or two in advance you can start to make changes. ISO is easiest.

edit note

I know after re-reading this, people will come up with a whole list of exceptions. Nothing is perfect, I accept that, but if you are going somewhere where you just can't predict what yo need it would be better to start with a known set, as opposed to auto everything.

You will notice also I did not pick an operating mode, but just camera settings. I assume you will have enough warning of where you are going to know if Program, Tv, Av or Manual is the right selection. Nothing is that unplanned, but if you are truely needing to get an image as you are on route to what ever you are doing, I agree with those who picked program mode, but that is I think more relying on the totally unexpected for your shot than you should be.




Looking for a new direction so I will take this on board


cheers
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