New Sony DSC-W200

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by nylock10, Feb 7, 2008.

  1. nylock10 macrumors regular

    Jun 26, 2006

    I finally replaced my old Sony Cybershot 3.1MP I've had for quite some time with a nice thin Sony DSC-W200.

    But, I would like to know what some of the features that came with the camera mean since I don't have a clue what I'm doing :eek:

    First off, it says I can adjust the ISO from 100 to 3200 - what does this mean?

    Also, what is the best way to make some sort of "depth of field" picture where the object is in clear focus but the background is blurred.

    I was trying to figure out how to do this earlier, I enabled "Manual Exposure" and started playing around until I got that "blurry" effect (but unfortunately I forgot how to do it). Here's the shot I took with that effect:


    Thanks a lot, looking forward to taking nicer pictures - this camera is extremely clear compared to my old digital camera :D
  2. Grimace macrumors 68040


    Feb 17, 2003
    with Hamburglar.
    ISO is sort of like film speed. You need a higher ISO speed when you have less light and need a faster shutter.

    For bokeh depth of field effects, you need to manually set the aperture to as low as possible (probably around f/2.8 or so.) P&S cameras are usually very limited in this ability.
  3. miloblithe macrumors 68020


    Nov 14, 2003
    Washington, DC
  4. nylock10 thread starter macrumors regular

    Jun 26, 2006
    Thanks for the replies,

    I remember in "Manual Exposure" mode you can set the ISO and Aperture stuff.

    I'll mess around with these things later :D
  5. Gelfin macrumors 68020


    Sep 18, 2001
    Denver, CO
    I think "film speed" is rapidly becoming a not-so-useful metaphor given how many people these days have never even owned a film camera. Really what ISO refers to is how sensitive the camera is to light. In the past, this was dictated by the film. Photographers would choose a film sensitivity based on what kind of event they expected to be shooting, since they had to use up a roll before switching film. Now it's just a setting on the camera's image sensor that can be changed for every shot if you want.

    More sensitivity means the camera can capture the scene using less total light, since each photon has more effect. Less sensitivity means you have to keep the shutter open longer to get the same exposure. The trade-off is that more sensitivity (higher ISO) means noisier pictures. My approach is to increase ISO very grudgingly, only when I can't get a shot any other way. I hate letting my camera choose ISO because it's always less stingy than I would be, and because I own a mini tripod that fits easily into a pants pocket.

    Higher sensitivity offers two main potential benefits:

    First is that it allows you to take pictures in darker places without a tripod. Keeping the shutter open a long time is an option to capture dark scenes, but more than 1/10s or so and no amount of fancy image stabilization is going to stop you from getting a blurry picture. Frankly I think ISO1600 and ISO3200 are useless gimmicks of newer cameras in this context. You can take handheld pictures practically in the dark, but the results look like bad TV reception.

    The second benefit is that high sensitivity allows you to use a very fast shutter speed in more normal lighting conditions. This is useful when you are taking pictures of fast-moving subjects and want to freeze the action. For this reason, high sensitivity is more popular among people taking pictures of sporting events. In a well-lit scene, the problems with noise are still present, but less horribly evident than in dark scenes, so there is some potential use there. I don't take many such pictures, so I'm not qualified to judge whether ISO3200 is very often useful in this regard.

    Depth of field can be a more complicated subject, leading you full-on into the balancing act of exposure. For that, I recommend the Byran Peterson book Understanding Exposure advertised on that site miloblithe linked. You might also take a look at his Understanding Digital Photography, which covers many of the different issues digital photographers deal with compared to traditional film photography. A caveat for the latter book, though: Peterson is clearly not a really technical guy and some of his technical claims are downright bizarre, such as his assertion that merely opening a JPEG image, even just to view it, degrades its quality. If you can gloss over things like that, it's a useful book.

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