Effective use of Flash

As with any other technology knowing how it works behind the scenes and what your options are can help in better utilizing it for your advantage. Flash photography has been around for more than a hundred years. It started with a dangerous and manually controlled technology that used a powder that was lit by either fire or electrical current. These flash solutions were both dangerous and hard to use since the flash was not automatically synchronized to the camera’s shutter. Modern flash units use an electronic flash tube that is synchronized with the camera’s shutter. When turning the flash on the photographer does not need to worry about flash timing – the camera takes care of it automatically.

There are two types of flash units: Internal and External. The internal flash unit is built-in to your camera. It can be controlled through the camera’s menus. Some low end cameras only allow the use of their built-in units. Some low end cameras and all high end cameras also allow the attachment of an external flash unit. External flash units are either attached to the camera’s body through a dedicated slide-in slot or are connected to the camera using a cable. They vary in strength – how much light can they generate for how long – and in mechanical characteristics – can they be tilted or skewed or are they fixed in relation to the camera’s body. Regardless of the connection type external flash units are electronically connected to the camera and are synchronized with the shutter.

When setting your flash unit to automatic mode the camera fires the flash in scenarios where not enough light is available. Many times the camera will make a wrong judgment and will either fire or not fire the flash when the opposite was needed. Also in some scenarios the camera will not be able to tell that firing the flash will actually result in a better photo. One problem when using a flash is washed out photos. When the flash is too strong or the object is too close to the camera the result is a washed out photo there are not enough details and the object appears to be too white or too bright. Another problem is a photo with too many details: in some scenarios the flash can create artificial shadows and lights which result in a photo that includes details that are exaggerated relative to their appearance in real life. For example when taking a photo of an older person skin wrinkles and imperfections can look much worse than they really are in real life.

It is important to know the limitations of the flash unit. Any flash unit has a certain amount of light that it can generate. Usually this amount can be translated to an effective range for using the flash. When trying to take a photo with the object too far – more than the flash unit range – the object will appear dark. When trying to take a photo with the object too close to the camera the object will be washed out or too white. It is important to know your flash range and make sure that your object is within that range.

If you need to take a photo with your objects not within your flash unit range it is better to turn off the flash completely and use a tripod with long exposure. Using the flash in such scenarios can fool the camera into setting a high shutter speed which results in a photo darker than a photo taken without using the flash at all.

In some scenarios the camera will not automatically fire the flash although using the flash would have resulted in a much better photo. One such scenario is taking a photo during day time when the object is shadowed. For example if the object is wearing a hat the hat can block the light from the object’s face or when the object is lit from the side the object’s nose can block the light creating a shadow. In such scenarios the flash unit can be set to “fill in” mode. The flash will be fired to fill-in those shadowed areas but it will not be fired strong enough to wash out the photo.

Another scenario is when the sun is behind the object. One example is taking a photo on the beach against a sunset. If taken without a fill-in flash the result will most likely be a silhouette of the object. If taken with a fill-in flash and the object in range the result will be a clear photo of the object against a sunset.

Think About When Buying Camera Bags

When you start shopping for camera bags, the first thing you will notice is how many of them you have to choose from. It can be downright overwhelming, but the more you look the more you will see that you can narrow your options just by size and shape and type. There are going to be some bags that just aren’t attractive to your sense of style.

A shoulder bag is one of the most common types of camera bags on the market today. These are those bags that are attached to strap and then worn on the shoulder. This is a great type of bag if you want to be able to access your equipment relatively quickly because it’s all right there where you can reach in just a moments notice. If you have a larger camera, you may find that a shoulder bag gets big and bulky pretty quickly, so you need to determine whether or not this is right for you and the type of photography you are involved in and how much you will be moving.

