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View Full Version : HELP! New to E420 and DSLRs


Greenace
5th February 2010, 10:56 AM
Hi, l am relatively new to SLR photography and the e420 seemed a good choice to learn on. I have the twin lens kit so upto 150mm zoom.

I have mainly been using the auto setting or the programmable scene modes, whilst l learn more about the camera and l have the following questions...

Would the jumpstart dvd be a good thing to get to teach me about the 420? At 20 l dont want to buy if its rubbish. I cant find that many books or mags specifically for olympus - they all seem to be canon or nikon.

Also l am having problems with low light. If l want to photograph - say an animal at dusk or in the dark - the camera shutter refuses to take the picture. I realise its probably my fault as l have it on the wrong settings - but very annoying when a point and shoot just does it. Im off on safari soon and thinking of taking a bridge camera for night time if l cant get my 420 to respond.

Next, one of the auto focus modes seems to flash the flash about twenty times completely blinding everyone and l want to be able to shut that off. Wildlife doesnt appreciate it and neither do humans. It seems to do that even if the flash is not required for the picture as it is daylight.

Lastly - l took a few pictures in the raw format to process on my pc back home and l had bought an apple mac as they are supposed to be the ultimate for photography. However, as far as l can tell - olympus raw files wont work on an apple mac - or the software patch isnt yet available. Is this right?

When l get a shot right, l am very pleased with the e420, the quality and detail is great, but due to my inexperience l am currently getting better results with a superzoom. This may be because a top end superzoom is better than a low end SLR? I tried joining a local camera club but they werent much help with this model of camera.

BobS
5th February 2010, 04:42 PM
Hi

With regard to not being able to take photographs in dim light, have you tried increasing the ISO to say 400 or 800?

And for RAW files, have you loaded the Olympus Master program that came with the camera? Or does it not work on an Apple Mac?

I think you will get more help on this forum from members far more capable than me than from the DVD you mention so I wouldn't spend the money on it just yet. This is a great forum to belong to and members are extremely helpful.

Best wishes
Bob

PaulE
5th February 2010, 05:22 PM
Hi, l am relatively new to SLR photography and the e420 seemed a good choice to learn on. I have the twin lens kit so upto 150mm zoom.

I have mainly been using the auto setting or the programmable scene modes, whilst l learn more about the camera and l have the following questions...

Would the jumpstart dvd be a good thing to get to teach me about the 420? At 20 l dont want to buy if its rubbish. I cant find that many books or mags specifically for olympus - they all seem to be canon or nikon.
I can't comment on that I've not watched it but I would be surprised if you couldn't find the same imformation for free on the internet. If its camera specific information you're looking for then this website would be well worth a read: http://www.wrotniak.net/photo/43/index.html have yet to find a site that comes close it in terms of olympus specific advice.


Also l am having problems with low light. If l want to photograph - say an animal at dusk or in the dark - the camera shutter refuses to take the picture. I realise its probably my fault as l have it on the wrong settings - but very annoying when a point and shoot just does it. Im off on safari soon and thinking of taking a bridge camera for night time if l cant get my 420 to respond.

This is one limitation of the camera - they simply won't fire until they have a focus lock on something point and shoots are less fussy and will fire away focus lock or not. The darker it is the less likley the camera is to get a focus lock - either you have to hope the AF illumination (see next part) will do or you'll need to switch the camera to MF and focus yourself in very difficult light either way there's no simple setting that will sort what it is you are looking to do. The other more expensive option is to buy an external flash with the much better AF assist beams.


Next, one of the auto focus modes seems to flash the flash about twenty times completely blinding everyone and l want to be able to shut that off. Wildlife doesnt appreciate it and neither do humans. It seems to do that even if the flash is not required for the picture as it is daylight.

If you're in Auto mode on the dial (or if AF illumination is switched on in the cameras menu) the flash will strobe away to try and light up the subject enough for the camera to be able to get a focus lock in poor light - you can turn this annoying feature off in all but the full AUTO mode but sometimes if your really stuck it is better than nothing.


Lastly - l took a few pictures in the raw format to process on my pc back home and l had bought an apple mac as they are supposed to be the ultimate for photography. However, as far as l can tell - olympus raw files wont work on an apple mac - or the software patch isnt yet available. Is this right?


I'm not sure about Mac - I'm not certain that the Olympus RAW software (Olympus Master - free or Studio - not free) will work on a mac - there are some mac users here and they will be able to tell you for certain.


When l get a shot right, l am very pleased with the e420, the quality and detail is great, but due to my inexperience l am currently getting better results with a superzoom. This may be because a top end superzoom is better than a low end SLR? I tried joining a local camera club but they werent much help with this model of camera.

