01 Mar 2004 02:15:21
Dmitry
using digital camera on the mountain

Unexpected tax refund made me thinking.. What's a good camera to
take on the mountain, and more importantly, what's the technique?

I did get a couple of decent snaps with my digital Minolta F-100 (4MP,
3x optical zoom). I was setting everything to manual - this camera
actually allows that. Minimum aperture (f8 I think), fixed focus (~20 feet),
fixed shutter (minimum), ISO 100. Then gave the camera to my friend
and instructed her to not use LCD but use an eyepiece, and just press
shutter release and hold it keeping the rider (myself) in frame. This
produced a series of shots, and out of about 8 a couple were actually
pretty good. Here's one:

http://www.azazello.net/misc/sb.jpg

Now that camera is gone for good and I'm thinking about getting a
new one.

Having a big zoom is desirable I guess, but at the same time
would you be comfortable riding with big hard objects in the
backpack? This just doesn't seem to be a good idea to me,
back injuries are among the worst. Something slim and easily
pocketable seems to be the ticket, but those cameras only
have 3x zoom at best.

Also, manual controls are a concern. I'm not sure even the
latest consumer cameras can handle focusing on fast moving
targets on the snow. Snow usually throws their metering off
and they overexpose like crazy.

Maybe a pocket-size camera and a telephoto add-on lens would do
the job?

Anyway, if you have any positive experience with taking
action shots while snowboarding, please share. TIA!

--
Dmitry




01 Mar 2004 06:35:13
tlf
Re: using digital camera on the mountain

I use an Olympus S300 - 3.2MP/3xOptical smaller then a deck of cards. Works
pretty good - slim and water resistant - has yet to fog. I carry it in my
chest pocket. 27 days and no problems yet. It also has video capture which
is not amazing but i consider it pretty good.

"Dmitry" <[email protected] > wrote in message
news:[email protected]_s52...
> Unexpected tax refund made me thinking.. What's a good camera to
> take on the mountain, and more importantly, what's the technique?
>
> I did get a couple of decent snaps with my digital Minolta F-100 (4MP,
> 3x optical zoom). I was setting everything to manual - this camera
> actually allows that. Minimum aperture (f8 I think), fixed focus (~20
feet),
> fixed shutter (minimum), ISO 100. Then gave the camera to my friend
> and instructed her to not use LCD but use an eyepiece, and just press
> shutter release and hold it keeping the rider (myself) in frame. This
> produced a series of shots, and out of about 8 a couple were actually
> pretty good. Here's one:
>
> http://www.azazello.net/misc/sb.jpg
>
> Now that camera is gone for good and I'm thinking about getting a
> new one.
>
> Having a big zoom is desirable I guess, but at the same time
> would you be comfortable riding with big hard objects in the
> backpack? This just doesn't seem to be a good idea to me,
> back injuries are among the worst. Something slim and easily
> pocketable seems to be the ticket, but those cameras only
> have 3x zoom at best.
>
> Also, manual controls are a concern. I'm not sure even the
> latest consumer cameras can handle focusing on fast moving
> targets on the snow. Snow usually throws their metering off
> and they overexpose like crazy.
>
> Maybe a pocket-size camera and a telephoto add-on lens would do
> the job?
>
> Anyway, if you have any positive experience with taking
> action shots while snowboarding, please share. TIA!
>
> --
> Dmitry
>
>




29 Feb 2004 23:36:34
Arvin Chang
Re: using digital camera on the mountain

"Dmitry" <[email protected] > wrote in message news:<[email protected]_s52>...
> Unexpected tax refund made me thinking.. What's a good camera to
> take on the mountain, and more importantly, what's the technique?
>
> I did get a couple of decent snaps with my digital Minolta F-100 (4MP,
> 3x optical zoom). I was setting everything to manual - this camera
> actually allows that. Minimum aperture (f8 I think), fixed focus (~20 feet),
> fixed shutter (minimum), ISO 100. Then gave the camera to my friend
> and instructed her to not use LCD but use an eyepiece, and just press
> shutter release and hold it keeping the rider (myself) in frame. This
> produced a series of shots, and out of about 8 a couple were actually
> pretty good. Here's one:
>
> http://www.azazello.net/misc/sb.jpg
>
> Now that camera is gone for good and I'm thinking about getting a
> new one.
>
> Having a big zoom is desirable I guess, but at the same time
> would you be comfortable riding with big hard objects in the
> backpack? This just doesn't seem to be a good idea to me,
> back injuries are among the worst. Something slim and easily
> pocketable seems to be the ticket, but those cameras only
> have 3x zoom at best.
>
> Also, manual controls are a concern. I'm not sure even the
> latest consumer cameras can handle focusing on fast moving
> targets on the snow. Snow usually throws their metering off
> and they overexpose like crazy.
>
> Maybe a pocket-size camera and a telephoto add-on lens would do
> the job?
>
> Anyway, if you have any positive experience with taking
> action shots while snowboarding, please share. TIA!

