Photography forum: Camera frustrations

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Name: Deb
Pacific NW (Zone 8b)
Region: Pacific Northwest Deer Organic Gardener Ferns Herbs Dragonflies
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Bonehead
Apr 3, 2017 6:38 PM CST
I have gone through numerous digital cameras. Some are quite intuitive, others make absolutely no sense to me. I am currently sporting the latter -- Canon SX600HS. I cannot for the life of me figure out how to change settings, and end up calling their tech support for the simplest things. I do have to say they have great tech support. On the other hand, what is the use of having a 'flower' button on the back side that apparently does nothing that I can easily figure out (usually that would be the macro setting). Sheesh. I don't use a cell phone, so that's not an option. I'm ready to toss this thing out the window. On the plus side, it does take good photos when and if I can ever get the settings right. I usually just leave it on full automatic and 'point and hope'. I'm getting too old and cranky for all this technology angst... Rant over.
I want to live in a world where the chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned.

Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Garden Ideas: Level 1
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Fleur569
Apr 3, 2017 8:10 PM CST
Don't get frustrated, Deb. Go to Canon's website including the SX600HS model name and under the "Features" tab all of the symbols are explained. I agree, they are not the conventional symbols, but if you make a copy of their meaning and keep it handy with the camera you'll know when to apply them. I also read over the ratings comments, and you aren't alone in your complaint. And yet the ravings are worth reading for the good points. I think this is a more advanced than "point and shoot" camera and probably can serve you well if you experiment a bit. My first digital was a Canon. Photography shouldn't be a technical challenge especially for the fun of doing gardening photography. It should be a pleasure. Good Luck 📸 !
[Last edited by Fleur569 - Apr 3, 2017 8:18 PM (+)]
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Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Garden Ideas: Level 1
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Fleur569
Apr 3, 2017 8:15 PM CST
Deb,
Just noticed that you can download a manual for your camera on that website which explains everything in detail. Worth looking into.
[Last edited by Fleur569 - Apr 3, 2017 8:18 PM (+)]
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Name: Larry
Enterprise, Al. 36330 (Zone 8b)
Composter Garden Photography Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Identifier Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Region: Alabama
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Seedfork
Apr 3, 2017 8:47 PM CST
I know most people's eyes glaze over and their brains lock up when they try to read a manual. It appears to be an overload of material. So just try to learn one aspect of the camera at a time. Try just concentrating on taking close up flower shots, and take a week or so to learn about all the features that are involved in that. Trying to take it all in at one time is just too much for most people! Read a few short simple articles about close up flower photography and get some tips on the things to look for. Try using a tripod, try using the delay feature, learn which symbol does indicate you are in close up mode, try different levels of zoom, and standing at different distances from you subject. I actually found that taking photos at maximum zoom and standing far away with a tripod, gives very good results for some of my close ups. Then when you master all that and get the settings just like you want, you will basically be operating in point and shot mode again. You'll know what type photos you like and are acceptable to you and you will know how to quickly find the settings for them.
Name: Deb
Pacific NW (Zone 8b)
Region: Pacific Northwest Deer Organic Gardener Ferns Herbs Dragonflies
Spiders! Dog Lover Keeper of Poultry Birds Fruit Growers Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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Bonehead
Apr 4, 2017 8:17 AM CST
I have downloaded the manual and find it difficult to wade through. I would like the flower symbol to just toggle the macro feature on or off. Sigh. Instead, there is some random series of menu choices that are so un-intuitive to me, I fear I will never remember them. The tech did tell me that if I just leave it in 'auto' mode, most of my photos will self adjust. Not exactly what I wanted, but that may work for me. I miss my old film SLR (a Canon as well), it at least made sense to me. And I liked being the boss of the aperture. Good ol' days I guess. This particular camera also challenges me with focus - it often does not seem to figure out what I want in focus. I continue to refer to it as my 'point and hope' camera. And, frankly, I find I just don't take as many photos as I used to. Technology in general is kicking my butt. As my old boss often said, my gravestone should read 'she liked DOS.'
I want to live in a world where the chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned.
Name: Larry
Enterprise, Al. 36330 (Zone 8b)
Composter Garden Photography Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Identifier Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Region: Alabama
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Seedfork
Apr 4, 2017 11:45 AM CST
I had a previous Nikon that had a menu so complicated that even after having the camera for a couple of years I found it hard to navigate. My newer Nikon is a huge improvement!
Name: Deb
Pacific NW (Zone 8b)
Region: Pacific Northwest Deer Organic Gardener Ferns Herbs Dragonflies
Spiders! Dog Lover Keeper of Poultry Birds Fruit Growers Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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Bonehead
Apr 4, 2017 11:50 AM CST
I go through cameras on a regular basis - they either up and quit on me, I drop them, or lose them. I mostly buy for the color of the body now - currently sporting a cherry red which is easy to find when I set it on a fence post. Usually takes good photos, but I sure don't use any of the many fine features that are buried in its impossible (to me) menu system.

