Kodak Easyshare Z981

January 6, 2010 | Zoltan Arva-Toth | Digital Compact Cameras | 507 Comments |
News image

Kodak has quietly introduced a new superzoom camera, the Kodak EasyShare Z981, featuring a 26x Schneider-Kreuznach Variogon zoom. The Kodak Z981 appeared in Kodak’s online store without much fanfare, and can also be pre-ordered from Amazon for $329.95. Apart from the 26x zoom lens that spans a focal range of 26-676mm in 35mm equivalency, the other main ingredient of the Z981 is a new, 14-megapixel imager. In most other respects, the Kodak Z981 is not really different from its predecessor the Z980. Just like that camera, the Z981 has a 3” rear screen, can shoot 720p HD video, features Kodak’s exclusive Smart Capture technology, and comes bundled with a detachable vertical grip. It also retains its forebear’s ability to capture raw image data, though Kodak warns that raw image editing is not supported on Mac OS. The flash hot shoe of the Z980 is, apparently, gone. Kodak claims a shutter lag of less than 0.2 seconds foir the Z981, though this is probably without focusing time. Like camera that preceded it, the Kodak EasyShare Z981 runs on AA batteries and comes bundled with four pre-charged Kodak Ni-MH rechargeables.

Via 1001 Noisy Cameras



Tracker Pixel for Entry

Your Comments

507 Comments | Newest Oldest First | Post a Comment

#201 Albert

Dear Mike,
Thank for read my post and be the adventurer to try this upgrade. Do you find really better color under artificial light? Kodak don't have a word to say about what's the means of artificial light - tungsten? fluorescent? I think I may upgrade later as indoor photos is unavoidable.

I found this upgrade info from a China discussion forum. (Seems their information flow is faster than the western world - Ha Ha) In this website, some of the owner already posted their photos taken by Z981 in various threads. The most impressed to me is the marco photos - the camera clearly catch the eye of the bee, the egg laid by butterfly. Wonderful function.
May be you cannot read chinese characters, but if you are interested, you can go to surf the website and click on to see some photos to enrich your understanding about the Z981 functions.

http://dcbbs.zol.com.cn/comment_228380.html

Also, I had found an official review, may the very first review of Z981 in the world, already issued in a chinese website. I would like to translate their conclusion index for your information:

Functionality index : 70
Using experience index : 61
Battery power index : 90
Picture quality index : 50 *
-------------------------------------
Overall recommendation index : 61

* they comment they lower index on picture quality is due to increase of pixels but without increase of CCD size is a draw back. I agreed with this but seems not only in Kodak, what about other Japanese brands, they have the same too?

If you interested, you can go to the following:

http://digi.qq.com/a/20100504/000341.htm

May be google translator could help you to view the chinese contents.

Thanks and regards,

10:42 pm - Sunday, May 9, 2010

#202 Albert

Mike,
I also have your kind of mini-tripod, but only CAD6.99 each. Mine is no name brand one I bought in Canada superstore. I was attracted by it's package photo to show that it can be twisted over a bar to hold the camera.
However, I found my tripod is hardly to hold the weight of Z981 unless the tripod bent to very low.
I don't know your is the original or both are the OEM but just by added a brand name. The differ is your have a brand name on it's button but mine is not. And your price is more than 3 time than me.

11:29 pm - Sunday, May 9, 2010

#203 Mike

Albert,

Thanks fot the info. I'll have to get Google and see about translating the sites. Be interesting to read.

I have not tried any indoor photos yet but I assume that if they released an upgrade that it was needed and that it improves the color. I'll try it soon and see.

On the tripod, haven't tried to use it that way, mostly just tried it in a normal manner. I was really just looking for something small to carry and that I could setup unobtrusively and it fits the bill. The price difference is interesting but I assume yours is a clone of the Joby and they always manage to cost less. Maybe that's also why it won't hold the camera? I'll have to find a fence and try it. Let you know when I do.

2:09 pm - Monday, May 10, 2010

#204 Albert

Trouble with view the raw kdc.file by latest Easyshare software version 8.0.2.76.
The program can no problem with JPEG and MOV files. BUT, even though I had reinstall the program again and again (include restart the pc), the program still cannot find and view those kdc.files in the directory. What's wrong with that??? I hope this is only the error of the software because there's no problem to view the raw pictures in Z981.
Sometimes newest is not as best as oldest. However, there's no way to download an older version from Kodak website.
So, can anyone recommend some software to view and edit those kdc.files, freeware is the best for this poor man.

HELP ME PLEASE!

4:02 am - Tuesday, May 11, 2010

#205 Gregg

Alas, there is a fatal issue with my new camera, and that is overheating! I will return it and get another...it is a great piece so I will try again.

4:17 am - Tuesday, May 11, 2010

#206 Albert

Dear Gregg,
Under what situation you encounter overheating? Our camera has power save function and if idle for certain time limit it will shut down.
Is that you keep zoom in and out cause overheat? Please share with us. I will also try to test under same condition.
May discover the problem early too.
Thanks,

4:43 am - Tuesday, May 11, 2010

#207 Julie

Is there anyone here who has moved from a Z980 up to the Z981.

Is there a big difference between the two apart from the 2mp and 2x zoom??

Still no sign here in Australia of the Z981, but may be able to pick up one of the last Z980s if I'm lucky. Would anyone recommend I try doing that? (The extra MP and zoom don't worry me too much at this point, since the Z980 is over double what I currently have in any case.}

5:50 am - Tuesday, May 11, 2010

#208 Jessica

Hi, does anyone have a website that contains a review AND pictures that have been took by the actual camera? I'm interested In the quality of the camera. -I tried Alberts link, but It's in a language I'm not sure of.

6:11 pm - Tuesday, May 11, 2010

#209 jason

Jessic, I post two pictures in previous posts. The camera is simply fabulous. My friends told some of my pics look just like by SLR. one more

http://i44.tinypic.com/ix5c0l.jpg


Albert, Happy to see your post. I can read those posts but am not allowed to post there... weird..

7:54 pm - Tuesday, May 11, 2010

#210 jason

I like the color...

http://i42.tinypic.com/jfjckp.jpg

7:56 pm - Tuesday, May 11, 2010

#211 James

@ Julie

I have a feeling you would really enjoy this z981, there is way too much noise clouding the simple fact this is a great camera. My 981 takes slightly better pics than my Canon sx20 plus it has a nicer wide angle view than the sx20.

The z981 is newer Julie, and we will have fresh updates for it,the 980 is done with, and yes, go for the extra zoom, plus you can crop the heck out of these 981 pics at 14mb.

4:01 am - Wednesday, May 12, 2010

#212 Carol

Just got the Z981. I have the Z740 and simply love it. I have been reading the posts and still a confused about the battery issue. I live in Alaska. I hike alot and don't have access to a plug in. Can I use the lithium batteries? Or some other kind that doesn't require me plugging them in?
Thank you.

5:23 am - Friday, May 14, 2010

#213 Gene Essman

I got left off the mailing list somehow back in late April and have been so busy that without the email notice of a post, I wasn't aware that I had been dropped. It occurred to me a couple of times that I wasn't getting the email notice but I just figured that everyone had gotten their 981 by now and was just too busy with it to talk about it. ;-) I thought maybe someone had decided I was "talking" too much and shut me down. Got it fixed though so I guess that wasn't the case. I read and got all caught up and saw that there was a post by Mike clarifying my last post - the one about a few tricks to use when shooting fast action shots with a "z" camera that will enhance the ability to up the odds of catching the action. I'll reply to that in a second post to follow this.

