See likes

See likes given/taken

Posts you liked

Pages: [1] 2 3 4
Post info No. of Likes
Re: Learn Photography Master Thread Lesson 4

Exposure Basics Part 2 - getting to know your mode dial, and other exposure controls

Remember, click on the wiki if you want to see only the lessons and not the other posts.

Continuing on from last lesson, we now know why you should move beyond your cameras Auto mode and start taking control. Today we'll talk how to take this control. Not all camera's will offer full control, but even those that don't still have ways of getting what you want, to an extent.

If you have any DLSR or mirrorless camera you will be able to have 100% control over everything, should you so choose. Most advanced P&Ss (such the Canon S110 and G15, Panasonic LX5, etc.) will also offer this level of control. However, a typical P&S (such a Canon Elph), will be quite limited.

A camera which offers full control is often referred to as having "PASM" - we'll discuss exactly what that means in a moment. Most of the time, there will be a physical dial on the camera for all options - this is called the mode dial. Sometimes, especially on low-end mirrorless or some P&Ss, these options will be menu-driven. Let's have a look at a typical mode dial, and discus what every exposure mode does, how it does it, and when you should choose one over the other. These modes could be grouped into three unique categories; let's have a look starting from the bottom:

Automatic Modes:

Auto: Usually indicated by a green square, this mode is exactly what it sounds like. The camera makes every single decision for you. Some cameras will let you turn the flash off in this mode, but that's about it.

Various scene modes: There will be anywhere from none, to one, to many of these on your mode dial. These are usually indicated by a tiny icon of the scene - a flower for close-up (macro), a head for portraits, mountains for landscapes, and so on. These modes are also fully automatic, but are somewhat optimized for the chosen scene. For example, Portrait will use the largest aperture available, so as to blur the background, while Landscape will do the opposite.

Smart Auto: sometimes also called Intelligent Auto, Enhanced Auto, or something similar. This is a mashup of straight Auto and Scene Modes. In this mode, the camera will attempt to figure out what type of scene it's looking at, and then choose from the available scene modes whatever it thinks is most appropriate. This mode is usually indicated by a green square and an asterisk, or by a proprietary logo.

These 3 modes give you no control over your picture in any way. Sure, the scene mode may give you a better result than straight-up Auto, but as discussed last time, the camera is only so smart. You, being somewhat smarter (no offense ;)), will want to move up to the next level of modes.

Program Modes:

These are the modes which offer the best balance of control and convenience. You make the decisions, but the camera does the heavy lifting. These modes make up the P, A, and S of the PASM we discussed earlier.

Program (P): This mode is just like Auto in that the camera makes the decisions, but with one critical difference: You are able to override everything. While in Auto mode all options are blocked out, in Program mode if you're unhappy with what the camera delivered you could tell the camera what to change. Think the camera underexposed a bit? Use Exposure Compensation. Don't like the White Balance? Change it. ISO? Focusing mode? Metering mode? All within your control, if you so choose. (We'll talk separately about all these features in depth later on).

- Some cameras have something called Extended Program (or something similar). This is usually accessed via a separate button or dial (as opposed from the mode dial), and may be denoted with a P and an asterisk. What this does is very camera-dependent, but it usually lets you temporarily access the functionality from modes A and S below.

Aperture Priority(A): Most camera companies call this Aperture Priority mode, while Canon calls it Aperture Value. Hence, on a Canon it'll be denoted as AV, while everyone else will mark it as A. In this mode, you choose the aperture, while the camera chooses the appropriate shutter speed. Since this mode is the most useful and is what most people are probably best off shooting at, I'll discuss it in far more detail once we're done going through the other modes.

Shutter Priority(S): As in A mode above, Canon decided to call this differently than everyone else; on their mode dial you'll find TV, for Time Value. This mode is the exact opposite of the Aperture mode; here you set the shutter speed, while the camera chooses the appropriate aperture. This mode will be expounded upon together with A mode further down.

Manual Modes:

Manual (M): This mode is exactly what it sounds like: 100% manual. The camera does absolutely nothing for you; you dial in every single setting. There are plenty of situations where you'd use this, such as shooting stars at night, where it's too dark for the camera to figure out how to expose, of if you're shooting with any sort of supplemental lighting (such as in a studio setting). The camera has no idea that all these other light are going to go off, so it won't know to set an exposure taking them into account.

