Do you recommend Dennis Curtin's S90 book?

Started Feb 18, 2010 | Discussions
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Anthony Speca Junior Member • Posts: 33
Do you recommend Dennis Curtin's S90 book?

Hi all. There has been many good tips in this forum about using the S90. Recently, I saw Dennis Curtin's book-- A Short Course in Canon PowerShot S90 Photography book/ebook (Spiral-bound) --advertised on Amazon

http://www.amazon.com/Short-Course-Canon-PowerShot-Photography/dp/1928873944/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1266532696&sr=1-1

Does anyone have this book? C&C welcome about the book and/or author.
Happy Snapping,
Tony

Dave Miner Regular Member • Posts: 422
Re: Do you recommend Dennis Curtin's S90 book?

Well $37 dollars says it all for me. Thanks, I'll pass.

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tsinvest Senior Member • Posts: 1,010
Re: Do you recommend Dennis Curtin's S90 book?

I agree $36.95 is a lot of money for the book. It seems like many of us forget to read through the manual that comes with the camera - I would suggest this first. If you think you still need it after reading the manual, then it's your choice.
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Humble Bear Regular Member • Posts: 499
My Basic S90 Settings under various conditions:

For $37, you don't need the book. The settings below is what I generally use(you can start from mine then modify as you see fit):

1)Bright light shooting:
P mode, auto ISO,AWB, use flash if people backs up to sun

2)Low light shooting(no flash):

Tv mode, auto ISO, shutter=1/4~1/15" for still photography, 1/25 for portrait, 1/60 slowly moving people
adj shutter base on stillness of objects

(note: in low light, P mode likes to use 1/30" shutter unless it detects movement, but I find it a little too fast for still objects and like to select slower shutter which would result in lower ISO for optimal results)

3)Low light flash portrait indoor(save as C mode for quick snap shots):
Tv mode, shutter=1/30", ISO=160, flash=on(Fec=-2/3), face detection=on

I find this setting gives very good general results when you don't have time to play around the controls; just save it as C mode.

When skin color appears to be orange, set WB=Tungsten

Ev=-2/3
IS=continuous
Custom Color: contrast=-1, sharpness=+1,saturation=+1, red=-1
i contrast=off
Flash Exp. Comp -2/3
AF Frame=center, size=small
Digital zoom=off
AF assist beam=on
Review=5 sec
Metering=Center Weighted Avg

This should cover > 90% of normal shooting.

PC Wheeler
PC Wheeler Forum Pro • Posts: 17,014
Re: My Basic S90 Settings under various conditions:

Interesting. How have you assigned the front control dial and the short cut button?

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mtndew Senior Member • Posts: 1,341
Re: My Basic S90 Settings under various conditions:

Go to the actual "Dennis Curtin Short Courses" web site and you will find the S90 manual minus the Companion CD version Amazon sells for $24.95. Amazon only sells the book with CD. You won't need the CD unless you want to load it on a computer. I purchased the manual for the S5 and the SX10 and found them to very helpful. The spiral bound book with black and white photos seems primitive, but the content of the short course manuals is quite good. I'm picking up a main stream book/manual for my G11, but if there wasn't one available I would definitely pick up the Dennis Curtin Short Course Manual.
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Humble Bear Regular Member • Posts: 499
Re: My Basic S90 Settings under various conditions:

PC Wheeler wrote:

Interesting. How have you assigned the front control dial and the short cut button?

Sorry, I forgot to cover these

Front control ring=ISO. I like to set it to ISO so it's uniform across all different modes, otherwise the standard settings out of the box will have different setting for each mode which is very annoying. And I like to be able to manually quick select the ISO in certain situations when I don't like the camera's choice.

Short Cut Botton=AEL (AE Lock). In contrasty situations, it would be handy to AE Lock on the area or lighting that you desire then focus and shoot on the object you want to focus.

mistral2 Regular Member • Posts: 241
Re: My Basic S90 Settings under various conditions:

Humble Bear - some very good tips there. Nice of you to share with us.

Not wanting to steal this thread but how do you process your raw shots?

Humble Bear Regular Member • Posts: 499
Re: My Basic S90 Settings under various conditions:

mistral2 wrote:

Humble Bear - some very good tips there. Nice of you to share with us.

Not wanting to steal this thread but how do you process your raw shots?

I am only a recreational shooter, & I only shoot in jpeg, mostly in 4 mp(2272x1704).

Anthony Speca OP Junior Member • Posts: 33
Re: My Basic S90 Settings under various conditions:

Thanks to all especially to Humble Bear for taking the time to reply with the settings he uses.
--
Happy Snapping,
Tony

Jim Boutilier Senior Member • Posts: 1,085
Re: My Basic S90 Settings under various conditions:

I have this book and a couple others of his. I buy the PDF version (cheaper and very useful links to animations, demos etc) and think they are very good books. They are kind of what the manual should have been combined with very useful photography basics. Will definitely get your average user better pictures with the camera.

