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Come in! There are a few adventures I’ve written about, but most of the content offers classes in photography and mentoring for photographers, including photo theory, which, although a vital part in our profession, is largely an overlooked subject in all published media that profits from and feeds our gadget minded mindset today.

Camera remotes and timers vital – A51

May 20 2010 - Photo Technical

Welcome aboard photo enthusiasts… This is the twelfth edition clarifying the list of camera specifications, using the randomly chosen Lumix DMC-FX150 camera, manufactured by Panasonic, as an example.  Believe me, I had planned on this topic of going through and discussing the specifications to cover two, possibly three articles, not 12 plus.  Nevertheless the duration and space has not been wasted, and a lot of current, useful information has been passed on to you.  Do note, this example Panasonic camera is out of date. If you are in the market for a new camera there are many great cameras to choose from.

We are nearing the end of the specifications list.  Last time I talked about technical support and Continuous Drive: Yes, 2 fps, 8 images. Let’s move on to:

Remote control: No – Simple enough, you cannot control this camera remotely. You might ask “when would I want to” or “is this important?” No, for most users this is not important.  If, on the other hand, you are serious photography buff it can be something you could explore.  I’ve used it creatively in my recent Aurora w/Eos fine art photographs, where I had to place a fixed camera at a distance away from me, to allow it to capture my working with light.

A practical application could be if you wanted to record your hands on repairs to a ship’s engine that is located in a hard to access space.   Then remote control would save you from having to get up and press the shutter.

By the way engine rooms can be somewhat dimly lit areas.  Here’s some recent news you may not have read about yet.  Both Canon and Nikon have come out in their professional line with cameras with new, very high ISO settings.  For the Canon it is 102,400 and I think the same for the Nikon.  This means you can (with these cameras) shoot photographs (and video) in very low light…in darkness and get an exposure.

Keep in mind most cameras have a peak ISO of 1600, some 3600, and a few pro-cameras going to 6400.  Now add 12,800 or 1 stop, 25,600 or 2 stops, 51,200 or 3 stops, to 102,400 or 4 stops of light sensitivity.  This is amazing, but of course this being available only on high end professional cameras you question how this applies to you.  Well, this technology will surely (in time) be passed on to less sophisticated consumer models.

This improvement in light sensitivity has another positive side effect.  You may recall from previous articles my mentioning you should avoid high ISO settings such as 1600 or 3600, because these speeds have lots of unwanted noise.  This technological advance means newer (future) cameras will produce less noise at higher ISO settings, so 1600 and 3600 will start to look pretty good.  It will also make those tiny on camera flash units seem more powerful.  Eventually they may no longer be needed, with the exception of flash fill, which is always helpful.



Self-timer: Yes, 2 or 10 sec – This options allows you to become remote from the camera before a picture is taken, and it’s most often used to allow you to get into a shot with your family and/or friends.  You know how it works; you set your camera on self-timer, an option usually found on a main dial on the camera back.  Your camera is already on a tripod or can be placed on a firm chair or table, where you can compose the shot using the other people in the group to be taken.  You press the shutter and hear the timer noise, as you run into an open spot the is left for you.  Usually the flash is on for overall light or flash fill, and it will go off to take the shot, or otherwise you will hear a click.

I’m sure most of you that have already tried the timer in this way have always used the 10 second setting, as 2 seconds makes for a real sprint.  So why the 2 second option?  E-mail me your thoughts, but one good use for this short delay is during low light when you want to avoid hand held camera shake.  You can set it to 2 seconds, place your camera on a solid service, compose and take the shot within 2 seconds knowing it is steady.

Here again the future increases in ISO will make this less of an issue.  Possibly the 2 second delay will be eliminated, but the 10 second delay will remain.

Timelapse recording: No – This would allow you to capture, for instance, the opening of a flower bloom by automatically taking a photo repeatedly at an interval time set by you.  Again, your camera will be fixed on a tripod or solid object.  The result will give you a movie of stills showing the flower opening to full blossom.

Even professional cameras do not have this built in feature, but have it as an optional accessory device that will also do remote exposures.  Pocket cameras will not have this accessory available as an option.  For now my time has lapsed and so I’ll ask permission to go ashore.