5:58 am - Friday, May 14, 2010

#214 Gene

MIKE - back in late April before I got dropped, you followed a post I'd made about action shots you said, "Just to clarify. I would use manual focus to focus on a spot some fast moving object will be in. Once focused, whatever mode I'm in, PASM (I don't think it works in Smart Mode) will hold that setting and when I hit the button to take the shot, whether burst of single, that focus is what will be used. Is that correct?" My response to that is this:

First, let me say yes but a qualified "yes." The proviso is that you have to leave the camera in manual focus mode where an "M" appears on the LCD as opposed to setting the mode dial to "M" which is for the aperture and shutter speed. A lot of the time you will get some good shots setting the focus to manual and leaving the camera to re-set the meter reading as you're shooting but if you were to look back up at my post that preceded this, I suggested that you first use a mode other than "M" to get a meter reading of the spot where your subject will be, either dirt, grass, a gray card, or even hold the palm of your hand out in front of the lens and let the meter read that with the same light hitting your hand that will hit your subject on "the" spot, making note of the readings that your camera set for you in one of the auto modes, full auto, P, A, or S. Then, shift to manual mode and set those settings, speed and aperture and shift into manual focus and focus on the spot where you know your subject will arrive at when you want to take the picture.

What you want to do is take away from the camera as many of or all the gyrations it goes through while the meter reads the subject and then the focus has to do its thing. By going all manual you are taking control of all the automatic features that causes the biggest part of the delay when you push the button. I think you'll find it will be a lot more responsive and therefore faster. Like anything else, it requires a little practice but once you get the hang of it, you'll be shooting action with your "z" to match a pretty fair amount of SLRs out there. The biggest obstacle to getting the shots you want, not just action, is to know how to outsmart the camera. It's designed to work on averages, average light, average everything. It's like taking a family shot where there are both dark and light skinned people in the scene wearing both dark and light clothing. If you point your camera at a dark suit on a light skinned person, you're come out with something that looks like Casper in a suit. With people, you're looking for skin tones. So, go up to your subject to about 2 or 3 feet away and mash your button half way down and get a reading. Then go back and put the "z" on manual and set those readings. You will over-ridden the meter and you cant then aim the camera anywhere in the scene that gives the best composition and fire away without worrying any further about the light and dark in the frame and how it will affect the outcome.

6:50 am - Friday, May 14, 2010

#215 Gene Essman

Let me give you an example of something else besides sports. Suppose you're at a an air show and the planes are coming fairly close and real fast. If you will first in either A, S, P mode, or full Auto, take a light reading by holding your hand out at arms length in front of you where the planes will be flying by, aim the camera at your hand, and press the shutter button half way down to get a reading, and then put the camera in manual (M) mode and set the shutter and aperture to the reading you got on your hand, and this time, since you don't know how far in front of you a plane will be on fly-by, leave the auto focus on because the auto focus will happen faster than you can manually focus on a moving target, you can probably get some pretty good shots. The deal in this case is that the same light that is hitting your hand is the same light that'll be hitting the plane so you can take away all the stuff the camera goes through getting and setting the light readings, thus speeding it up except for the focusing. Anything you can do to take the decision making away from the camera is going to speed it up. Then all you have to do is make sure that you aim the camera at the plane and not at the blank sky 40 miles on the other side of it. Sounds simple but sometimes it isn't.

The deal is this, if you're shooting a darkish plane in a light sky and your aim includes is just a little off and a little of the bright sky behind the plane is seen by the camera's meter, your plane will go even darker and be more of a silhouette than a plane. If you're in manual mode for the meter and you metered your hand, the plane will be properly illuminated no matter how bright the sky is - UNLESS the sun is directly on the other side of the plane. I promise you, if you'll think this through and apply it to as many action shots as you have time for, you'll be happier with the outcome than if you just let the camera do all the work. You have to recognize when the camera is going to let you down and then outsmart it by taking its weaknesses away from it. A little blur in an action shot only shows that it is action. You don't have to stop the bullet in mid-air to have a good photo although that's fun too. You can do that with a "z" if you know the exact distance to a moving object and can set the focus manually in advance and then speed up the shutter speed. It's all fun.

I would just like to address what one lady said about stuff like this being an overkill - why, if you're going to go somewhere and take pictures would you want to avoid a little extra knowledge that would allow you to come home with some really outstanding pics as opposed to stuff that's 50% unusable. It takes a long time to discuss some of this stuff in writing and sometimes it isn't all that simple to grasp even though it turns out to be much more simple once you go through it and get it right. Point and shoot doesn't have to be lazy and sloppy. I have shots I got with my point and shoot that compete with anything I've ever gotten with an SLR. If you're going to bother to go and take a camera, there's nothing wrong with a little prep time that improves your outcome. If you don't care about the outcome, then why bother to even take a camera. These "z" cameras will live up to whatever level you think you can get to with picture taking. They're not toys. They are very sophisticated electronic instruments that, in the hands of an interested person, will take you where you need to go.

6:53 am - Friday, May 14, 2010

#216 Gene Essman

In the last two sentences of my next to last post above I said, "So, go up to your subject to about 2 or 3 feet away and mash your button half way down and get a reading. Then go back and put the "z" on manual and set those readings. You will over-ridden the meter and you cant then aim the camera anywhere in the scene that gives the best composition and fire away without worrying any further about the light and dark in the frame and how it will affect the outcome."

That should read, "So, go up to your subject to about 2 or 3 feet away and AIM AT THE FACE, filling the viewfinder so no light gets in around the edges and mash your button halfway down to get a reading. Then go back and set the dial on your "z" on manual (M) setting to those readings you got on the face of your subject. You will HAVE over-ridden the meter and you CAN then aim the camera anywhere in the scene that gives the best composition and fire away without worrying any further about the light and dark in the frame and how it will affect the outcome BECAUSE THE METER WILL NOT BE CHANGING." Sorry!

7:06 am - Friday, May 14, 2010

#217 fnkytwn

I just bought one through Costco for $269.36, which includes shipping and a 2gb class 6 SD card. Seems like the cheapest from what i've found, but they're only selling it from May 12th through June 6th and it's "while supplies last". The $50 comes off the price once its in your cart, so its not a mail-in rebate.

costco link:
http://www.costco.com/Browse/Product.aspx?prodid=11527278&whse=BC&topnav;=&cat=87151&b=1&lang=en-US

4:39 am - Sunday, May 16, 2010

#218 Tina

I've been reading these comments since April and thought I would put in my 2 cents. I got my z981 a little over a week ago, and I love it. It was a serious upgrade for me. I love the zoom. The auto mode works beautifully. I have been experimenting with manual, and my skill level leaves a lot to be desired. However, I still have some great photos from manual, and some in super macro. I like the AA batteries. Much better option for me than the other kind. I hardly had any editing to do, unlike my old camera. Although, I do like to play with my photo programs... This camera is fun. I am sure I will learn a lot using it. I just have to learn to fine tune those manual settings. I am using the internet for info, and some of the comments on here have helped as well (thanks). I posted a couple of photos on Amazon, Lilly Pads and Caterpillar (for those who are looking for photos to go with reviews).

11:11 pm - Monday, May 17, 2010

#219 Gene Essman

Great Tina. It's good to hear positive stuff. Manual isn't so tough. The old film rule of thumb before built-in meters was f8 @ 125 for bright mid-day sunlight going to f5.6 @ 60 on cloudy days and down from there with less light. On the "z" you have a good meter and all the "manual" you want. You can do some amazing things using the camera that way without the meter flipping out every time the light in front of it changes because someone with light or dark clothes walked into the scene. You're on the right track. Keep it up. The more you do it, the faster and more sure-footed you become.