What happened to your camera? The F-100 is a nice camera for
snowboarding photos.

Here are a few photos that I've taken a few years ago -
http://www.dotphoto.com/go.asp?l=ChangArvin&AID=1380965

Are you sure that snow causes your camera to overexpose? I've found
that when the scene is predominantly snow, it fools the camera into
underexposing (because it thinks that the white snow is some type of
very bright object). So to compensate I usually use +0.5-0.7 EV
exposure compensation or spot meter off an object.

I usually shoot with a polarizing filter in either shutter priority or
manual mode. In sunny weather I am usually using minimum apeture (F8)
although I might go wider to get at least a 1/250s shutter speed. In
general I usually prefocused off a point by aiming at where the rider
will be in 2 seconds (very easy for jumps) and half-pressing the
shutter button. I have used fixed focus as well (prefocusing and then
switching to manul focus mode).

As for zoom I agree that a bigger lens can be useful, but not always.
In the past I've used a Olympus 2100UZ (38-380mm lens) and a Sony F707
(38-190mm) and the reach is nice, but sometimes I wish I had a fisheye
so I could get really close to the jump and still pull in most of the
surroundings. I usually carried my camera in a side holster bag, but I
would be taking it easy so as not to fall on it (i.e. I don't take
those larger cameras up all the time). If you want a 10x zoom that is
compact, maybe you could look at the new Olympus C-765 (I think the
C-750 is essentially the same). It has a 38-380mm zoom while only
being 105 x 60 x 69 mm in size. To compare your F100 was 111 x 52 x 32
mm in size.

Personally I'm not a big fan of add-on telephoto lenses for digital
cameras as I think they degrade image quality too much. There are a
few cameras with 4-5x lens that are still pretty compact. I agree that
the AF systems on consumer digital cameras are too slow for fast
moving objects, but I have some the prefocus/fix focus setup to be
highly effective. If you camera has custom options like the G5 you can
set two quick presets and flip between the two.

I'm still considering buying a smaller camera to carry on the
mountain... not quite sure what I'm going to get, but the Canon A80
looks good. I'm still shopping though.

--Arvin


02 Mar 2004 00:24:24
Mike M. Miskulin
Re: using digital camera on the mountain

"Dmitry" <[email protected] > wrote in
news:[email protected]_s52:


> targets on the snow. Snow usually throws their metering off
> and they overexpose like crazy.

Thnk you mean underexpose. Meters want to make everything neutral
grey.

A polarizer will help with the sky and a neutral density filter
should keep you from situations where the snow is just too fast
for the camera.

As for zoom.. depends what you are taking.. if you are more
or less setting shots up than you can probably position yourself
close enough for the lower power zoom.



02 Mar 2004 04:58:15
Dmitry
Re: using digital camera on the mountain


"Mike M. Miskulin" <[email protected] > wrote

> > targets on the snow. Snow usually throws their metering off
> > and they overexpose like crazy.
>
> Thnk you mean underexpose. Meters want to make everything neutral
> grey.

Yes!

> A polarizer will help with the sky and a neutral density filter
> should keep you from situations where the snow is just too fast
> for the camera.

Umm.. Filters.. Ok, this narrows the camera selection even more,
because not many consumer p&s have filter threads.

> As for zoom.. depends what you are taking.. if you are more
> or less setting shots up than you can probably position yourself
> close enough for the lower power zoom.

I'm leaning to just getting a new ultra-small camera like Optio S
or PowerShot S400. Looks like there's nothing there on the market
that offers substantially more in small-sized cameras as far as
qualities I'm interested in. Staged shots, pre-focusing and
exposure compensation. Ugh!

I was kinda hoping to get a camera that will also be useable for
picturing kitesurfing, but that definitely requires a very big
zoom, so looks like Panazonic FZ1 or FZ10 would be my summer camera..




