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Old Wednesday 18th May 2005, 19:58   #1
Yelvertoft
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Suggested settings for Sony W1/12/5/15

Hi,

I've been using a Sony DSC-W12 camera for digiscoping for several months now and thought it may be useful for to post some of the things I've learned. As ever, these things are just what I've found to work for me. Others may have found other things work best for them. I'm not saying this is the only way to use the camera, treat as guidance only. Most importantly, get out there and experiment for yourselves.

Aperture Priority
Firstly, I know there are some potential users of the Sony W series that dismiss it for digiscoping because it doesn't have a dedicated aperture priority mode. I've used this camera in a very wide range of lighting conditions now and can safely say that using "P" program mode is virtually the same. In common with many other compact digital cameras, there are effectively only two aperture settings. In the "wide open" setting, the aperture ranges from f2.8 (1.0x optical zoom) to f5.2 (3.0x optical zoom). In the "stopped down" aperture setting, the aperture ranges from f5.6 to f10 depending on the optical zoom used. The camera doesn't switch to the "stopped down" aperture mode until there is a lot of light, a very lot of light if you are using it in conjunction with a scope. The change from wide aperture tends to happen after the shutter speed goes over about 1/320th. This doesn't happen very often if you're using a 66mm scope in the UK. The vast majority of my shooting is done in the "P" program mode.

Manual Exposure
Full manual exposure can be sucessfully used when the Program mode is likely to get confused by the background/subject matter or you are trying to force the shutter speed up. Fairly significant under exposure can be tweaked out in youe image editing program. The extent to which a dark shot can be brightened up has been one of the great revelations to me in digital photography. Full manual mode can be very effective under difficult lighting conditions.

Metering
I've found that spot metering works best, though you have to be careful with large white birds as they can give burnt out highlights (see my egret photo). As has been said by digiscopers far more expert than I, erring on the side of underexposure is preferable to risking overexposure. After photographing "burnt out" Egrets I've learned that when taking shots of large white birds, to set the exposure compensation to a small minus figure. I use between -0.3 and -1.0 depending on the subject and lighting conditions. Things can always be brightened back up using the histogram later if needed. Most of thetime I leave the exposure comensation set to 0 but it pays to learn when to compensate.

Focusing
I prefer to use the Single AF mode, rather than the Monitor AF mode. Monitor AF I've found to hunt around too much in poor lighting, but it can be very handy in bright conditions and is probably very useful for capturing flying birds, not that I've managed to do this yet! I also use the centre AF rather than the multi zone AF as the multi AF gives too much tendency to pick up on "no-subject" objects in the shot such as branches. Under really tricky very low-light conditions the camera can be set to manual focus "infinity" and the scope used to do the focusing but this isn't as accurate as AF and should only be used as a last resort when the AF won't lock. Macro mode gives good results if the light is fading but in good light conditions I've not found it to be essential.

Shooting Mode
The Burst mode is brilliant! When used with full 5MP resolution, it typically takes about 7 shots before the buffer is full and has to write to the card. This can be very, very useful for "capturing the moment". I leave the camera set to burst mode all thetime as it is still possible to take a single shot if you want.

Other Setting
For obvious reasons (I hope they are obvious in a digiscoping context), flash should be forced OFF and the AF illuminator forced OFF too. I leave the white balance set to Auto most of thetime but sometimes switch to "sunny" or "cloudy" if the conditions are constant. I leave the ISO set to 100. Picture quality is FINE and resolution is left at 5MP. Saturation, Contrast and Sharpness are all left at NORMAL.

Just a few ideas, hope people find them useful.

Regards,

Duncan.

Last edited by Yelvertoft : Wednesday 18th May 2005 at 20:42.
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Old Thursday 19th May 2005, 15:46   #2
Vodomec
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Thanks for posting this! I have a Sony W-1.
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Old Thursday 19th May 2005, 19:55   #3
Yelvertoft
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vodomec
Thanks for posting this! I have a Sony W-1.
Hi Ivan,

I saw your thread asking if you should buy a CP4500 and was pleased that Ilkka had already answered it. I didn't feel that I could add any more of value to that thread. I think the Sony W1 (same camera as the W12 that I have except for the colour and accessories) is a super all-round camera as well as its good digiscoping capabilities. It is far better than the CP4500, technology has moved a long way since that model was a current design.

The great beauty of digital photography is the fact that once you've bought the camera and memory, it doesn't cost anything to experiment. Try a variety of different settings, take lots of pictures of static objects to begin with. Have you tried using the camera with a scope yet? An adaptor is useful, but not utterly essential whilst you are learning the basics. If you have a scope but no adaptor, try hand-holding the camera to the eyepiece.

Duncan.
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Old Wednesday 19th October 2005, 15:27   #4
Nexus6
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Hi all, I have the Sony W1 and the Scopetronix Adapter. Has anyone any views on the best adapter for the Sony to get the best image and less vignetting?? From only a brief etst the scopetronix adapter is not ideal.

Thansk very much.











Quote:
Originally Posted by Yelvertoft
Hi Ivan,

I saw your thread asking if you should buy a CP4500 and was pleased that Ilkka had already answered it. I didn't feel that I could add any more of value to that thread. I think the Sony W1 (same camera as the W12 that I have except for the colour and accessories) is a super all-round camera as well as its good digiscoping capabilities. It is far better than the CP4500, technology has moved a long way since that model was a current design.