Bulb: Most cameras only let you use up to a 30 second exposure, regardless of the mode. What if you want to use something longer? That's where Bulb mode comes in. It's exactly like Manual mode, but instead of a set shutter speed, it stays open as long as you like. You'd press the shutter button once to open the shutter, then press it again when you want the exposure to end. In this mode you'd want to use a remote to trigger the camera, since you pressing the shutter in the middle of the exposure will usually result in camera shake (even on a tripod), so you'll end up with a blurry picture.

Let's take a moment to discuss the A and S modes a bit more:

One of the first things you have to decide when composing a picture is how much of it do you want in focus. Are you shooting a landscape, and you want everything from the flowers at your feet to the distant mountains in focus? Are you shooting a portrait of your kid in the park, and want only his face in focus, while the distracting trees and people behind him should be a creamy blur? Or do you want the things in the background to be clearly distinguishable to provide context, but still want them slightly blurry to keep the focus on your kid?

In order to accomplish any of these effects you have to set your aperture correctly. With a little bit of experimentation, you will learn how your lenses render scenes. For example, in the third scenario, you don't want to be at your maximum aperture, since everything will be completely out if focus (that would be the second scenario). So you'd want to use a moderately large aperture, say f/5.6. That way the background will still be blurry, but clear enough for it to be obvious that you're in the park. For the first scenario, on the other hand, you'd want to use the smallest aperture possible, since that'll leave the most in focus. (This last sentence is somewhat oversimplified, as there are things like diffraction and hyperfocal distance to take into account. But these are very advanced topics, which will be discussed in due time.)

From these few theoretical examples, you see that focusing on using the correct aperture is a vital step. Now - as discussed in the last lesson, your choice of aperture will have a tremendous impact on your exposure. Imagine if there was a mode where all you have to do exposure-wise is choose an aperture, and the camera will choose the rest. Well, that's what Aperture Priority mode does. You tell the camera to shoot at f/4, and the camera will choose the appropriate shutter speed/ISO combination (more on ISO modes later). Lets say you take your picture, and you decide that f/4 was too much and you want more of the background in focus. All you have to do in A mode is adjust the aperture - the camera will automatically adjust the shutter speed to match.

It is very rare that if you choose the aperture and you let the camera choose the shutter speed that you will not be pleased with the results. This is why most of the time it's best to leave your camera in this mode. Your camera doesn't know if you're shooting a landscape or a portrait. But once you tell it the vital part - the aperture - it could generally figure the rest out from there.

Shutter Priority is the polar opposite of Aperture Priority. You probably won't need to use this very often, but when you do need it it's indispensable. For example, when shooting sports, sometimes you know you need a shutter speed of 1/2000th to freeze the motion. In such a case you set your mode dial to S, your shutter speed to 1/2000, and the camera figures out the rest.

Other exposure controls

You'll notice that that as far as exposure, the mode dial only seems to cover aperture and shutter speed. Whatever happened to the third part of the triangle, ISO? Well, here's the lowdown.

All cameras have at least two ways of dealing with ISO:

Automatic: The camera chooses whichever ISO it deems best. This is sometimes good, but of course sometimes it'd be completely wrong. If you're on a tripod for example, the camera won't know this and would jack up your ISO into the stratosphere, instead of giving you a longer shutter speed.

Manual: You choose the ISO. Typically a camera will offer options from ISO 100 to ISO 6400. These go in exposure stops, so as discussed, ISO 400 will be half as sensitive as ISO 800, and therefore requires either double the shutter speed or double the aperture.

Using manual ISO along with Aperture Priority mode, we have a perfect example of why taking control of your camera is so amazing. Imagine shooting the Eiffel Tower at night, on a tripod. Left to it's own devices, the camera will probably choose a very large aperture (since it's dark and a larger aperture will let in more light), an obscenely high ISO (again, more sensitivity to light), and whatever shutter speed it calculates it needs based on these two parameters (probably something like 1/10th of a second). What do you think the picture would the picture look like? Not only will the foreground will be out of focus due to the large aperture, but everything will be covered in so much noise that the picture may not even be usable.