Camera backpacks are also very popular. These are backpacks that are developed with the camera in mind so that there is plenty of padding to protect your camera no matter where you go. This is a great option if you have a larger SLR camera or something of the sort, because you won’t have to worry about a bulky bag swinging and hanging form your shoulder. You won’t be able to access your camera quite as quickly, but if you’re not in an urban setting, you may not need to have quick access to the camera, making this an ideal bag for you.

When shopping for camera bags, you might want to look into lens bags. These are bags that are meant specifically for the extra lenses that you may purchase for your camera. If you don’t have extra lenses, you obviously won’t need to make this purchase, but if you do have extra lenses you may find that these bags are just what you need to protect your investments while also ensuring that you can keep all of your photography components organized.

Wildlife Scouting Cameras

After a couple of years of using the camera I was very disappointed. The camera worked fine and we had many pictures of deer, but they were the same does and spike bucks that I was seeing during the day. Something must be wrong; I knew that there had to be big bucks stalking the hillsides at night. After all, everyone always said “you know there is a big one in there somewhere”.

After many rolls of film and an equal number of anxious trips to retrieve developed pictures, I came to realize that there simply were not any mystical trophy bucks roaming our property.

This scouting camera was the proof that I needed to convince myself that the problem was not nocturnal deer but it was actually a deer management problem.

In the eight years since that initial camera purchase I have gotten pictures of bucks that I had not seen, but this wasn’t until after I had implemented a quality deer management plan on our property. One thing is certain, if mature bucks are not on your property you will not get a picture of them and you will definitely not see them.

You can use your scouting camera pictures to get approximate buck to doe ratios simply by observing the ratios that are in the pictures. Also it is easier to estimate the quality of the bucks on your property once you have a picture that you can study. You will also get pictures of the other wildlife that make their homes on your property.

With a scouting camera you can practically perform 24 hour scouting, especially with the new digital scouting cameras. For those of us who work it is difficult to spend a lot of time scouting, but the camera can be your eyes.

A scouting camera cannot find bucks that are not there but they do a real good job of letting you know what is.

Where do you put your scouting camera? This is one of the fun parts of having a scouting camera. Deciding where to put the camera is just like deciding where to hunt.

The easiest way to get pictures of whitetail deer is to have something that attracts them. If you do this, a camera can take a lot of pictures in a short period of time. Be careful of your delay settings on your camera or you could get a lot of pictures of the same deer.

It is interesting to put the camera up at various places such as: well used trails, scrapes, rubs, food plots and minerals licks. I’m sure that you can think of a few places where you would like to know how much deer activity takes place.

Most scouting cameras have the ability to place the date and time on the photograph. This can be very helpful in determining the time of day the deer show up at your particular hotspot. I use it to let me know what time I have to be in the woods in the mornings so that I don’t have to get out of bed any earlier than I have to.

There are a few things that will help ensure that you will not be disappointed with your scouting camera.

Try not to place the camera where it is facing into either the rising or setting sun.

Clear weeds away from the front of the camera so that you do not get pictures of weeds swaying in the breeze.

Do not set your camera up too close or far away from where you expect the deer to travel. A camera set up on a tree within 3 feet of the trail is too close whereas most flashes cannot reach much beyond 30 feet or less.

Fresh batteries! It is very disappointing to find out that you didn’t get many pictures because your batteries have died. Rechargeable batteries are gaining popularity lately; I’m having good success using them with my digital scouting camera.

I advise buying a scouting camera that has a locking device. It would be too easy for someone to walk away with your camera if it is not locked.

I am using a digital scouting camera for the first time this year and highly recommend them. There are many advantages to the digital camera, in particular the capability of viewing your pictures right away.

The exciting part is seeing a picture of a nice buck that you didn’t know was on your property. These pictures help you get out of bed on those cold mornings and make you stay in your stand longer when you get bored. Get yourself a scouting camera and have fun with it.

