Grab Your S5700 / S700 And Get Ready To Learn Some Handy Tips And Tricks!
You're holding in your hands a great piece of kit (or maybe you're thinking of buying one)- the Fujifilm Finepix S5700 / S700 7.1 Megapixel 10x Optical Zoom Bridge Camera.... You could use this as a point and shoot - but what we're going to be doing in this article is running through some features of the camera in practical exercises you can do in your home, garden, or surrounding area.
The S5700 / S700 has almost all the controls of a digital SLR without the price, and it can take great pictures, I've been very impressed with mine which I've had for about 2 months. I'm no expert, but hopefully these techniques I've discovered will speed up your learning curve and help you start taking great images a bit quicker. We're not going to be creating masterpieces, just exercises to help us as beginners as building blocks to greater achievements.
First up, make sure you read the excellent user manual that comes with your camera so you know the names of the various buttons and switches. Take a few shots so you're happy transferring pictures to your pc. Done that? Great. Lets get started!
Wait... are you sure you've read the manual? Try to keep it to hand as we dash around the house, it may help with some of the instructions.
First up: Auto Mode Options.
Auto mode is great for point and shoot situations where you don't have the time to play around with the settings, just turn the camera on and go.
But there are a few things we can change. Press and hold the "F" mode button. (It's got an F on it...) Use the direction button to alter the quality and hence the number of pictures (frames) the camera, or your SD card, can store. Easy.
Now use the F Mode Button to select "Finepix Color" and select "F-B&W".
Go take a picture of a clock!
So we've got a black and white picture of a clock. How can the camera help us make it better?
First lets turn off the flash. Press the little lightning button on the direction buttons until it says "suppressed flash". You'll now have to hold the camera quite still, but we avoid the harsh shadows.
Next lets turn on the "rule of thirds" grid to help with image composition. Press the "disp / back" button until the 9 block grid appears on the display. The idea of this grid is that you put the subject of your picture at the intersection of the lines. You can also run your horizons along the lines, or line peoples eyes up on the top vertical line
Let's think about detail next too - good pics are often about detail and not being too busy.
Go and take the picture again, using the grid to align the subject.
I've aligned my subject, the center of the clock, with the bottom right intersection on the grid.
I've got in closer and used a different angle.
Its no masterpiece, but we now know how to shoot black and white, turn off the flash, and use the grid (which I leave on all the time).
Now change the camera back to colour but use , "f-chrome" which gives us great vivid colours.
Go take a picture of some flowers!
Oh dear. My shot is blurred and terrible. Yours is probably a lot better, but although nice, flowers can be a bit boring. We need to get in close!
To do this we're going to use Super Macro Mode. Now, the normal Macro mode is great for getting in quite close, but with Super Macro we can get right in among the petals.
For good Super Macro with the S5700 S700 you need to have some way of holding the camera still - with a tripod, bean-bag or something similar.
Here's a makeshift camera mount that allows me to get right in close to the flowers.
Note I'm taking the picture next to a window. With the camera this close light can be a problem.
Now set up something similar (or use a tripod), and press the flower button on the camera a couple of times to select Super Macro Mode.
The other trick we'll use is the self-timer. This helps to avoid the camera shake that happens when you press the shutter release button. To select this, press the Bottom button on the direction pad a couple of times to set the delay to 2 seconds.
Make sure you're using the big display on the back of the camera by pressing the "EFV / LCD" button, and turn the grid on.
Now go and take 10 Super Macro pictures of the flowers from lots of different angles.
That's more like it! Great detail and colours, composition could be better, but we could sort that out with post processing if we wanted to.
Super Macro on the S5700 / S700 is brilliant fun, play around, take loads of pics, do it outside, change your subject to ordinary household objects, etc.
Ok, I'll leave you to play around with Macro, but we need to move on.
Next up lets get outside and play around with Aperture Priority Mode.
So, grab your coat, tripod if you've got one, set the Mode Dial to "A" , press the "Exposure Compensation Button" and put in an Aperture of 3.5, then take a shot of an edge of something.
|Ok, this shot was taken in Macro Mode with the aperture wide open. This narrows the depth of field (DOF) so that just the subject (the edge of the wood) is in focus.|
In this shot just the tree bark is in focus.
So, when you want just a subject to be in focus, Aperture Priority can produce good results.
By zooming in from a distance (you'll need a tripod) you can increase this effect.
Right, now you know how to shoot in black and white, use the rule of thirds, use macro, super macro, and shutter priority to reduce DOF it's time for you to get out and take LOADS of pictures.
I'll leave you with two other tips: Landscapes should have a foreground, middle and background. Lines can be used to guide the viewers eyes through a shot.
Now go for it, and I'll see you on flikr to compare images and share ideas!
Check out my Flickr account for my progress and please post comments about how I can improve my pictures. Thanks in advance!
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