The great beauty of digital photography is the fact that once you've bought the camera and memory, it doesn't cost anything to experiment. Try a variety of different settings, take lots of pictures of static objects to begin with. Have you tried using the camera with a scope yet? An adaptor is useful, but not utterly essential whilst you are learning the basics. If you have a scope but no adaptor, try hand-holding the camera to the eyepiece.

Duncan.
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Old Wednesday 4th January 2006, 23:59   #5
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F717

Hi I am the proud owner of the f717, which I had high hopes of attaching to a scope. But from information gleened from this site it seems it is unsuitable.
I have looked at other Sony Models on preview sites and find that most models within my budget (pensioner) do not have Manual Controls, are these necessary for Digiscoping, any preferences. Thanks Ernie
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Old Wednesday 11th January 2006, 16:27   #6
graeme dunlop
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Smile sony W5

I have just bought a Sony W5 and this thread has answered the questions i have had in my mind, thanks, i should now be able to get some half decent shots
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yelvertoft
Hi,


I've been using a Sony DSC-W12 camera for digiscoping for several months now and thought it may be useful for to post some of the things I've learned. As ever, these things are just what I've found to work for me. Others may have found other things work best for them. I'm not saying this is the only way to use the camera, treat as guidance only. Most importantly, get out there and experiment for yourselves.

Aperture Priority
Firstly, I know there are some potential users of the Sony W series that dismiss it for digiscoping because it doesn't have a dedicated aperture priority mode. I've used this camera in a very wide range of lighting conditions now and can safely say that using "P" program mode is virtually the same. In common with many other compact digital cameras, there are effectively only two aperture settings. In the "wide open" setting, the aperture ranges from f2.8 (1.0x optical zoom) to f5.2 (3.0x optical zoom). In the "stopped down" aperture setting, the aperture ranges from f5.6 to f10 depending on the optical zoom used. The camera doesn't switch to the "stopped down" aperture mode until there is a lot of light, a very lot of light if you are using it in conjunction with a scope. The change from wide aperture tends to happen after the shutter speed goes over about 1/320th. This doesn't happen very often if you're using a 66mm scope in the UK. The vast majority of my shooting is done in the "P" program mode.

Manual Exposure
Full manual exposure can be sucessfully used when the Program mode is likely to get confused by the background/subject matter or you are trying to force the shutter speed up. Fairly significant under exposure can be tweaked out in youe image editing program. The extent to which a dark shot can be brightened up has been one of the great revelations to me in digital photography. Full manual mode can be very effective under difficult lighting conditions.

Metering
I've found that spot metering works best, though you have to be careful with large white birds as they can give burnt out highlights (see my egret photo). As has been said by digiscopers far more expert than I, erring on the side of underexposure is preferable to risking overexposure. After photographing "burnt out" Egrets I've learned that when taking shots of large white birds, to set the exposure compensation to a small minus figure. I use between -0.3 and -1.0 depending on the subject and lighting conditions. Things can always be brightened back up using the histogram later if needed. Most of thetime I leave the exposure comensation set to 0 but it pays to learn when to compensate.

Focusing
I prefer to use the Single AF mode, rather than the Monitor AF mode. Monitor AF I've found to hunt around too much in poor lighting, but it can be very handy in bright conditions and is probably very useful for capturing flying birds, not that I've managed to do this yet! I also use the centre AF rather than the multi zone AF as the multi AF gives too much tendency to pick up on "no-subject" objects in the shot such as branches. Under really tricky very low-light conditions the camera can be set to manual focus "infinity" and the scope used to do the focusing but this isn't as accurate as AF and should only be used as a last resort when the AF won't lock. Macro mode gives good results if the light is fading but in good light conditions I've not found it to be essential.

Shooting Mode
The Burst mode is brilliant! When used with full 5MP resolution, it typically takes about 7 shots before the buffer is full and has to write to the card. This can be very, very useful for "capturing the moment". I leave the camera set to burst mode all thetime as it is still possible to take a single shot if you want.

Other Setting
For obvious reasons (I hope they are obvious in a digiscoping context), flash should be forced OFF and the AF illuminator forced OFF too. I leave the white balance set to Auto most of thetime but sometimes switch to "sunny" or "cloudy" if the conditions are constant. I leave the ISO set to 100. Picture quality is FINE and resolution is left at 5MP. Saturation, Contrast and Sharpness are all left at NORMAL.

Just a few ideas, hope people find them useful.

Regards,

Duncan.
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Old Sunday 2nd April 2006, 18:15   #7
Hermann
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yelvertoft
I've been using a Sony DSC-W12 camera for digiscoping for several months now and thought it may be useful for to post some of the things I've learned. As ever, these things are just what I've found to work for me.
Thanks, that's a very nice post. I just got a DSC-W17 to complement my aging 995, and this saves to a lot of time sorting out the various options. So far I'm very impressed with the camera, even though I'm not sure it'll take quite as much abuse at my old Nikon.

By the way, what sort of memory stick do you prefer in the Sony? I'v never used memory sticks before (avoided them like the plague, to be honest), so I'm not really sure what to buy.

Hermann
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