New Camera..... wondering about settings.

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New Camera..... wondering about settings.

Postby bronzzhorse » May 23, 2011 10:52 pm

I just bought the newest FijiFilm FinePix S2940. 18X Zoom, f=5.0-90.0mm 1:3.1 - 5.6. :big grin: :big grin: Full Manual mode, with fully adjustable Appeture, Shutter Speed, Flash Intensity and Length. In short, I can pretty much change the settings for EVERYTHING.....I am wondering if anyone can tell me some good "staring point" settings for cave Photography. I have a pretty good grasp on Lighting, lack OF lighting, "light painting" techniques, time exposures and such, so really I'm just looking for actual CAMERA setting recomendations. Anyone??
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Re: New Camera..... wondering about settings.

Postby NZcaver » May 24, 2011 12:08 am

Depends on your normal method of lighting. Built in flash, external flash, headlamp...?

Auto should do OK unless you are triggering external flashguns using slave units. Then I'd try ISO 200-400 at 1/60 and start about f5 with the matching auto settings on your flashgun (if you have that option). For anything lit with a headlamp, suggest using slow shutter speeds with a tripod (even a mini one will work) and self timer to avoid bumping the camera when you trigger it.

If possible, take an intro photo class or go caving with an experienced and patient cave photographer.
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Re: New Camera..... wondering about settings.

Postby self-deleted_user » May 24, 2011 12:09 am

Really...just try things out.

ISO set lower is good, so dark areas won't be too grainy. Usually keeping it to 200 ISO or 400 at most is a good idea.

Remember with f/stop you loose dof with lower f/stop so depending on the type of photo you are taking, would determine your f/stop. Lighting up/lightpainting a huge room you'll want a higher f/stop so it's all in focus (most likely) but closeups you might want/be fine with a shorter dof so a lower f/stop then sort of thing.

Obviously for lightpainting, you need to leave the shutter open longer. how long? depends on how much you are painting. Quick sweeps with a bright light might need a few seconds. Painting a room the size of a stadium would obviously take a lot longer.

Play with your lights and play with techniques and just kinda figure it out is my best help....takes practice, basically. I'd keep the ISO pretty set at 200 or 400, choose f/stop based on the type of photo you are going for, and then from that determine the shutter speed needed for the technique you are using.
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Re: New Camera..... wondering about settings.

Postby pub » May 24, 2011 11:02 pm

Congrats Josh! My first cave-cam was a similar long-zoom, small-sensor, bridge camera with full manual settings. It has served me well for years! At first, I didn’t think the super zoom would be useful in-cave but found it does the job for things far away. You can zoom to things you wish you were closer to like the owl on a ledge 10 meters up or that you wanna stay far away from like the Cobra perched up a chamber wall or the pit-viper that’s in your path.

My first suggestion was to set the focus also to manual but it seems the S2940 doesn’t have that feature. So I’d choose the Center AF mode and use a strong light to help it focus.

I would stay with the base ISO, which is 100 in your case, to keep the digital noise at its lowest. Most small sensor cams start introducing noticeable noise above its base ISO. Try the higher ISO and see if the noise is acceptable to you; I rarely shoot above the base ISO.

Since you have a good understanding of exposure, the rest is the good ole trial & error method. If you’re in the twilight zone set the cam to Program mode to see what exposure settings it suggests then use one of those as a starting setting in Manual mode.

A limitation I see is the S2940’s minimum shutter speed of 8 seconds but you can compensate with brighter light sources.

A non-setting tip is to get a diffuser for the on-cam flash to soften shadows of the subjects and to minimize/eliminate the shadow caused by the lens barrel during macro shots.

bronzzhorse wrote:Full Manual mode, with fully adjustable … Flash Intensity and Length.
How can you adjust the flash length?
Good luck, hope you’ll post your shots! :banana_yay:
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Re: New Camera..... wondering about settings.

Postby bronzzhorse » May 25, 2011 11:01 am

pub wrote:
bronzzhorse wrote:Full Manual mode, with fully adjustable … Flash Intensity and Length.
How can you adjust the flash length?
Good luck, hope you’ll post your shots! :banana_yay:


In the main menu, I have "Flash Settings"...."+3/3, +2/3, +1/3, +/-0, -1/3, -2/3, -3/3"
According to the online manual, the first number is the actual number of flash firings per shot, and the second number is the actual intensity of the flash...... After toying around with it a little, this seems to be pretty well correct, though i wouldnt stake my life on that.

NZCaver wrote:Depends on your normal method of lighting. Built in flash, external flash, headlamp...?

I usually try to stay away from the built in flash.... it just seemed to always be WAY too much where it ISN'T needed, and nowhere NEARLY enough where it IS needed..... However, with this new camera, I really can't say if I will continue to stay away from the onboard flash......Normally, I try to use my headlamp and "light-paint" as much as possible.
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Re: New Camera..... wondering about settings.

Postby pub » May 26, 2011 5:54 pm

bronzzhorse wrote:In the main menu, I have "Flash Settings"...."+3/3, +2/3, +1/3, +/-0, -1/3, -2/3, -3/3" According to the online manual, the first number is the actual number of flash firings per shot, and the second number is the actual intensity of the flash......
I don’t think that’s correct Josh. It’s hard to imagine 3 flashes for one shot with an on-cam flash, maybe 2 if it has a pre-flash.

Apparently, your flash can be adjusted +/-1 EV in 1/3 increments.
Finepix S2900 Series Owner’s Manual, Pg. 82 wrote:Adjust flash brightness. Choose from values between +2/3 EV and -2/3EV. The default setting is +/-0.
Balincaguin comes from the Zambal phrase, "Bali lan caguing" meaning "house of bats."
This was the former name of the Municipality of Mabini, Pangasinan, when it was part of the Province of Zambales (of Mt. Pinatubo Volcano fame).
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Re: New Camera..... wondering about settings.