Benefits of Disposable Cameras

Disposable cameras are called “single-use” or “one-time” cameras. You can get both digital and film disposable cameras. They’re available almost everywhere, from your local camera store to the grocery store. These cameras take all the work, worry and fuss out of picture taking and leave pure enjoyment. The photo quality is often quite good, and the point-and-shoot nature of almost all disposable cameras mean that you can capture those moments that are missed as you fiddle with all the buttons and wires and the 100+ pages of detailed instructions in your expensive camera’s owner’s manual. Additionally, when you point a little plastic camera at someone, the reaction you get will likely be very different; people are disarmed, more casual and open.

There are a wide variety of Disposable Cameras on the market — and many uses for them, too. Most models come with a rear monitor to view images. They are fully automatic, including the flash (if they have one), usually have a self-timer, and occasionally have an image-delete function. Prices for a camera with the capability for 25 or 27 pictures range from $9 to $19. These prices may or may not include processing, which adds around $10. You can get cheaper prices if you buy in wholesale in quantity or buy without a flash. They can be as inexpensive as $2.00 each!

Most models will yield an image of sufficient quality that it can be blown up to an 8 X 10 inch print, but not all. Some models that are under $10 create overexposed flash images when used with the camera’s short flash range (only 4 feet to 8 feet). Another drawback with some of the cheaper models especially is that the viewfinder can be difficult to see through. Typically, even the more expensive versions make you wait between flashes, limiting how many pictures you can take in a given period of time.

Many disposable cameras have a rear monitor that lets you delete the image you just took. However, on most of these, you cannot scroll through the photos you have taken, or use the screen to frame a photo. On some of the less expensive models, the delete function is useless because there is no rear monitor to see what you are deleting.

Both the film disposable camera and the digital disposable camera are convenient and fun, but if you are looking for professional results or a variety of options, stick with the higher end film or digital cameras. And if you shoot photos on a regular basis, it’s cheaper in the long run to purchase a regular, non-disposable camera even if you pay to process the prints.

However, having the option to take a disposable camera with you on a family vacation, work party or wedding can be great. Sometimes you don’t want to take an expensive camera on a trip for fear it will be stolen, you’ll leave it behind, or it might get broken — an alternative solution comes in the form of the less expensive but perfectly serviceable disposable camera. You get the photos you want without the worry you don’t need.

Digital Camera Basics

Howstuffworks.com contains an article by Gurevich, Karim, and Wilson that greatly simplifies an explanation of how digital cameras work. Very simply, they explain that CDs, mp3’s, and DVDs all share the same technology: they convert traditional analog “wave” data into digital data based upon “bits.” In so doing, this radical shift in technology has changed greatly – and forever – how we do things and what has become possible including digital “filmless” cameras. While film cameras depend upon chemical and mechanical processes, digital cameras contain a computer that records images electronically.

In 1994, Kodak and Apple developed and sold the first digital cameras. Today there are hundreds of models to choose from, depending upon the type of pictures you need, the complexity with which you’re comfortable, and what digital camera you can afford. For everyday use, most people prefer a “point and shoot” camera that isn’t complex, takes good quality pictures that can be loaded onto computers or printed for personal use and to send to friends, and is affordable. According to a number of consumer guides and customer reviews, the top ten digital cameras in the low, mid, and high price ranges are:

  • Nikon D300 (high)
  • Canon EOS 5D (high)
  • Canon EOS 40D (high)
  • HP Photosmart M547 (low, great value)
  • FujiFilm Finepix S700 (mid)
  • GE A730 (mid)
  • Nikon D200 (high)
  • Canon EOS Digital Rebel Xsi (high)
  • Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ18 (mid)
  • Canon EOS 30D (high)

The point should be made that what constitutes a “great” digital camera is usually in the eye of the beholder. One person’s “top ten” list is almost certain to differ from another person’s. For example, a digital camera that is making devoted converts is the Casio Exilim series that sells in the mid-level price range, depending upon your digital camera photography needs. On the other end, Digital Camera.com rates the Pentax Optio E-10 as “the worst digital camera ever.”

