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SNAPSHOT - PHOTO NEWS FROM BETTERPHOTO.COM
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Welcome to SnapShot, the weekly newsletter on
the art of photography from
BetterPhoto.com


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IN THIS ISSUE - Tuesday, June 10, 2003
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* SPOTLIGHT: Summer School - Online PhotoCourses™ at BetterPhoto
* BETTERPHOTO: Featured Photographer Galleries
* BETTERPHOTO: A Call to BetterPhoto Members - We Need Your Help: Phase III
* PHOTO TRIVIA QUESTION: Twilight Zones / Skyrocketing Subscriptions
* THIS WEEK'S TIP: Protecting Digital Negatives: A Tip from Murry Grigsby
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 1: Action Shots and the Disappointing Result
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 2: Medium Format Camera
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 3: How to Shoot Water When the Reflection is Shiny
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 4: Reputable Online Sites for Digital SLR
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 5: Grainy Photos
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 6: Choosing a Lens
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 7: Old Film Usage
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 8: Bronica S2A Prisms
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 9: Camera's Functions
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 10: Settings for Indoor and Nightime Digital Shooting
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 11: What is the Cheapest Way to Set Up a Studio?
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 12: Shooting Interiors with Natural Light
* CONTINUING PHOTO Q&A 1: What Printer Settings to Use?


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IN THE SPOTLIGHT - ADVERTISEMENT
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Summer School - Online PhotoCourses™ at BetterPhoto
Make this summer a special adventure by joining a photography course! Improve your picture-taking skills while having a great time enjoying the summer months. Each class is focused on teaching you how to improve your understanding of photography through exciting weekly assignments and helpful critiques direct from the instructor. Learn more about our excellent courses at:
http://www.betterphoto.com/workshops.asp


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WHAT'S NEW AT BETTERPHOTO.COM
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Welcome to the 117th issue of SnapShot!

Hi

We're are excited to tell you about three new classes coming this summer. One is by our veteran instructor Jim Zuckerman and explores creative techniques in Photoshop. The other two will be taught by none other than Brenda Tharp. We are thrilled to be welcoming Brenda to the team. We were hoping to have these three courses posted but we have not finished putting the final touches on them yet. Check the site over the next few days to learn the details about these new courses.

Along these same lines, we are VERY close to having the finalists selected for the May contest. Check back tomorrow to see the inspiring finalist photos.

And lastly, for you Deluxe BetterPholio™ owners, we have something very exciting in the works. We will be emailing you shortly with some developments you've been asking for...

Have a great week!
Jim Miotke
http://www.betterphoto.com/MG.asp?ID=124


*****
Featured Photographer Galleries
Check out the excellent work from students of our previous online course session. These students were voted Best in Class by their peers. We will have the Spring winners posted soon as well - in the meantime, enjoy browsing these galleries. Here are a couple that you might especially enjoy:

Lea Mulqueen did beautiful work in Tony Sweet's Image Design class:
http://www.betterphoto.com/gallery/dynoGall2.asp?catID=1623

Jean-François Schmutz had fun creating new work in Jim Miotke's Photoshop course:
http://www.betterphoto.com/gallery/dynoGall2.asp?catID=1612

Check out all of these awe-inspiring galleries at:
http://www.betterphoto.com/galleryTOCDynoSub.asp?cat=734

Or learn more about Tony's "Image Design: Revealing Your Personal Vision" at:
http://www.betterphoto.com/photocourses/TNS01.asp

Or Jim Miotke's "Photoshop for Photographers" course at:
http://www.betterphoto.com/photocourses/JCM02.asp

Select from all of our online courses at:
http://www.betterphoto.com/workshops.asp


*****
A Call to BetterPhoto Members - We Need Your Help: Phase III
In a recent survey, many members told us that they wanted to help get the word out about BetterPhoto. So over the next several months, we will be presenting new ways that you can help get the word out about BetterPhoto. Your word of mouth advertising is extremely important to the survival and success of BetterPhoto.com. We really appreciate your support.

Phase Three:
This week, we are asking each and every one of you to write at least one equipment review at BetterPhoto. These can be brief - just a paragraph or two about your favorite or least favorite equipment. We can't tell you how much these comments help both BetterPhoto and other members who are considering a new purchase. Your honest reviews help everyone.

To submit your review, go to the following link, find the cameras and equipment that you know best, and then click on the link to enter your comments:
http://www.betterphoto.com/reviews.asp

If you have not yet linked to BetterPhoto - it's not too late. Visit the following Web page for info and graphics you can use:
http://www.betterphoto.com/g/linking.asp

And if you would like to automatically tell a friend, family member, or colleague about the great resources at BetterPhoto.com, use our "Tell a Friend" page:
http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/TellAFriend.asp

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PHOTO TRIVIA QUIZ OF THE WEEK
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Last week, we asked:
Who invented the Zone system? In a nutshell, what is it?

The first, best answer - entered by BetterPhoto member Janet Poczwais:
Ansel Adams invented the Zone System. In a nutshell, the Zone System is a photographic method whereby a scene to be photographed can be purposely translated into a black and white negative (and hence a black and white print) that records a full range of tones ranging from solid blacks to pure white.

