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post #1 of (permalink) Old 08-20-2003, 01:36 PM Thread Starter
Headed for the Mountains
 
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I took my Pentax MZ-7 SLR camera hiking and found that with 400 speed film that while in the woods the shutter speed is too slow for taking clear pictures by hand. If I use a faster speed, the pictures will be under-exposed. I would have had several very good photos if not for this fact. [V]

I do NOT want to bring a tripod... too heavy, cumbersome and I don't want a long set-up procedure when I just want to snap a few pics of our hike.

Would 800 speed film make a big difference in the shutter speed? Any suggestions would be appreciated.



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post #2 of (permalink) Old 08-20-2003, 08:23 PM
 
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That is a decent camera, I have a couple older Pentax bodies and I shoot 200 ASA film all the time, 400 ASA is to grainy for the really good pictures. I have taken decent pictures with a dead battery in my camera (no light meter) it defaults to a shutter speed of 125. You should be able to open your aperture to allow more light into the camera. I have found that you have several settings on that camera one of them being the "Metered Manual mode". The web site claims "The desired exposure mode can be set using the mode dial on the camera's left shoulder" and it also explains that some lenses will have an aperture setting. You should have good conrol with 200 ASA as long as it not really dark out.


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post #3 of (permalink) Old 08-20-2003, 08:42 PM
 
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Hi Island Boy.

I am an SLR user myself and I checked out the settings in my camera. Getting a faster film from 400asa to 800 asa will give you approximately one faster shutter speed increment. For example – setting my dial at 400asa with my aperture at full opening f2.8, it provided 1/30th shutter speed. Then switching my dial to 800asa, it gave me a reading at 1/60th (f2.8)…maybe even 1/4 stop overexposed). Try it yourself - point your camera at an object and take a reading with 400asa, and then another reading with 800asa setting with the same aperture.

I like shooting slides (ie. Fujichrome Velvia 50asa or Sensia 100asa). Hence, I often use my light weight 6 inch tripod with velcro strap (from MEC). In low light situation, I stick my trekking poles on snow or mud and strap the tripod to the top of the poles for height. I also lay my backpack on the ground and place my tripod on top of it.

If you prefer not to go through this major set up, then place your arms/elbows next to your chess snugly, hold your breath, and then depress the button slowly to prevent camera movement.

You may already know, the 800asa will give you more grainy pictures than the 400asa. I prefer lower asa films and make the effort using a small tripod.

Hope this helps.


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post #4 of (permalink) Old 08-20-2003, 08:54 PM
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Yup, either push the film or get a lighter tripod. I carry my tripod almost everywhere when hiking. It's only 2 lbs and has quick release. I usually shoot 50 to 100 ASA. My point and shoot has minimum 400 ASA.

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post #5 of (permalink) Old 08-21-2003, 12:28 AM
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Yah, I agree that the best solution is a tripod. There are lots of different ones out there, many are designed with hiking in mind with lighter weight and a quick release head. One option is go for something really light, and then hang your camera bag (or whatever) from under the head to give it the stability that a heavier tripod would give you. With a decent quality tripod, you should be able to open and close it quite quickly. I have a strap for mine so I can easily sling it over the shoulder when hiking. If you are concerned at all about image quality, a tripod is the only way to go.

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post #6 of (permalink) Old 08-21-2003, 02:03 AM
 
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Unless you are willing to use a tripod (you can buy little mini ones that don't weigh much), it's too dark in the woods to take decent pictures without a flash. The faster film speeds are grainy, and you will probably be disappointed with the quality, especially with the ones you take in bright sun. "Pushing" the film (ie having it developed for a longer time) isn't the answer, especially if you are using colour films. They are designed to be developed a certain length of time at a certain temperature, and pushing will make the film unacceptably contrasty. You'd also have to pay double to have this done, and one-hour labs generally don't have the facilities to do it (I've spent time working in these places).
I used to be more into photography and took my SLR on my hikes, but then I broke down and got a point-and-shoot thing (but a good one, not a cheapo cruddy one). I never thought I'd say this, but I love it for hiking. It has its little built-in flash, so I can take pictures in the woods, it's waterproof, it's light and compact, has a zoom lens, macro, plus various other features that give you more control over the exposure. The picture quality is great, and many people have complimented me on some of my photos. I'll never go back to the SLR in the woods again unless I am on some serious photographic mission. However, if I were THAT serious about my photography, I'd bring a tripod. What I'm trying to say is, you aren't going to find a film that solves your problem - you'll have to either get a tripod (if you are trying to capture the natural light), bring a flash (if all you want is a snap of your companion standing on the trail) or forget about it, unfortunately.

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post #7 of (permalink) Old 08-22-2003, 09:11 AM Thread Starter
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Excellent suggestions. I am going to have to modify how I am taking photos. Maybe a monopod hiking pole like someone else on this site was looking for? I'll have to give it some more thought.

Thanks all!! Much appreciated! <img src=icon_smile_big.gif border=0 align=middle>

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post #8 of (permalink) Old 08-22-2003, 10:14 AM
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Quote:
quote:
I carry my tripod almost everywhere when hiking. It's only 2 lbs and has quick release.
What kind of tripod?

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post #9 of (permalink) Old 08-22-2003, 06:47 PM
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It is a Giottos HD-324. It weighs 2lbs alone. 7lbs with big daddy on it.
When you buy a tripod with a quick release head; check the tackiness of the mount that screws on to the camera. It should be hard to slide your finger across it. If it has a smooth surface where it meets the camera body, the camera can slip while taking portrait (verticle) aligned photos. My old tripod did this. Most annoying.

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post #10 of (permalink) Old 08-28-2003, 10:35 AM
 
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Quote:
quote:The faster film speeds are grainy, and you will probably be disappointed with the quality
This isn't necessarily the case. Fuji has a fairly decent 800 speed print film out that renders good results and the grain is not that noticeable. I'd recommend purchasing a role of the film and giving it a try. Of course if you are shooting E6, then I agree with the previous postings. Stick with the slower speed film and look into getting a tripod.

BTW, here is a link to the film I'm talking about http://www.fujifilm.com/JSP/fuji/epa...roduct=1011039

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post #11 of (permalink) Old 08-31-2003, 07:18 PM
 
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I took my Pentax MZ-7 SLR camera hiking and found that with 400 speed film that while in the woods the shutter speed is too slow for taking clear pictures by hand. If I use a faster speed, the pictures will be under-exposed. I would have had several very good photos if not for this fact. <img src=icon_smile_dissapprove.gif border=0 align=middle>

Would 800 speed film make a big difference in the shutter speed? Any suggestions would be appreciated.
If you can give a few more details perhaps I can give you a few pointers. First question what focal length are you using? (zoom, fixed focal length?) Second are you shooting fully automatic or manual exposure? If you are shooting automatic change it to manual (If your camera allows)If you can change the aperture to what you want this will help a great deal. If the widest aperture on your lens is f4, 5.6or whatever use the lens wide open, this will give you a faster shutter speed. Remember though that at wider apertures you will have less apparent depth of field. ISO 400 should be plenty fast enough for shooting in the woods. 800 speed film is not going to make much difference and the quality will suffer (grain, contrast and so on)Another tip shoot at the speed or closest speed to your focal length. If you are using a 100mm lens then 1/125th of a second would be about the slowest peed that you can shoot hand held. Wider lenses will give you the advantage of shooting at slower speeds. Since you don't carry a tripod try to brace yourself or the camera up against an object like another tree to limit the movement. Hope these quick pointers help.

Adam

Adam Gibbs Photgraphy
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