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S.C. Vermillion
04-27-2004, 04:22 AM
My camera has three settings and I am confused as to what setting I should use for best results in rail related photography. I have experimented with all three and after variuos tests am still confused. I have had positive results and negative results with all three. Below is a list of settings and a brief discription of each.

Multi-pattern: Evaluates lighting conditions throughout the image to give an optimum picture exposure. "Ideal for general picture taking"

Center-weight: Evaluates the lighting conditions of the subject centered in the view finder. "Ideal for backlit subjects"

Center-Spot: Is similar to center-weight but concentrated on a smaller area of the subject. "Ideal when you need the exact exposure for a certain area of the subject.

S.C. Vermillion
04-27-2004, 04:35 AM
If this helps here are photo's of two of the three. Both untouched, except for resizing. Both shots were taken 10 minutes apart.

This one using the center-spot setting.
http://www.railpictures.net/viewphoto.php?id=58221

This one using the multi-pattern setting.
http://www.railpictures.net/viewphoto.php?id=58218

Curtis Wininger
04-27-2004, 04:21 PM
If you have a digital camera, I wouldn't use any of them. I would use full manual mode or aperture value mode (at which point it would matter.) For manual, there should be a meter on the camera that will help guide you in finding the correct exposure settings. Set it to what you need, take the picture, look at it in the preview screen and adjust accordingly.

Starnes got me into using full manual and I like it because nothing will change on you at the last second. AV is good if I'm in a hurry or just don't feel like fooling with it. For that, I usually put my center AF point on the subject and keep the shutter pressed half way so nothing changes.

Hopefully we'll hear some other strategies and I'll end up having three ways of doing it.

dsktc
04-27-2004, 11:38 PM
I agree with Curtis. I use full manual
mode with my Canon 10D. With my CP 5700,
I'll use program mode for a quick shot otherwise
its manual as well. I take many test shots until
I get the exposure right - then I shoot the train.

The advantage of digital photography is that
you see immediately what works and what doesn't,
and you can compensate accordingly.

Dave

S.C. Vermillion
04-28-2004, 04:39 AM
Thank you both for your posts.

I finally got what I needed. A book that expains what everything is and how to use everything manually. I have already learned a few things and have alot more to learn. The book is "How to do everything with your digital camera" By Dave Johnson.

Once again thank you!

BartY
05-13-2004, 09:26 PM
Use multi-pattern metering, it evaluates the whole scene and then suggests the best exposure based on that reading.

Center weighted can be useful for backlit subjects, or when you need to have more of the metering emphasis placed on a certain area of the frame.

Spot meters are great for things that don't move (or don't move fast) as it allows you to selectively meter a given spot in the scene. They can be very useful for insuring that a particular part of the scene is exposed as you would like, most meters will render a pure white object as middle grey if you take the suggested reading (try it sometime!). Usually you have to intentionally overexpose by about a half to a full stop to get something to look white as it should. Using the spot meter simply allows you to evaluate the scene better and have colors coming out correctly. However, it is tedious, and not well suited for moving objects. With that in mind, most multi-pattern or matrix meters do a suprisingly good job at suggesting an exposure setting that renders colors accurately.

As far as the exposure mode is concerned, I have found that for railroad photography, it is best to use manual mode for one simple reason -- headlights. I can't count how many slides and digital shots I've had come out badly underexposed because once the locomotive came into view, the headlights threw the meter reading off; it exposes the headlights correctly, but everything else comes out too dark. Therefore, I generally just meter the scene BEFORE the train arrives, set my exposure, then shoot. The automated modes (and I really only use aperture preferred) are good when things are changing too fast to pay attention to changing settings on the camera.