With all these differing opinions, what’s the best way to buy the digital camera that’s right for you? If you simply want to take personal pictures, choose a digital camera that has at least three megapixels. This will give you good quality pictures at a very affordable price. Remember that the higher the number of megapixels, the better quality your pictures will be, but the digital camera you choose will be more complex and more expensive. Also consider the size and shape of the camera; is it easy for you to carry in your purse or pocket? Finally, be sure your digital camera has at least 256-512 megabites of space on its memory card so you won’t have to buy additional memory cards. Taking all these factors into consideration will help you enjoy capturing treasured memories for years to come.

Wide World of Camera Lenses

Moving on from lenses, we digress a little and jump on directly to the security cameras. The latest security system uses the board cameras. These are mini cameras that have lenses mounted on circuit boards. The small size of these cameras makes them simply apt for use in the security system applications. Sometimes they also use the pin hole lenses that are available in two categories – flat and conical lenses.

The conical lens is used when the security system camera is installed on the ceiling tiles and the flat lens is used when the security camera system uses a thin material such as clothing. Some of these board cameras also use the board lenses for better picture quality. Most of the board cameras operate with an AC adapter or at times using a battery for power supply. However, most of the brand manufacturers suggest the use of good quality adapters for your cameras.

Talking of camera systems, we just cannot afford to forget the canon camera systems. It is one of the leading producers of the most complete single lens reflex camera system in the world. They give you guaranteed products that can take you to a much higher level of photography. They use some exclusive technologies that are unmatched by any other camera manufacturer in the world.

Sometimes these cameras use the teleconverters for the conversion or rather extension of the focal lengths. One of the popular names in this field is the bower that boasts not only of teleconverters but are also leading manufactures of wide angle lenses. The bower lenses come with a high resolution, ultra wide angle and even macro fittings attached. Another important camera system is the telescopic camera system that is used for security as well as some industrial inspections. This system features a powerful monochrome camera and an illuminator mounted on a telescopic pole.

With all these varieties of cameras available, people generally do not prefer fixed lens cameras. Thus, manufacturers have come up with a better solution in the form of the varifocal lenses. As the name suggests, these lenses can be adjusted even after the purchase of the camera. In simple words, these lenses provide the facility of changing the focal length and consequently the magnification of the image.

There is one more historical name that needs to be added to the list and that is the cosina cameras and camera lenses. This company is also accredited with world’s first all-push-button SLR cameras. Then, there is a latest product in the market by the name of Nikon’s d2h camera, which is receiving rave reviews. It is much better in looks and performance than its predecessors D1H and D1.

Even after all these discussions, some of us are still not aware of many of the terminologies used in the field of camera and lenses. One good example is the 3x, which denotes the ratio of the camera’s longest focal length to the shortest focal length. It, by no ways, means that two 3x cameras will have the same actual magnification.

Macro Mode

Extending the discussion further we can state that just about most of the digital cameras has a macro mode. Each of these digital cameras can be verified of having the macro mode because for each of them one of the menu buttons will have an icon of a flower on it. This is the macro mode button invariably. And thus has the specific technology built in. The macro mode button, when pressed, switches the camera into a special close focus mode and many allow the photographer to shoot less than 10cm from the picture subject. Many cameras of reputed companies like Nikon and Ricoh allows the users to be as close as 3cm from the picture subject that permits barely credible close ups of tiny objects such as little insects. The macro mode has a greater variety of applications in security measurements too. At times macro mode may be also useful for making photographic records of priced jewels for insurance purposes in order to prevent theft and fraudulent activities.

The macro mode is more often than not present on the menu button that as well has an icon of two triangles symbolizing mountains (or rather landscape mode) and sometimes MF (manual focus) too. This button has to be pressed several times until the flower icon appears on the viewing LCD. A number of digital cameras then subsequently by design shift into a particular precinct on the zoom lens making a mechanical sound as the zoom reset. While using a digital camera macro mode it must be noted that it is harder to focus for the digital camera instantly, so it takes a bit of time for adjustment. Thus the users need not hurry while using the digital camera macro mode. As the subject comes in focus the depth-of-field also increases. On the other hand, the depth-of-field is controlled by the camera’s aperture. Most digital cameras are full automatic and this setting cannot be changed. Thus patience becomes a virtue while using the digital camera in their macro mode.