11:52 pm - Monday, May 17, 2010

#220 Thriftyfox

Great comments on the Kodak Z981. It is an excellent camera and it does have Kodaks new image sensors that have ben improved for low light Photography. The Kodak Color Science is true to its reputation and this camera is an excellent investment. As the maajority of the comments attest, they have had very good results from this manufacturers products. The OIS is lens based image stbalization and the mechanical movement of the image sensor is very good add on usually found in body based DSLRs used by professionals. Many people like to nit pick and do not relate to the features that enable us to capture great pictures. The Z981 is a great camera with many features found in cameras costing 800-1000 dollars.

1:13 am - Tuesday, May 18, 2010

#221 Tina

Thanks, Gene. I needed those examples. I have been reading up, but it helps to have actual examples of what numbers to use. Your comments have been very informative.

Thriftyfox, I don't have a very steady hand, so the image stabilization is a huge help. I agree with the part about the nit picking. What we are after is great pictures. This camera does excellent in low light. This is silly, but, I laid in my bed with the lights off, and took a picture of my ceiling fan (on full speed) in auto mode. It lit up my ceiling and stopped the fan. I was impressed.

2:42 am - Tuesday, May 18, 2010

#222 Julie

have been away for a week so haven't read and caught up, but just wanted to answer the post asking about batteries.
I have been using Energizer Ultimate Lithium AA batteries in my Z710. This last set of two during the last 2weeks I have taken about 850 shots both viewfinder and display. The previous set I got over 1000 pics from. These are so far the best I've ever used. Duracell Powerpix were pretty good but the Energizers leave them for dead.

12:41 pm - Tuesday, May 18, 2010

#223 Gene

I tried a few types of AA, not Lith ion, in my 712 and they last about 20 to 30 shots - good in a pinch. Got a Kodak 8000 rechargeable with a charger @ $29.00 at Wal Mart and can't seem to run it out of juice. Can get two from China for under $10.00 (with a charger) from the 'net - ebay, "buy it now." Have a small power inverter from Wal Mart (makes household 110 volts from 12 volts in the car) plugs into my car cigarette lighter so I can recharge driving down the road with my in-home charger from China. 2 for $10 is good, 3 batteries, one in the camera one on the charger in the house, other on the charger in the car. All the comforts of home for under $50. Less than the cost of 5 sets of Lith ion. Batteries good for about 500 charges. Battery problem over. If you want a solution - there's one.

@ Tina. Have you discovered that one click of aperture = one click of shutter speed = one click of iso? If you're on f5.6 @ 60 and you want to drop down to f2.8 so you can blur the background or go up to infinity for a landscape, you'll need to go up or down the same number of clicks in shutter speed to offset the drop in aperture. Just like if you're shooting action and you need more shutter speed and aperture, you offset that by raising the iso an equal number of stops to keeping the same relationship. That helps by not having to take a meter reading for every shot. Understanding that relationship helps out a lot with manual especially if your meter breaks you can still use your camera. Some auto cameras allow you to shift into manual operation even if the batteries die. Haven't checked that for the "z" cameras so can't say for sure but it might be worth knowing - think I'll look it up. My guess is that the "z" will die being all electronic.

4:36 pm - Tuesday, May 18, 2010

#224 Tina

First, excuse my grammar in my last post. That should have read, "which numbers".

Gene, I got some good shots today using those tips. Thank you. I did not realize I needed to adjust the shutter and aperature by the same number of clicks up or down. I guess that makes sense, so I'm not just choosing random numbers.

On the comments about the batteries, I am using the rechargeables that came with the camera. On this charge, I have taken about 350 pictures, and the battery indicator shows a little more than 1/3 charge left. I know, that's not an impressive number. My other choice is Energizer Ultimate Lithium. They seem to last forever. I'm thinking of getting a set as back up to my rechargeables. It is nice to recharge when possible, instead of always having to buy more and throw them away. Trying to think green. :o)

2:51 am - Wednesday, May 19, 2010

#225 Gene

"What," "which," whatever. I'm from Arkansas and I understood you very well. What I said may have been confusing. Let me repeat briefly. If you're at f5.6 @ 1/60th and want to drop down to f2.8 to blur the background you offset that by going up two clicks in shutter speed - should be 1/250th. There may be other intermediate stops in between which you have to allow for. On a landscape to get infinity you would go up in aperture number and down in shutter speed an equal number of stops (clicks). I'm sure you figured that out but I went from blur to infinity earlier and that wasn't necessary to talk about both at once. Hope I didn't confuse you. Sounds like you have the battery thing figured out. Maybe others in here can benefit by that info. Have fun.

5:54 am - Wednesday, May 19, 2010

#226 Tina

Oooh. Thanks for clearing that up. Things are starting to "click" now. I will practice with these tips.

11:36 pm - Wednesday, May 19, 2010

#227 Mike

Gene,

Just saw your post. I had a 712, loved it. But then the flash broke and while it would pop up it would then fall down and I had to hold it up with my finger. Kodak wanted $150 to fix it.

The whenever I turned it on the lens would zoom out and then immediately pull back and shut off. Then it would, all by itself, zoom out again and then pull back. It got so bad that I couldn't get it to stay on to take a picture and I wan't going to pay Kodak $200+ to fix it.

I like the Z981 though, but I'm annoyed that simple things, like shutting of the Quickview on the 712 you cannot do on the 981.

11:52 pm - Wednesday, May 19, 2010

#228 Tina

1. I wanted to respond to some posts made before this camera was released about concerns about red-eye with the z981 not having a hotshoe. If you set the flash to Preflash (red-eye reduction) the camera fires a preflash, which shrinks the pupil, and prevents red-eye from happening when the pictue is taken. I have not had a single red-eye shot with this camera, with the exception of the cat (but their eyes are different from humans, anyway). There is an in camera red-eye correction, but this action takes longer to process your shot (or so I've read - haven't used that option). I decided to test the auto flash and fill flash tonight. I took pictures of my son with the lights on and off - no red-eye. I aimed the red beam at the floor, focused, and then pointed at my son to take the shot (zoomed and not zoomed), and was finally able to get a red-eye shot with the auto flash. So, yes, it is possible to get red-eye with z981, but took me a few shots to make it happen. I have never had a camera that would take an external flash, but with this camera, I don't think I'm going to worry about it.

2. This may seem silly to some people, but I took a picture of the moon tonight, and I am so excited. I have never owned a camera with that capability (other than a white speck in the sky), and that was one of the things I hoped for when I got this camera. Being new to manual shooting, it took a few shots to figure out which settings to use, but I got it. :o) Next purchase - a tripod. Try holding still at full zoom with a slow shutter speed.

4:13 am - Thursday, May 20, 2010

#229 Gene

Mike, sounds like you had a little nightmare with your 712. You may have seen earlier my comment about why I have one. Tired of lugging by Canon and long lens with me everywhere, I did some reading up on the "z" cameras and then went out looking for one in pawn shops. I found the 712 for $35.00 and was that ever a lucky stroke. I think Kodak charged more for the 712 new than any other "z." I'm sure happy with it - hope I don't start having what you went through. One of the upsides of living in a big town - lots of pawn shops. I've had Schneider-Kruznach lens for years on my 4x5's and while there are better lens out there, you can't afford them and they're probably not on a $250 camera. I really don't know how Kodak is doing that.