I want to live in a world where the chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned.
Name: Morgan
IL (Zone 5b)
Winter Sowing Native Plants and Wildflowers Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Garden Photography Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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molanic
Apr 5, 2017 10:24 AM CST
It certainly is hard to get used to a new camera. I've used either a Canon Powershot S1 or S3 for about 10 years, then I got a Panasonic FZ200 and it took months of near daily use before I stopped hitting the wrong buttons while trying to quickly change settings. There are still things I miss about the old Canons, and other things I wish I had back from my film Pentax SLR camera days.

I do try to read through the manuals when I get something new even if I don't take it all in at once. Then practice different techniques a lot on unimportant things if you have the time. My mom doesn't use her camera very often and then gets frustrated when she needs to use it and can't remember how to do things. She does the same for gps maps programs on her phone. I keep saying... don't wait until you're lost and already frustrated to try and use it for the first time in over a year!

I know a lot of people just say to leave everything on auto, but you really can get better results usually using at least P (program mode). That way you most likely have some control over settings like the aperture, iso, white balance, macro focus, etc. Auto modes normally don't let you change much, and really aren't as smart as the manufacturers claim. The scene modes aren't very helpful in my opinion and are often fiddly to find anyways.

I agree with Larry about standing farther back and using your optical zoom for closeups. That is a great technique to help isolate a flower and blur the background which is what a lot of people are trying to achieve. Opening up the aperture helps with that also, which you can't do in auto mode. I know on my camera if I have the macro mode enabled I can use the full 24x zoom and be as close as 1 meter away from something and get good focus on my subject with a nice blurred background. If I don't use the zoom at all (keep it at wide angle) I can put the camera right up next to something as close as 1cm and focus on it in macro mode. I do that a lot with very tiny insects, if they let me. If I disable macro mode the camera can't focus that close at either end of the zoom range, but it focuses much faster because it isn't trying to lock focus searching such a wide range. Knowing what those focusing distances are for your particular camera is immensely helpful.

Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
Always count your blessings in life
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tarev
Apr 5, 2017 10:27 AM CST
Flower button is for a macro shot. Close-up focusing.
Name: Morgan
IL (Zone 5b)
Winter Sowing Native Plants and Wildflowers Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Garden Photography Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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molanic
Apr 10, 2017 11:16 AM CST
@Bonehead, while taking pics this weekend I remembered something else about the focusing aspect that might be helpful if you didn't know about it already. A lot of the newer cameras have the default settings (especially in auto modes) to look for faces to focus on, or at least to hunt for multiple focus points at once. I really hated that feature and switched it back to just use a single focus point in the center. It was much easier to just focus on what I wanted and then I could always slightly adjust my position or crop later for different compositions. The only time I use one of the multi-point focusing modes is when I'm trying to get a bird in flight up in the sky.

Many cameras also let you change the size of the focus box to make it smaller. That is useful when you are trying to take a picture of something small that has other things near it in the foreground that would normally be caught be a larger focusing box and make it near impossible to lock focus on the smaller farther away thing. My camera has a manual focus setting, but it is so fiddly to do with buttons that I almost never use it. I really miss the ability to focus with a ring around the lens like my old film slr. That's the trade off for getting an affordable super zoom camera though I guess.

Name: Deb
Pacific NW (Zone 8b)
Region: Pacific Northwest Deer Organic Gardener Ferns Herbs Dragonflies
Spiders! Dog Lover Keeper of Poultry Birds Fruit Growers Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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Bonehead
Apr 10, 2017 12:19 PM CST
Thanks Morgan. Yeah, the focus is another problem for me. Sometimes I just can't get it to focus inside the box. I think it somehow gets set to some odd format (how I don't know as I only rarely fiddle with the confusing menu system). I've learned at that point to turn the camera off/on, be sure it is on auto, then see if it will behave. Quirky little thing.
I want to live in a world where the chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned.
Name: Ian McBeth
Lincoln, NE
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SonofShakespeare
Jun 30, 2017 9:40 AM CST
Bonehead, what I understand about the macro setting is that it's used to take pictures up close like flowers and it's commonly used for flowers or plants. So if you see the flower button again try using it on plans that are close to the camera. If you use the macro setting it on plants far away from the cam. your camera screen or pics. will become blurry and wont come out right. Smiling
Name: Deb
Pacific NW (Zone 8b)
Region: Pacific Northwest Deer Organic Gardener Ferns Herbs Dragonflies
Spiders! Dog Lover Keeper of Poultry Birds Fruit Growers Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
Image
Bonehead
Jun 30, 2017 9:51 AM CST
Half of my photos are of flowers and I do usually use the macro setting for that. The other half are scenic and/or mug shots at a social event and I just use the auto setting for that. I find digital camera menus to be totally confusing (who really needs a firework setting) and really miss just being able to set the F-stop and exposure time. Such a simple thing. I do like the instant result and delete features of digital. I don't get along well with technology. I think I'm about on my 6th camera and the computer I just bought has never ran correctly. I simply don't care anymore.
I want to live in a world where the chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned.

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