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Aperture Priority Mode

Aperture priority is where you designate the aperture and the camera calculates the best shutter speed, if the exposure is outside of the cameras range (either over or under exposing) the nearest shutter speed will display in red on the LCD screen. Used properly Aperture Priority can be invaluable as it has a direct effect on depth of field (the distance in front and behind the focal point which will be in focus when taking the shot).

Kudos first of all to Kodak for being innovative and doubling the mode dial up to be an aperture selection dial (reminds me of some traditional film SLR's), however it's just TOO limited to be useful, only allowing you to select from three apertures which aren't constant across the zoom range.

Secondly aperture priority is crippled by a minimum auto shutter speed of 1/8 sec, this means that in many instances if you attempt to use a higher aperture the camera will underexpose the shot simply because it can't select a slower shutter speed... Sorry, a nice idea very poorly executed.

Three apertures:

  • Wide: F2.8, F5.6, F8.0
  • Tele: F4.5, F9.0, F13.0

A basic example of aperture priority is shown below for more read my digital photography glossary:

F4.5 (full zoom), 1/8 sec
Shallow depth of field
F13, 1/8 sec (doh!) * F13, 1 sec **
Deeper depth of field

* Perfect example, I'm on a tripod, in macro focus mode, full zoom, fairly good light (~7.5 EV) but I can't take the shot without underexposing because of the 1/8 sec minimum.

** So I have to go into the menu system and manually select a shutter speed, this meant taking about three shots at different shutter speeds to be sure I had the right one.


Macro (Close-up)

The DC4800 features a "close-up" mode (an appropriate name, it's far from being Macro). This allows you to focus as close as 20 cm (7.8") to 70 cm (27.5") depending on zoom. At the optimum focus distance and zoom setting (by way of experimentation) we managed a closest frame coverage of about 9 cm (3.5").


Night Photography

Switching to a preset aperture enables selection of long exposures (via the record menu). Available shutter speeds are: 0.7, 1, 1.5, 2, 3, 4, 6, 8, 12 and 16 secs. The two samples below were taken at both 8 and 16 seconds.

F3.4, 8 secs
F3.4, 16 secs

As you can see, the DC4800 does fairly well, looks like Kodak are employing a noise reduction system as a long exposure always takes twice as long as the selected exposure, hinting that the camera takes a "dark frame" first then subtracts any stuck pixels / noise from the final image.


Internal Flash

Switching to a preset aperture enables selection of long exposures (via the record menu). Available shutter speeds are: 0.7, 1, 1.5, 2, 3, 4, 6, 8, 12 and 16 secs. The two samples below were taken at both 8 and 16 seconds. The flash has a quoted range of (ISO 100):

  • Wide: 0.5 - 3.2 m (1.6 - 10.5 ft)
  • Tele: 0.5 - 2.0 m (1.6 - 6.6 ft)
Skin tone test. DC4800 does well, no colour cast, good tone and good flash metering. At 28mm the flash isn't quite powerful enough to cover our wall 2 m (6 ft) away.


Date / Time Stamp

The DC4800 has the ability to stamp the bottom right corner of each image with any combination of date / time, very similar to the similar feature on film cameras. Remember, you can always extract the date and time from the EXIF data in the header of original image. Date / Time stamp options are:

  • None
  • YYYY MM DD
  • MM DD YYYY
  • DD MM YYYY
  • YYYY MM DD HH:MM
  • MM DD YYYY HH:MM
  • DD MM YYYY HH:MM
DD MM YYYY HH:MM stamp example
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