02 Mar 2004 05:10:33
Dmitry
Re: using digital camera on the mountain


"Arvin Chang" <[email protected] > wrote

> > Anyway, if you have any positive experience with taking
> > action shots while snowboarding, please share. TIA!
>
> What happened to your camera? The F-100 is a nice camera for
> snowboarding photos.

I dropped it into the lake :-) That's the down side of the pocket
camera - jump into the mountain lake with your bare ass, then try
to put your pants on real fast - and it slips right out of the back
pocket!

> Here are a few photos that I've taken a few years ago -
> http://www.dotphoto.com/go.asp?l=ChangArvin&AID=1380965

Were those done with a 3x zoom or more? Nice shots!

> Are you sure that snow causes your camera to overexpose?

Freudian slip. Underexposed of course.

> I usually shoot with a polarizing filter in either shutter priority or
> manual mode. In sunny weather I am usually using minimum apeture (F8)
> although I might go wider to get at least a 1/250s shutter speed. In
> general I usually prefocused off a point by aiming at where the rider
> will be in 2 seconds (very easy for jumps) and half-pressing the
> shutter button. I have used fixed focus as well (prefocusing and then
> switching to manul focus mode).

Hey thanks for your tips. Sometimes it's hard to find something to
pre-focus on in the middle of a bowl, but I recall that even p&s
cameras often have manual focus - they just don't have manual shutter
and aperture.

> C-750 is essentially the same). It has a 38-380mm zoom while only
> being 105 x 60 x 69 mm in size. To compare your F100 was 111 x 52 x 32
> mm in size.

Well, see, here's my take: I'm going there to ride, not take pictures.
If it's possible to also take pictures without affecting my riding,
I'll bite. 6 centimeters is probably something that will be quite
noticeable. So I guess I'm asking for too much, will have to make do
with just an ultra-compact p&s.

> I'm still considering buying a smaller camera to carry on the
> mountain... not quite sure what I'm going to get, but the Canon A80
> looks good. I'm still shopping though.

It's interesting if the swivel LCD is actually useful for our use-case..
Maybe sometimes it would be good to hold the camera over your head or
on the contrary close to the ground. But yeah, A80 seems to be a good
choice.





02 Mar 2004 05:23:54
Dmitry
Re: using digital camera on the mountain


"Dmitry" <[email protected] > wrote

> pre-focus on in the middle of a bowl, but I recall that even p&s
> cameras often have manual focus - they just don't have manual shutter
> and aperture.

I have to thake that back. Checked the specs, turned out only a
few p&s cameras offer manual focus.





02 Mar 2004 10:55:10
Arvin Chang
Re: using digital camera on the mountain

"Dmitry" <[email protected] > wrote in message news:<[email protected]_s53>...
> > Here are a few photos that I've taken a few years ago -
> > http://www.dotphoto.com/go.asp?l=ChangArvin&AID=1380965
>
> Were those done with a 3x zoom or more? Nice shots!

Those photos were taken with a camera with a greater than 3x zoom, but
I never used the extra zoom (I checked the EXIF info). That's what I
mean, after 4 years of owning a camera with either 5 or 10x zoom, I
found out that so long as I have good access to the location (i.e. I'm
not stuck behind a fence or a barrier), I don't usually end up using
the extra zoom for snowboarding photos. For once thing, tracking
someone going fast in full zoom is not the easiest thing in the world
(usually need a tripod or a camera bean bag).

> > I usually shoot with a polarizing filter in either shutter priority or
> > manual mode. In sunny weather I am usually using minimum apeture (F8)
> > although I might go wider to get at least a 1/250s shutter speed. In
> > general I usually prefocused off a point by aiming at where the rider
> > will be in 2 seconds (very easy for jumps) and half-pressing the
> > shutter button. I have used fixed focus as well (prefocusing and then
> > switching to manul focus mode).
>
> Hey thanks for your tips. Sometimes it's hard to find something to
> pre-focus on in the middle of a bowl, but I recall that even p&s

I usually point the camera at a patch of snow approximately the
distance I plan to shoot at. A bowl should be good for this as trees
tend to confuse the focusing system (unless you set it to spot meter).

> Well, see, here's my take: I'm going there to ride, not take pictures.
> If it's possible to also take pictures without affecting my riding,
> I'll bite. 6 centimeters is probably something that will be quite
> noticeable. So I guess I'm asking for too much, will have to make do
> with just an ultra-compact p&s.