To see all answers to this question, visit:
http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/trivia.asp?stat=PRV

And Now... This Week's Photo Trivia Question - Skyrocketing Subscriptions - entered by BetterPhoto member Jim Miotke

When did National Geographic begin using photographs?

Submit your own answer to this question by visiting:
http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/trivia.asp

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THIS WEEK'S PHOTO TIP
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Protecting Digital Negatives: A Tip from Murry Grigsby
If you shoot digital, then you need to be very protective of your digital negatives (the files your camera records on its memory card). When you get to the computer either tether the camera or place the memory card in your card reader and burn a CD of the files from the memory card before you do anything else (period)! Once you have verified that you have a readable CD then you can copy the files from the camera or memory card to your hard drive and do your editing. This procedure should prevent you from ever losing your digital negatives due to a hard disc crash. Better safe than sorry!

Check out Murry's Deluxe BetterPholio™ at:
http://www.mcgphotocards.com

Join the fun! Sign up for your own Deluxe BetterPholio™ at:
http://www.betterphoto.com/sites4photogs/deluxeWebsites.asp

Top Ten Tips:
http://www.betterphoto.com/exploring/tips.asp

All Tips:
http://www.betterphoto.com/exploring/allTips.asp

Add Your Own Tip:
http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/login.asp?category=tip&inputType=tip

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~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
ADVERTISEMENT
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Absolute Beginner's Guide to Taking Great Photos
My new book guides you away from the point-and-pray method of taking pictures to shooting with confidence. In this simple and clear how-to book, you will learn:

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Redmond, WA 98073-2781 USA

To order online, visit:
http://www.betterphoto.com/product/ourProductDetail.asp?productID=1096


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PHOTOGRAPHY Q&A - NEW THIS WEEK
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NEW QUESTION 1: Action Shots and the Disappointing Result
Is it possible to take action shots without the image blurring? It just seems that with this cameras range (up to 114 feet) the images remain rather small, BUT if the object was in motion (summersault, for example, or a jog) the image would be blurry.

Is this just a downfall of this type of camera, that you can't get images (as if taken using 800 speed film, as if with conventional film use)?
- Tracy Gold

ANSWER 1:
Tracy,
A few more details would be helpful. Was this indoors? Outdoors - day - dusk - night? Were you using flash (what make/model)? What film speed? Some of my response here is based on guessing these from your question.

A "range" of 114 feet and the description of one photograph (sommersault) sounds like it was indoors with flash. A flash "guide number" is its power level and even though it's given in distance for a specific film speed, it's not necessarly the maximum range. Guide numbers were first used with flash bulbs which could not be adjusted for light output, and the guide number varies with film speed. In use, the guide number (for the film speed in use) would be divided by the subject distance to determine lens aperture setting. With an electronic flash with output power level controlled by the camera, its guide number can be divided by the lens aperture you are using to determine its maximum range, but remember the guide number in the flash specs is usually for ISO 100, and it will be different for other film speeds. I have several "mondo" flash heads that can be mounted to a camera body . . . with power levels well beyond what the average non-professional owns. In practical use, they max out at about 45-50 feet. I can eek out about 70 feet if needed, but it's with some compromises in lens selection and depth of field. NONE of them is capable of a proper exposure at 114 feet.

If I need to photograph action at that distance indoors or in low light outdoors, I forget about flash and use very fast lenses wide open (f/2 preferred, but no slower than f/2.8) and high speed film (ISO 800 or 1600). I was faced with this situation at a wedding this past weekend . . . not only was flash banished during the ceremony (not that uncommon) but I was also restricted to shooting from a balcony in the back between the beginning (hand-off) and end (first kiss) which is much less common. Used Fuji Press 1600 with f/2 and f/2.8 telephotos from the balcony, and had shutter speeds varying between 1/60th and 1/125th second. Enough to stop action at a wedding, but for what you've described, I'd want shutter speeds no slower than 1/125th with ability to use 1/250th preferred.

Press 1600 is a pro film and pretty forgiving of the light imbalance (daylight versus indoor tungsten). The trade-off is not being able to make large prints from a film that fast (4x6 or 5x7 max), but it's still not as grainy as an inexpensive consumer ISO 800 film.

Blurriness can also be caused by camera shake, especially if you're trying to use a telephoto longer than about 135mm. The maximum for hand held is about 180-200mm, but going that long requires ability to brace very well to hold composition and panning with fast action can be very difficult.

-- John
- John A. Lind

See John's Premium BetterPholio™

Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=5928

Answer this question:
http://www.betterphoto.com/QnAredirect.asp?threadID=5928

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*****


NEW QUESTION 2: Medium Format Camera
I am very interested in buying a medium format camera with auto focus. My eyes have really gotten bad over the years but I love taking photos. Any suggestions on what might be the best AF camera on the market. I do have my eye on the Mamiya 643AFD.

Thanks
- Maryann Ianniello

ANSWER 1:
Maryann,
I'm aware of three manaufacturers that have have auto-focus MF SLR's:
Contax 645 AF
Mamiya 645AFD
Pentax 645N II

If priority is given to lenses, the Contax tops the heap with Carl Zeiss glass, but you will pay some $$$ for the privelege of having that name on the front of the lenses. Cannot judge too much on the other two. I use a Mamiya M645 ("j" and "1000-S"), but it's manual focus and the AFD lenses are different from those for the original M645 through current E and Pro-TL . . . an important note to remember . . . and Mamiya's lineup of AFD lenses isn't as extensive as for their manual focus 645's.

