2011-04-28

Sony HX5 - TIPS & TRICKS

Removing dust from the sensor
I just found this post what to do if you find permanent blobs on your pictures in the same area.

Here is the procedure explained from Cy Cheze:
 I removed the bottom screws, took off the bottom and left (from behind) side bracket, and then removed the two screws under that panel. I then carefully pulled off the back panel, tugging it gently downward to get free of the upper strip or panel. I then carefully unfastened the control button panel and moved it to the right, being gentle with the connecting strip. I then lifted the LCD panel. Underneath, there is a coin-shaped panel covering the sensor and the lens section underneath. I removed the two screws and lifted the panel. The copper-colored CMOS is "easy" to lift without damage.
The dust particles were very tiny but also very evident and conformed to the pattern seen on zoom pictures. An air blower did not suffice to clean it, so I used a brand new lens cleaning cloth. The specs were stubborn, but did come off without ruining the sensor. Given their color and the rather isolated location, they seem more likely to be of internal origin.
There is no direct exposure to the other side of the lens glass or the lens turrent seams. When seated the sensor fits against a tiny gasket and plastic screen, which fit against the beginning of the lens section. I cleaned them too, just in case, but this can be tricky unless one has a non-scratch tweezers and immaculate settings. I then reassembled everything, which proved to be easier than I feared. The screw slots were no trouble to align.

Result: No more dust spots, so far. Honestly. I cross my fingers and hope not to see any new ones too soon. The cleaning job turns out to be slightly less challenging than fixing a leaky faucet, but with the proviso that the parts are much more tiny and delicate. The other hazard is if you introduce more dirt or have improper tools. A single finger print or scratch would be a problem.



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  • To get the most out of your HX5 fotos they have to be post processed. Sony decided to go the way of not over processing the image. There is enough fine detail available but it comes out only if you "develop" it the way YOU like it. For all my quick and dirty post processing I use Faststone´s Image viewer. Gorgeous free donationware easy to use.
    Resize to your desired size first, then add Contrast up to 15 and saturation up to 25 (if you have a picture on a cloudy day), if the picture is too bright as below, reduce Gamma (in this case to 0,55) and you can go up to 2 if it is a really dark picture. In the end add Sharpening from 10 to 25 and you are set (watch out for white lines around contours).
    In bright situations the color, saturation, contrast, brightness and gamma are mostly optimal so just sharpening might be advisable.
    Time needed, seconds result - WOW

     I just had this little fellow on my mini toolbox. He or she is shorter than your little finger, full tail included (cut off in the picture to keep the center spot focus in the eye region.) I captured via super macro with 2.4 x zoom and forced flash from 5 cm (2")distance.

    slight crop and a 50 % resize.




    Final crop with Contrast, Gamma, Saturation and Sharpness adjusted



    and here the original size, the white specs are dust just to have the right perspective of the size.


    If the original is a bit on the blurry side, resize first at least 50% and then use sharpening in the maximum area. It works well if there are not too much skin discolorations, writing or certain kind of lines / reflections.
    Since you see the result instantly it is easy to find the optimum setting fast.
    Remember, things look different depending on the screen you view them on or print.
    So for best results, find YOUR optimum setting on your computer screen, then make a test print and view your result on the big screen. Adjust on your computer screen acordingly for the desired viewing medium.
  • The best software player for your HX5 AVCHD video files is the Mirillis Splash player which works also well with the MP4 files. I prefer  for all video files except AVCHD the GOM player.
    The best (or at least one of the top) hardware player is the WD TV. See review at my HX1 blog
  • Get a Grip
    To minimize shaking and to hold the HX5 near the center of the lens with more comfort I used an old hand grip from a Super8 camera I got on a local flea market. I wanted the Super8 as a dummy surveillance camera and had the hand grip left over. After fitting a matching screw into the grip (can be locked via the silver lever in the back) and added some plastic bumpers on top of the grip for better friction with the bottom of the camera, the hand grip works very well with the HX1 and HX5.
    Shooting a video for some time is much more comfortable and better stabilized than without the hand grip. I twist the grip in a 45 degree angle so the hand is nearly in the center of the lens while holding the hand in this angle is still natural and comfortable.
    Also for holding it as a pillion with speeds exceeding  80 km/h this is a much more secure way.
  • yes, I know the foam wind filter looks goofy, but remember it is just the testing prototype, it will be more eye pleasing in the final version - and naturally the hand grip will be painted in a matching black, but I want to get the non slip black the same paint what the old IBM think pads had.
  • build for less than 10$ a fisheye lens for the HX5

  • to get the most out of a HDR shot take two, the first normal and the second measured at the area of the highest brightness
  • the fastest way to turn the GPS on or off is to dial EASY mode and push the MENU button
  • try Picasa to view your geotagged pictures on a map or satellite, it works better than PMB
  • If you think clicking optimize the picture in PMB would optimize it, think again.
    A good optimize would not change the picture any more once it has the right settings.
    If you click 20 times oprimize PMB changes this

    to this

    artsy, yes! optimized, no!
  • Don´t want to pay top $ for a replacement battery?
    Get one for less than $5 shipped to your door!