However, if you take control of your camera, you could choose a small aperture, a very low ISO, and let the camera choose the shutter speed (say, 10 seconds). You won't have to worry about the fact that the shutter speed with inevitably be very long, as you know the secret that you're on a tripod.

What will happen is that everything you want will be in focus (small aperture), there will be no noise whatsoever (low ISO), and the picture will look great. Another benefit of this particular setup (small aperture + long shutter speed) is that it will introduce a number of lovely elements into the picture. The small aperture will cause points of light to appear as stars, while the long shutter speed will blur clouds, and turn car headlights into pretty streaks of light (these effects will also be discussed at length eventually). See Chaim'l's first picture here for a great example of this scenario, including the effects I just mentioned.

Back to ISO, you'd notice that some cameras have an ISO lineup that goes like this: Lo1, Lo2, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200, 6400, Hi1, Hi2. What's going on here? Basically most sensors have what's called native ISO and extended ISO. The native settings would be the numbered ones; those are what the sensor is optimized for. The higher you go, the more noise you get. Extended ISO would be the Lo and Hi settings, and are usually the equivalent of the next higher or lower native stops. In our example, Lo1 would be the equivalent of ISO 50, Lo2 would be 100, while Hi1 and Hi2 would be 12800 and 25600, respectively.  While they're equivalent to regular ISO settings regarding exposure, these settings push the boundaries of the sensor and may cause undesired effects. For example, in certain situations, Lo1 could have more noise than ISO 800, even though officially it's only ISO 50.

Other ISO settings: Many cameras these days allow you to limit how high of an ISO it will choose in auto mode. This is very useful, and is a great thing to take advantage of. If you know that anything taken with your camera above ISO 1600 has a horrible amount of noise, you may want to limit your auto ISO to 1600 max. Don't worry that if you do that, there will be situations where you'd get blurry pictures due to the shutter getting too long, as you could always jump into manual ISO for a while if the situation warrants it.

Some cameras (generally newer SLRs) take this a step further, and let you fine-tune your auto ISO settings to an insane level. For instance, on my Nikon D600, I could set a minimum shutter speed to work along with my auto ISO. For example, If I set my minimum shutter speed to 1/500, the camera will use the lowest ISO it can and still keep me under that shutter speed. And not only will it choose from ISO presets (200, 400, etc.), it will choose the precise ISO it needs to keep to that shutter speed - I have pictures that show ISO 633, for example. It goes even further - the longer your lens, the shorter your shutter speed has to be, all things being equal. This will be discussed at length, but for now let's just say that the longer lens magnifies blur which would usually be invisible using wider lenses. Using these ISO fine-tuning settings, I could have the camera automatically adjust my minimum shutter - and therefore, my maximum ISO - depending on what lens is mounted. If your camera offers these options, I advise you to take the time and go through them. It isn't the simplest thing to set up, but once it is it'll save you an immense amount of time while shooting.

Exposure compensation:
This is one of the most important and useful features on any camera. This works in any program mode (P, A, S); some cameras allow it in other modes too. This setting tells the camera to shift every exposure up or down.

Let's examine this in more detail, and you'll see why you'd want to use this all the time. Imagine you're shooting outside on a sunny afternoon. The sun is behind you, lighting everything in front of the camera with a harsh, bright light. The camera looks at the scene, and decides on an exposure. (Remember that even if you choose the aperture for instance, it's still the camera that makes the decision on the overall exposure by choosing a shutter speed and ISO.) Now, the exposure may be "correct", but since everything is so bright, the colors are washed out. Lowering your exposure by, say, 1/3 stop should help keep the colors nice and vibrant by making everything very slightly darker.

There are two ways that you could make your camera do this. You could decide that the camera is not smart enough to lower the exposure a bit, so you switch over to Manual mode and dial in the settings yourself. You make the click, and voila!, the colors are all lovely. However, what happens half and hour later? The sun is a bit lower in the sky, so everything is a drop darker now. If you stick to manual mode, you'll now have to raise your exposure by, say, 1 stop to keep up with the falling light. Your other option is to switch back to Aperture Priority mode, where the camera could adjust itself to the changing light conditions. However, you're back to your original problem - the "correct" exposure is too bright! You'd be dancing back and forth, futzing with your exposure over and over again.