I am in the "over 40" presbyopia crowd who cannot focus their eyes as closely as those who are younger . . . a phenomenon of aging . . . and I'm still using all manual focus equipment. A possible alternative to an entirely new camera system is exploring dioptric correction lenses on the viewfinder. If you have myopia or hyperopia (near/far sightedness) without too much astigmatism, you might be surprised at how much this truly helps. You shouldn't need any for pure presbyopia; viewfinder optics place the effective distance of the focus screen several feet in front of the camera.

I started using viewfinder dioptric correction for mild myopia years ago and wondered why I hadn't done that many years before. It made an enormous difference in focus accuracy and allowed significantly better use of the microprism ring and matte area of the focusing screen. Before doing that I was relying very heavily on the center split rangefinder circle. If you have been using dioptric correction, then how much you need may have changed . . . and this is also "normal" with aging. The dioptric correction I use has changed over time. It's much easier than trying to look through a viewfinder while wearing glasses.

-- John
- John A. Lind

See John's Premium BetterPholio™

Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=5927

Answer this question:
http://www.betterphoto.com/QnAredirect.asp?threadID=5927

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*****


NEW QUESTION 3: How to Shoot Water When the Reflection is Shiny
Driving over a bridge today I noticed how beautiful the water was. The sky was slighty overcast with the sun peeking through the clouds and the water was just sparkling with this silver almost white color, the same color as the clouds. My question is, IF I had had my camera what would have been the best way to capture this image exactly as I saw it (i.e. filters, polarizers, aperture, lens opening, flash, no flash). I am just a beginner so I apologize for what is probably an easy question, or has been asked before. Thanks for any suggestions!
- Nicole Daniel

ANSWER 1:
Depending on what kind of camera you have. If you have the point-and-shoot type, probably you cannot do anything but the photo may come out dark (underexpose). This is because the sparkling of the water will fool the camera's built-in meter. If you have a SLR camera with manual control, you can aim your camera to an area which does not include the water and lock the exposure. Then repose and take the shot. If you have no manual control but with exposure compensation, add one and half or two stops to the "correct" exposure indicated by your camera.

Included is a photo I took when I was in ZhangJiaJie National Park, China. I aimed my camera at the green bushes on the side of the Golden Whip Brook (that's how it is translated) and lock the exposure. I put on a polarizer to make the shutter speed longer to get the silky water look. In your case, you may just use a faster shutter speed to conserve the sparkling. Better yet, if you have one of those star filters, you can put it on (usually no compensation is needed for this filter) and see the different effect.
- Andy Szeto

See Sample Photo - ZhangJiaJie National Park, China:
http://www.betterphoto.com/gallery/dynoGallDetail.asp?photoID=127715

ANSWER 2:
Andy,
I have a Minolta Maxxum SLR that has both autofocus and manual settings so I will try your suggestions the next time this happens. Thank you so much!!
- Nicole Daniel

Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=5924

Answer this question:
http://www.betterphoto.com/QnAredirect.asp?threadID=5924

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*****


NEW QUESTION 4: Reputable Online Sites for Digital SLR
I done extensive homework and have decided on the Nikon D100. I know of sites such as Ritz, etc to purchase from, but am curious to know others that you guys think are reputable and trustworthy. I am open to either option of buying it online or in person from a store. Your thoughts?
- Alison F. Carlino

ANSWER 1:
Alison,

I have purchased a number of photography-related items over the internet without problem (so far, anyway). Some of the places on the internet are reputable, and some are not. One thing I learned doing some research is that if you see a fantastic price on a camera on-line, there is a pretty good chance that the camera is grey-market - these are legitimate cameras that are imported from other countries but don't have a US warranty. Be sure to ask if you order on-line if the product has a US warranty and make sure it isn't "grey".

I have had excellent service from B&H Photo (www.bhphoto.com). I have purchased camera accessories, lenses, film etc. form B&H over the years and have never had any problems with them.

I recently ordered an Olympus digital camera from Abe's of Maine (www.abesofmaine.com) and got it in about a week. Abe's of Maine told me the camera was "in stock" even though it was not, but they did get it to me in a week anyway and shipped it 2nd day air at no extra charge.

I have ordered memory cards from Amazon.com, as well as books and music, and they are 100% reputable.

I have also used Adorama (www.adorama.com), and although I had no problems getting the product I ordered, the salesman on the phone was extremely rude to me so I swore I would never shop with them again.

Beware that some places will have really cheap prices for a camera, but then want $50-$100 in shipping and handling charges to deliver the camera.

One way to tell whether a company is any good or not is to go to www.bizrate.com and search for the camera you want. It will come up with a list of prices and ratings for every store where it as found. The ratings reflect real users experiences, and you can read individual ratings to see what people are saying about these places.

I think if you stick with B&H Photo and Amazon.com you'll have no problems. Other places may be very good, but check their ratings first.

