Anyone use a Sony Cyber Shot? [Archive] - OSW: One Sixth Warrior Forum

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06-19-2006, 15:28
i have the DSC-S85 model (4.1 mega pixels) and can't seem to take a decent pic of a figure to save my life. i'm thinking of getting a macro lens, tripod, and a softbox tent to place the subject matter in. will these thinks help? anyone else w/ the DSC-S85 have advice on setups that work well for them? thanks

Crazy Chocobo
06-19-2006, 18:45
"Ew, Sony!" Just kidding.

What is wrong with your pictures? The biggest problem I've seen on the forum is lack proper camera support. The blurry pictures that users suffering from improper support result from using slow shutter speeds in poor light while trying to handhold the camera. Get your camera nice and steady, because lighting sucks indoors. If you don't have a steady tripod, use some heavy books and trigger your camera with a self-timer.

A macro lens always helps, but I've never seen one for fixed-lens cameras that I've liked. If you were shooting a SLR, then a macro lens is near indispensable for reproductions of small items. Not sure how well a close-up filter screwed onto the front of your camera would do.

Start with the tripod. Lighting comes next- I just wing my lighting using whatever I have lying around and available, but I'm cheap. Collected table-top lamps perform well enough, really:

06-19-2006, 19:52
I have the same camera as you monkey, i find my outdoor pics are ok, but my indoor ones really suck!

06-20-2006, 15:14
Turthy, the DSC Cameras really bite for Indoor shots. I am finding this more and more when I use my DSC V3 Camera.

If i remember, Fine Scale Modeler Magazine from a few months back had an issue that had a tutorally for shotting indoors. My best guess, it the proper lighting tools, the right background and time.

06-20-2006, 16:31
mounting the camera on even a $10 tripod (and using the self-timer to trigger the shutter) will increase the quality of your pics by A LOT.

fdor close-ups you have to use the close-up function on your camera. it has the icon in the menu that looks like a magnifying glass.

make sutre you have good lighting also. more then 1 source preferably and in opposing angles.

Crazy Chocobo
06-20-2006, 16:36
The biggest problem with shooting indoors is the lack of light. What looks plenty bright to you isn't for the camera- your eyes are much more capable of imaging in low light, due to the fact that we have two types of rods that gather the light taken in and transmit an image which is deciphered by the brain. We have color ones in the center for bright light, and when it gets dark we also have black-and-white rods which are much more sensitive than the color ones. Digital cameras only have one sensor with a limited range of sensitivity (user-selectable), and it's nowhere as good as the two sets our eyes have. Incidentally, this is also why our vision takes on shades of grey in the dark.

There are two basic things you need to keep in mind when taking pictures (from a technical standpoint): Shutter Speed and Aperture. The following assumes the use of all automatic settings and a digital camera:

Shutter speed is how fast the shutter is moving. When you take a picture, you trip the shutter at various speeds depending on the amount of light. The camera opens and closes the shutter to control the amount of light that hits the sensor, which in turn determines the appearance of the image recorded. When it's really bright, your shutter speeds will be really fast. When it's dark, your shutter speeds will be really slow. Shutter speeds are written as fractions of a second: 1/1000, 1/250, 1/125, 1/15, 1", 1.5", 5"... etc.

Aperture- the opening in the lens, also affects how much light hits the sensor. If the opening is really wide, a lot of light gets through. If the opening is small, very little light gets through. When the opening is really small, you need to expose the sensor to the same light for a longer period of time to record the image. Aperture are written as the focal length "f" over a denominator that determines the size of the opening: f/2.8, f/4, f/5.6, f/11, etc. For example, if you have a lens with a focal length of 20mm, setting the aperture to f/4 yields an opening of 20mm divided by 4, which is 5mm. At f/10, the opening is 20mm/10, or 2mm. The smaller the number on the bottom, the larger the opening in the lens, and the greater the amount of light that comes through.

When it's dark, the camera compensates by opening up the aperture and slowing the shutter speed. Often, indoors, even with the aperture wide open, there's not a lot of light coming through, so the camera chooses a really slow shutter speed- i.e. 3 seconds. There are other factors involved, but for the average human being it's very hard to keep a camera steady for that long. Camera shake ruins the picture, and instead of seeing that cool new Toy Soldier box set, you get this blurred mass of color.

What compounds this is when the user decides to zoom in. Look on the lens of the camera- most likely it has a jumble of letters and numbers like this: "8-32mm f/2.8-5.6". The first set is the focal lengths at the short and long ends, and the second is the max aperture each focal length. At the long end, the lens has a focal lengh of 32mm and a horridly small opening of 32mm/5.6, whatever that works out to be. Anyways, a shutter speed of 1/125 sec at the short end has now become 1/30 sec due to the reduced light getting to the sensor. You're much more likely to have visible camera shake at 1/30 second than at 1/125 second.

