Playing With a Poorly Camera

Ooh dear.  Just look.  I’m meant to be using the manual settings on my camera to experiment with Depth of Field – not something I often do.  And as soon as I switch to fiddling with Aperture, this is what I get.

It wasn’t misbehaving earlier in the week and now it is. But with my Tame Camera Shop being shut for the duration, I’m stuck.

Ah well, I’ll go out to play instead.  I’ll stand in a single place on the riverbank and take photos of the ox-eye daisies, zooming in to get ever closer.  It’s the best I can do. My feet don’t move, but my zoom does.

This last photo isn’t part of my ‘homework’.  But who doesn’t love a poppy, perfectly poised on a parapet?

 

2020 Photo Challenge #23: Depth of Field

52 thoughts on “Playing With a Poorly Camera”

  1. That “looks” like you have it set on a large Aperture number (2.8, 3.5) and need to adjust the shutter speed up(quicker, less light) to get a correct exposure. In Aperture Priority mode that’s how it works. Can you adjust your shutter via a Command Dial?

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    1. That photo ‘claimed’ to be on 3.6. I haven’t a clue what a Command Dial is, but will try to find out. You’re showing up the difference between a snapshot-ist and a photographer here!

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  2. Well yes at least we tried didn’t we Margaret? I like how your photos using the zoom worked. I must go out and try that…tomorrow maybe… that Poppy is amazingly upright and colourful. Wonder what Jude will have for us this week🤭

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  3. On Aperture mode the camera is supposed to work out the rest of the settings automatically! So don’t ask me! I do however love the various zoom modes and those daisies are extremely photogenic (mine are rather flattened now after the most horrendous wind this week). As for the perfectly posed poppy 😎
    Thanks for joining me! This week was probably the hardest of the challenges from a technical POV.

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    1. Well auto chooses well of course. But when you want to do your own thing and chooses a shallower depth of field say, you’re snookered. Before my camera went funny on me, I had experimented, but the difference between 3.6 and whatever the top option is – 8 I think – was so little in the shots I tried that it really wasn’t worth it. Once it’s sorted (and I’m hoping someone will suggest something in comments) I will persist – thanks for attempting to take me out of my comfort zone.

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      1. Can you stick it on full manual, Margaret? Then you can take control and switch to faster shutter speed. If you send me a photo of your camera and its buttons. I might be able to help

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  4. Jude is right – “On Aperture mode the camera is supposed to work out the rest of the settings automatically! “ Did you perchance have it on Manual?? If that was the case, you would need to adjust the shutter speed accordingly..” Anyway, I do love that last image of the daisies!

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      1. I don’t have that model, Margaret. But it might be similar. If it is, you will have an M mode on the left hand dial. In that mode you can choose the aperture by dialling it up or down using the dial on the right hand side nearest the button you press to take photos. You can then change the shutter speed by dialling it up and down using the dial on the right hand side closest to your thumb. If our Lumix cameras are not similar, then I’ve given you all that information for nothing. 🙄

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      2. Tracy, you are a star. No, though it’s not the same model, it works in a similar way. And what you describe is what I’d been trying to do – I had no idea where all that light comes from, but between several of you, I’ve now got a much better idea and will go and ‘play’ again. Thanks so much for that!

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  5. You have a great zoom!! And I LOVE the poppy shot! It might not be your camera. Depends on what you set your manual settings at. If you just want to play with the Depth of Field, set your camera to aperture priority. There’s probably an “A” on your settings dial, somewhere near the “M” for manual. If you set it to “A” (not Auto) the camera will compensate based on what aperture you set. The smaller the aperture number you choose, like 4, or 4.2, the more blurry the background, because there will be less depth of field. The higher the aperture number you chose, like 11 or 13, the deeper the depth of field, and the more will be in focus. So, if you want a nice blurred background behind something, chose the smallest aperture number you can that will allow your subject to be all in focus, and the background will be blurry.

    Your picture might be overexposed because you’re using all manual, and you didn’t get your light right..there should be a meter that you can see inside the viewfinder that will help with that. You could have too high an ISO, or too low an aperture (lets in more light the smaller the number) or too slow a shutter speed (also lets in more light). For me, messing with depth of field it’s easier to only have to worry about what size aperture and letting the camera do the rest.