- Tim Devick

ANSWER 2:
Alison,

Three firms I do business with without any worry:
(a) KEH Camera Brokers, Atlanta, GA (www.keh.com)
(b) B&H Photo Video, New York, NY (www.bhphotovideo.com)
(c) Adorama, New York, NY (adoramacamera.com)

I won't say much about Abe's of Maine, except a strong recommendation to read the feedback about them here (listings are in alphabetical order):
http://www.photo.net/neighbor/one-subcategory?id=2

In using this resource, look for the weight of positive vs. negative and think about who might be posting the comment(s), plus and minus. No buisness has ever pleased everyone. If you read magazines such as Pop Photo, you'll see some major advertisers listed, and perhaps some surprises about what past customers think about them (in some cases an enormous number).

I agree in part with Tim; Adorama has been brusqe with me on the phone. I assign the cause to being in the mid-west and dealing with typical NYC brusqeness in business dealings. Even so, they run #2 behind B&H in their internet ordering, phone ordering and customer service. For used equipment, KEH enjoys one of the finest reputations.

In all the business dealings I've had with these three firms, each has made some errors; mostly with sending the wrong item. However, it's their basic honesty up front, rareness of occurrence in making mistakes, and handling of the error afterward that keeps me a repeat customer.

-- John
- John A. Lind

See John's Premium BetterPholio™

ANSWER 3:
Alison,
Here are some other sites that I found off the internet that were rated in the top ten places for photograph equipment:

Photoalley.com
aaacamera.com
wolfcamera.com
appleelectronics.com

Not to mention that this very site sells equipment if you haven't looked here already. Good luck.
- Nicole Daniel

ANSWER 4:
You guys rock! Thanks for the great advice. Hope I can help you out one day.
- Alison F. Carlino

Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=5922

Answer this question:
http://www.betterphoto.com/QnAredirect.asp?threadID=5922

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*****


NEW QUESTION 5: Grainy Photos
I have been using the Minolta Maxxum QTsi 35mm and love it (used almost exclusively for taking photos of my 2 year old). However, the last 3 rolls of film I have had developed have come out really grainy. I am using 800 film and the developer is fantastic. The camera has always taken fabulous, sharp, bright shots. WHAT IS GOING ON???? Please help!
- Sarah

ANSWER 1:
Sarah,

Look at your negatives. Are they underexposed? If you don't know how to tell, ask your photo developer if the negatives look underexposed. That is one major cause of grainy pictures.

800 speed film is also not going to have nearly as fine grain as 100 speed film. Usually faster film (with larger film speed numbers) are grainer than slower films. Try shooting with a 100 speed instead of 800 speed film.
- Tim Devick

ANSWER 2:
Thanks for the quick response -- I'll use your suggestions. The developer did tell me the negatives were underexposed. What does that mean?
- Sarah

Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=5917

Answer this question:
http://www.betterphoto.com/QnAredirect.asp?threadID=5917

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*****


NEW QUESTION 6: Choosing a Lens
Hi. In the past, I have bought zoom len's primarily to try and get more for the dollar. I have a basic 28-105, 70-300 and a 20-35 all for Canon. My question is whether a fixed length lens might now be a better choice. For example, is thee a fixed length lens that provides a "feel" closer to a large format camera for landscape shots? Same question for portraits? Thanks!
- Sam R. Jampetro

ANSWER 1:
Sounds as if you know what we'll say. My beef with zooms is that you will nearly always get barrel distortion at the wide end and pincushion distortion at the long end. Resolution is hardly ever as good as with prime lenses. One good use for your zooms is portrait work, where edge distortion will not matter. Besides, no lady sitting for a portrait wants every skin pore in sharp focus, anyway.

For prime lenses for Canon, I'd buy the 50-mm f1.4 and/or 35-mm f2. If you want to spend the money, try the "L" equivalents of these lenses.
- Doug Nelson

Visit DougNelsonPhoto.com - Doug's Deluxe BetterPholio™

ANSWER 2:
Thanks Doug. I'm going to Italy this month and the 50mm sounds like a good choice for both Tuscan landscapes and even Cathedral interiors. Although at >1000 I'll have to pass on the "L" series. Thanks again for the feedback.
- Sam R. Jampetro

ANSWER 3:
I love to travel in just such places. I like a 28-mm for interiors and decent coverage in narrow old world streets. Check out Canon's 28 f2.8, too, OR be sure to take your 20-35, if you're satisfied that it doesn't distort architectural lines. Even the edges of that 28 will distort a tiny bit, maybe imperceptible.
- Doug Nelson

Visit DougNelsonPhoto.com - Doug's Deluxe BetterPholio™

Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=5916

Answer this question:
http://www.betterphoto.com/QnAredirect.asp?threadID=5916

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*****


NEW QUESTION 7: Old Film Usage
I have kodak film, 400 max. I am not sure how long I have had it, perhaps 2 or 3 years. If I use it what are the consequences or is it ok to use. Would the photos numbered higher be better, like does the outside film age faster. Thank you.
- Pat Varley

ANSWER 1:
It all depends on how it has been stored. Refridgerated at 40 F or lower it'll be as good as the day it was sold. Cool and dry it may or may not be ok. Wide temperature swings or high heat and humidity? Throw it away. Or use it for some fun shots that you don't care if they come out or if the color balance has shifted way off. But to use for a wedding/graduation/Junior's first step etc.? No way, film is too cheap to risk losing once in a lifetime memories to an outdated roll.
- Jon Close

Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=5914

Answer this question:
http://www.betterphoto.com/QnAredirect.asp?threadID=5914

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*****


NEW QUESTION 8: Bronica S2A Prisms
Hi
I have a Bronica S2A 6x6 camera and I want to know what prism will fit it.
Will the Prism Finder S fit the camera?
Regards
- Simon Williams

ANSWER 1:
Simon,
**THE** medium format site is Robert Monaghan's. He has a marvelous section of reviews on medium format equipment with basic information about various systems. Bronica is covered extensively:
http://medfmt.8k.com/bronsa.html
http://medfmt.8k.com/bronica.html
http://medfmt.8k.com/bronfaq.html
http://medfmt.8k.com/mf/go1.html#bronicas2
http://medfmt.8k.com/mf/gbronica.html

I believe the Prism Finder S is for the Bronica "SQ" series and will not fit the older Bronica bodies. The Prism Finders "A" "B" and "C" were made for the S/S2/S2A/C/D/EC bodies. The 45 degree "A" replaces the WLF. The small and lightweight "B" bolts onto the top of a WLF using two screws on the sides, and the "C" is similar to the "A" except it's 90 degrees (horizontal).

-- John
- John A. Lind

See John's Premium BetterPholio™

ANSWER 2:
Thanks John
That has been a great help.
- Simon Williams

Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=5909

Answer this question:
http://www.betterphoto.com/QnAredirect.asp?threadID=5909

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*****


NEW QUESTION 9: Camera's Functions
What are all the gadget's on a manual camera and how do I work them?
- Bob M. BUSHELL

ANSWER 1:
Bob, What is the brand and model of your camera? Did it come with an owner's manual? Is there a specific "gadget" you have a question about? Once we know which camera you have, someone may be able to direct you to a site with an online manual or someone may have the same camera and can offer more personal insite.
- Joan W

ANSWER 2:
Bob,
Basic controls found on nearly all manual focus 35mm SLR's:

On lens:
(a) Lens aperture ring showing f-stops (controls how much light the lens lets through)
(b) Focusing ring

On body:
(a) Film advance lever
(b) Rewind release button or switch (releases film advance sprockets so film can be rewound)
(c) Film rewind knob (often also used to open camera back)
(d) Shutter speed dial (controls how long the shutter stays open)
(e) Film speed dial almost always marked in ASA/ISO, but may have DIN equivalent numbers (to bias camera's metering to film speed being used).
(f) On/off/mode switch; allows switching between manual/auto/program exposure. Some allow switching off the metering entirely; others will simply shut down to a very low power "idle" mode. It may or may not have a "program" mode that selects both shutter and lens aperture(which I don't use anyway). If there is an "auto exposure" mode, whether it is aperture or shutter priority depends on camera model (you set one and the camera sets the other).

Sometimes on lens or body:
(a) Depth of field preview button/switch and location depends on camera design; some have this on the lens, some have it on the body, and some do not have a DOF preview feature. This stops the lens down to its aperture setting so you can get an idea about the image's depth of field (what will be in/out of focus).
(b) Lens release button that allows dismounting of lens.

You need to find an owner's manual for your specific camera. Even though I've handled many cameras and can pick up nearly any manual wind/focus/exposure SLR and at least load film into it and operate it, there are always things in the manaul that are not necessarily that obvious about special markings and settings. The manual often has some tips and tricks for using your camera more efficiently and effectively. One manual I have for a 50 year old rangefinder shows how to use its *knob* winder very quickly to advance to the next frame, and I would have never guessed how to do this on my own.

-- John
- John A. Lind

See John's Premium BetterPholio™

Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=5908

Answer this question:
http://www.betterphoto.com/QnAredirect.asp?threadID=5908

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*****


NEW QUESTION 10: Settings for Indoor and Nightime Digital Shooting
I am shooting rodeo events. They are mostly at night with bad outdoor arena lighting or indoors in bad arena lighting. I have a Canon D30 and a Canon EOS 1D. I have been trying different settings but am still having big problems with blur and out of focus issues.

Using: Canon 70-200mm f2.8 af usm lens
tripod
40x speed media card
Canon 550 Speedlite w/Quantum
battery.
It has been recommended for me to set the setting to M and set the aperture and shutter speed myself as long as the lighting is consistent. Can anyone recommend some setting combinations to try? Thanks in advance!

The pics I have included have not been edited.
- Julie Ray

See Sample Photo - IMG_6400:
http://www.betterphoto.com/gallery/dynoGallDetail.asp?photoID=124981

See Sample Photo - IMG_6378:
http://www.betterphoto.com/gallery/dynoGallDetail.asp?photoID=124980

See Sample Photo - IMG_2330:
http://www.betterphoto.com/gallery/dynoGallDetail.asp?photoID=124979

ANSWER 1:
Can you give us the shooting data of those photos so we can work something out for you?

For the first photo, basically you want to freeze the horse in mid air and blur the background. So a fast shutter speed and wide aperture combination works. But watch out for the maximum flash sync speed. The D30 and 1D has 1/200 and 1/500 max syn speed respectively. You would not want to set the shutter speed faster than the max sync speed.

For the second and third photos, you may try the technique called "panning". Your camera follows the subject and blur the background with motion. You need a slow shutter speed this time, say, 1/60, 1/30 or even 1/15 of a second AND SET YOUR FLASH IN 2nd CURTAIN SYNC MODE. This needs some practice but it is not too hard. An Image Stablizing Lens would be a greap help.

