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STICKY SHUTTER

QWhen the Fujifilm FinePixXlOO became available, it received rave reviews regarding the image quality it produced. It looks an extremely desirable camera, but a number of internet forums reveal horror stories regarding sticking shutter problems that many owners have experienced. I recently contacted one of the major UK camera retail companies to enquire about the problem and was told that Fuji had provided a list of camera serial numbers and that suspect cameras had been replaced. An email response from Fuji was quite different, stating that rogue cameras could not be identified by the serial number.

Can you shed some light on this matter? The camera, once held in such high esteem, appears to have problems that are not easily resolved. Is it wise to consider buying one? Stuart Gooda

We got in touch with Fujifilm UK and asked it to clarify the situation, Stuart. A spokesperson told us:

 We have noted a great deal of discussion on various internet forums regarding this issue;

www.amateurphotographer.co.uk 11 August 2012

however, the volume of chatter is completely at odds with the number of problems we ve had reported. Compared to the number of units that we have sold, the number of instances of this problem is tiny.

 If we have had this issue reported to us we are providing a completely free, expedited repair. We are confident that the number of re-repairs is minimal. We completely understand the concerns of our customers, but this really is a minor issue that we believe we are addressing correctly.

Iadd, Stuart, that while internet forums provide an excellent way of keeping up with issues affecting photographers, they often do not put problems in perspective. I still hold the FinePix XI00 in high esteem, and would recommend it to anyone wanting a portable, high-quality, rangefinder-like camera Ian Farrell

SHOOTING IN THE SHADE

Q While taking some pictures at a wedding recently, I had a problem shooting a subject in the shade with a bright sky behind as the colours in the background became lost. What should I do to correct this? Angelo Tardugno

The problem you are describing here is one of contrast, Angelo.

Put simply, the human eye can see about four times as much variation in brightness as a digital camera can. Scenes like the one you describe-a subject in the shade against a sunlit sky-might look great, but often photograph badly. If the foreground is well exposed then the sky will be overexposed, and look washed-out and lacking in colour. If the sky is well exposed, the foreground subject will be too dark and silhouetted.

Some cameras give the option to expand the dynamic range, recording more information and using clever electronic algorithms to compress this into the picture. Donexpect miracle results, though, as the effect is often subtle. Better is HDR (high dynamic range) imaging, which involves taking more than one shot, each exposed for a different part of the scene, and then merging them together afterwards. The trouble is, if the subject moves between frames then they woncombine properly afterwards. You also need specialist software to get the end result.

Instead of this fancy digital approach, you could try brightening up the foreground subject matter to match the brightness of the background. This is sometimes done with a reflector (see above) ora big sheet of

card will do, although I appreciate that youlook pretty odd as a wedding guest carrying one of those around. Instead, try using the camerabuilt-in flash to inject a bit more light into the foreground. It s a technique used by fashion photographers under similar circumstances, and often results in bright, bold colours. Ian Farrell

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