XZ-1: Best settings for touring?

Started Jul 2, 2012 | Discussions thread
jon404 Senior Member • Posts: 2,107
Re: XZ-1: Best settings for touring?

Suggest you use Program mode instead of Auto, Aperture, Shutter, or Manual.
On the screen menu that you see after pressing the back OK button --

1. Select Auto-ISO. The XZ-1 will try really, really hard not to go over ISO 200 -- and that extra stop, from, say ISO 100 to 200, will give you super low-light pictures, with a camera-set shutter speed fast enough to handhold.

2. Next, going down the menu, select 1 Vivid. Then press the little Menu button on the back. Go to Picture Mode, select Vivid. Press the right arrow key, and set Contrast to +1, Sharpness 0, Saturation +1, Gradation - Normal. Important: do NOT set Gradation to Auto, or some other stuff will stop working.

3. Next, select white balance - Underwater (the fish icon). On the back-button Menu, go to WB, press the OK button to select the fish icon, then press the right-arrow. Leave A (amber) at 0, in the middle... but set G (green) to -1.

Between this and the Vivid setting above, you'll get beautiful pictures, indoor and out, daytime, twilight, and in the dark.

4. Further down, select 'LF + Raw' as your picture type. This will make both a JPG and a RAW image. In most instances, the JPG will be great... but the RAW backup lets you rescue any image where the JPG isn't good.

5. Further down, select Spot Focus, instead of ESP or Ctr-Weighted. After selecting spot, go out of the menu. Then, press the left-arrow key and make sure the green focus square is in the center of the screen.

6. Lastly, further down, select AF instead of Macro or Super-Macro. At the camera's startup wide-angle lens setting, everything's sharp from about 2' to infinity -- like for almost every photo you will take. But play around with Super-Macro... fantastic closeups. Just don't forget to put it back on AF!

That's about it. Now after you set the camera, write these settings down on a piece of paper in case something gets unset, and forget all about it -- time to start taking pictures! From here on out, trust your eye and your camera. Think pictures, not camera settings.

Before you go, get two SD cards, and three spare batteries. You will get about 200 -250 pictures per battery charge... so three charged batteries should be all you need, who knows what kind of electricity they have over there. You can carry the XZ-1 in a shirt pocket, with a spare battery in your other shirt pocket.

Night photography -- if you're on the move, forget the tripod or monopod. Learn to balance the camera on a fence, a railing, or braced against a pole. Or, carry a small beanbag in your pants pocket. Use the camera's 12-sec self-timer to take a good sharp picture of anything that isn't moving too much.

Sunset -- point the spot focus to the sky at the left or right of the setting sun; watch the LCD screen til you see the effect you like.

Water reflections -- spot focus off the reflection in the water, not the sky.

Portraits -- here's an exception to Program mode. Go to A Aperture instead. Turn the lens ring til it says 1.8 Put the lens at full telephoto. Stand about 6 feet away from the subject. The background behind the person should be nicely blurred. Now, if you are doing this in bright daylight, there may be too much light for the XZ-1 to handle. So go into the OK button menu, and change ND Off to on. The built-in Neutral Density filter lets you take pictures at wide open lens settings in bright daylight.

Filters -- Don't bother. You can do any special effects later in Photoshop -- almost anything except a true polarizing effect, and the Vivid settings above will help you avoid the need for polarizing color saturation.

Street scenes -- if you have time, think ahead, about what kind of picture may present itself in the minutes ahead. Or what kind of picture you missed may repeat itself... and when... and be there. This is hard to do.

Anyway, hope this helps! Best is to set yourself to take a lot of pictures every day from now until you leave -- constant practice is the only way to get really comfortable with any camera -- and it doesn't take long, about two weeks, to have it start becoming second nature. Digital is cool -- you can just delete lousy pictures -- doesn't cost a dime, unlike film!

Hope this helps...
Jonathon Donahue

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