Monday, June 27, 2011

first, turn off the gd smile locator......

I bought new camera, a Pentax Optio W90, this spring to replace my old, well-used and currently broken Optio W20.  I really loved the old camera, it worked well for four years or more in rough conditions, soaking rain and with a fair amount of abuse.  I was always happy with the images, very impressed with the nice files coming from a point and shoot camera.

I am not quite as happy with the newer model.  It is a good camera, not great.  It has some advantages - wider angle lens, larger file size, faster burst shooting.  But I don't think it is quite as sharp as the earlier model.  And the batteries do not last as long.  Batteries are important on a week-long trip.

Someone posted a comment - I apologize, I cannot recall who it was - suggesting I look at the focus options.  That was a great suggestion that put me to work experimenting with the setting and even reading the instruction manual.  There was some good information in the book.  (Who knew??)

So here is what I've done to get, in my opinion, the best images from the camera....

  • Set the Recorded Pixels to 12M
  • Set the quality level to three stars (the max)
  • Set the focus area to the small box set in the middle of the frame, turned off the "focus assist" which kept draining the battery while searching for the wrong point to focus on
  • Set the sensitivity to auto with a range of ISO 80 to 800
  • Turned off blink detection
  • Turned off the digital zoom, using only the optical zoom
  • Turned off the instant review
  • And most importantly switch the overall mode from Auto Picture to Program.  
  • The above allowed me to turn off the face/smile detector.  That smile detector, always looking to find faces with nice big happy grins, eats up the battery and causes me not too be happy.
  • Used the memory function to retain just about all of the above.
So far this seems to be working.  Image quality, focus and battery life have all improved.  I am much more satisfied with the camera.  Is it a great camera??  No.  But I like it more now that when I first started shooting with it.

I had some emails about Wild Fox, the boat I saw yesterday on the Elizabeth River.  This evening I did some searches trying to find information about the cat schooner.  All I came across were some images at the SCANMAR International website.  It is a Benford 37, a very stout looking vessel.  And I love the rig.  The website says Anthony Swanston is the owner - but I do not know if that information is up to date.  All I really know is that it was a beautiful boat.



Jon said...

Steve, I'm glad you are figuring out how to improve the image quality. I bought one of these a few months ago and eventually returned it. My old camera had memory limitations and I thought upgrading a 7 yr old camera would allow me to take some video on my boat (low quality expected of course) with a more waterproof camera. But, the video suffered horribly from a weird purple glare and the tech support people couldn't seem to help. I went back to my old camera (a sony) and got a bigger memory card for it to take videos. I noticed that the images from my old 5 MP camera look a lot better than the ones that I managed to take from the higher resolution optio. I didn't have the patience to work through all of the settings, so probably I could have gotten better results. For now, I'll just wait until I drop my Sony in the water!

Steve said...


New cameras can be frustrating. I think the designers try to add too many options and choices, trading quality for gimmicks.

I've heard there is an entirely new generation of adventure cameras coming out. I'll research and maybe post about them when I know more.


DancesWithSandyBottom said...

Thanks, Steve!