Bart

mtrails
11-12-2004, 02:33 AM
I am digging up an older post regarding metering, specifically with digital camera's... I primarily use multi-metering, and full manual mode with my camera, and today I noticed a small problem with metering. My camera doesn't provide a metering bar or indicator, but the picture preview (before snapping the shot) will generally show the lighting affecting the photo. I had taken a test photo with the metering shown to be over-exposed, but the actual photo taken was just right. I slowed the speed down some to result in a very over-exposed photo in the preview, and yet the photo turned out the same. I usually have to preview the photo in a lighter setting anyway, since the first hundred photos I had taken with the camera on auto exposure, or set to preview lighting, was too dark. This makes it difficult to compensate on bright sunny days, or dark cloudy days. The last shot I had taken in dark conditions, had turned out under-exposed, though the preview was very washed out. I find that I don't always have a good few minutes to play with the test shots to find the perfect combination, esecially since battery time is limited! Anyone else have similar experience with this?

mtrails
11-20-2004, 01:48 AM
This is what I'm talking about... This may be a quirk of this camera, or I may not be using the photo settings correctly:

I am using these photo's as a reference to the screen on my camera. This photo is how the image looks as the camera see's it:

http://www.geocities.com/mmetalhhead/ex1.jpg

If I preview the picture before I take the shot, and the settings make for an identically lit photo, this is how it comes out: A little darker. In fact, when the camera knows the settings are just right, they are highlighted.

http://www.geocities.com/mmetalhhead/ex2.jpg

If I adjust the settings (F-stop, shutter speed), to make the preview look like this: The photo comes out just right. (like the first photo above, but better)

http://www.geocities.com/mmetalhhead/ex3.jpg

I don't remember the settings for this particular shot, but for a bright summer day, I think the F-stop was 5.6, and the shutter speed was 800-1000. Sounds right doesn't it? But since comparing the light of my photo's to other photo's in the database, I have been taking more shots at F4.0-F4.8 and shutter at 800-1000 to get a clearer, more lit photo. To reiterate, the smaller F-stop settings produce an over-exposed photo in the preview.

Can anyone help explain this? I have a Gateway DC-T50 camera. <-maybe that's the problem!?

mtrails
11-20-2004, 01:51 AM
This may be a quirk of this camera, or I may not be using the photo settings correctly:

Camera settings! Not photo settings. Oops.

cmherndon
11-20-2004, 01:57 AM
but for a bright summer day, I think the F-stop was 5.6, and the shutter speed was 800-1000. Sounds right doesn't it? But since comparing the light of my photo's to other photo's in the database, I have been taking more shots at F4.0-F4.8 and shutter at 800-1000 to get a clearer, more lit photo. To reiterate, the smaller F-stop settings produce an over-exposed photo in the preview.

The lower the F-stop is, the more light is allowed in producing an over exposed photo. You may want to experiment with the aperture and shutter settings. 5.6 sounds kind of low for a bright day, although the shutter speed sounds about right.

mtrails
11-20-2004, 02:14 AM
My camera doesn't have apeture adjustments (unfortunately). Only F and shutter. You see, I want a quick shutter speed for moving trains of course, so I generally set the shutter at 1000, and then adjust the F-stop until I get the right light. Most of the time, it was 5.6 or even 6.7 on bright sunny days (according to the camera's "optimum settings"). It's weird that the over-exposed photo in the preview (set at 4.8 for example), come out the best, compared to the camera's suggested setting, which is generally one or two F-stops smaller. I can set the shutter up to 1500, but then the F-stop is around 3.5 or 2.8, depending on the angle.

mtrails
11-22-2004, 01:27 AM
You may want to experiment with the aperture and shutter settings.
I'm confused... the only control I have with the camera is F-stop (2.8-9.0), and shutter speeds. When you say aperture, I think of the F-stop setting. I have re-read the instruction manual, and it never mentions the term F-stop, but refers to those settings as aperture values. On the screen, the [aperture] settings are shown as F2.8 for example. Is this the same thing? :roll:

cmherndon
11-22-2004, 07:09 AM
I'm confused... the only control I have with the camera is F-stop (2.8-9.0), and shutter speeds. When you say aperture, I think of the F-stop setting. I have re-read the instruction manual, and it never mentions the term F-stop, but refers to those settings as aperture values. On the screen, the [aperture] settings are shown as F2.8 for example. Is this the same thing? icon_rolleyes.gif

Yes.

mtrails
11-22-2004, 02:41 PM
Thank you for your help!