But there's a better way. The minute you notice that the colors are washed out, all you do is engage exposure compensation, and set it for -1/3 stop. What's happening is that you're telling the camera, "Hey - I'm gonna leave you to deal with the overall exposure, and change it along with the light as needed. However, whatever you do, knock it down by 1/3 of a stop." Now, you don't have to deal with changing the exposure, since the camera will adjust it when the light falls. However, now that you dialed in -1/3 exposure compensation, the colors will come out correctly too!

Exposure compensation is an incredible tool in dozens of everyday situations. Take your camera outside tomorrow and take a picture of the snow. Look at the picture and you'll notice that the snow is grey, not white. And I'm not talking about the lovely, sopping slush New York is blessed with a day after a snowfall. Look at some clean snow - and you'll see that it's grey. Why? Because the camera sees all that white snow as bright white, so it thinks it's too bright and exposes lower than it should. This is a problem with all modern cameras. How do you fix this and have the snow come out white in your pictures? Wait for it......... Exposure compensation! Set it to +1 stop and watch every picture come out beautifully. (In fact the 'Snow' scene mode (if your camera has one) does exactly this.)

Going to the zoo? Try taking a picture of a bear and have it come out properly lit. Since the bear is a small dark object surrounded by a bright foreground and background, the camera will expose for the scene and not the little bear. Dial in some positive exposure compensation, and walla, the bear looks great.

So how does it work? That really depends on the mode you're in. In P mode, since the camera chooses both the aperture and shutter speed, so when you choose to compensate the camera will again choose which of the two (or combination thereof) to change. In A mode, since you choose the aperture, the camera has no right to change that, so it'll use the shutter speed to compensate. So if you dial in -1 compensation, it'll double your shutter speed. In S mode, it'd do the opposite and use the aperture to compensate.

Note that most cameras have an exposure compensation limit of +/-3 stops. You should rarely need to get even close to that limit; if your camera routinely exposes things 8 times as high or low (3 stops) as it should, you should probably get it checked out ;).

All this is well and good if you have a camera that offers all these options and controls. But what if you have a simple point and shoot? Well first of all, the main reason why you should get a better camera (after image quality) is exactly this - the ability to manipulate and control everything. That being said, there are something every camera offers, and some things that the camera could be tricked into.

Auto, Scenes, and Program modes are offered by virtually every camera. The control possible in P mode varies greatly, but most will allow you to change the ISO and White Balance settings, as well as apply exposure compensation.

As far as controlling your aperture or shutter speed, your generally our of luck. However, now is a good time to explore your scene modes and use them for things they were not really intended for ;). Learn how your scene mode operate and you'll be able to trick the camera into doing stuff. For example, think about what Portrait mode does. Among others, it'll use the largest aperture available. Conversely, Landscape mode will use the smallest. That means that you now have a way to access both the largest and smallest aperture settings. Night mode will use a long shutter speed, sports a short one, etc. etc.

In the next Exposure installment we'll dig into how the camera sees a scene, and what makes it make the decisions it does. You'll learn all about metering, and how to use the different metering modes to your advantage.

Lesson Summary:

Automatic exposure modes:
- Auto: auto everything.
- Scene modes: Auto modes, but optimized for different preset situations.
- Smart Auto: a mashup of the tho others.

Program modes:
- Program: Automatic, but with the ability to change things as needed.
- Aperture Priority: You choose the aperture, the camera chooses the shutter speed and ISO.
- Shutter Priority: You choose the shutter speed, the camera chooses the aperture and ISO.

Manual modes:
- Manual: You choose everything, the camera does nothing.
- Bulb: Like manual, but allows unlimited shutter speeds.

- Auto: The camera chooses the ISO setting.
- Manual: You choose the ISO setting. Some cameras allow a tremendous amount of fine-tuning.

Exposure Compensation:
- Allows the fine-tuning of the camera exposure decisions.
- Very useful to get better colors, and for tricky exposure situations.