    For outside pictures of flowers in pretty good light I’d set my ISO to something around 200, and my aperture to something around 5 and put it in aperture priority mode and see what happens!

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    1. Dawn, I really appreciate your help. I was already doing some of what you suggest, but not all, and I can see where I might have been going wrong, so thank VERY much. I love this community of bloggers – we only ‘know’ one another through our blogs, yet so many people are happy to pitch in and help out. You’re a star!

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  6. Back into the arms of auto! Aside from making an excellent 6 words it reminds me of a song… something to do with the arms of Mary. 🙂 🙂 Huge credit to you for trying to comply with Jude’s challenge. It never even entered my head to do so. And you hardly need to because those are terrific zoom shots. Mine are feeble! And speaking of the other Zoom, did the ladies help you today? 🙂

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  7. Margaret, you’ve had some terrific suggestions in the comments here so don’t give up! To me Aperture Priority is THE most important setting for photographers, and most of the professionals I know choose it these days. If your camera is working correctly when you choose the A mode (as mentioned, aperture not automatic) the rest of your settings will be managed by your camera. Technology today is so good that typically using this method is as good or better than manual 99% of the time! If you’re using A and the light isn’t right then there is indeed an issue with your camera. Your daisies prove you have an excellent eye so keep at it! I promise you won’t be disappointed.

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    1. I really appreciate this, Tina – thank you. This afternoon, I’m going to sit down, give myself a good talking to and see what I can get to grips with. Watch this space!

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  8. That’s a gorgeous shot of the poppy – an image so like one of the panels that Lady Drury painted back in the 17th century. It is heartening to read all the helpful advice above regarding switching to ‘M’ – plenty of fun in store for you now.

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  9. I really like the daisies and the poppies too.
    I tend to use the auto when indoors, but otherwise I mostly use the Manual setting. I often take photos in rather low light with moving subjects and it needs a bit of juggling. I am not a technical fundi but just to add to some of the great comments you have already received, I think about the three options, aperture, shutter speed and ISO, as all being ways of adapting to or adjusting the light, which I am sure you know, and that the aperture affects the depth of field. The faster the shutter speed the less light but also the less chance you have of a blur from a moving subject or camera shake. The ISO (I always equate it to the film speed in old film cameras) can help you “add light” while keeping the aperture and shutter speed as you want/need them to be. The higher the ISO the more light but the grainier the image is likely to be especially at very high ISO numbers. Sometimes, juggling the three aspects against each other can be an art of compromise unless one is working in a very controlled or static environment.
    Some of the Panasonic Lumix models are quite tricky to use on Manual. I have just started to use the FX-300 and it is so much easier to use than the FX-200. Even though the differences aren’t that huge some changes in the positioning of buttons and dials has made the button twiddling so much more manageable.
    I wonder if you can find an online tutorial or expanded manual for your model online? Some of them can be really so helpful and make for a less frustrating experience with the camera, especially as the menu options can seem just about endless!

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    1. Since I posted, and got so many helpful replies from people like you, I’ve been doing quite a lot of homework (which resulted in my poor camera getting so flummoxed I had to return it at one point to factory settings). To be honest, I’m not sure that I’m not as well off, with this particular camera, just using Auto, as I’ve found little difference when I’ve attempted to be more technical. It might be time for a different camera, but that’s not going to happen any time soon. Thanks for your – as ever – helpful input.

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      1. I agree it seems pointless to fiddle with manual settings when Auto gives you good results.
        I was pushed to use manual settings as my cameras have tended to overexpose on Auto. But I still have a lot to learn – its amazing how quickly I make do with what I know (or think I know). I always have good intentions that I seldom live up to. It was only relatively recently I conceded to upgrading to WIndows 10 on my laptop. In fact it is fine – so all my resolve to learn more I just jettisoned, as working adequately is good enough for me!

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  10. My camera has done a similar thing…everything I took turned out pale green, and the close-up settings just wouldn’t focus no matter how much I twiddled and turned the lens!!! I took the battery out, left it a while, put it back and now all is good again in the camera world. Who knows?

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  11. I have zoom envy. I think I may need a camera upgrade, particularly as the last few months I’ve just been snapping with my phone

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    1. Well, I think your phone is doing you proud actually. Yes, having a zoom is quite fun, especially if it allows you to peer at the tops of trees. But I enjoy all your photos just as they are!

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