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packgoat
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PostSun Apr 03, 2011 5:18 pm 
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A hiking friend, also retired, sends me pics of outings.  They impressed me enough that I knuckled under and spent about $300 bucks for a Canon 20 power SX20IS.  I spent the money, (please don't tell me how I screwed up), to get close ups of birds and animals.  So, whats my problem?

I find myself simply using the AUTO setting.  There are many other modes but uncertainty forces me to take the easy way out, AUTO.   Looking at the hummingbird freeze of wings I can see why I would choose a high speed setting but what about the many other options available?  Would a scenery shot come out better if I selected F16, I used to have an SLR?  In other words when do I override the AUTO feature?   I realize this is basically a dumb question  But there have to be occasions where you override.

I could have stayed with the 10 power digital I gave my grandson, what are my advantages?  Last year I went to Alaska on my annual fishing trip with my Nikon 10 power.  A local took me out to an area where the eagles congregate.  It was typical rainy weather and my 10 power Nikon digital produced a lot of poor pics.  Was it moisture on the lens?  I'll be repeating the trip in 2 months and would really like to come up with something memorable, there were at least 40 eagles waiting for his thrown fish guts.

Any help is appreciated.

BTW, your photos are intimidating, where do we mortals fit in, should i use a tripod?
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Tom
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PostSun Apr 03, 2011 5:42 pm 
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On a high mexapixel / small sensor point & shoot like you have there isn't going to be much difference in picture quality between aperture settings.  Sounds like you want to freeze the action so you'll want to shoot in AV mode and select the lowest possible f setting (which will give you the fastest possible shutter speed).  If that isn't fast enough you might need to increase the ISO setting which will give you a faster shutter but the picture will be noisier / more grainy.  If you don't want to freeze the action then you can stop down the lens (choose a higher f number) which can improve sharpness / reduce purple fringing but beyond f/5.6 or so on a high megapixel / small sensor point & shoot the picture quality will actually degrade due to diffraction.  See here for an explanation (it may make your head spin) but the short story is you don't get the benefits you would on a SLR by stopping down to f/16.  Auto will probably pick the sharpest aperture so you may just want to leave it there unless you want a faster or slower shutter speed.
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Tigerotor77W
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PostSun Apr 03, 2011 6:01 pm 
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To respond to the first question you ask (when to go away from auto mode), the answer is quite honestly when you feel like you want to learn more about photography. If you are pleased with the results and don't want to think about what you're doing, then stay in auto. If you feel like there's more you could be doing and want to have control over what settings the camera chooses, it may be best to learn about manual settings and what does what to the picture.

Note, however, that in a given situation the settings you choose could end up being identical to those the camera chooses, and perhaps more important to you, the final image could be near as identical.

If it's a photography tutorial that you want, I'd be happy to provide more detail on how the three main factors affect the picture. And don't worry; the camera model you have is plenty decent. smile.gif

There's a lot that could have been wrong with your AK pics. Can you post a few samples?

As for a tripod... for all practical purposes, you don't absolutely need one in most daylight settings. Where you'll want one (for landscape photography) is for absolute precision in your photos. At times, a tripod will help; other times it won't help in producing the result you seek. Other tools -- a better camera, night vision, a flash -- will be necessary in those cases. Most people here have had the ability to learn from their photographs and refine their technique. It's a learning process.
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packgoat
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PostSun Apr 03, 2011 6:29 pm 
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Yes I would like to learn more.  as a start I'll try to post the pics i took last year in AK with the instructions available for posting.  Thanks for your time.
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packgoat
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PostMon Apr 04, 2011 5:19 pm 
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I've put the eagle photos in a picaso album.  Now I will try to follow Photos 101.  Suspicions confirmed, it sayeth unto me, there aint no picaso.  I am going to try again by bringing up picaso.
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packgoat
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PostMon Apr 04, 2011 5:21 pm 
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One more time.  Auf Wiedersehen,   Obviously this aint for me
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