- If you have a camera that doesn't allow this level of control, you could use some scene modes to try to replicate some of them.
- Some settings may simply not be possible.

December 15, 2013, 01:02:17 AM
Re: Learn Photography Master Thread Lesson 5
Remember, click on the Wiki if you want to see only the lessons and not the other posts.
All about memory cards
While buying a memory card appears at first glance to be an ultra-simple affair, there are actually many factors to consider. Your choice of card can make a tremendous difference in your day to day shooting. Let's have a look at the numbers, standards, and features you should be aware of when buying a card for your camera.
Types of card
There are a few different types of memory cards on the market today. Generally the type you need will be dictated by your camera; if it takes an SD card only there's no way you could use a CF card in it. There are however a number of cameras that accept more than one type. Since the most common card by far is SD, I'll focus mostly on that.
Compact Flash (CF): These are the bigger, square memory cards. These days they're mostly used in pro cameras such as the Canon 5DMkII or the Nikon D800. The advantage of CF over SD is mainly in physical strength. While SD cards are prone to braking, a CF card is virtually indestructible. On top of that, they tend to be a bit faster than SD cards, meaning that any new jump in performance will appear in the CF market before the SD market. The one disadvantage with CF cards is that the socket relies on a series of pins, which are easily bendable.
Secure Digital (SD): This is the most common card type in use by far. If you have a camera, chances are it takes SD cards. These are smaller than CD cards (about stamp-sized), and are not as strong physically. I have an entire collection of cracked and broken SD cards flying around the house. The 'secure' part of the name refers to the read/write protection switch on the side. To be honest this feature is mostly useless, and only adds to the complexity, and therefore breakability, of the card.
SD cards come in a couple different flavors:
- SD: This mostly obsolete standard was for cards under 2GB. They could still be bought today, but why someone would is anyone's guess.
- SDHC (High Capacity): This is the most commonly used standard today, and covers cards from 2 - 32GB. Virtually every camera in existence supports the SDHC protocol.
- SDXC (Extreme Capacity): This is the newest SD standard and supports cards from 64GB all the way up to a theoretical 2TB. This uses the exFAT file system, and so will not work on some older computers. Most newer cameras will support SDXC.
- MicroSD: This is a tiny version of a regular SD card, and also comes in all three SD flavors. Due to its size it'll be more expensive than a comparable full-size SD card, as well as being very prone to getting lost. It is used in most smartphones, as well as some point & shoot cameras and video cameras (the GoPro for instance).
- SD cards also come in a veriety of wireless models. These cards will automatically upload pictures to your computer via Wi-Fi.
Memory Stick (MS): This is a proprietary Sony card, and is used only in their cameras. At one point this was a horrible mess with as many as 10 types of Memory Stick on the market, none of which was compatible with the other. These days Sony has cleaned this up, with only the Memory Stick Duo surviving. More importantly, Sony finally buckled and now all their cameras accept SD cards as well, so you could easily forget about this overpriced card and move on with your life :).
There is also the new XQD card, which so far is used only by the Nikon D4 camera.
Card Speed:
This is the most important thing to know when choosing a memory card. Today's cameras move a massive amount of information to the card every time you take a picture or video. If your card is not fast enough, you will have to wait for a couple of seconds after every picture, as well as when looking through your pictures on your camera. Video-wise, if the card isn't fast enough the camera will drop frames, which will cause your video to be choppy and jittery.
Unfortunately, card manufacturers try their best to confuse the bejiggers out of you with an overwhelming amount of different speed specifications. Let's have a look at all these specs, and what they actually mean.
The first thing to remember is that pictures and video require a completely different type of speed in order to work properly. With pictures, you're throwing a huge amount of data at the card in short, intense bursts. On the other hand, the video data stream is much smaller, but continuous. With that in mind, let's have a look at the specs.
Rated Speed - written as MB/s: This is the maximum speed of writing chunks of data to the card, and applies to photos only. Common speeds you'll find are 45MB/s or 60MB/s. This means that the theoretical transfer speed will be 60 megabytes per second. Why is this important? Take a Nikon D600. Each RAW file is about 28MB. That means that if I use a card rated at 30MB/s, I will have to wait a second between each picture. Now imaging I'm shooting continuous - if I take 8 pictures in about 2 seconds, I then have to wait 6 more seconds until the camera is ready to shoot again, since it has to finish writing all this data to the card. This means that I will keep on waiting, and keep on missing shots.
Now imagine I had bought a faster card - say 90MB/s. This means that I would never have to wait between pictures (since each picture will take about a third of a second to write). Shooting 8 pictures in 2 seconds, I would have to wait less than a second until I'm ready to shoot again.
If you have any newer high-megapixel camera, this should be the number one spec you look for. It will be the difference between taking pictures and forgetting that a memory card exists, and between getting stuck waiting all the time and cursing the card out for making you miss the shot yet again.
