I use a 3100Z, and sometimes in closed places I get darker photos, some people recomdme to use a external flash, epson recomends a Metz 32z-2 but in Mexico is hard to find and expensive a Metz flash, the Vivitar brand is easy to find here, which model of Vivitar flash works fine with this camera??? or what other brand and model could I use????? also I want to use it to studio shots..
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The build in flash, will be useful within several meters (15 to 20 feet) if it is really dark.
Your camera should be capable of taking pictures in poor light conditions. Try to shoot in automatic mode. The mode dail to AUTO. (green camera symbol). Then view the picture with info. There you can see the ISO, Aperture and shutter time. From there you can experiment for darker or lighter pictures. For this you can choose M, A,S or P.
In each of these modes, you can use the following steps.
On top of the camera, close to the shutter release button you see a little knob with a +/- sign. If you press that button, you should see a 0.
If you see a - figure, this means the picture you shoot all be darker than normal. If you see a + sign with a figure it means the picture will be brighter. While pressing that button and turning the command dail, you can choose -3 to +3 EV. That is much darker and much brighter.
If you shoot many pictures in bad light conditions, you could buy an external flash. A Nikon flash will work very good and automatic, with your camera, because camera and flash will communicate and help each other to make better pictures. Cheaper external flashes can work too, but most of the time you must change settings manual on the flash. Never use old flashes, that were build for analog cameras. They sometimes switch with a voltage higher than your camera can handle. The camera can be damaged by such a flash.
It is probably having trouble with the capacity of the memory card. Memory cards have grown enormously in capacity in the last couple of years, and even relatively new cameras may not be able to cope with the memory size of the newest cards.
You don't say what type of memory card you have. "SD" cards larger than about 1GB are actually SDHC cards. SD and SDHC cards fit the same slots, but they are slightly different electrically. Many cameras won't work with SDHC (high capacity) cards. SDHC is not backwards compatible.
I have notice a similar problem when using my 3100Z. I have found if I use Shutter priority mode and set the shutter speed to 1/60th to 1/125th that the problem is corrected. There are several reasons you are seeing motion blur. Most 35mm would set the shutter to 1/60th or higher for flash sync speed. The 3100Z at wide angle in Auto mode will set the shutter speed to 1/30th even when the flash is on and 1/90th at telephoto. Also I notice 2 things when comparing my 3100Z to my Epson 850Z. The shutter release on the 3100Z presses harder thus causing my wrist to want to straighten as the muscles connected to my index finger tighten. This causes the camera to rotate clockwise slightly. Also the shutter release on the 850Z is raised up higher than the 3100Z which means the index finger doesn't need to be bent as much to press it. Less of a bend means less muscle tension in the wrist. This all gets worse with action shots, like candid photos of people, since the tendency to "jerk" the trigger instead of "squeezing" it to catch just the right shot will make it harder to avoid the slight rotation of the camera.
Along with trying a higher shutter speed I would also suggest practicing with the optical viewfinder. Your wrist will be in the straight position and you will notice moving the camera during the shot much more. If you use the LCD viewfinder it is easy to treat a digital camera like a video camera. Since we are used to seeing things move on a TV screen you are less likely to realize you are not holding the camera steady. I noticed I was doing this after a few months of using my Epson 750Z. I used the optical viewfinder for awhile to break myself of the habit.
The last thing I can think of is I always try to press the shutter release halfway down, wait till it is done focussing, then press the shutter release all the way down to take the shot. When I don't want to wait that long and press the shutter release all the way down right away I tend to get more blurry shots. I am not sure if this is because I have "jerked" the trigger so the camera can't focus while it is being moved or it is motion blur and not a focus issue or if the camera fires even if it hasn't found a good focus when it hasn't been given a chance to pre-focus.
re you sure the out of focus condition is due to the actually focus or do to motion blur? I think the 3100Z in auto and flash on will set the shutter speed fairly low like 1/30th of a second for wide angle and 1/90th for full telephoto. This may not be fast enough to avoid motion blur. I would suggest using manual mode and shutter priority and set the shutter speed to 1/100th of a second. This won't effect the flash output but will reduce the amount of ambient light being captured which could cause long range shots to become darker in the distance. Name of the game, don't be afraid to take it off auto mode and experiment with manual setting.
The aperature error is due to the fact that the lens in not a constant aperature design. The settings on the LCD are assuming you are at full wide angle setting. As this lens moves towards telephoto, the aperature changes about 2/3 of an f-stop due to the mechanical movement of the lens elements. So a manual setting of f4.0 at full telephoto will be more llike f5.0 in reality. It is too bad Epson could not make the mechanical aperature adjust to compensate, but every nice feature costs something.
I have not had any issue with the shutter speed changing. One guess is that the camera has shutter speed/aperature combinations that it can't achieve due to mechanical limitations, so it chooses the available combination. Another is that it wasn't in manual mode, but rather aperature priority mode and the final adjustments changed the speed.
I have tried a couple of external flashes on the 3000Z. It is my understanding from reading various Internet posts (and I am sure someone will correct me if I am wrong) that, other than triggering the flash to go off, there is no communication between the external flash in the hot shoe of the 3000Z and the 3000Z itself. Settings need to be made manually in the manual mode to set the f-stop and the aperture to get good exposures. The Metz flashes are expensive. Most have opted to use less expensive flashes such as the Vivitar 283/383, or a Sunpak, or even a "Wal-mart" flash. I chose an inexpensive bounce flash with a secondary "fill-in" flash to get rid of the shadows sometimes seen with indoor bounce flash pics. I purchased the Phoenix 82ZBDA Multi-dedicated twin flash from Porter's Photo Catalogue for $37.95. This flash works fine, but is not that powerful (GN 79 ). If you need a more powerful flash, you might consider the Vivitar 383.