Hope this helps.
- Andy Szeto

ANSWER 2:
Okay , the Exif info on the picture files is as follows: 1) Jumping pic.
-1/160 sec shutter
-F2.8
-AV setting (aperature priority)
-1EV -800iso -200mm
-247.07mm
-Ettl flash

2) middle pic.
-1/30sec shutter -800iso
-165mm -203.83mm
-Aperature priority

3)last pic
-1/30 -f3.2 -800iso
-108mm -103.42mm
-shutter priority

Thanks so much for the immediate response, I am desperate and won't have time to take a class till later this year. I got my horse before my camera in my new business!

thanks again!
- Julie Ray

ANSWER 3:
If I interpret the data correctly from the first photo, you have already max out the ISO and aperture setting (ISO 800 and f2.8) and still did not get a shutter speed fast enough (1/250 or 1/500, the max sync speed since you are using a flash, depending on the camera you use) to freeze the action. The other option will be the same as photo 2 and 3, panning.

If the exposure for all three photos are the same, max speed 1/160 (let's use 1/125), max aperture f2.8 and ISO 800, we have something to work on.

Set your D30 or 1D's focusing mode to Al Servo AF (aren't you glad you have the EOS system?). This will allow you to focus, lock and track the subject (consult your camera's manual if you do not know how to use this mode). If I remember correctly, only the center focusing point is used in this mode and you will not see the square light up when it achieves focus.

Press the shutter half way to focus and keep the shutter pressed half way when you are tracking the subject. Press the shutter fully when you are ready to take the picture.

Here's the setting I will use:

Focusing Mode: Al Servo AF
Exposure Mode: M (Manual)
Shutter Speed: 1/30
Aperture: f2.8
ISO: 200

Try a few times and see if this helps.
- Andy Szeto

ANSWER 4:
Andy,

I currently shoot in Al Servo and the ISO goes much higher than 800. The 1D can go to a ISO of 1600 and is expandable to 3200 and the shutter speed range is 1/16000 to 30 sec.

I have been looking at my manual and it talks about the lower settings leaving a light trail behind the subject in 2nd curtian sync. I have my flash on ettl as recommended for it to communicate with the lens and camera. I dont remember the square lighting up when I use the above mode. But I was thinking the focusing point area was anything that stayed within the 45 point area. My subjects move erratically and change position rapidly going further and coming closer to me depending on how they are doing and which event I am shooting. Also I am am having issues with how I shoot shoot , Raw Tif or large fine jpg, and in which color setting srgb or adobe 98 rgb. It seems like post processing companies use the srgb mode. I just want to help my camera do all it can so in turn, so can I. I have a lot to learn but need to do that as I go. I have several nightime outdoor, events coming up and some daytime ones (is the flash good to use for them or is it not needed?)
I am sorry to ask so many questions, but it is so nice to find someone to actually offer some advice and suggestions.
- Julie Ray

ANSWER 5:
About the Al Servo AF mode, now I have to dig out my 1v manual. It says, "Initial focusing on the subject is performed by the central focusing point alone. Once this is achieved, all 45 focusing points are ready to focus (when the 45-point automatic selection setting is chosen)." So you are right. As long as the subject stays within the 45 focusing points, the camera should track it for you.

I don't have a 1D myself. But everyone recommend to store the data in the RAW/TIFF format for all the details. You can always delete the unwanted data and convert to other format later using PS or the software that came with the camera. Better yet, your 1D can save both RAW and JPEG format at the same time. For color, probably I will stick with the default (I think it's matrix 1) cause you can alter the color later. The other thing is the white balancing. You probably have to set to Tungsten or Fluorescent (or you may not have to because you are using a flash). Because you got the feedback right away, try a couple shot and see what is the best.

For ISO, you want to set it as low as possible, usually no more than 400. I don't know if you can lock in the ISO. If you can, lock it to the one you want. That is why if the indoor is constantly and evenly lit, you can get the exposure reading beforehand and lock all the parameters up. Imaging you are tracking a dark color horse or a white horse. If you do not manually set up those parameters, the exposure may be off.

Second curtain sync will leave a trail of the subject if the subject is moving and your camera is stationary. If you pan with the subject, the background objects (which are stationary) will leave a trail. If you don't want to see any blurry background and trail and you can get very close to the subject (like within 50 feet), you can try to set the camera's shooting mode to Tv (shutter speed priority) and set it to 500, your 1D's max sync speed. Try to concentrate on the subject only and eliminate as much background as possible because it will be very dark. Try different setting and experiment. Good luck.
- Andy Szeto

ANSWER 6:
Andy, It seems like everything I read says that I should set the iso speed higher like over 800. And set the shutter speed at 1/100 or more. Is your advice the same for an outdoor nighttime event with stadium type lights or less?
- Julie Ray

ANSWER 7:
I do not own a digital camera but I heard that the ISO should be kept to a smaller number for print quality issues. By all mean, try the different iso and shutter speed combination to achieve your goal. If one does not work, try another combination. You can see the result immediately. Just give yourself plenty of time before the main event to measure the exposure, shoot a couple test shot and decide what settings to use. And, of course, share your pictures here.