X Rating: This will be written as 400x, 533x, etc. This means the exact came thing as Rated Speed, and is a direct conversion. It is simply another way for the card companies to drive you nuts. Each 'x' is equivalent to 15KB/s. Doing the math, 400x will be 400*15=6000, which would be 60MB/s.
Class Rating: This will be written as Class 6, Class 8, Class 10, etc. This applies to video only. What this is the minimum sustained write speed. A class 10 for instance, will maintain a write speed of at least 10 megabytes per second. Currently, no standard camera exists which can take advantage of anything over Class 10. This means that if you have a Class 10 card, your card will always be fast enough to keep up with the video data stream being thrown at it.
UHS Class: Again, this is a direct conversion from Class Ratings. UHS-1 simply means 10MB/s minimum sustained speed, which we already know is Class 10.
So basically you have to look at only two specs: Rated Speed and Class Speed. The Rated Speed will tell you how large a chunk of data (photos) you could transfer at one time, while the Class Rating will tell you the minimum continuous (video) data speed.
Read speed vs. write speed: Another very important thing to remember is that the Rated Speed applies both to read and write speed. That means you have to be very careful reading the specs, as some brands (ahem Lexar ahem) have wildly different read and write speeds, and write only the higher number in big obvious text. For example, their 60MB/s Class 10 SD card is actually only 20MB/swrite, while the 60MB/s is only on read. This means that it's still quite slow in your camera; only transfers to your computer will be fairly fast. This is of course extremely misleading, so keep your eyes peeled.
Memory Brands
Does it matter which brand memory card you got? Heck yes. Memory is cheap enough these days that you could afford to buy the best; saving $10 to go with a lesser brand in absolutely not worth it. Behold:
Chip Quality: At the very basic level of a memory card sits the humble silicon chip. These chips start their life as a large, circular wafer around 18" in diameter. This wafer is subsequently cut into a couple dozen square or rectangular memory modules. Due to the manufacturing processes, the closer to the center of the wafer the module comes from, the more perfect and free of defects it will be. Since flash memory is a commodity market, there are two or three companies which control most of it. These companies will take the highest quality center modules for themselves (or their partners), and let the little fish scramble for the inferior, cheaper ones.
What all this means for you is simple: The higher priced memory cards are priced like that for a reason: they use the highest quality chips. End of story. Sandisk and Lexar are on the top, followed very closely by Sony and Panasonic. Kingston is somewhere in the middle, and companies like Transcend are just about on the bottom of the food chain. The only thing lower are all the no-name brands - Dane-Elec, Wintec, Silicone Power, et. al.
Why do you need a high quality chip? Because a cheap one will eat your pictures one day. They are prone to getting corrupted and can't be erased and reused too often before they start to deteriorate. Would you trust your pictures to the lowest common denominator to save a few bucks? Personally, I don't think it's worth it. Now mind you - I've had Sandisk cards conk out on me; nothing's foolproof. But after years of hearing first-hand horror stories from countless people, the simple fact is obvious: It's not worth it to cheap out on memory.
Claimed Specs: Very often, you'll find with the cheaper brands that their claimed specs are often inaccurate and are actually slower then claimed.
Physical Quality: Look at any Sandisk box above the Ultra level (which is just about all of them): waterproof, temperature proof, and shock proof. I've put Sandisk cards through the wash and they work as good as ever. You won't find that with cheaper brands. Drop a card and chances are it'll break; leave it in the sun too long and it may not work again. The higher quality brand, the more the card will survive. Imaging coming home from vacation and finding that your full memory card cannot be read. With cheap cards, this is a far more common occurrence than with good ones.
Note that SD card are an inherently weak design and every one of them will eventually break. The difference here is how long it take until that actually happens, and if the data could still be read off it at that point. From my entire collection of broken Sandisk cards, all but one still technically work - that is, I could still read and write to them properly. Not that I'd want too; but the point is that I didn't actually lose any data when it broke.
Lesson Summary:
Card types:
- CF cards are mainly used in pro cameras these days
- SD cards are the most common:
--- SD is up to 2GB
--- SDHC is 2 - 32GB
--- SDXC is 32GB - 2TB
- MS is a Sony proprietary and could safely be ignored these days.
- Rated Speed gives you the maximum read/write speed in MB/s. Used for pictures only.
- X Rating gives you the exact same thing as 300x, 400x, etc. Multiply by 15 to get the MB/s.
- Class Rating gives you the minimum sustained data stream as 1 per class. Class 8 is 8MB/s, Class 10 is 10MB/s, etc. Used for video only.
- UHS Rating gives you the exact same thing as Class. UHS-1 is the same as Class 10.
- Be vigilant and check both the read and write speeds. They may be very different from each other.
- Cheaper brands use cheaper, lower quality chips.
- Lower quality chips are very prone to failure.
- Cheap brands often fudge their numbers so their cards appear faster.
- Cheaper cards are often physically weaker and may break earlier.