@ Tima, you're doing it right - experiment 'til you drop and you'll know your camera inside and out and you'll do some great stuff with it. You're definitely on the right track.

@ EVERYBODY - I've got a list of the best 50 tips in photography scanned in and can ship it via email. It's got a wealth of knowledge on it and they're all short tips. Anyone want a copy, email me at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) and I'll send it to you. For years I have subscribed to all the photo mags I know of and it would take reading all of them over a period of years to pick up what on this tip list. It'll help everyone whether you're on full auto or tearin' it up like Tina. Or, I could post it on here in segments if that would be better? If anyone wants it here, cool. If you want it in email, that's cool too. I guarantee your pics will improve in minutes, unless, of course, they can't be improved upon.

4:36 am - Thursday, May 20, 2010

#230 Jason

these pics were taken this week. No use of tripod or even hang on something. Never expect professional output from me and they are just for fun...


http://i45.tinypic.com/fkpkas.jpg

http://i49.tinypic.com/2d1ohn9.jpg

6:35 am - Thursday, May 20, 2010

#232 Jason

hopefully it can be posted

http://i47.tinypic.com/2sagnxd.jpg

6:40 am - Thursday, May 20, 2010

#233 Julie

Thanks Jason for showing us your photos. Great moon shot.

9:48 am - Thursday, May 20, 2010

#234 frikkie

hi

the baterys i use on the camera nikon L110 are GP rechargeable nimh 2500 batterys. they last for about a 800-1000 shots with lots of use with the zoom lens. the oldest set of them is in june 5 years old with lots of use with a sony camera.
the battreys cost in sa about R200 with charcer for 4 of them.
in south africa the z981 is not available yet.

frikkie

7:21 pm - Thursday, May 20, 2010

#235 Gene

TWO THINGS: R200.00 = 25.00 USD When I use nimh 2500's in my 712 I get about 40 shots so maybe the L110 uses juice a little differently.

Second thing - the 50 tip sheet seems to have worked itself down the stack some. As soon as I find it, it'll be on the way to those of you who have requested.

9:22 pm - Thursday, May 20, 2010

#236 Tina

I tried to post links to photos, but it would not let me. Sorry. :o(

11:45 pm - Thursday, May 20, 2010

#237 Gene

Be looking forward to seeing what you've got when they're available.

11:56 pm - Thursday, May 20, 2010

#238 Tina

Let's try this again. I opened a Flickr account so I could share my photos. I don't have everything I want uploaded yet. Uploading with dial-up is painful!

3:33 am - Friday, May 21, 2010

#239 Gene

Have you re-sized to cut them down so they'll travel a little faster. If you don't have a graphics program that'll do that, I suggest rather than buy one, that you google "gimp download." Gimp is a program that's free and it does about everything that even the most expensive graphic programs like Photoshop will do. It'll be an overkill for you but you don't have to try to use all of it - just the parts you need. I'd cut 'em down to 640x480, 800x600 max. You could even get away with going to 320x240 and maintain them in a size that's reasonable to view. Let me suggest that you call your image in, re-size it and save it using "save as" and giving it another name. About the simplest way is to keep the name it has and tack an "a" onto the end. That way, you'll have the original for later use and have a good traveling version and they will be right together in the folder where you have them. I don't mean to treat you as though you're ignorant but by the time we talk back and forth asking questions, etc., I can already do this and if you don't need or want it, just ignore it and we'll both be happy. Just saving time - not trying to insult anyone. I think there's versions of Gimp for Windows, Ubuntu, Suse, and Redhat Linux, as well maybe for a Mac so whatever kind of operating system you have I think you'll find a version you can use. There's also several other free graphics programs out there that you can download.

3:58 am - Friday, May 21, 2010

#240 Tina

This thing is giving me trouble about posting my link, but if you click on my name, it will take you to the page. Also, I'm going to try again to
insert the link into this post.

I have not tried to resize, I was worried about losing image quality. But, at least I wouldn't be up all night. I do use a lot of a's and b's on the ends of my file names when editing. I have not tried Gimp, I will have to check that out. I have a couple of programs, but usually I'm not trying to resize for uploading. Silly me.
Thanks for the info (and the reminder about resizing).

http://www.flickr.com/photos/50375326@N03/sets/72157624103845084/

4:37 am - Friday, May 21, 2010

#241 Gene

Here's the deal - you either lose image quality or sleep on dial-up. There's another issue too. There's some theft going on on the web and if you aren't careful should you later decide to sell your shots, you might find someone else with them already out there and you could run into a copyright conflict. You could probably win but it's a civil matter and a lawyer's fee could take all the profit out of a real nice image. Re-sizing cuts down the danger of that quite a bit. While it may not be your goal, you might be at the fair shooting goofy people walking around and get a shot of a backpack bomber in the background - the only picture of him. Could be worth some big bucks. You wouldn't want to have to fight someone over it.

4:52 am - Friday, May 21, 2010

#242 Gene

Tina, your shots are magnificent. You've really got a good eye for subject and you've also really got good control of the camera. I won't go any further because I want to change computers and get on another monitor that's better than this one I'm on now. I'll comment on the pics in flickr rather than here. I want to urge everyone in here to go have a look. Tina's good.

5:00 am - Friday, May 21, 2010

#243 Tina

Thank you so much for the kind comments.

You are so right about the theft issue. I need to check and find out if Flickr resizes automatically when a photo is uploaded. And I will be sure to resize from now on.

5:16 am - Friday, May 21, 2010

#244 Paul

I just received my new z981 today. I upgraded from a z740 which has been a great camera. I was able to take about 30 pics and so far I am impressed. One of my concerns is, when I was finished playing I was cleaning the lens and noticed there was quite a bit of "play" in the lens. In other words, it moved around a bit. When extended it was even worse. Is this normal?

7:02 am - Friday, May 21, 2010

#245 Jason

Tina,

Great shots! Your pictures are in great quality.

I agree with Gene, to downsize your pics before uploading saves your time and also reduces risks.

I would recommend this software:

fotosizer can be download at: http://www.fotosizer.com

7:36 am - Friday, May 21, 2010

#246 Julie

What Gene said - your photos are magnificent, thanks for sharing them with us.

2:27 pm - Friday, May 21, 2010

#247 Mike

Tina,

Nice shots. I'm curious, I noticed on the stats for the photos that you used Photoshop on many. Just what did you us it for? The photos look great and don't seem like they'd need any help. I liked the caterpillar. I'm a nature and bug nut when it comes to photo's and the Z's macro mode really does a great job.

2:48 pm - Friday, May 21, 2010

#248 Tina

Thank you. :o)

Paul - my lense moves when I clean it as well. I chatted with Kodak tech support. The response was, "The lense movement is normal. The lense retracts when a subject is blocking it." I asked, to clarify, if he means the lense is suppose to move when touched or bumped to protect it from damage. He said yes, that is what it is suppose to do. I know, tech support is sometimes questionable, but I had assumed that was the reason for it.

2:52 pm - Friday, May 21, 2010

#249 Tina

Hm... had to go look. I think that Photoshop Elements is listed on the ones I imported using that software. When I import, the software is set to automatically remove red-eye (of course, I haven't had any red-eye problem since I got this camera). I din't do any adjustments to these pictures except the ones listed below. After the first couple of sets of pictures I took with this camera, I started using Kodak software to import. Maybe that's the difference.
1. On the caterpillar, I did a slight crop, probably in Photoshop Elements, and that was all.
2. The peach blossoms were actually shot on my mother-in-law's dx7590. I may have used the auto adjust, but I don't remember.
3. The sunrise was taken in RAW, and "developed" in Kodak software. I'm not sure I "get" RAW, or what difference it makes.

