New owners of the EOS-M: Suggestions + Settings

Started Jul 14, 2013 | Discussions thread
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Marco Nero
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New owners of the EOS-M: Suggestions + Settings
Jul 14, 2013

This post is directed at those who have recently purchased the Canon EOS-M and have little understanding of the camera. I'm just sharing some observations...

I don't really make money from Photography but I enjoy using cameras to try and capture things about me, much as I imagine many others here do. Sometimes, if I am doing photographic work to be used in a book, I'll go out of my way to set up a shot or to seek out what I want. I'm very happy with the EOS-M and I tend to use this camera almost all of the time. I think my other cameras are feeling neglected as a result of this.

MUNDANE PICTURES:
I had a couple of forum members message me to ask about what EOS-M camera settings I might use and any settings for post-processing. One member, Norm, asked me to post the settings I've been using for others to use. I note that some users who wrote to me felt that their images were not particularly 'bright' or 'punchy'. My EOS-M is set to USER DEF 1 (custom color and sharpness) because I feel that straight out of the box, the EOS-M is pretty neutral when it comes to both color and sharpness. Just like a new DSLR, really. I think it might be worth mentioning that all cameras are well and truly capable of capturing mundane pictures. If the light isn't right, you can usually tell with your eyes if the shot is going to look interesting or not. But some people assume that a good camera will automatically take a great picture every time. Also, we tend to post our favorite pictures here so those less-that impressive shots probably won't get posted at all. But the EOS-M, like the majority of well-made cameras, certainly takes a good picture if you point it in the right direction at the right time. I use only subtle sharpening and contrast/color enhancement on the EOS-M camera. When editing my JPEG pictures (I don't personally use RAW), I might add a little noise reduction if needed. But generally, I try to only tweak my pictures with subtlety.

Below is a bicycle shop that I walked past yesterday, and again this morning. I was taken aback by the bright colors used to paint this old building and I have photographed it before with other cameras. It's been painted a bright lemon yellow with a blue lower level that all but matches a bright blue sky. It looked bright enough to attract my attention so i took this picture (below) as I crossed the road.

EOS-M

I passed the same building again this morning and took another picture (below) because it simply looked extremely uninteresting. I thought it might serve as an example of how important lighting is in making a subject interesting or not. The EOS-M is not immune to this effect. Any shots taken with the EOS-M will be at the mercy of the environmental lighting, just like any other camera. For members posting pictures and asking if their images are "good or not", I can't help but suspect that they were hoping for more when they downloaded their pictures. I processed the both images of the bright yellow Bike store in the same way but the results and appeal are different for each image.

EOS-M - pretty boring

My earliest pictures taken with the EOS-M were pretty mundane to start with and it was only the camera's performance in very low light that interested me at first. I was using a 16-35mm lens on a cloudy day. And, whilst I was happy with the resolution and color in the shots, they were pretty poorly lit and therefore uninteresting to the eye. Getting a good WB on an overcast day is sometimes tricky. Overcast pictures are especially uninteresting (see image below) but they serve the purpose of capturing the scene. The cemetery below is one of the oldest in Australia and it contains the bodies of men who came here in the 1700s. It has great historical significance but sits perched in the middle of the city, amongst the buildings. If I was using this picture in a book, I would probably try and return on a brighter day where there was more contrast or the lighting was more interesting. But you can't always return to a place of interest. Especially when you're on vacation or traveling a long way.

One of the FIRST pictures I took with my EOS-M when it arrived. Pretty boring.

There will always be others who may complain that your pictures lack something, no matter what camera you use. People can be critical of composition, color, subject matter and lighting. Your camera can handle much of the workload but, in the end, an eye for lighting is something worth developing. Because the most important ingredient is often the lighting of the scene.

Generally speaking, I prefer to shoot with natural lighting. I rarely use a flash if I can help it. I wouldn't consider myself a professional photographer but I do force myself to use my cameras regularly so that I understand them and can use them to capture the things that I want. Creating bokeh or attractive background blur can often give the impression that a photograph is sharper or even better than it really is. And the EOS-M can certainly produce some very attractive background blur, the strengths of the results depending in part on the lens and aperture used. You can always convert a picture to Black & White to rescue a bad White Balance.

The thing I like about the EOS-M is that it's just like a mini-DSLR, without the bulk. It can capture those shots that your APS-C sensor sized DSLR can capture. The EOS-M sensor produces smoother and slightly brighter images that much earlier generations of DSLRs could capture though this might only become apparent with higher ISO settings and longer exposures.

