I bought my Epson 3100Z because I needed to upgrade to a dig camera with shutter priority options as I shoot my son's sporting events.
In my first outing, I set the camera to 1/250 in manual mode and when I downloaded the pics, they were all blurry. I figured "cockpit" error and made sure the camera was set again to 1/250 before my second outing.
Low and behold, blurry pictures again. When I called Epson, they were very helpful, but advised that it appears that the camera resets to auto mode when switched from LCD to viewfinder mode. Worse yet, when switched back to LCD mode, it defaults to 1/30th shutter speed -- regardless of what you'd set it for before.
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Re: Manual Shutter Moves
That is exactly what happens if you turn off the LCD. It goes into AUTO EXPOSURE. The same thing happens if you are in SHUTTER PRIORITY MODE. APERTURE PRIORITY MODE keeps your setting when going to just the viewfinder. I guess they did this because there is no way to change your settings with the screen off. It would be nice be able to keep those settings for situations where the light is not going to change and you want to save the battery. On the other hand, in manual mode I like the confirmation screen to be sure that the light didn't change.
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If you move from mode to mode, the camera will remember the settings from the last time you were in that mode and reset to them. This is handy if you are in shutter priority shooting sports at a high shutter speed, and then want to take a picture of something that's not moving fast, like the crowd. You just pop it into aperature priority with a remembered settings of a higher f stop.
I use this to shoot the scoreboard, which has a fairly slow refresh rate and usually comes up blank if I shoot it at a shutter speed higher than about 1/100.
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.
Try the PROGRAM MODE-SPORTS setting. this will keep the shutter speed reletively high unless there is little light. Or use APERTURE PRIORITY MODE with an f2.0 to f2.8 to keep shutter speed high. If pictures were blurry when it went to AUTO then the light had to be low for the camera to select a low shutter speed. If using flash use forced or auto flash not slow sync. Also set ISO to 400 which is >>>. If inside use a larger external flash as the one on-camera is only good for about 10ft. if more than 10ft. away set focus to manual infinity so you don't have to wait for the camera to focus. Hope this helps.
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.
s I understand it from what I have seen on the Web, the 3000Z can operate in several modes:
1. Fully automatic (camera select both
2. Manual (user sets both aperture and shutter speed).
3. Aperture Priority mode - user sets aperture and camera chooses correct shutter speed to get a good exposure
Apparently there is no Shutter Priority mode (user cannot set only the shutter er speed and allow the camera to set the aperature to get a good exposure). This option is available on the Epson 850Z camera and this seems like a silly ommision to make on a "high-end" camera like the 3000Z.
The following exposure options are available: P (Program auto), A (Aperture priority), S (Shutter priority), and M (Manual). There are four scene programs modes available in which the camera will choose the optimal settings for the picture:
Landscape: Suitable for taking photos of landscapes and other outdoor scenes. Both the foreground and the background are in focus. Since blues and greens are reproduced vividly in this mode, the landscape mode is excellent for shooting natural scenery.
Portrait: Suitable for shooting a portrait-style image of a person. This mode features an in-focus subject against a blurred background.
Sports: Suitable for capturing fast-moving action such as sports scene or moving vehicles without blurring.
Night scene: Suitable for taking night scene photos with a slower shutter speed.
The following exposure options are available: P (Program auto), A (Aperture priority), S (Shutter priority), and M (Manual). There are five scene programs modes available in which the camera will choose the optimal settings for the picture:
- Landscape + Portrait: Suitable for taking photos of both you subject and background. The picture is taken with the background as well as the subject in the foreground in focus.
- Landscape: Suitable for taking photos of landscapes and other outdoor scenes. Both the foreground and the background are in focus. Since blues and greens are reproduced vividly in this mode, the landscape mode is excellent for shooting natural scenery.
- Portrait: Suitable for shooting a portrait-style image of a person. This mode features an in-focus subject against a blurred background.
- Sports: Suitable for capturing fast-moving action such as sports scene or moving vehicles without blurring.
- Night scene: Suitable for taking night scene photos with a slower shutter speed.