Thank you everyone for the compliments. As much as I love my photo software, I am actually relieved that I don't have to do the editing I did with my old pocket-sized hp. And, I am seriously starting to have fun with taking pictures instead of editing pictures (although I am sure I will use my programs for some stuff). Whew! Now I'm being long-winded!

4:35 pm - Friday, May 21, 2010

#250 Gene

So, you have Photo Elements. Good. Don't bother with Gimp.

Is there a problem with editing? ;-) ...and the argument rages on. It all used to be done in the darkroom by the lab techs and it was okay since you didn't know about it, then the auto machines and now it's in the computer. I edit all my shots that I feel are worthy of taking to their max and some that aren't. I have the quality settings in my camera down a couple of notches from maxed out and there's a reason. If you put something on the edge it's too easy for something you didn't see to tip it over. If you have contrast set up as high as it'll go, for instance, it can come out so contrasty and ruin a pic and you can't fix it without ruining it in another direction. This whole digital thing is not yet perfected. Early, I lost several good shots because I had the settings "maxed out." It's easier and more accurate to take something up than to try to back it off with digital. I haven't played with the 981 so I can't say but on my 712 maxed out quality is called "Fine." I do that with my other digital also. It's kind of like that discussion earlier about using optical zoom or zooming it in the computer by cropping. I subscribe to all the photo mags and that argument was over long ago with the pros. To them, and I think I agree, not editing is like cutting one leg off right before a foot race or running at Indy with two flat tires. "We can, therefore, we should." With the pros it's, "we can, therefore we must." Some folks are really changing stuff like the whole background with "layers" and so forth. I'm not sure how I feel about that but in the photo books it's treated as the new reality. In the minds of many it's the equivalent of accepting less beauty than you have to. Of course, still, it all seems to come down to a matter of opinion.

@ Paul - I have wiggle in my Canon IS lenses. May be suppose to be there. May have something to do with the IS. If you're getting good pics as it is, I'd say that's part of the design. Chances are, it there was something loose in there you wouldn't be getting good clear pictures. "The proof is in the pudding." Haven't had one fall apart yet. "Your mileage may vary."

5:39 pm - Friday, May 21, 2010

#251 Lisa

Hey guys, I seem to have issues taking pictures indoors without flash. And sometimes, pictures are blurry without flash, or the coloring is off. And smartmode I feel doesn't take very good pictures, for me at least. I'm wondering if the camera is defective, or if I'm just really bad at using the camera, lol. I don't have terribly shaky hands, but I feel like I need a tri/monopod for any shot without flash, and have never had this issue before. Is it possible the OIS is not working?

6:20 pm - Friday, May 21, 2010

#252 Tina

Gene - I totally agree about the editing. Sometimes it is necessary and/or fun. And, don't get me wrong I love my programs, Photoshop Elements 6 (I got from Ebay, $14.99), and Photo Explosion. Of course, I don't know how to do everything in Elements yet, and there is some stuff I just don't need. I am just so thrilled to get more good shots that don't require editing, or that need just a little work. With my old camera, I couldn't do anything until I fixed red-eye, maybe auto adjust, cropped (3x digital zoom you have to crop more). Not saying I haven't done any editing on the 981 photos, just a lot less. But, because of some comments that were made on this issue, my goal was to share photos that showed more of what the camera does than my software.

By the way, you can take a beautiful wedding photo or baby photo, and give it a special touch with a spotlight effect from Photo Explosion. In some cases, where there is unwanted stuff in the background, the spotlight hides it without having to over-crop the picture. I took a picture of my niece which was cute, but after changing to black & white and adding a spotlight, we have decided to make enlargements to share.

Oh, and with the z981, you can crop from the camera's menu. That comes in handy.

6:34 pm - Friday, May 21, 2010

#253 Tina

Lisa - When you take your shots indoors without flash, is there good lighting in the room (either natural light, or other sources)? I tried some in smart capture, with only natural light coming in the windows. They didn't seem blurry viewing from the camera's display. Also, under the Scene settings, you could try museum/manor mode. If the room is too dark, and there is no flash it will affect the color. Also, I've read if the shutter speed is really slow, you probably need a tripod. Not sure if I was much help, but there are people here that know much more than I.

12:10 am - Saturday, May 22, 2010

#254 Gene

Lisa, I am troubled by only one thing you've said in thinking about trying to answer your questions, and that the part where you said you had not had this problem before. I could go on here for a few paragraphs about technique to avoid your complaint but I'm concerned that the answer might lie in your camera somewhere, setting perhaps. I'm staying away from commenting on what I perceive may be a 981 specific question since I don't have one as of yet. There are several things a person needs to know about and can do to help with blur in low light but the list gets pretty long and there's things I need to know to answer sensibly. It would suit me to discuss it in email so we can have a more direct connection without involving everyone in here. Then, if we make a discovery you can come back on here and let everyone know what the answer turned out to be. How's that? .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

1:14 am - Saturday, May 22, 2010

#255 Gene

FOR ALL 981 OWNERS - IS THERE ANY OF YOU LONG-TERM users who have a 981 - is there anyone who can shed light on Lisa's questions beyond what Tina has offered. I'm thinking it could be the camera. Lisa hasn't had the problem before until she got her 981.

1:21 am - Saturday, May 22, 2010

#256 Lisa

Even with adequate lighting, I get a really soft pictures, borderline blurry. If I change the shutter speed to about a second, I find that there is too much light. Also, if I raise the ISO a little bit, I get a lot of noise, even with smart capture/no flash, there is noise. I just don't want to have to use flash for everything. I'm going to play around with the camera settings a little bit more. I might just go exchange it for another. Thanks for the advice by the way!

1:56 am - Saturday, May 22, 2010

#257 Lisa

When I say too much light, I mean, it looks like the picture is over exposed.

2:13 am - Saturday, May 22, 2010

#258 Lisa

I'm probably starting to spam, lol. Just wanted to let you guys know that I just downloaded the firmware update, fingers crossed.

http://www.kodak.com/global/mul/service/downloads/DownloadFile.jhtml?locsvcsEntryPath=2300303&product=EKN036966&operatingSystem=windows_vista&lang=en&type=firmware&downloadId=dln00244_file1&variant=false&pq;-path=14091

2:53 am - Saturday, May 22, 2010

#259 Lisa

Okay, the firmware update fixed my issue, kind of. I still have an issue with the smart capture, without flash I get very noisy pictures in semi low lighting. But...I no longer have issues with that in manual mode.

3:07 am - Saturday, May 22, 2010

#260 Tina

Lisa - I am glad you solved the problem. I was hoping it would be an easy fix, but was starting to think something was wrong with the camera. I started playing around with mine in a dimly lit room, and found what you were talking about. I am going to download that firmware update now.

3:22 am - Saturday, May 22, 2010

#261 Lisa

Tina - Do you feel like 26x optical zoom is accurate? Whenever I use the zoom, I feel like it falls short. 10-15 maybe... is there anyway to test it?

4:23 am - Saturday, May 22, 2010

#262 Bob

Lisa - I also questioned the 26X zoom. I have a Z740 that is 10X. The zoom is comparable to the 75-300 zoom on my old 35mm film camera.

I took two test shots of a ceramic dog in my yard using the 740 and the 981. With the 740 at full zoom I got the chest up on the dog. With the 981 I got a full face shot and also got a good shot of the bird poop on the dog's nose. I am satisfied with the zoom. I am having trouble at full zoom because my right hand is jerky, so I start using a tripod or monopod when I do zooms. I will see how it works. According to an earlier post the use of the tripod may mess up the stabilztion on the camera.