I think most people new to SLRs go through a period of taking poorer photos than they were able to with their point and shoot - I know I certainly did. But it really is only a matter of practice the more you do the better you'll get to know the camera and the better you'll get at using it. An SLR does require much more input from the user than a point and shoot does but once you're up to speed there'll be no looking back and you'll wonder why on earth you couldn't get a decent photo in the first place. As good as some camera clubs are it wouldn't be my first port of call if I was looking for camera model specific advice - Olympus users are in the minority at such places and you'd be lucky to find another Olympus user at one IMO. Far better to read sites and forums like this and put in some time playing for yourself.

BobS
5th February 2010, 05:30 PM
Well answered PaulE a much better reply than my offering. And, what is more important, I've learnt from it!

Bob*chr

MarkVarley
5th February 2010, 05:52 PM
Hi, l am relatively new to SLR photography and the e420 seemed a good choice to learn on. I have the twin lens kit so upto 150mm zoom.

I have mainly been using the auto setting or the programmable scene modes, whilst l learn more about the camera and l have the following questions...

Would the jumpstart dvd be a good thing to get to teach me about the 420? At 20 l dont want to buy if its rubbish. I cant find that many books or mags specifically for olympus - they all seem to be canon or nikon.

Also l am having problems with low light. If l want to photograph - say an animal at dusk or in the dark - the camera shutter refuses to take the picture. I realise its probably my fault as l have it on the wrong settings - but very annoying when a point and shoot just does it. Im off on safari soon and thinking of taking a bridge camera for night time if l cant get my 420 to respond.

The camera shutter isn't tripping until it gets a focus (sensible enough) and it's struggling with the low light, set to centre focus point and point that at a point of contrast or an edge, something definable so the cameras focus sensor can see it, can be a problem in very low light.

Next, one of the auto focus modes seems to flash the flash about twenty times completely blinding everyone and l want to be able to shut that off. Wildlife doesnt appreciate it and neither do humans. It seems to do that even if the flash is not required for the picture as it is daylight. thats the AF assist lamp, helping the sensor see something to focus on, it pisses me off so I keep that thing off. (would it be so hard to build in a simple constant af assist lamp?).
You are probably stuck with it in scene modes. go A or S, it's not that hard.

Lastly - l took a few pictures in the raw format to process on my pc back home and l had bought an apple mac as they are supposed to be the ultimate for photography. However, as far as l can tell - olympus raw files wont work on an apple mac - or the software patch isnt yet available. Is this right?
ORF files are supported by photoshop (We use CS3 and CS4 here, no problems, on PC's), I'll let a mac user help you further.

When l get a shot right, l am very pleased with the e420, the quality and detail is great, but due to my inexperience l am currently getting better results with a superzoom. This may be because a top end superzoom is better than a low end SLR? I tried joining a local camera club but they werent much help with this model of camera.

quite likely you are used to a superzoom but not yet used to your 420, when you get used to it you'll be better able to get good photos with it.

My advice is to get used to S (shutter priority) and A (aperture priority), I spend half my time on aperture priority (the rest on manual in a studio), when you want a fast shutter speed because something is moving or it's a bit dark, roll that aperture wide open, if it's not fast enough ramp up the iso a bit, the camera will give you the fastest shutter speed it can, the cost is a shallow depth of field which also means your focussing has to be spot-on.

The camera magazines are bias towards canon and nikon only because they are way more popular, 99.9% of what you read works fine for olympus too, they all have the same basic stuff anyway.

Just spend some time with it and it'll become very familiar very quickly, it takes me a few days to get used to a new camera when I upgrade and I'm shooting every day.

Greenace
5th February 2010, 06:37 PM
Thanks everyone for the advice, to clarify the raw issue - l have the software that came with the camera and its fine on windows, but l think it is incompatable with the mac - l read somewhere they hadnt published a patch yet but l am not sure if that is correct?

I am currently reading books on the theory side of using the shutter speeds / aperture etc.. but its just a matter of navigating through the various menus to find them, and the experience to know when to use what setting. For eg. l went to the grand canyon at sunset on a bus tour and was either getting a lit subject with black background or a background with a subject in silhouette. The bus driver (of all people) told me to try a quarter flash forced on, and l got a result. Shame we dont have small crib sheets for certain settings to help choose settings. Trial and error l guess. Thanks for the encouragement.

PeterBirder
5th February 2010, 10:44 PM
Firstly welcome to the forum. You'll find all the friendly, helpfull advice you need here. *chr
Wrotniak's site ( referred to in an earlier post ) is your best starting point for a crib sheet. He has a very good article on recommended settings for the e510/410 and as your e420 is an updated version of the e410 they should be fine. I started with a 410 and upgraded to a 510 when I started using long telephoto lenses for bird photography and needed image stabilisation. His settinings really got me started.
I use a PC not a Mac but my copy of the free Olympus master software says it works with Mac OS.
Enjoy your Oly

Regards