December 15, 2013, 06:08:04 PM
Re: Paradise Found: A "Holiday" to New Zealand in the Chariots of Kings

 ;D ;D ;D

February 07, 2015, 09:26:19 PM
Re: Useful utilities/programs, windows only

Great utility for visualizing what is taking up space on your hard drive. I freed up a LOT more space than I thought I would with it...
I use SpaceSniffer.

February 15, 2015, 04:21:03 PM
Re: Hat Tip Leaderboard

ETA: I have 92. Need to update that number though :). Should be well over 1,000.
Remember that Amazon gold box deals don't count

November 10, 2015, 04:33:17 PM
Re: Speedtest Snapshots ookla is known to be working with the ISPs and for sometimes giving less than truthful test results. I use
April 17, 2016, 08:06:29 AM
Re: New Like feature
Imagine a thread with 1000 posts where you can get 90% of the content by reading 10 of the posts. The above two enhancements would save you loads of time reading and processing information.


August 31, 2016, 09:18:27 AM
Re: Note 7 - Recall Could have saved themselves a billions dollars by making phones with user replaceable batteries.
September 05, 2016, 05:06:19 PM
Re: The funny/strange/interesting/random pictures thread KSMLs being loaded aboard ;D:


September 16, 2016, 10:12:03 AM
Re: Website Hosting
You have 1+1 and many others. Go Daddy usually gets you at the "keep the domain private @ $7.99-$9.99" . There are few coupons that remove that as well.
The keeping private is on the domain, this has nothing to do with hosting. I use Google Domains, a regular .com domain costs $12/yr and there's free privacy on it. FYI GoDaddy gets you everywhere, you can signup for $5/mo hosting and mysteriously end up with a $200 bill that auto renews, they're as shady as it comes

November 17, 2016, 03:02:52 PM
Re: 2016 Election Pick Your Poison Master Thread @JTZ - I apologize for the wall of text, but I feel this is important context to provide for the discussion.

Most of us on this forum are visibly Jewish. If we don't have beards and hats, we have kippas and tzitzis, etc. I would be surprised if the number of people here who have had an anti-Semitic experience is less than 100%. The stats show that Jews are on the receiving end of more hate crimes than any other group.

I've gotten middle fingers in Johannesburg, been spat on in Durban, and often walk over a swastika etched into the sidewalk near my in law's home in one of the Mid-Western United States. When I was in Yeshiva in Paris for a year, friends of mine where beaten up (This was almost 15 years ago - now it is MUCH worse).

I was spat on in an airport when I was 13. At least a dozen people saw it. The spitter was more than double my age. No one did or said a thing.
Those fist fights in Paris? Some were on full trains. Again, no one did or said a thing.