I will try. Otherwise I am happy with the camera.

4:24 pm - Saturday, May 22, 2010

#263 Bob

In the first post about the zoom, I meant to say the 740 zoom is comparable to the 35mm zoom.

4:27 pm - Saturday, May 22, 2010

#264 Tina

Lisa - Well, there's a technical question. In my very limited knowledge, I will take a shot at this. There are 2 things I can think of to try.
1. Look at the full photo properties. I have not yet figured out how to do that from my computer, but, if you use Flickr, it will show you. You click on the photo, and a photo page comes up. Click on more properties, and it will list all the info your camera attached to that photo. I believe "Focal Length" tells you how far the camera was zoomed.
If you do not use Flickr, or do not trust the info attached to the photo, you can try this:
2. The 981 lense should have a focal length equivalent to 676mm. Mark your subject, do the measurements, and test your zoom to see if it meets the mark.
If someone here knows more about this subject, feel free to correct me if I have said anything innacurate or incomplete. Personally, I have not had any problems with the zoom. Of course, I have not owned a super-zoom camera before to compare it with.

4:57 pm - Saturday, May 22, 2010

#265 Mike

Regarding hand held zoom. It is almost impossible for one to hand hold a camera with a 640mm zoom. The general rule in photography is you want to use a shutter speed no slower than the reciprocal of the focal length. So, at 640mm you want the speed to be 1/640th of a second for hand holding. At 600mm the lens covers an angle of view of about 3.5 degrees versus a 50mm lens covering about 50 degrees. If you focus on a subject 100' away and the camera moves just 1/2 degree due to shake, your point of focus will move about 10". That's a lot of movement for so little shake. It gets much worse if your target is the moon or some star a few light years away. You either need a really good OIS or a rock solid tripod. Or you call out to the gods to make the moon stand still.

5:22 pm - Saturday, May 22, 2010

#266 Lisa

Well, I get clear pictures every time at max range, which does not seem very far. And I've seen a video on youtube involving a hot air balloon looking almost like a speck on the LCD being blown up very clearly, and you can see the letters on the balloon. I'm just wondering if there's something I'm doing wrong because my zoom never seems that intense, also, some times the camera doesn't let me use digital zoom, not that I'd want to...but the option to would be nice, lol.

5:30 pm - Saturday, May 22, 2010

#267 Tina

Mike - Thanks for that information. Every bit of advice helps.

Lisa - I don't have an answer on your concern about the zoom distance. But, I know that digital zoom is not available in all shooting modes.

5:38 pm - Saturday, May 22, 2010

#268 Gene

...or, what Tina and Mike said but then the IS will allow you to use about two shutter speed slower settings, maybe three if you're steady, take a deep breath and brace yourself to something solid like a tree, to maybe about in the 1/400s or perhaps 1/300s. Problem with a moon shot, I hear, is that it's best shot when your shutter speed equals your iso setting but then the moon is always moving so it often isn't a good subject unless you have your camera hooked up to a telescope with a motor that moves it at just the same speed as the moon is moving. If you push your iso up to give you a faster shutter speed to offset the moon moving, you get noise which was called grain in film. My point is, if you get a real good moon shot like Jason and Tina have, you may have lucked out. I wouldn't use the moon to test my zoom with. If you want to check your technique, "steady" skills, and camera = pin something printed like an eye chart outside on a still day, out of direct sunlight and then you can blow it up in your computer and see how you did. Avoid newsprint - it's a series of dots. A real eye chart would be real good.

5:42 pm - Saturday, May 22, 2010

#269 Gene

Lisa, it's sounding more and more to me like you got a dud. I'd be wanting to do an exchange. Duds happen, even in the most expensive camera equipment and often go unnoticed by the owner who does not know what to expect. Even the sharpness of lens varies in quality control especially at the low end cost range. I have an expensive Canon lens that, when I bought it, there were warnings all over the 'net that it was a 50-50 crap shoot whether or not you got a good one.

I wouldn't be discouraged or sit and wonder about it any longer. I'd make the trade and even be prepared to do it again if the results are the same. No sense in pulling your hair out. Dump it on 'em and maybe quality control will go up some.

5:51 pm - Saturday, May 22, 2010

#270 Lisa

Thanks Gene, I'll probably do just that. And thanks to everyone else for their remarks. There could very well be something wrong with the camera, I knew I shouldn't have been able to steady the camera with no tripod when it was at max zoom.

6:10 pm - Saturday, May 22, 2010

#271 Tina

I agree with above. Good luck, Lisa.

6:16 pm - Saturday, May 22, 2010

#272 Bob

Another comment on the zoom. I just got Corel loaded on my laptop. I pulled up 3 test pictures at wide angle, medium, and full zoom. I figured out how to get the camera settings in Corel and wide angle showed an effective 35mm setting of
26mm and the full zoom to be an effective 35mm length of 676mm.

It has been awhile since I took a camera class and had forgetten the correlation between speed and focal length. I will have to get my trusty tripod out to get pictures of the bird on the nest in my backyard..

I am glad I found this. Bunch of good info.

11:29 pm - Saturday, May 22, 2010

#273 Cathleen

I recently purchased the Z981 and was so looking forward to all the things it said it could do. I am sadly disappointed. I had a Kodak DX6490 that was a work horse and took out of the world photos, clear and dead on color. I am a painter so I take a lot of photos of my work. The photos from the Z981 are hardly in focus and the color is way off. Batteries are not an issue. Being able to have photos that you take that are 'in focus' when taking them are not when you review them or download them on your computer and the coloring in the photos is completely horrible. I am counting the days till I can return this and buy a Nikon.

3:12 am - Sunday, May 23, 2010

#274 Lisa

How disappointing, is there anyone here that has this camera and thinks it's amazing?

4:37 am - Sunday, May 23, 2010

#275 Tina

Lisa - answer to your question - I do! Maybe my expectations are too low, I don't know. I have had a totally positive experience with this camera. Of course, I don't get perfect shots every time - I don't know anyone who does. Most of my bad shots are user error. I can't resist the urge to play with settings I haven't used before, and don't completely understand. Most of my shots using Smart Capture come out great. I'm learning the other settings. I believe if I use the right settings, under the right conditions, most of the shots will be good. Most of my picture taking has been outdoors, but I have a few indoors shots. I have been pleased. The shots I didn't quite like, was when I started experimenting with different settings. I now have a 2 year old grandson, so Smart Capture will not always be the right choice for me. They move way to fast. I have been more disappointed reading reviews and comments, than using my camera. I didn't think anything was wrong with it until then. I asked a friend who is more experienced in photography to tell me what he thinks. He did a few test shots, and told me it does a good job. (what I already knew)

Everyone -
Shortly, I will post a link to Flickr. I did several test shots under various low light conditions, using various settings. I'm not posting all of them, just a few. In extremely low lighting, especially without flash, the color and picture quality are not as good. Although, I know there are tricks I should learn to make them better. But the point is to show the results of different low light conditions and settings. As soon as I finish uploading, I will post that link.

I love my z981, however...
Everybody has different needs and expectations from their camera. If this camera doesn't meet someone's needs, they should find one that does. It's too much of an investment to settle for a camera that doesn't work for you. There are some excellent dslr's out there, in the lower price range, that have more capabilities than a compact camera.