I am not sure how different is the lighting of the rodeo arena and the stadium. Usually the sport events in the stadium are well lit (concerts may be different). Basically the techniques for measuring the exposure are the same. Other experts here may have more experience in shooting sports and they may give you some advices.
- Andy Szeto

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NEW QUESTION 11: What is the Cheapest Way to Set Up a Studio?
I would like to set up a studio but I don't have much money. Have you heard about photo flood light?
Thank you.
- Marta Azevedo

ANSWER 1:
Marta,
"Photo floods" are commonly called "hot lights" or "continuous lighting." They are incandescent lights with a specific color temperature for *tungsten* balanced film (versus daylight film that nearly everyone uses). They're called "hot lights" for good reason; they get hot, and so do those who are being illuminated by them! The light they put out is also **not** the same as daylight and using daylight film with them will produce photographs that look very yellowish. I recommend exploring some alternatives by using some inexpensive flash equipment.

I just had a discussion today with a person at work about setting up a small basement studio for doing portraits of family members. For work where you can put flash fairly close, here is a list of minimal equipment:
2 light stands
2 accessory light stand shoe adapters
(that allow tilting the flash and will also hold umbrella rods)
2 30 - 36 inch "shoot through" white umbrellas
(these are the smaller size)
2 Vivitar 285HV or Sunpak 385 flash units (both are less than $100 each)
1 hot shoe slave
1 15 foot long trigger cord that will plug into one of the flash units

Total cost of this should be about $300 to $400 for new equipment. Bogen (Manfrotto) stands are about $40-$50 each, shoe adapters about $15-$20 each, the flashes are about $70-$90 each, umbrellas are about $15-20 each, and the flash trigger cord is about $20.

The only thing you're missing is a flash meter. You can either get a very inexpensive one for about $70 or do what another friend of mine did . . . calibrate his standard setup by performing an experiment to determine what lens aperture he should use. He measured light-to-subject distances and shot a couple test rolls of film using different lens aperture settings for each power setting on his flash units, and recorded what he used for each frame of film. Then he picked what worked best for each power setting and wrote it on a small card. The only disadvantage is if he decides to do something different with his lights (different distances and/or power levels he did not calibrate).

If you need the flash units to recover for the next photograph faster, you can get AC power adapters for them instead of running them on internal batteries.
- John A. Lind

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ANSWER 2:
Thanks a lot, John. So you don't recommend continous lighting. That's what I tought about yellowish and the heat. I will follow your recommendations.
- Marta Azevedo

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NEW QUESTION 12: Shooting Interiors with Natural Light
My girlfriend, a designer, has asked me to shoot several bars and clubs for her folio. I have tried with very mixed results. Some of the images look very grey. What film and/or flash techniques should I use to prevent badly exposed images that capture the available light? I have a Nikon N90 and SB25 flash.
- Matt

ANSWER 1:
If you haven't tried, you might check the bookshelves of camera stores in your area that cater to professional photographers. "How-to" books on specific subjects such as shooting interiors will frequently show an image, then present diagrams that show how many lights were used to create the seemingly natural looking result.
This intro tips you off to something: those photos of interiors that grace portfolios and interior design magazines are often taken with four or more light sources, flash or tungsten, and those lights are frequently bounced off of white ceilings, mounted in softboxes, sometimes with louvres on them, controlled with barn doors, top hats (also called snoots) or other light control devices, and, in the case of flash, triggered with radio slaves or optical slaves.
The photographer frequently takes numerous readings of the flash and ambient light, and has to spend time carefully positioning lights to avoid unwanted reflections off of mirrors, windows, chrome, and varnished or polyurethaned wood.

This is one tall order, made more challenging by the kind of lighting that is found in bars and clubs.
You may find yourself renting additional lights, flash or tungsten, renting a flash meter if you choose that type of light, and parking your camera on a tripod. Frequently the photographer will use the available room lighting along with his supplemental lighting: this often requires him/her to use a slow shutter speed.

It may seem odd that you have to use so much lighting equipment to achieve a seemingly natural look, but you'll probably be surprised if you try it this way. Perhaps you can "practice" with three, four, or even more lights on a room in your house, adding lights one at a time, aiming them different ways, and modifying the lights with louvres, barn doors, by bouncing the light off of white ceilings, etc. This is an empirical (trial and error) approach, but you'll see the effects with your own eyes as you add and modify lights.

Photographing interiors can be more challenging than many people imagine, and setting up that lighting equipment, and aiming it, can be more time consuming than you anticipated. Is your girlfriend willing to help you haul and set up that equipment?

Perhaps these comments may help you both acquire a sense of how involved this process is. You may see it either as a can of worms, or an adventure. I tend toward the latter...
- Maynard McKillen

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PHOTOGRAPHY Q&A - CONTINUING FROM PREVIOUS NEWSLETTER
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

CONTINUING QUESTION 1: What Printer Settings to Use?
I just got a response from Canon regarding which printer settings should be used when using the Canon S800 and Kodak Ultima Phot Paper (either glossy or satin finish.) Canon indicated that Kodak recommended the "plain paper" setting and the slider adjustment to "fine."