Much has already been discussed about the digital camera macro mode. It can be stated here that the digital camera macro mode is a really intricate feature. And every delicate object or subject needs to be handled with care. To really cherish the beauty of the digital camera macro modes the users require developing the expertise and also building a kind of patience that is necessary to cerate beauty in art and object.

Between an SLR Cameras Over Film Cameras

This will mean additional cost and take more of your time and effort. Of course it is an obvious fact that Film Cameras require films that are quite a hassle to bring around. It also means extra money to purchase a film let alone having it developed when you are done. Also the unavailability of films in places when you are traveling. And reloading new films on a Film Camera once you run out takes time and sometimes make you miss those “precious moments”. When taking pictures with Film Cameras sometimes results with exposed parts of the pictures which, no matter how nice the scenery is, are always been dismay contrary to the SLR Digital Cameras which has photo quality, flexibility and most importantly speed?

Also you get to edit your photos after viewing them and choosing the best ones due to the faster frame rate of DSLR’s which enables you to take multiple pictures before, during, and after a given moment choosing the best one you like and discarding the rest. And it does not cost a single film it just takes up space in the memory card or chip or CCD but you can ease that up by deleting the ones you do not like. Very convenient for aspiring photographers or for people who want the best moment even though they are not that highly skilled in photography. In a film camera burst features is not desirable unless you are making a living out of it. It is a waste of film and sometimes if not equipped with an image stabilizer will give you a series of blurred images. Most film cameras does not have a digital viewer or LCD, unlike the Digital SLR, which means you have to look through the peephole and make sure you got the image in view before taking the shot. You sometimes end up straining your facial muscles after long periods of looking through the peephole.

Not to mention the continuous twisting of the lens to get the focus you desire. Yet the SLR digital camera focuses twice faster than film cameras. Assuming you have to really do everything manually on a Film Camera. The SLR digital camera has a very convenient digital screen or LCD on the camera which gives you the full advantage of the words. Lastly, is the fact that SLR Digital Cameras has the technology to give you clearer, crisper, with much better detail and color reproduction since it has larger built-in sensors and have higher resolution compared to that of a Film Camera.

Getting Sharp Pictures Without a Tripod

Use a fast shutter speed

Use the fastest shutter speed that you can. The longest shutter speed that will guarantee pin sharp images is 1/60. Some people will claim that they can get sharp images at 1/30 or even 1/15 – don’t listen to them.

Consider your lens

The focal length of your lens is important – the longer the focal length, the faster the shutter speed needs to be to ensure a steady hand. A good rule of thumb is to choose a minimum shutter speed which is equivalent to 1/focal length. So a 100mm lens needs a shutter speed of 1/100 whereas a 400mm lens needs one of 1/400 and so on

Go faster if you can

Try to err on the side of caution and choose an even faster shutter speed where you can. The problem is that the longer the focal length, the smaller the maximum aperture is likely to be thus restricting your choice of shutter speed. The bigger the aperture you choose the faster the shutter speed you can use.

Action requires it even faster

Fast cars, trains, lorries; people moving, running, jumping; animals, waves, trees in the wind – these all require you to be even more careful as the shutter speed required to freeze movement is already relatively fast. Just rack up the speed to the fastest the camera will allow. The shorter the focal length and the wider the aperture, the more successful you will be in freezing movement.

Stand steadfast

Posture is important. If you cannot get a fast shutter speed (in relation to your lens) then choose an appropriate stance when taking your pictures. Lean against a building, wall or fence if you can. Stand with legs apart and brace your elbows against your sides. If it is windy, wait for a lull.