Yea, I am usually not satisfied with spur of the moment photos and so
when I take photos, I usually end up traversing or hiking somewhere
that I wouldn't normally go anyway. You'd be surprised at how large
the pockets are on your snowboard jacket. Many are designed to carry a
CD player, so a regular compact digital camera can easily fit, the
weight isn't very much either. The main thing is whether you are
afraid of falling on your camera. Bigger cameras tend to be more
easily crushed because they have longer protrusion... a ultracompact
like Canon's digital elph or the Casio Z4 (same base design as Optio
S) are so small/flat that you aren't likely to land on them.

> > I'm still considering buying a smaller camera to carry on the
> > mountain... not quite sure what I'm going to get, but the Canon A80
> > looks good. I'm still shopping though.
>
> It's interesting if the swivel LCD is actually useful for our use-case..
> Maybe sometimes it would be good to hold the camera over your head or
> on the contrary close to the ground. But yeah, A80 seems to be a good
> choice.

I really enjoyed the swivel body of the Sony F707 for exactly the
reasons you mentioned. My only problem is that you don't get the same
flexibility when shooting in portrait framing (on the side). I've
heard only great things about the swivel LCD from the Canon G4 and A80
and am interested in it. In terms of snowboarding shooting, it lets
you keep the camera away from your face and so you are more aware of
your surroundings (like if someone is out of control and about to
crazy into you).

Good luck on your camera shopping, I will let you know if I decide on
a camera myself.

--Arvin


03 Mar 2004 04:32:57
Dmitry
Re: using digital camera on the mountain


"Arvin Chang" <[email protected] > wrote

> Good luck on your camera shopping, I will let you know if I decide on
> a camera myself.

Looks like I'm getting a Kyocera SL300R. Extremely small, has AP mode,
manual focus, LCD that works in direct sunlight, 3x zoom, swivel, and
all reviews rave about very good power-up and shot to shot times.

If only I could figure out if it's worth paying $100 more for a T* lens in
the twin Contax..

--
Dmitry




03 Mar 2004 05:26:27
Mike M. Miskulin
Re: using digital camera on the mountain

"Dmitry" <[email protected] > wrote in news:zvU0c.99663
[email protected]_s52:

>
> Umm.. Filters.. Ok, this narrows the camera selection even more,
> because not many consumer p&s have filter threads.

my canon g2 takes filters but you have to add an adapter. Think
with any of them like you said you have to move up the product
ladder a bit and then you run into the $ vs destruction problem!




03 Mar 2004 17:56:22
Some Dude
Re: using digital camera on the mountain (warning- a real long one)

my 2c (more like 25 cents) below:


I've been shooting boarders for about ten years now and One really
important thing to understand while shooting is depth of field. Snow
is well, snow. It doesn't provide depth. If you're shooting action
and you want to take a good shot, try to make use of shadows or
terrain or your environment to compose a shot that doesn't look like
someone floating on white stuff.

I use a Canon Powershot S50 (pretty big for digitals these days) for
various photos (while i'm boarding)- When I get on the mount I set
the white balance (all digis should have this option unless its
*really* cheap)- you basically set the white balance to your current
environ. You save that as a custom setting and use it for exposure.
Its really key if you want properly balanced photos.

Generically the rule is that anything slower than 1/125 will cause
blur (blur isn't bad, btw!). If you want to freeze a shot in bright
sun 1/500, auto aperture is a guarantee (say iso 50-100). Play
around- its digital :)

Consumer digitals typically have a problem with shot delay. It can be
anywhere from 100ms-1second(!) before your shot is actually exposed.
This is absolutely retarded for action shots for obvious reasons. You
can head this off partially by telling the camera to ignore focus
(pre-focus by holding the shutter down halfway on most consumer
digis)- When the guy hits 18' of air off a pipe you press the shutter
release down the last half and it should shoot near immediately
(~50-100ms or less hopefully). Experiment, experiment, experiment.
You can always delete later. Camp in a safe place and shoot people
doing jumps/rails/whatever and figure it out :) Never, ever, shoot
auto if you can help it. Learn your camera. RTFM :)

Finally- you may or may not know that there are different speeds of
flash memory- The faster the flash memory the more shots you can
crank out in succession ..it'll speed the camera up in almost all
shooting facets. Especially if you're shooting at your highest res.
Flash memory is cheap for cameras (and in general). Buying a good
32x, 64x or > speed flash card is great for shooting multiples...

