View Full Version : Analogue Photography Tips

03-29-2006, 07:22 PM
Iv recently bought myself a Minolta x-700 (http://www.mir.com.my/rb/photography/hardwares/classics/minoltax700/) for the purpose of taking to conventions to take half decent pics (and not have the fiasco from the last convention, 'hold that pose while i set the digital camera up') no wonder i didnt take many photos XD

The only problem is i have a bad habit of getting the shakes and stuff if i try to stand still <_<; which makes for blury photos. I tried different shutter speeds but iv found (cos i'm a complete amature at this kind of thing) it's better (at least at the moment) to just leave it P or A and hope for the best

I wandering if any of you experienced photographers would like to share any useful titbits for a first-timer. I'm pretty sure most of the photographs are gonna be taken inside but (if it isn't raining, this is the UK after all) there might be some outside shots too.

Iv got a chunky mirror lense (http://www.cametaauctions.com/ebay/vivitar/500mm_mirror/500mm_1.jpg) for close-up work but my hands shake soo badly when i use it. I think i need techique advise or something :lost:

03-29-2006, 07:44 PM
Setting it to "A" means you control the aperature. I'd try "T" and make sure to set the shutter speed so that you're shooting 1/focal length. That is, if you're at 50mm (I'm assuming this is a 35mm camera), you need a shutter speed of at least 1/50 s (which ends up being 1/60 sec).

Or, just get a tripod or monopod.

03-29-2006, 08:18 PM
The more you can eliminate the shakes the better.

Rest your upper arms and elbows against your torso to provide additional stability.

Rather than hold the camera body with your left hand, cradle the lens.

"Press through the shutter release" that is gently press the shutter release until it stops and then pause. Don't immediately 'bounce' backwards off the shutter release button.

Sniper technique, breath in, breath out, breath in, breath out half way, pause, click. You don't want to take a photo holding your breath at full capacity or when you're running out of oxygen.

I recently broke a finger on my right hand and simply could not hold a camera or reach the shutter release. I had shoot using a SunPak PlatinumPlus monopod, Cat. no. 620-450BB. It's designed to clip onto your belt and really helps to steady your camera. It's cheap. Be sure to wear a belt you don't like.

I think there's a manufacturer in the UK that makes a reasonably priced (under $100) shoulder pod. Can't find anything about it on google about today.

Bring your own light source, meaning get an external flash, so you can set a decent shutter speed.

03-29-2006, 08:22 PM
Wow, what an old dinosaur of a camera! Good ol film :)

Anyways, there are several things that you can do improve your photos.

1. Being most obvious probably going to be repeated / told the most: Get a new digital camera :)

2. If you plan on sticking with good old yeller then you can switch to either Aperature Priority or Shutter Speed Priority if you have it. Once you have figured those out then you can try for Manual Mode for more control.

Link to tip on avoiding camera shake: http://photography.about.com/cs/adamsansel1/ht/Camera_Shake.htm

Also, your 500mm lens is ONLY useable laying on a flat surface or mounted on a tripod. There is absolutely no chance anyone in the world can take sharp photos with a zoom lens hand held with an F-Stop of 8 unless you were out in the middle of a desert with tons of light. All zoom lenses over 300mm are meant to be used with a tripod.

You really need a lens in the 25mm to 150mm range (fixed or zoom). Anything higher and you will run into more blurrying without a tripod.

General shutter speed rule that I was tought was to use the 1.5x zoom to eliminate blur. 50mm = 75 speed, 150mm = 187.5 (camera rounds to 200). You can shoot slower, but you already said you have shaky hands :)

03-29-2006, 08:24 PM
Thanks! (Iv no idea about setting this thing up really, i should really sit down and figure it all out. Waste a few rolls of film or something)

Iv got a 35mm lense that came with the camera i was planning on just using that one, when generally wondering round the convention i dont think i'd need the mirror lense much, do you?

I cant afford a digital SLR i could only afford a film one

I did consider some kind of pod (be it tri or mono) but i'll be in cosplay too so a pod might be a little difficult to carry around.

Does it detract from your cosplay do you think if you are carrying around an armful of camera equipment?

03-29-2006, 11:31 PM
It definitely gets in the way when bumping up against other cosplayers and atendees. There might be rules against tripods. You could use a monopod probably, but it's just another un-needed hassle.

There are many affordable small digital cameras with decent zooms and there are even ones that have Image Stabilizer (anti-shake).

A good resource to check is www.dpreview.com. Click on "Buying Guide" or "Cameras" on the left menu. And the admin is based in London as well.

03-30-2006, 02:11 AM
If the cost of processing wasn't a hindrance, my thought is that a good old film SLR with good film (my choice is Fuji) performs much better than almost all small digital cameras if one knows how to use it.

The 35mm will be great for cons since you don't have much space to shoot in. It will also be easier for you to shoot with since you're saying you have shaky hands. Follow Skypirate's tips and you should do great.

Beware high contrast scenes and other difficult situations. These old cameras are easy to fool. What I used to do with the Canon A-1 (the X-700's twin) is scout the areas where I was going to shoot. Try finding the correct settings for each area and remember them because you will be shooting in Manual.

You can use a gray card or a friend with "medium" skin to help you get the proper settings. You can also take two readings (one from a light area and another one from a dark area) after which you will set your camera right in the middle of the two readings. Remember that to get details from someone who has darker skin, you might want to expose more.

For a con, you should end up with only a few sets of number to remember. But if you always keep the same aperture (by not using a zoom), you only need to remember speed settings.

03-30-2006, 04:00 AM
I had a play earlier (i always thought the sniper technique was just one breath, thanks for teling me how to do it right ^_^)

OK about flashes i've got a Centon FG20 flash (you can tell i spent a load of money on this cant you ^^; yay for second hand everything) (centon is basically a brit company putting it's own name on minolta stuff)
I'm guessing it's best to put it in medium range auto mode and unless it's really dark angle it up a little so as not to leave the person ur photographing with a white rectange burnt into their eyes (this flash is really bad to blinding people :S)

03-30-2006, 05:09 AM
Back on the original topic on camera shakes. Try and aviod caffine or a lot of sugar. Sure some people are fueled by just that at cons. But for a cameraman, not a good combination.

03-30-2006, 01:26 PM
Manjou, try faster film if your meter is giving you slow shutter speeds indoors at your widest aperture.

04-01-2006, 02:09 AM
Iv got a chunky mirror lense (http://www.cametaauctions.com/ebay/vivitar/500mm_mirror/500mm_1.jpg) for close-up work but my hands shake soo badly when i use it. I think i need techique advise or something :lost:
It's not your technique! A lot of photographers would have trouble shooting with this lens. It has a really long focal length, so vibrations affect it even more. Plus the minimum aperture is F8, which means it needs a lot of light to get a good picture. Without a doubt, you need a tripod for that lens.

As for steadying your other shots, the lean-method is a good one! Lean up against a solid object to help stabilize your body and then take the picture. Pretty simple :toothy: Other method is resting your camera against solid objects. That might mean putting the side of it against a pillar or putting it on top of something else.