Try and rest your camera or lens against something solid and hold it firmly. And ensure it is well braced against your forehead.

Breathe and be gentle

Take a deep breath and hold it when you click the shutter release. And when you do take the picture, make slow and smooth movements. No sudden stabs or jerks.

Remember – ISO is your friend

Most cameras allow you to change the ISO setting. The bigger the ISO you set, the faster the shutter speed you can choose. You will get more “noise” or “grain” in your images but it can mean the difference between a half decent picture no picture at all.

Tripod alternatives

Even if you haven’t got a tripod, it is worth considering a minipod or monopod. These are no substitute for a decent tripod but they are small, light and inexpensive. Another great piece of equipment is a small beanbag. This can be placed on a surface and will mould to the shape of the camera when it is placed on it.

Remote is best

If you can use a cable release or an infrared remote release then do so. Or, when the camera is steady, using the self timer will allow shutter release without you manhandling the camera.

Don’t underestimate the importance of good technique and style. You will get better pictures by following simple and commonsense steps such as those outlined above.

Buy Digital Camera Lenses

Choosing a Suitable Focal Length

Focal length is probably the most important factor that should be considered when choosing a lens, and for good reason: focal lengths determine the field-of-view of the photos you will be able to take successfully with your camera.

The two main types of focal length are telephoto and wide-angle, and while telephoto lenses have a narrow field-of-view and are best suited for close-up shots and portraits, wide-angle lenses have a wider field-of-view which is perfect for indoor photography and landscapes.

Keep in mind that the performance of lenses can differ from camera to camera, with the magnification power behind a lens generally being greater on a digital camera than on a 35mm film-based camera.

The Need For Speed

When you hear about fast and slow lenses, reference is being made to a lens’s maximum aperture, which is the maximum amount of light that a lens can let in. A simple rule of thumb is that a fast lens lets in a lot of light, while a slow lens lets in less light, which defines how your photos will look.

Maximum apertures are measured in f/stop numbers, which are actually a ratio of the size of the lens aperture and focal length. The smaller the f/number, the more light is let in. An increment in the f/stop number doubles the amount of light let in, so f/2.0 lets in twice as much light as f/1.4.

This may seem quite confusing at first, so the easiest way to make sense of it is to remember the following: fast lenses are best suited towards successful photography in darker lighting conditions, and slow lenses are targeted towards photography in lighter conditions.

The Ins and Outs of a Zoom Lens

Unlike a fixed-focal-length lens, a zoom lens often gives you the diversity of a range of focal lengths all rolled into a single adjustable lens. This can be great if you often have to switch between various lenses for different shots, but it is important to remember that not all zoom lenses have a constant maximum aperture, and those that do are often larger and more expensive.

Although the maximum aperture may be reduced as you zoom in using a lens with a variable maximum aperture, this may not be as important to some photographers as the reduced cost and size of such lenses. Keep this in mind when purchasing a zoom lens.

Add-on Lenses

Add-on or accessory lenses are targeted towards compact digital cameras, and allow owners of such models to significantly lengthen or reduce the camera’s built-in focal length while at the same time being able to automate camera functions including f/stop settings and focusing.

These lenses can be an excellent low-cost add-on to your digital camera, with telephoto add-on lenses being able to increase focal lengths by up to 300%, and wide-angle versions allowing for reduction in focal lengths of up to 30%.

Final Considerations

There are several other terms to take into consideration when buying a digital camera lens to make sure you are making the best purchase. If your lens utilizes aspheric lens elements, then you can rest happily with the knowledge that your lens will help produce sharper photographs and help keep lens weight to a minimum.

Lenses using internal and automatic focusing also keep lens weight down thanks to less moving parts, and of course allow for faster focusing. Low-dispersion glass leaves photos looking less hazy or fuzzy, while stabilization systems help to keep images sharp when taken using slow shutter speeds.