Postby bronzzhorse » May 27, 2011 10:50 am

I stand corrected.... thanks!!!!
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Re: New Camera..... wondering about settings.

Postby captnemo » May 27, 2011 3:34 pm

Have you read Daves page on cave photography- give you some good starting out info
http://www.goodearthgraphics.com/showcave/photo.html
Does you camera have shutter priority and aperture priority modes? (these are marked Tv and Av usually on Canon cameras, S or A on Nikon, not sure about fuji.)
Using these you only have to adjust the shutter speed, or aperture and the camera's software provides the other settings. This can give you a quick starting point.
i.e. you want to capture action/fast moving water, you put the shutter at 1/200 and the camera suggests an aperture of 5 and iso of 1200, then you can switch to manual and decide to go up or down from there with the aperture and iso and of course don't be afraid to experiment. Just cause the camera says your exposures wrong if you like the image who cares :)
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Re: New Camera..... wondering about settings.

Postby bronzzhorse » May 28, 2011 10:25 am

captnemo wrote: Have you read Daves page on cave photography- give you some good starting out info.

No, I hadn't, but thank you for the link... VERY informative page!!!

captnemo wrote: Does you camera have shutter priority and aperture priority modes? (these are marked Tv and Av usually on Canon cameras, S or A on Nikon, not sure about fuji.)

Yes, I have "Custom" mode, Shutter Priority Mode, Aperture Priority Mode, Manual Mode, Program Mode, Scene Recognition Auto Mode, Scene Program Mode, Auto Mode, and Panorama Mode, as well as Video Mode (which I really don't forsee myself EVER using. I have a Video Camera for that.)

Just out of curiosity, on a scale of 1-10, how would you guys (and gals) rate the Fuji, amongst Mid-Range cameras? I feel like I got a nice camera, but I'm looking at some others that I am SURE would blow this one out of the water! (like the new EOS.... OMG, It is SWEET!!!!
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Re: New Camera..... wondering about settings.

Postby captnemo » May 28, 2011 1:27 pm

The only listing on dpreview (I highly recommend checking out cameras there) I see is for the FijiFilm FinePix S2990 or 2950 which seems to be the same specs as the s2940 listed elsewhere, strange?
Anyway it looks like a great camera- good lens should get good results, only reason I wouldn't use it for cave photography is no support for external flash but with optical slaves or light painting should still be fine.
Go out and take some pics so we can see the results :)
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Re: New Camera..... wondering about settings.

Postby bronzzhorse » May 28, 2011 8:30 pm

captnemo wrote:The only listing on dpreview (I highly recommend checking out cameras there) I see is for the FijiFilm FinePix S2990 or 2950 which seems to be the same specs as the s2940 listed elsewhere, strange?

The 2940 was made exclusively for walmart.... on the bottom of the camera itself it is labeled as the S2940WM.... I'm sure we can only GUESS at who's name the WM stands for...lol... btw.. thanks for the link.
captnemo wrote:Go out and take some pics so we can see the results :)

I'm ALL OVER IT!! lol.... as soon as I can get some of my caving buddies (all but a few, who are just too dang busy to go, but would in a heartbeat, if not for their work) to stop whining about the heat outside. I keep telling them "It will only be hot till we get TO the cave.... after that, you'll be wishing it were WARMER". :argue: Gessshhhh ... Some people....lol.... holding up progress! lol.
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Re: New Camera..... wondering about settings.

Postby bronzzhorse » May 29, 2011 3:53 pm

Well I made it out for a short trip today.... snapped a few photos..... Mostly we just toyed around with shutter speeds and ISO settings.....didnt want to overwhelm myself with setting lessons on the first trip.....Hope you all like them!!! Believe me, it WILL get better!!! I really think some good cave photography is something I can get deeper into...no pun intended :grin:

This is The Wax Wall....its about 20 feet x 15 feet of beautiful flowstone.
Image

Same Flowstone, from slightly farther away.
Image

.......And from below.
Image

Rimstone, no flash, lit from side with my headlamp with Light Difuser on to soften light a little.
Image

Don Beach in front of Wax Wall, lit with my headlamp from the side. Headlamp had Light Difuser on.
Image

Me in front of Wax Wall, lit from side by Don's headlamp, on Wide Beam.
Image

Same lighting, same me, same place, just different pose.....lol.....
Image
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Re: New Camera..... wondering about settings.

Postby self-deleted_user » May 30, 2011 6:36 pm

Nice photos!
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Re: New Camera..... wondering about settings.

Postby bronzzhorse » May 30, 2011 9:50 pm

Went on another short trip today..... snapped a very few pics....oddly, I used the same settings and techniques that I used the other day, that gave me such good results, and they didnt come out nearly as well. The only difference is, I stopped today and picked up a 3 in 1,Triple LED tri-pod light.....This....http://www.amazon.com/Stanley-95-155-Tripod-LED-Flashlight/dp/B001DV7PBW and used it/them as offset lighting. It is very "yellow" colored light....... maybe the yellow coloring made all the difference.
....Anyways....here they are....
Image
Image
Image
Image
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Re: New Camera..... wondering about settings.

Postby NZcaver » May 30, 2011 10:07 pm

Good effort. Reasonably crisp focus in most shots, and nice definition with the side lighting. Looks much nicer than the average point-and-shoot caver snaps.

You could try a few more light sources from different angles to fill some of the larger shadow areas, and maybe try back-lighting too. Steal LED headlamps from your friends and keep practicing! :wtg:
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