EOS-M - I got my wife to stop the car and shot this tractor out the window. I think the farmer looked a bit concerned for a moment. It's sharp and colorful. Just what I like to shoot.

EOS-M - this cup of hot-chocolate was photographed at an outdoors cafe at night. I think it would have looked pretty boring without the shallow Depth Of Field and strong bokeh.

EOS-M - one of those days when it was raining outside but I still wanted to get used to a new lens and the camera I was using it on. There's always something to shoot, even on those bad days.

There's no doubt that the EOS-M can capture just about any type of picture you could imagine. Tracking sporting subjects as fast as a dedicated DSLR can do is unlikely but with the new Firmware upload, it's faster than it was and it's MORE than capable for most dedicated photographers.

I keep calling it a "fun camera" because for me, it's a pleasure to use. And the "Magnify" feature makes it possible to rescue a difficult scene that might otherwise be too complex for the camera to resolve. I sometimes use the Magnify feature when I am taking someone's picture and I want to be sure that their eye is perfectly in focus. When I first got the EOS-M, I made sure not to crank the LCD brightness up too high. Otherwise, your "bight pictures" might actually be a little dark when you get around to downloading them.

* NOTE: The EOS-M is susceptible to extremely powerful electromagnetic fields. So watch out placing it near a plasma ball or a metal detector etc. Your images MAY be damaged and the touch screen will go haywire.

________________________________________________

EOS-M - leaves in the tree under which I park my car during a weekday.

With my EOS-M: These are my general settings:

* JPEG (highest available resolution).
* ISO (AUTO)
* Aperture (As wide as I can get, depending on the lens)

* P-Mode for casual daily carry. My usual setting.
* M-Mode (for Night Shots / Long Exposures)
* Av-Mode for strong, shallow DOF (widest apertures possible)
* Tv-Mode = Shutter Speed selected for indoor shots of crowds or people. (daylight 1/250sec to 1/320sec to avoid blur). Also for long exposures other than M-Mode.

NORMAL CAMERA SETTINGS:

* Exposure -1
* One Shot Exposure

* Touch Screen OFF

COLOR - USER-Def 1:
* Sharpness +4
* Saturation +1
* Color +1
* Color Tone 0

________________________________

EOS-M: - Milky Way in the Night Sky - with a tripod. Settings: 15s f/2.5 at 24.0mm iso1600

MILKY WAY

Not everyone is going to have the same lenses to use but anything from f/1.4 to f/2.8 is probably going to work best. I imagine the EF-M 22mm f/2.0 lens would be ideal. A technique some photographers use is to select an outrageously high (and noisy) ISO to quickly find and align their camera with the center of the faintly visible Milky Way, then lock the position down and adjust the settings for a longer exposure with a lower ISO setting.

MY OWN EOS-M SETTINGS for the Milky Way from last weekend:
* Manual Mode (M)
* ISO: 1600
* Exposure: 10 - 15 seconds (more than 15 seconds results in start trails)
* Aperture (wide as possible to start with) f/2.0 to f/2.8 are often ideal.
* Self Timer ON (2 seconds)
* Tripod (YES)

__________________________________________

POST PROCESSING:

In Lightroom4, I use basic sharpening if I feel it is needed and some low-level noise reduction. On occasion, I might adjust the "vibrancy" setting and color saturation (though only VERY slightly). I then use Photoshop to resize the images and save them at 1536 pixels wide.

_________________________________________

Most of the time I leave my cameras in P-Mode. All of them. If I suspect that I might get a blurred shot, or I want to be assured that my shot is quite sharp in lower-than-usual lighting, I might use Tv-Mode so I can set the shutter speed higher. If I want a strong, shallow DOF I'll use Av-Mode to widen the aperture appropriately. Or I can stop it down to reduce optical aberrations and to sharpen a landscape or city-scape shot. Tv-Mode (shutter speed) and Av-Mode (Aperture Priority) are fairly easy to use because you get to select either the shutter speed or the aperture and the camera shoulders the responsibility of everything else. With P-Mode, it's very similar to Full Auto because the cameras does pretty much everything for you automatically, leaving you to compose the shot. The benefit of P-Mode is that the camera retains some settings that you might have selected.

So have fun with your new cameras.  And be sure to post any suggestions or tips that you might discover that you think others may use or appreciate.

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Regards,
Marco Nero.
www.pbase.com/nero_design

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