The weekly newsletter on the art of photography from
Monday, December 27, 2010
Featured Gallery
Welcome Note
This Week's Tip
Updates From BetterPhoto
Q&A 1: Equipment Protect...
Q&A 2: Noise with point ...

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Re-Visiting Old Pictures
Digital photography has allowed us to re-visit - and improve upon - our previous work. Digital photography has allowed us to re-visit - and improve on - our previous work. BetterPhoto, instructor Jim Zuckerman loves reaching back into his files - often long-ago film images - to give them new digital life. Check out his techniques and awesome image that he re-energized.

Featured Gallery
"Winter's Glory"
© - Christine Pentecost

Welcome to the 505th issue of SnapShot!

We hope you are having an awesome holiday season and are looking ahead to 2011 with a positive energy and an artistic spirit. At BetterPhoto, we sure are! And we're having a blast creating new products to meet the demands of our members. You want self-paced courses at a great value? We heard you! ... In fact, we are just about to roll out our first "starter" course - one that's designed to inspire and motivate you, and to help you in your quest to start making memorable photographs rather than forgettable snapshots. And Jim Miotke is recording videos to add extra value to this fantastic course. ... Stay tuned for more details. ... That's it for now. Have a great week, and best wishes for an outstanding 2011! Kerry Drager Newsletter Editor Where is Jim Miotke? Follow BetterPhoto's founder and president on Twitter - BetterPhotoJim

Jim Miotke
Where Is Jim?

Updates From BetterPhoto

Our online courses are by far the best way to hone your photographic skills - you'll love the direct interaction with master photographers, the personal feedback, and the flexible method of instruction. We have 4-week courses and 8-week classes that are designed to get you up and running with your new digital camera. School begins Jan. 5th, but enroll now and get started with an early lesson. A lot of photographers put their cameras away when it rains. But you can get great photos in wet weather. BetterPhoto instructor Rob Sheppard shares his thoughts, plus provides some great ways to keep camera gear dry.

Photo Q&A

1: Equipment Protection from Sand
I'm planning a 9-day trip to Egypt. I'm using the Canon 7D which is dust-resistant (according to their web site). My lenses will be a Tamron 18-270 and a Sigma 10-20. I'm concerned about sand getting into the lens focus and zoom rings. What accessory should I obtain to help protect and/or minimize sand getting into my equipment?
- Roger S. Moore
Hi Roger,
I dont know how well sealed the 2 lenses you mentioned are as I shoot with L glass and I dont have dust problems even with my 100-400mm (which has been labeled as a dust magnet because of its push-pull zoom) but if I get caught in a rain or dust storm, take out a plastic grocery bag from your camera pack and place the camera/lens inside the bag until you are ready to shoot. If you are in a dust-storm, I dont know that you would want to be shooting in it anyway and its good to have a plan for these type incidents but I doubt that you will have much of a problem.
The greatest risk occurs when changing lenses so find a place inside of a building or use a jacket/blanket to create a tent-like barrier to make the swap when needed. The best thing is to keep your lens changes minimal. Use the same care when replacing the battery or CF card as anytime you open a compartment, you are creating an opportunity for dust to get in to those places.
Carry a Giotto air blower just in case you need to blow a little dust out but NEVER use compressed air as this can be very damaging. The 7D has the self cleaning sensor that works very well but if you see a few spots, wait til you back in you hotel room or someplace inside that is dust-free and well lit and follow your manual instructions for cleaning the sensor and use the air blower for the sensor and lenses.

1 more tidbit - many places do not allow tripods but a trick I learned from Jim Zuckerman is to take the ballhead off the tripod and set it on a floor or table with the camera attached and use a remote shutter release. This will allow you to get some of the shots that require slower shutter speeds or more DOF.

Here is a photo I took during a heavy downpour hiking through Oregon. Both the camera & Canon 17-40mm f/4L lens were completely soaked and I let them both air dry for 2 days and then removed the lens, removed the battery & the CF card and cleaned them up and they all work perfectly. If I had opened them up sooner, I may have enabled the CF card & Battery contacts to short.

Have fun & take some great photos.

- Carlton WardSee Sample Photo - opalcreek2 010

I would suggest some type of clear plastic rain hood, which doubles as a sand/dust guard.
I used one during a blustery day along the beach at Nags Head and it worked great!
Ewa Marine has many sizes, styles and price ranges from which to choose.
- Bob Cammarata
Also take a small paint brush to clean the outside of the lens and the camera body.
- Gregory La Grange
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2: Noise with point and shoot cameras
I've had digital SLRs for years, and I'm used to having fairly crisp pictures with little digital noise. Recently I bought a highly rated digital point-and-shoot, a Panasonic Lumix. The images have so much noise. My daughters both have point-and-shoot digital cameras as well, and the images look the same regardless of the resolution.
I wanted a small camera to keep in my purse instead of always lugging my massive camera around. Is this just a matter of the sensor? Is there any way to get a compact digital camera that takes crisp pictures?
Any help would be much appreciated.
- Margot P.
My little guy is a Lumix. I find that when I put it on IA mode, the exposure and white balance are usually right on the money, but there's default sharpening and "noise reduction" going on that affect image quality. I deal with it by shooting at the lowest ISO that will do the job, and if the image is a "keeper", I shoot Raw. Sharpen in your imaging program as a last step. The physics of the tiny sensor-big image situation impose some compromises, noise being one of them. Some newer cameras from Samsung, Sony and others use the APS-C sensor of most DSLRs, an exciting prospect for those of us needing a compact camera AND better image quality. The images in my Mallorca gallery were shot entirely with a Lumix LZ 28. They don't hold up to extreme pixel peeping, but I was pleasantly surprised at how good they are, less surprised by how they fall short of images from my Pentax DSLR.
- Doug Nelson
Hi Margot,
The bigger the sensor, the better the noise :) I noticed a big difference between my Canon 40D (APS-C)_ and my 5D Mark II (full frame).
The technology is rapidly improving with digital noise and I dont think it will be long before a P&S has acceptable noise capability.
Doug, I noticed an image in your gallery of Colmar, France :) Colmar is beautiful and so picturesque.
- Carlton Ward
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