Pentax W80 Automatic Setting Recommendations - Mountain Buzz

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Old 10-20-2010   #1
Chief Niwot's Avatar
West of Boulder, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1998
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Pentax W80 Automatic Setting Recommendations

I have been using a Pentax w80 for quick action shots on the river this year and have not been all that happy with the quality (sharpness) of the pictures.

I have it set up for 7 megapixels (so I can use burst drive mode), *** quality, no digital zoom, auto focus, sport/fast object mode, and flash off (so I can use burst drive mode or so I can take quicker manual pics).

I know all the settings, ie flash, can be changed depending on the circumstances, but any recommendations on the best basic settings to use for the best (automatic) picture quality?

Also, as I noted the digital zoom is off. How does the regular zoom effct the picture quality? Is it better to be close as possible and not zoom for a better picture?

Thanks for any iinput,


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Old 10-20-2010   #2
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BZN, Montana
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Shooting whitewater action is technically harder than many other applications. Setting everything you possibly can will go a long way. With a point and shoot that doesn't leave a lot.

For sharpness you want to stop the action (high shutter time > 1/800 sec) and low ISO. Setting the white balance can help, and also under exposing a little will help if the whitewater is washing out. I don't know how much of that you can adjust on your camera.
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Old 10-20-2010   #3
tj@cu's Avatar
Boulder, Colorado
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It is way better to shoot whitewater in manual, if not the camera settings will almost always make the whitewater blown out due to overexposure (the camera tries to take the middle ground on everything you are shooting in the frame). As far as the sharpness goes, that is what you get with a point and shoot camera the lens quality is not anywhere near as good as it is with an DSLR camera (megapixel don't really matter that much it is more about the glass). Another possibility is that you are taking pictures from you boat and might not be holding the camera steady enough and thus getting a bit of movement with the shot. Basically if you want better pictures then get a DSLR camera, which is a bit more pricey but way better pictures.
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Old 10-20-2010   #4
Denver, Colorado
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There is a great, and very detailed, tutorial on white water photography here written by Darin McQuoid:

River Lover Blog Archive Whitewater Photography Tutorial #1

It's mainly for SLR cameras that the user has a lot more control over, but has some good tips for getting great shots.
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Old 10-20-2010   #5
Beardance42's Avatar
Boulder, Colorado
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Hi Chief - I set program mode on my W90 to highest quality, max contrast, max saturation and max sharpness, and use that almost all the time - I switch back to green mode sometimes to bracket in high contrast situations.

On my camera, zoom does tend to flatten the pictures a bit, and make it harder to keep them sharp, so I try to use it mainly when I can keep the camera really steady. Digital zoom should be off, period.

Plus all the usual stuff - shoot more with lightsource behind you, keep the lens clean, blah blah blah.
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Old 10-20-2010   #6
mhelm's Avatar
Steamboat Springs, Colorado
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I don't change many of the settings. I usually just use the sun/snow setting and go to burst depending on how the sun is that day. All of the Chile pictures on this photostream were taken with the W80: Flickr: hydrophobia7's Photostream
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