Only thing is he reuses a lot of material across books (good material but applicable to many cameras or photography in general) so subsequent books may not seem to offer quite as much value.
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Humble Bear Regular Member • Posts: 499
Re: My Basic S90 Settings under various conditions:

Anthony Speca wrote:

Thanks to all especially to Humble Bear for taking the time to reply with the settings he uses.
--
Happy Snapping,
Tony

You are very welcome.

In P mode, the camera will first try to use F4 @ 1/30" first until it's getting too dark then it'll open up the the aperture to 3.3, 2.5 then finally to f2 while locking the shutter at 1/30" before it bumps up the ISO ladder. These are the situations where the lighting is neither very bright nor very dark and I don't like the camera's selection during some of these situations. Instead of using F4 @ 1/30", I would much rather use F2.8 or F2.0 at much faster shutter speed since there is still good Depth of Field from this small camera to avoid blurry photos if my subject is moving. In this case I would either switch to M mode or aperture mode if time allows or Tv mode and select a faster shutter speed.

Note: The auto ISO in S90 behaves differently in P and Av modes. In P mode, the camera likes to choose 1/30" shutter in low light, but in Av 1/60". Why, I don't know.

All things considered, I am still very impressed with this camera. Cheers

image165 Contributing Member • Posts: 808
Contrast -2

When shooting outdoors on a sunny day, I think photos taken with the S90 look a little bit harsh, with too much contrast.

So what I do is set the contrast -2. This greatly increases the apparent dynamic range of camera, making the photos look far more professional (like a DSLR).

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vincent filomena
vincent filomena Veteran Member • Posts: 5,106
Re: Do you recommend Dennis Curtin's S90 book?

Too expensive !

Vjim

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Mike Contributing Member • Posts: 783
Agreed...

While not only way too much money...aren't most of these books just a rewrite of the Canon manual ?

Maybe a slightly better explanation of the things happening...but still just what the manual states of what to do to get what..?

Mike

Sugagaki New Member • Posts: 1
Re: Do you recommend Dennis Curtin's S90 book?

The manual that came with my S90 was destroyed in a flood. I can download a PDF of the thing from Canon's website, but it's a little difficult to carry around an 8.5x11 stack of paper, and Canon won't sell replacement manuals.

Would this book be a good item to stick in my bag to replace the Canon manual? In other words, does it do a good job of describing the specific menus and camera controls for the S90, so if I need a reminder about a feature, I could look it up in this book?

(unknown member) Contributing Member • Posts: 676
Re: Do you recommend Dennis Curtin's S90 book?

Decades ago when I started in SLR photography I bought all kinds of books. Generally they were helpful. However, I soon discovered that the absolute best way to learn any particular camera was to simply get out there with "that" camera and experiment with it. How you as an individual holds the camera and uses the camera can be different from how another individual handles the same camera.

Suggested settings from others are always helpful places to "start" . . . but by all means be willing to deviate as you will often find slight differences will actually be better for you. By the way the above suggested settings are very close to my own so indeed they are very good choices in my opinion!

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markwill7777 New Member • Posts: 5
Re: Do you recommend Dennis Curtin's S90 book?

I like Dennis Curtin's books. Sometimes there is nothing else available. Here is a link to a site that sells them two ways, PDF download ($20) or printed ($25):
http://www.shortcourses.com/store/canon-s90.html
Here is a reprint of the manual on eBay for $10:

http://cgi.ebay.com/Canon-PowerShot-S90-S-90-User-Instruction-Manual-/350341691792?cmd=ViewItem&pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item5191fdf990

The Meal New Member • Posts: 1
Re: Do you recommend Dennis Curtin's S90 book?

I purchased (expensive) from Amazon and also received the CD. I wish I had known about the shortcourses site and just got the paper version for the cheaper price as I doubt I'll fire up the electronic version just to see the animations or color photographs (I'm assuming). The spiral-bound version of the book is an excellent format for reading and trying things out with actual shooting at the same time. I'm only about 75 pages in (received it last night), and the first third of the book (at least) seems more a basic photography primer (how to set exposure, etc.) than a manual for the S90. It's possible that this is only the case in the early part of the book, setting things up for use of the S90's advanced features. He did cover, in detail, things like setting playback modes, selecting individual photos, creating playback filters and hooking the camera up to the TV for slideshows, etc. in great detail, which is exactly what I was after over the provided manual.

For the the jury is still out. For the most part I enjoy the writing, but every now and then I'll come across a stilted sentence structure that pulls me away from reading for content. Whomever edited the book did a wonderful job as I don't see grammar, spelling, or formatting errors (and those things typically jump out at me).

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