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søndag 21. november 2010

Custom Settings on the Olympus E450

The E450 is really very pleasing little camera to use, and for me one pleasure is to be found in exploring the number of features and settings it has available compared to say a D3000. This should not really be a suprise- olympus are an enthusiasts marque, and for them it was natural to roll all the software advances and flexibilities into the E420, and now 450 - the latter has also a better JPEG engine apparently.

There are in fact probably way more settings on the E450 than the average DSLR owner would ever want to look into, but some are very useful, while the defaults on others are plainly a bit crazy: for example "vivid" is the default colour setting and it is on the verge of garish!

Here are some more points to reiterate and extend an earlier blog on this from some months back

Flash Settings.

Pop up flash off, a best setting tip: this means you can leave flash ON in the control panel and activate it manually with the sivler button on the top LHS of the camera body. In doing this, you don't need to select AUTO mode and you have complete control over when it fires: you know when you need a flash, so just press the "hard" button and it is there for you.

"Late Curtain Tonight Mrs Otis?"

The flash function has amazingly enough an early curtain and late curtain flash synchronisation ( available on maybe the OM4 or OM10 ti IIRC): this achieves what night portrait does- long exposure with fill in flash- but eccentuates the early flash or uses a the late stage flash near the end of the exposure time: there is a good diagram in the manual which shows a car either being flashed early or late, the latter giving the classic red light smear up to the "stopped" car. Very suprising feature on an entry level camera: of most use with an external and probably useful in studio to get the shaken head, blurred hair effect with a sharp face.

Flash intensity: can be set on the control panel, just above XD/CF card select. It goes all the way upto +3.0 which gives the flash a much higher range, although it is still purely manual in its' intensity!

It may be worth using some kind of diffuser or reflector to take advantage of this power at +3.0: the shots with this direct little pop up are poor IMHO, because it is a bit hit or miss with distance/stregnth : diffusing the light and having the metering work on flash test (?) would be ideal before investing in a decent flash with angled head, infra red and full integration to the Olympus control system. As long as the images are either just a little over- or under-exposed you can correct for them and you will avoid complete white outs, very high local contrast and flare / some red eye with a diffuser.

Monotone Shooting

Monotone can be set to Sepia in the Menu to save much work later, although it appears a weak cup to tea effect IMHO ompared to a more robust sepia you can choose in most image programmes.

Just as a follow up to the earlier blog on filters, the camera amazingly enough has some post processing colour filters for use in Monotone which work like actual colour filter effects: these are worth experimenting with to see if you can achieve artistic effects, or enhance figure- backgrond effects for example, with leaved trees.

Facebook Ready Shots?

You can change the set up of the choices of combination of RAW and jpeg qualities: So for example for getting stuff up on the web ASAP, while working them up later at high quality, in the menu you could set RAW plus small, low quality JPEG and set small as being only 780x640 ( vga) qaulity. This would be completely fine for FB, where images are shown at about 340x580 or the like, and smaller of course as posting thumbnails or gallery listings. This can be one of the fast options in the "set" you have immediate access to on the control panel. Safe if the 72dpi'er turns out to be a keeper or sale-worthy!

Dealing with Noise :

NR : noise reduction I believe is default as AUTO engage. This means in difficult light situations
your camera will struggle to take more than a couple of shots before freezing while the orange light blinks, and will only take one in LV, before processing the NR. All good image manipulation programmes and even MS Live Picture thingy do NR. Switch NR Off if you want to take a lot of shots to get the best one to work on.

Set a limit to the ISO chosen on Auto: ISO 800 shots in colour are pretty noisy and super- pixelated, losing TD and DR. As per last comment, you should move away from the default and limit your camera to 400.

Alternatively, if you like taking quality shots in Ap'or Shutter' priority or manual exposure,
while just wanting to get the shot without a tripod or flash in P programme or auto, you can select which mode ISO Auto comes on in, and set it to 1600 ie no limit.

ISO Auto is also used in bracketing shots, meaning an unexpected loss of quality in larger exposure compensations or lower light conditions. I don't know if manual setting over-rides this, but I would guess it does.

Useful "AFL/AEL" Button and "<" Left Arrow Button Custom Functions

Left hand arrow one touch: TEST PICTURE for ordinary days this is pretty good you have to take the shot again I believe to be found in : spanner 1>spanner B"Button/dial"> "<>to <"Test">

The test image cannot be saved, but if you are going to this legnth then you will have something in frame which is not going anywhere fast.

With more snow forecast, this button will go back to "white balance set", which is activated and then the new WB is set from shutter release facing a white surface or test card.

MEMO for AEL / AFL: a lock and load v.useful ammendment to be found in spanner 1>spanner B"Button/dial"> "<>AEL/AFL memo > "ON" which will lock the auto exposure at one point and you can refocus on another.

MODE two in S-AF for AEL : p 84 or 88 of the book; to be found in spanner 1>spanner B"Button/dial"> "<>S-AF select "mode 2".

Annoyingly, you cannot really use it as a focus lock and also have exposure lock on half way. Work
around this by spot AE or using a multi point average to avoid a particular bias from where you focused upon.

BUT with AFL/AEL applied to S-AF in "Mode 3" AND AFL/AEL "memo" ON you can lock to a focal distance and leave the button alone. "mode 1" is the default of course, and this has both exposure focus locked on half way shutter-release (SR) press, while you can "Memo" ON the auto exposure

AEL button. Mode two is somewhat more sensible all round because it holds off exposure metering until the instant you press the SR all the way down, thus capturing the correct exposure if say the sun/clouds are moving or if the lighting otherwise mobile like at a rock concert for example, or the white hull of a boat comes more in frame, altering the correct exposure required from the instant when you focused on the bow for example.

In C-AF you can use a mode to operate CAF activate with the AEL/AFL button from the same menu, while giving the final lock on exposure and focus on complete press of the SR.

In terms of learning curve, the camera is really spot on for me to develop the skills I had from years ago. I don't find it too frustrating yet with the low ISO performance.

...... which I will blog with some images of the appalling iso 800 performance of the 450 in colour images: Anyway, all in persepctive because I hated using anything faster than Fujichrome 200. Labs just could not get results, even with T grain kodak BW films. So I am used to ektachrome, fujichrome and for snap shots in ASA 400, yeah I took them to Boots! I'm not proud! Now I can get back on a learnign curve which both picks up on where i left off in STX/k1000/OM 10/4 days and get a monopod for christmas to solve some ISO issues!!!!

message to the etheral vesicles of the mindernet ends...............next blog likely to be comparison of noise at different ISOs and overall IQ ( image quality, pretentious acronym, IKnw) with some shots I took of orchids and apples.

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