Hints and tips

My JPEG picture styles

It seems to me that when using JPEGs, I want a combination of being able to "rescue" an image in post-processing without having to do too much work on the computer if I can get the image right in-camera.  The settings that I've been using over the past few days seem to be a decent compromise so far, but you might want to fiddle with the recipe to your own taste:
  • image size L unless you need the abilities of the EXR sensor
  • Auto 400% dynamic range
  • Standard film (I may move off this when I try portraits but I'm not a lover of the Velvia look)
  • Auto 400 ISO
  • Colour: mid
  • Sharpness: medium (go lower if you really want to avoid halo's etc and expect to post-process everything)
  • Highlight tone: medium soft
  • Shadow tone: soft
  • Noise reduction: low (at 6MP the JPEGs at this setting are less noisy but pretty much as detailed as raw, at least up to ISO800)

Custom settings

I don't like the fact the fact that you have relatively little control over what the camera does in its EXR mode (you can't control aperture, shutter speed, etc) so I've set the custom buttons to give me more control with 6MP M sized images.
  • I've set C1 to use some of the expanded dynamic range capabilities - by using the M sized files but otherwise leaving everything else as above.  You could get more dynamic range if you wanted by changing ISO and DR settings (which will need further explanation in another post), but I'm leaving it as above for now.  I also have the camera set to aperture priority in this mode - which is what I tend to prefer using most of the time.
  • C2 is exactly the same as C1, but dynamic range is set to 100% which in effect is giving me access to the pixel-binning high sensitivity and low noise mode.  I've also changed to Auto 1600 ISO for this custom setting (and am surprised how good the ISO1600 shots turn out).  Finally, because I expect to use this setting indoors and in poor light, often with the OVF, I've also set the focus to face detection - I've learned to trust it (eg at school concerts) and it seems to work quite well.
By the way, both the C1 and C2 settings noted above can be used in RAW - which means that this is the way to use EXR capabilities in RAW mode;  if you set the dial to EXR mode, the camera will not permit you to take RAW images and you are forced to use JPEGs.

Tips to avoid blurry images

One or two tips that may be of use.  I've seen a few posts on other sites where people have complained about the image stabilisation abilities of the X10.  So far, I've not experienced any issues, but the following tips might help:

  1. turn the image stabilisation mode to "shooting only" (see page 101 of the manual).  This is often the most effective IS mode on many cameras, and also has the benefit of saving some precious battery-power!
  2. for longer focal lengths or shutter speeds, use the viewfinder to give some added stability when you take the shot
  3. consider shooting a burst of 3 or 4 shots when possible, especially longer lengths.  Sometimes the first is blurred from the action of pressing the shutter, and there's an increased chance that one of the next shots will be sharper
  4. consider buying a soft shutter release - I've got the white bug from Match Technical;  it looks great and works well - the shutter feels weird without it now.  More information from matchtechnical.com