    This ebay link will be outdated soon, just search that seller for a new auction.

    Battery for Sony NP-BG1
    Technical data: Technology: Li-Ion Capacity: 950mAH Voltage: 3,6V

    Compatible for:
    Sony Cybershot DSC-HX5 / HX5V / WX1/H3 / H7 / H9 / H20 /H50 /N1 / N2 / T20 / T25 / T100 / W30 / W35 / W40 / W50 / W55 / W70 / W80 / W80 HDPR / W85 / W90 / W100 / W110 / W115 / W120 / W130 / W150 / W170 / W200 / W210 / W215 / W220 / W230 / W270 / W275 / W290 / W300
  • Try the Sports Mode for macros.
    It is not easy to keep the right distance tho a flower in closeup when there is a breeze around. Sports Mode keeps on focusing while you half depress the shutter until you take the shot.
  • 10x zoom is not too long of you want to see something far away.
    Switch to VGA and Smart Digital Zoom, shoot with 57x
    Now review and add 8x magnification. Now you have a 450x zoom shot to look at. It is not glorious and nothing to print, but you can see details you could not before.
    Now go out into the night and take a HHT of a license plate far away. Zoom in.
    You now got a nice spyglass in your pocket.

I put the old post Problems and Solutions here to streamline this blog.
2010-3-31 17:08

"The HX5 does not capture enough detail in a foto, most bigger sensor cameras have a much better image quality."

If you want all the bells an whistles of the hx5 in the tiny package of the hx5 and for the price of the HX5 but have that special shot to capture where you really really need the extra detail, just switch from 25 mm to 50 mm take 4 instead of one shot (instant 40 Megapixel sensor), stitch them together and resize back to the size you want and the hx5 can do that too.
Free info and software look here and here and this is the same software you can use if you want to make big and beautiful panoramas.

YES, every camera can do that you cry out, BUT now try to simulate with every other camera what the hx5 can out of the box like 1080 video, active stabilisation, 10 fps, HHT, GPS and compass, panorama and HDR.
Except panorama, what every camera can do and you stitch manually with software, your camera needs at least +/- 1 exposure bracketing (better +/- 2) to do HDR and the software to develop it and you need to buy an external gps to have that.

So these arguments, but the LX3 makes so much better pictures and my G11 has so much more detail are kind of futile if you think about the above.
In the end it is the pocket camera what you carry with you around always what gets the shot (and with 10 fps you sure will get that shot).


(if you want to shoot this for your self, go to Sint Maarten, this is how you will land there)

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When I got my Ricoh R6 there was a design flaw with the flash.
It often was covered in part by the finger, also the SD card was very bad to extract.
Here are a couple solutions I came up with to address these problems.




When I saw the first fotos from the HX5 I wondered how the designer could be so stupid to put the microphones directly where you hold the camera in video mode with your left hand to stabilize her.
To address that problem was one of my first ideas when I saw the layout.
Since I shoot a lot in windy situations I made a wind silencer and several test videos for the HX1 (see my HX1 blog).
For the HX5 I will make a little plastic hood filled with a bit foam to cut the wind noise to address the wind and cover with my finger problem. I will try to make it trapezoid with the openings front right and front left to get a bit more directional sound.





for you guys out there who already have a HX5 and run into that problem, get your self a couple clear plastic bumpers, cut a small part out and place them over the microphone, you should be able to record even with your fingers on the bumpers without muffling.



You can get the self adhesive clear soft plastic bumpers at every hardware store, Wal Mart, Fereteria or chinese shop. They are on a sheet of coated paper and you normally use them as feet under something.

5 comments:

  1. Hi, I was waiting for the samsung wb2000 to be released too. I'm very dissapointed with them too, and I'm going to get my hx5v soon too. Thanks for your info and tips.
    Regards
    Carlos

    ReplyDelete
  2. Any tricks on how to achieve bokeh with this camera?

    ReplyDelete
  3. grat blog°! thanks
    I have PAL version which is 50i/25p, unfortunately youtube recodes to 30p... results are far from smooth motion then :(

    Could you search for possibility to upload US firmware, so camera starts shooting in 60i ?
    for example like this http://vimeo.com/11182768

    ReplyDelete
  4. Man, don't abuse that poor HX5 with that nasty handgrip :D
    I am waiting for your wind filter's final version, while I would like to make one as well.

    ReplyDelete
  5. latest tips and tricks collection at enews18.co.cc
    <a href="http://etricks18.blogspot.com>http://etricks18.blogspot.com</a>

    ReplyDelete

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