This makes little sense to me - although I'm willing to try it. Does anyone have any other suggestions?
- John Sandstedt

ANSWER 1:
I'm no expert and have not used that printer or paper. The makers arrive at these recommendations, I'm told, by taking into consideration the ink droplet size and properties of different papers. You might want to try other combinations. Also, try to find a Shutterbug magazine review of your printer for some papers the reviewer liked.
- Doug Nelson

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ANSWER 2:
Thanx, Doug.

I just started a subscription to Shutterbug - but, I'll check the web site. Also, got an e-mail from Kodak confirming use of the plain paper setting.
- John Sandstedt

ANSWER 3:
I hope you haven't purchase the Kodak paper yet. Beside the Canon Photo Paper Pro, that's the only paper I tried. I have a Canon S9000 and the ink and this Kodak Ultima paper DO NOT go well together. I just stick with the Canon paper and the prints are so good. Also the Canon paper is a little bit cheaper than the Kodak paper. If someone has a different result, I would like to know.
- Andy Szeto

ANSWER 4:
I've used a lot of different papers in addition to Canon's. For Christmas Cards, I had success with HP Cards [half fold]. These are glossy on one side and flat [matte] on the other. Good to great results.

This prompted me to try HP one side good, one side matte for 2003 calendars. Again - good to great results relative to the purpose. That is, being able to write notes or appointments, etc.

Then, I went to HP "top of the line" paper and had horrible results. That's what prompted me to Kodak papers. Until I heard from Kodak, I had mixed results - couldn't control anything. Kodak recommended the plain paper setting at fine. In the first attempt with Ultima Satin, I was pleased but not totally ecstatic. Obviously, some fine tuning will be required. I also tried the glossy/fine setting - this was terrible.

Since I still have several HP sheets, I think I'll play with the plain paper/fine setting here also.

It's interesting that you suggest that Canon paper is cheaper. I can get 75 sheets of Kodak Ultima glossy or satin for about $25.00. [J's, Price Club.] Canon PhotoPro - 15 sheets for about $14.00 [Staples, Canon e-Store.]

I agree that the results with PhotoPro are great. I'm less enthralled with Canon glossy. But, my interest remains in the different effects possible if we can utilize different papers. I'd like to think that we might be able to approach the variations possible when one goes into the wet darkroom to work with the various papers that are available.

Andy, thanks for your response.
- John Sandstedt

ANSWER 5:
When I got the pritner, I thought the Canon paper will be expensive and Kodak advertised their paper is the best. I thought all photo papers are the same. So I bought 2 twenty-sheet packs of 4x6" from J&R for about $9 each. The result was terrible. Then I got the 4x6" Canon Photo Pro twenty-sheet pack from B&H for $6.95 each (the Kodak Ultima from B&H is $7.95 each). I also got the 13x19" from Best Buy for $25 (10 sheets) but B&H listed for $19.50. I wonder if any one try the Ultima paper on other printer with great result!
- Andy Szeto

ANSWER 6:
I tried the Ultima on my Epson 820 stylus. I first tried it printing two color pictures. I thought it was the most amazing paper in the world. I've used Epson's high quality glossy paper, which is great, and they're regular glossy paper which is as good as Staples brand glossy paper- you get prints that are good enough for anything not really important. But the Kodak was so real and brilliant- and for once the color was exactly the same as what I saw onscreen.

So then I tried printing Black and White. I don't know what the hell was going on. It looked like the ink splattered all over. I thought there was a problem with the nozzles, so I checked and cleaned them and decided to test on the cheaper Staples paper and everything came out fine. So I put the Ultima in right away to make a second print (just thumbnails) and it was the same thing. I don't really understand it, because ink is ink, but somehow it doesn't take to black ink very well.
But color is beautiful! Make sure you edit the marks from your photos well, because it picks up everything.
- Sreedevi Swaminathan

ANSWER 7:
I have tried the glossy Ultima with a Lexmark Z65 printer and gotten great results. Have sold a lot of photos on this paper. We'll have to see how long they last though.
- Connie

ANSWER 8:
Ilford papers have been rated very highly in tests. Give them a try - a variety of surfaces and sizes.
- roger christian

ANSWER 9:
Every printer manufacturer is creating special ink and paper coatings to maximize image quality and longevity under regular lighting condition (hanging on the wall under glass), So mixing paper from other manufactures than your printer may work but your image longevity will be compromised. It will probably fade quicker than on proper paper. And in stead 40 years you will get only 2.
Check this site for fading info: http://www.wilhelm-research.com/
- Artur

ANSWER 10:
John,
I have the Canon s900 and use Epson papers with it. I'm very pleased with the results... I mainly use the heavy weight matte paper and premium glossy. With the matte I set it the paper to "matte photo" and usually check the vivid color box on the effects tab, this gives me great color. For premium glossy I set paper setting to "Photo paper plus glossy" and get great results. I had this huge stock of Epson paper from my previous Epson photo printer (which had never ending printhead problems) and experimented with settings, the ones above are my favorites. There's a great wealth of info at Yahoo groups... just search for a group about Canon printers and you'll find the one I'm talking about. I learned a lot there. Good Luck!
- Amie Kyte

ANSWER 11:
We have a Canon S600 and, after trying other printers and other paper, will only use Paper Pro. We also found that Canon software prints our photos in the best quality. PhotoRecord prints borderless 4x6 prints just great. Price is not our problem, finding it in stock is. So we stock up when we find it in our local stores.
- Eileen Haines

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