I could go on and on and on...But I digress...

If you post this question in rec.photo.digital you'll probably get 8
gazillion replies :) (and opinions).

Mine is merely one :)

good luck





Cheers,
-sd
http://www.zoom.sh


03 Mar 2004 11:24:30
Arvin Chang
Re: using digital camera on the mountain

"Dmitry" <[email protected] > wrote in message news:<[email protected]_s02>...
> "Arvin Chang" <[email protected]> wrote
>
> > Good luck on your camera shopping, I will let you know if I decide on
> > a camera myself.
>
> Looks like I'm getting a Kyocera SL300R. Extremely small, has AP mode,
> manual focus, LCD that works in direct sunlight, 3x zoom, swivel, and
> all reviews rave about very good power-up and shot to shot times.
>
> If only I could figure out if it's worth paying $100 more for a T* lens in
> the twin Contax..

The Kyocera looks like a fine camera... looking at the specs now,
wow... unlimited capture at 3.5fps, that's impressive. 12 seconds of
640x480 movie, 48 seconds of 320x240, that's not too bad. Looks like a
very spiffy camera, I will add it to my list of ones to consider.

"twin Contax" do you mean the Contax TVS Digtital, that's a 5MP
camera. I thought it was selling for like $700 compared to the $350
for the Kyocera? T* lens seem to help reduce internal reflections,
lens flare, and improve sharpness and contrast... all good things...
but I feel that they shouldn't be the deciding factor... of course I'm
not quite sure what model for Contax you are referring to. Could you
give me the full name and specs of the camera?

--Arvin


03 Mar 2004 11:29:30
Arvin Chang
Re: using digital camera on the mountain

"Mike M. Miskulin" <[email protected] > wrote in message news:<[email protected]>...
> "Dmitry" <[email protected]> wrote in news:zvU0c.99663
> [email protected]_s52:
>
> >
> > Umm.. Filters.. Ok, this narrows the camera selection even more,
> > because not many consumer p&s have filter threads.
>
> my canon g2 takes filters but you have to add an adapter. Think
> with any of them like you said you have to move up the product
> ladder a bit and then you run into the $ vs destruction problem!

Yea, but a G2 not only a bit higher end (although cheaper now that
newer models like the G5 are out), but also rather bulky. I mean the
Canon A70-80 is a little big compared to the S400, but the G2 is even
more so It's great if you have a camelbak or some other backpack to
carry it in. BTW, the A70-A80 series also takes filters with an
adapter, although the sleeker S-series does not (all metal body
though).

BTW, I don't own any of these cameras so I'm not really beholden to
one yet. I still use my Sony F707, which is a huge monster to carry
around. The Kyocera camera look intriguing.

--Arvin


03 Mar 2004 11:37:06
Arvin Chang
Re: using digital camera on the mountain

"Dmitry" <[email protected] > wrote in message news:<[email protected]_s02>...
> If only I could figure out if it's worth paying $100 more for a T* lens in
> the twin Contax..

Oh, I just found the announcment for the Contax SL300R T*

http://www.dpreview.com/news/0402/04021401kyoceranewmodels.asp

Hmm... T* is nice, if it were me, I would probably get it (how much is
it with the $100+?). Of course, over my years I've sort of become a
digital camera enthusiast. I'm not sure you will definitely notice the
difference in most photos though.

--Arvin


04 Mar 2004 04:07:08
Dmitry
Re: using digital camera on the mountain


"Arvin Chang" <[email protected] > wrote

> Oh, I just found the announcment for the Contax SL300R T*
>
> http://www.dpreview.com/news/0402/04021401kyoceranewmodels.asp
>
> Hmm... T* is nice, if it were me, I would probably get it (how much is
> it with the $100+?). Of course, over my years I've sort of become a
> digital camera enthusiast. I'm not sure you will definitely notice the
> difference in most photos though.

Price difference is $429 vs. $329 at adorama.com, and I'm sure the
Kyocera can be found for around $300 in less reputable stores.

I couldn't find any samples from Contax to compare, even forum inquries
were all left unanswered. $100 is pretty expensive for a leather case, polirizer
adaptor and an unknown improvement in lens quality. I think I'll pass on the
Contax, all this stuff will be outdated in a year or two anyway.