10:59 pm - Sunday, May 23, 2010

#276 Tina

Here are a few low light photos. Some under conditions I would not normally use, but examples.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/50375326@N03/sets/72157624121563152/

11:27 pm - Sunday, May 23, 2010

#277 Mike

When I first got the camera I was annoyed at some of the things they left out. But, I persevered and tested and did lots of shooting. I'm taking it to Europe next month and I also needed it for a soon to be Safari where I needed a long lens. I did not want to spend $1000 and I did not want to carry around a camera bag loaded with lenses and stuff as I used to when I shot film. My basic impression is that this is a good camera and unless you are going to be shooting live sports action for a living and blowing up your shots to 30 by 40 on a regular basis you will never know the difference between this and any DSLR. Every camera is built on compromises. Posts that say things like 'this is the worst camera I've ever seen and I can't wait to return it' just make me wonder what that person was thinking. But, again, everyone has their expectations. So far it meets mine. I'll know better when I get back from my trip and hopefully I don't discover things I haven't seen during my testing. For now, as Tina noted, the bad reviews haven't met with my testing reality. It's probably why I don't base my movie going habits on what reviewers say.

11:43 pm - Sunday, May 23, 2010

#278 Gene

Let's not become confused folks. There's nothing mystical going on here. DSLR's can have all the same problems as the 981. If you can't get good pictures out of this camera, and it is known to not be defective, you're probably not going to be able to get good pics with even the most expensive DSLR, regardless of brand. On automatic, all DSLR's become "point and shoot" cameras, nothing more, nothing less. Conversely, if you've had a camera before and you've gotten good pics, the new one you're having a problem with may be defective. I would approach it from that angle. The new camera will probably not give you bad pics if it's okay. Frankly, there's not very many cameras made today that give you bad pics, some just better than others. About the only difference in any camera on the market is the features available to you. The less expensive ones offer you less in the way of control features. The more expensive ones offer you more features with which to control the outcome given differing scenarios in which you're taking pics. Not trying to impress anyone here and I've already said this once but I have a Canon EOS 5D Mark II and the main lens I use with it is a 70-200 and those two cost over $4,000 and they do not have any more features than your 981. There's only so many features you can put in a camera unless you start putting mud flaps and reflectors on the outside. I can only think two differences - my Canon is 21 megapixel and I have a hot shoe for flash. I can put it on auto just like with your 981 and it's a point and shoot, period. If I try to take pictures in light that's too low I'm going to get blur and bad color, end of story.

2:51 am - Monday, May 24, 2010

#279 Lisa

Oh wow Tina, there was something definately wrong with mine. Even in semi low light, with no flash, I would get terrible noise in smart mode. I'm waiting for Costco to mail me my replacement.

7:30 am - Monday, May 24, 2010

#280 Gene

Tina: I had a look at your pics on Flickr. The ones I'd already seen didn't loose their lustre and the low-light ones are certainly adjustable. I pulled in a couple of them and they polish right up with Elements.

That lake where the people are at the table looks like a place my family camped in the Crockett Forest, Double Lake? Another pic you mentioned the Brazos. I was in Waco for many years before moving to Colorado. You're haunting me with memories mentioning that. I'm curious - I looked at the exif data on one of your shots and there a reference to Blackburn Reunion 2010. Is that something that came programmed in from Kodak or did you encode it into your 981?

8:44 am - Monday, May 24, 2010

#281 Tina

Lisa - I am glad you are getting a replacement. I really hope the new one works better. I know how disappointing it is to anticipate something, and then it not work right.
I hope the pics I uploaded showed enough to help. I only posted one with smart capture, no flash. If you want me to post a couple more let me know. No problem.
I know sometimes a flash isn't desired, but in smart capture & low or semi-low light, it's kind of hit & miss. The less light with no flash, the pictures start getting dark, or washed out color, or noise. In Scene mode, there is the High ISO setting.
Let us know if the problem is resolved when you get your new camera.

Gene - That sweet little lake is at a park in Lindale, TX. The one of the Brazos was in Waco. We had a picnic there for Thanksgiving dinner a couple of years ago. Hope those are good memories haunting you! :o) And, the Blacknurn Reunion 2010 photo - one of the features is, Kodak lets you Tag your photos in-camera. It's convenient. :o)

8:02 pm - Monday, May 24, 2010

#282 Jason

Thanks to Gene for sharing the tips. I test the camera using different settings. However, this is far from the end. Too many things left to try. All my pictures are just taken and upload/resizing. no filter, no adjustment, nothing special. It seems the camera is decent. However, noises present in almost all pictures thus lose some details. I read reviews for high end SLR, it seems that noise presents even in mid range iso of Nikon D5000. so it is normal. at least I believe that it is normal. Without loading a full bags sound a much easier, no lens changing from 26 mm to 676 mm save me a lot of time.


http://i45.tinypic.com/w1bvad.jpg

http://i46.tinypic.com/j08l52.jpg

10:10 pm - Thursday, June 3, 2010

#283 Jason

cannot post three links in one post...

http://i45.tinypic.com/v7vcau.jpg

10:14 pm - Thursday, June 3, 2010

#284 Gene

Looking good Jason.

10:21 pm - Thursday, June 3, 2010

#285 Tina

Love the pictures, Jason.

11:45 pm - Thursday, June 3, 2010

#286 Lisa

This is a total noobie question, are you using MF or macro to make the background blurry. I try to duplicate pictures like that and have failed every time.

11:56 pm - Thursday, June 3, 2010

#287 Gene

I'll duck out here and let someone with a 981 tell her about the flower setting. I'll add one thing, Lisa, when possible even with the camera on the right setting, try to keep your subject some distance from the background when possible. "Blur the background" is another way of saying "shallow depth of field." Depth of field is the distance out in front of your camera where a subject will be in clear focus. When you select the closeup setting (the flower) it will usually give you that blurred background you're looking for because it sets the camera to the least amount of depth of field it can.

12:35 am - Friday, June 4, 2010

#288 Lisa

Ohh, yeah thanks Gene. I've been messing with the flower setting, and I guess I just need more practice.

12:58 am - Friday, June 4, 2010

#289 Gene

Lisa, the flower setting is mostly for "close up" work. For regular shooting, that is not "closeup," you can achieve the shallow depth of field by setting the dial on "A" which is for aperture preferred, then select 2.8 as your aperture which gives you as shallow a depth of field as you can get with the 981. Depth of field is a little more than I said earlier. It is actually how deep your focus will be and at 2.8 it is pretty narrow. You'll need to look to see how to set the aperture on 2.8. On my 712 there's a dial or wheel up top on the back right and you mash it in to turn it to the aperture setting which shows on the lower left side of the LCD screen. If you don't have the dial where mine is, you'll need to refer to your manual to see how to set the aperture. You'll want to experiment a little by taking a shot at 2.8, looking at it and if need be to get the depth you want, move up the aperture scale. My 712 goes from 2.8 to 3.2, then 3.5, then 4.0, 4.5, 5.0, 5.6, etc. I suspect your 981 will be the same since they are still using the same lens as I have. You also need to know that if you set it on 2.8 the lens needs to be all the way in to wide on the zoom button. As you zoom out, the aperture will automatically go up to allow enough light in but you will still retain the blur you want. A little practice and it'll be second nature.