The solution to camera shake is actually pretty simple- place the camera on something! A tripod is usually ideal, but unneccessary. A stack of books works just fine for smaller cameras; just stack the books and place the camera on top. Turn on the self-timer, gently press the shutter release, and sit back. Unless you disrupted the books or something, the camera should have ceased all motion by the time the picture has taken. The produced picture should be clear and sharp (unless the autofocus failed, but that's another story for another time)

Another thing you can do to prevent camera shake is to increase the sensitivity to light of the sensor ("virtual film speed"). The sensor's sensitivity is given in values of "ISO". ISO stands for International Standards Organization, and the ISO system of film speed replaced ASA (American Standards Association or something similar) and DIN (European; no idea what DIN stands for). For a while, film speed was listed as "ISO/ASA" as ISO and ASA are essentially the same system. Most compact cameras have a base sensitivity of ISO 50, and can be boosted to ISO 400. Everytime you double the ISO, you double the shutter speed that can be attained. For example, if I can get 1/125 second as ISO 200, then I can get 1/250 second at ISO 400. Unfortunately, the typical compact exhibits extreme digital "noise" at higher ISO values, which "ruins" the pictures by covering them with mottled patterns of random color specs. Usually, ISO 100 and 200 should be fairly usable, so this another way to ensure your pictures are fairly clear.

Now, another thing that "ruins" indoor pictures is that color cast. The picture looks orange, red, green, yellow, whatever. This is because automatic white balance ("AWB") is being used. AWB can only choose from a limited range of color temperature values to determine the correct value for "white" in a picture, and most lighting fixtures are outside of this manufacturer-specified range. Instead, use a custom white balance setting. The camera probably has several selectable options for different types of lighting used indoors- tungsten (light bulb symbol), fluroescent (rectangular light tube symbol), etc. Choose the one that matches your lighting. Alternatively, many cameras let you record a value for "white" under any kind of lighting so that you choose what becomes white- this is the most effective, but it is often absent or extremely cumbersome to use on the average compact camera.

(quick addenum: this really needs examples... if I get a chance...)

06-20-2006, 21:35
thanks everyone! and wow Crazy...that's CRAZY! thank u. that is very informative. very indepth and MUCH appreciated!

06-20-2006, 22:59
Yeah great info guys thanks!

Crazy Chocobo
06-22-2006, 17:50
Glad I was able to help, or at least try to. If you guys have anything else that needs addressing, I can try and come up with something. While I don't do a lot of indoor studio work, I do know enough of the theory to have a stab at it... LOL

07-07-2006, 13:23
hey does anyone know what size lens the Sony Cybershot DSC-S85 has? i can't find it listed in any of the manuals. i bought some 52mm macro/magnifying lenses and they don't fit. someone told me i can get an adapter tube for them but i need to know the size of the lens on the camera.

i found 1 lousy referrence online that states it's either 44 or 45mm. i need exact. thanks

Crazy Chocobo
07-15-2006, 17:54
It won't fit any screw-on accessories without the VAD-S70 adapter tube, which has 52mm filter threads.

10-20-2006, 16:52
I realize that this is an older question, but it might help someone else.
The camera that you wanted the information about is in the below link.
The lens thread is 52mm, I'm not sure why it didn't work out for you though.

If anyone has any questions like this, go to the link below and see if your camera is on there and read about it.
There is more than one place out there like this, but this is a tried and true place, alot of professional photographers recommend it.

One thing to remember, no matter what the size of the thread dimensions, you can always buy a ring adaptor, it's called a, "Step-up ring".
You thread it on and then your LARGER filter.
(Never use a "step-down ring", that will show up in your shots, it'll leave a blurry black ring)

I would like to mention here that close-up lenses and filters aren't necessarily a good thing for figure shooting.
The will create what's known as a 'too small of a depth of field', what is better is to make sure that you shoot from a distance, and zoom in.
This will help the depth of field problem, you won't see as much depth blur this way.
Do a test using your macro, then do a test using zoom from 5-6 feet away, look at the difference in the depth of field.
For instance, the arm on the opposite side of a figure will be in better focus with zoom.
This method will also make it look more realistic too, and will not show as much detail in areas that don't need it, like the face.
The face can have some pits or bumps, and from a farther distance, the eyes and stuff will still show really good, but the bad stuff won't.
There's a whole lot to all of this, but for starters, try not to use the macro settings, they're good for bugs and flowers, but not anything that has any depth or width to 'em.

If this doesn't make sense, try it, but professional photographer's use a zoom for portraiture, it helps in flattening out the subject.


Crazy Chocobo
10-20-2006, 17:48
To try and avoid a bit of confusion...

Never use a "step-down ring", that will show up in your shots, it'll leave a blurry black ring)

There actually are instances where using a step-down ring works just fine, but I think it'd just add confusion to the thread, so I won't elaborate. I just wouldn't say "never", as nothing's absolute.

professional photographer's use a zoom for portraiture

I wouldn't say "zoom", but rather, a telephoto. A zoom lens is simply a variable focal length lens; the user can change what the camera sees without changing lenses. A zoom lens doesn't flatten out a subject; a telephoto does. Granted, it might be the telephoto end of a zoom lens, but it doesn't neccessarily mean a zoom lens is being used. Many photographers use fixed lenses ("primes") for portraiture, and these aren't zooms, but they are telephotos.

10-20-2006, 17:54
You got me on the "zoom" thing, you're absolutely right, I meant telephoto, but trying to say of of 'that' quickly, I goofed good.
Thanks for catching that.

I mentioned the step-down thing 'cause most people that don't know, 'might' buy one, and run into problems, hence the "never" part.
Somebody that is familiar with stuff, might use it, I have a few.

Here's me ZOOMing out of here to run away from being addle-brained! :)

Crazy Chocobo
10-20-2006, 18:24
No problem; as much misinformation as I hand out, I try to make sure I can stop anything I know is a goof. =)

..hence the "never" part.

I think simply saying "Don't use a step-down ring, as it can cause problems" would be sufficient without using "never".