It is possible to have a person's face in focus and the ears out of focus. You might want to take a few practice shots to see how deep your focus will be. As you can see with Jason's pic of the Rose Finch that the leaves that are right with the bird are in focus and the leaves in back of the bird are out of focus again like the ones in front. When you set the dial on "A" you set the aperture and the camera selects the shutter speed for you. You will want to go ahead and let the 981 autofocus but you have to make sure that it is focusing on your main subject so that's crisp and the rest of out of focus, or blurred. Play with it for a few shots and I think you'll find what you want, not ignoring that I suggested that you put a little distance between your main subject and the background. The further the background is behind your subject, the more blur you will get. Like I tell everyone, if I give you too much info, just toss out what you don't need and maybe we'll both be happy when you're getting the shots you want. ;-) I haven't seen where you've remarked about the replacement camera. Better?

3:02 am - Friday, June 4, 2010

#290 Tina

Lisa - I have been wondering about the replacement, as well. Hope it's working out better. By the way, you may have noticed there are a couple of different ways on the camera to get the flower close-ups. One, the one Gene was talking about, you manually set your aperature. And, the flower button on top of the camera switches it to macro or super macro. The other way is Flower setting in the Scene mode. I enjoy practicing with the manual or aperature priority mode, though. It's fun, and it's rewarding to get that shot you're after. Gene gave a good explanation of depth of field and how to get these effects. It cleared up some stuff I was wondering about. I know I need a little more practice getting that effect with a subject further away.

3:45 am - Friday, June 4, 2010

#291 Lisa

Thanks Gene, very detailed, I love hearing from you guys! I didn't even know aperture had anything to do with depth of field, I thought it was just amount of light so that it very good to know! I totally agree Tina, I'm actually moving to Washington from Texas soon, and we'll be driving so I'm sure I'll get a ton of practice. I want to photo-document our trip there!

The replacement is better, I still get pretty bad noise in some decently lit areas around my house, but that's fixable with different settings. I think if I know what I'm doing when playing with manual modes I can get a great shot every time. For whatever reason, smart mode hates me. I kind of think of it as dumb mode :( it just wont give me very good pictures, a lot of them worse than my little dinky older Kodak point and shoot...but that's not too big of a deal since I got the Z981 to learn more about manual features. And I should use different cameras for different situations anyway right? My sister in law is graduating in a little less than a week, so I'm excited to play with the zoom there and see what kind of pictures I can get from far away, I'll be bring a little portable tripod of course. I found one that fits in my diaper bag so I'll be testing that too, lol.

4:33 am - Friday, June 4, 2010

#292 Gene

Another quick thing, the opposite end of the blur thing is, of course, clear, sharp focus to infinity. That involves taking the aperture setting to the opposite end of the scale, as high as it can go which, of course, shows down the shutter speed. I shoot all my shots in "A." If it's a close-up, I drop down to 2.8 and if it's a landscape I move it up as high as it'll go. In between those two extremes, I estimate the distance and set the aperture somewhere in between. If it isn't right, I adjust it. Again, moving up the aperture scale one notch reduces the shutter speed one notch. If you want to shoot a landscape and have it clearly focused all the way out, you may find that the shutter speed becomes too slow in lower light to get a good shot hand-holding the camera. Putting it on a tripod or rock, table, fence post, etc., may become necessary but then often you cannot press the shutter without moving the camera so there's another trick that comes in handy. Turn on the self-timer and select the 10 second option. Mash the shutter and by the time it counts down from 10, the camera will have become still from you mashing the button and you'll get a clearer picture. Of course, a cable release cord would be better but I don't know if the 981 allows you to use one. The timer may be your best alternative for reducing camera shake.

One other thing you might check to help reduce noise and that's to make sure that your camera is set on the lowest ISO and stays there. If the 981 has auto ISO adjustment, it may be automatically going up to a higher ISO in lower light and that may be where you're getting a lot of your noise. There are times when you simply have to use a flash. My 712's lowest ISO is 64 and that's where I keep it. That's pretty slow but it's also where the camera produces its best pics. If the light is too low to ordinarily get a good pic at 64, I find other ways to compensate other than raising the ISO. Ultimately, it is always possible to simply not be able to get a particular shot if a real good quality shot is all that will do. If recording the shot at all costs is more important than abject photo quality, then a little noise isn't going to ruin your purpose. It might be nice to always get the important shots in good quality but the nature of the beast is that it may not always be possible and then it becomes a personal choice. A noisy picture of a Sasquatch or a UFO is better than no pic at all. There's a good possibility that ol' bigfoot isn't going to run out into a bright sunlit clearing and pose for you so you take what you can get and be happy with it. You have to decide what's important to you and the more you get to know your camera, the easier it will become to make those decisions and be happy with the results.

5:38 am - Friday, June 4, 2010

#293 Lisa

Ohh, I did forget to mention that the blurriness I was getting from the last camera is fixed on this one. That's a huge relief considering my hands are not very shaky and don't want to set my camera on something every time I want to take a picture. I just found something weird though, I was playing with the zoom, and the zoom on video mode zooms in more than in camera mode. Is that the way it's supposed to be? I feel like it should be the same.

Gene, the 10 second trick is genius! I don't like the raise the ISO either, I feel like anything past 64 is just asking for trouble, lol.

6:03 am - Friday, June 4, 2010

#294 Lisa

This is probably the noobish question ever. How do I take advantage of the wide angle lens? Does it actually take a wider picture? haha..I know :( maybe people are saying wide angle lens and posting panoramic pictures. I don't know.

6:15 am - Friday, June 4, 2010

#295 Gene

Don't be shy about asking questions. There's a lot to this stuff and asking questions is the best way to get answers.

I use a lot of wide angle, especially in tight spots. It lets you get pics inside small spaces that you couldn't get otherwise, things like group shots. I think the pics are clearer. One final thing is that wide angle lets in more light which allows me to get pics in dim light that I would have otherwise missed.

Try this - set your lens on as wide as it'll go and aim at a spot in the middle of a room full of something like a small store or perhaps a group of people. Move your lens to 50mm and aim at the same spot and then do likewise at 100mm and then compare the three shots. Wide angle is to telephoto what great peripheral vision is to tunnel vision. Another test is to take a shot like in the above test and rather than lose part of the pic on each side, back up far enough to get the same shot noticing how far you have to move back to duplicate the first shot - then move to 100mm and, once again, move back far enough to get the same shot as the first two. It'll be amply clear what a wide angle is good for at that point, especially if you aren't able to get the third shot due to a lack of space to move far enough away.

7:44 am - Friday, June 4, 2010

#296 Julie

My favourite method of taking closeups with blurred background is to set the camera to Flower, then move away from the subject maybe 6 feet, then zoom in to frame. If it blurs I'm too close and step back a little until I can focus it.

These pics were taken on my sadly departed Z7590 with this method, when I first discovered how to do it.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/48734504@N07/?saved=1

7:47 am - Friday, June 4, 2010

#297 Gene

Very nice Julie. Looks to me like you pretty much have it mastered and with a simple method and explanation.

7:51 am - Friday, June 4, 2010

#298 Tina

Lisa - don't worry about asking questions. I'm right with you there. Gene is wonderful about explaining things. :o) And, your Flickr pictures are beautiful.

4:39 pm - Friday, June 4, 2010

#299 Lisa

Ohh, those are really nice shots. What mode were you using Julie?

4:07 am - Saturday, June 5, 2010

#300 Julie

Gene I will remember that 10second tip. What a great idea, thank you.

I spent a year trying to take pics of small things from a distance on Auto, crying tears of frustration, before I finally got to read the manual! At least I think I learned that technique from the manual, not by accident.

I did learn a lot of things tho at that point. But it's amazing what you can do just on Auto. I'm a lazy photographer, almost everything gets done on Auto, Flower, and SCN Night landscape.

11:14 am - Saturday, June 5, 2010