I have never reported a hate crime. No one I know ever has - and I know people who have experienced far more violent things then I have.

I live in Brooklyn, a truly liberal and hip city (Hilary Clinton's headquarters). Swastikas and anti-Semitic graffiti are common occurrences - in alley ways, on subway platforms, and more.  When a group of thugs threw rocks at a school bus filled with little Jewish kids it didn't even make local news. A Chassidic guy was left unconscious under a car one night after a spate of anti-Semitic events - it only made the news when a few hundred of us marched to the precinct the next day.

You know what made news? When a swastika was painted the day after Trump won.

Weird, huh?

That Muslims and Neo-Nazis beat us is to be expected. But, in a sense, you know what is worse? Leftist, liberal self-righteous hypocrites who find it ok to mock, ridicule and antagonize "Ultra-Orthodox Right Wing Fundamentalist" Jews - while throwing fits of rage at every perceived micro-aggression against any other minority or race.

For example:

Gentrification is a big deal. Neither I nor any of my friends can afford to buy a home in our neighborhood. Renting an apt is nigh impossible. But whenever you read or hear about gentrification in Crown Heights, you will find out about Chassidic Landlords (Slumlords) who are mistreating and pushing out the Black community.  Of course lower and middle class blacks are being pushed out. So are the Jews! But it is ok for the media to paint the Chassidic community with the broad anti-Semitic brush of being hook nosed landlords cheating the poor blacks out of their money and homes. In actuality, it is market forces being driven by young artisanal, hipster farm-to-table vegans which are responsible.

This anti-Semitic attitude directly contributes to the violent antisemitism I sampled above, just as Al Sharpton’s “diamond merchant” rhetoric led to riots and murder.

This is just one tiny example that I deal with in NYC, one of the largest concentrations of visible Jews on the planet, in the shining pride of Western civilization. In other places, it is far, far worse. (Look at Jeremy Corbyn in the UK for a start, and we can go from there.)

So that's why we don't care about hate crime stats. We know firsthand that they don't even begin to tell the story. That's why we are so skeptical of leftists and the media speaking of hate crimes - we have a long history of them not only ignoring hate crimes committed against us, but agitating and prodding those who do us actual harm.

December 07, 2016, 12:06:46 PM
Re: 1 year fast hosting + 24h support + free .com/.net/.org/ etc for $1 ! Godaddy is really really bad.
No idea how they got to be so popular.

December 14, 2016, 03:46:31 AM
Re: Trump-related boycotts master thread Crazy people these Democrats, If something didn't go the way you like then punch it in the face?
Why did we have elections, if the outcome doesn't interest you? Isn't that a one sided election, where you always need to win?
Do you remember any ortsets and boycotts when obama took office?
These crazy Dems are willing to sacrifice their country just to show their point. For example Pres. Trump wants us to have a good economy, so he took the best business people to discuss the economy & to advise him on economical strategies. But no the Dems just boycotts the companies belonging to the board members, so the board members resign. So Trump will have to go to the next level of business people, who are great
Great, but the first choice would've been even greater. next step is probably to boycott the new choices, till the president won't have a choice but take for advisors people without companies, & that will be a terrible choice Becuase the reason these people don't have huge companies, is mostly Becuase the people of the first choice that have huge companies, know better then them. So in the end the president will make decisions based on the advice of the low level advisors, & that advice may not be the best, & then you silly Democrat will have what to say "that Trump drowned the economy".
Have you ever thought of giving the president a chance? He's your president for the next 4 years, FACE IT! so you might as well give him a chance.

February 06, 2017, 02:52:42 AM
Re: Obamacare Master thread
One of the things I always here when bashing this organization, is they end up charging you every month the full amount allowed ($28)

This is a screenshot of last years charges on my CC

Mods this should be moved from Obama care to life insurance
And if they did charge $28 every month, would that be a reason to bash them?

Does anyone have a problem giving $28 in צדקה every month? How about giving צדקה to support a family that had a tragedy in a most dignified way? How about if when you do so, you know that someone else will actually try to help your family financially if something happens to you prematurely?

$28 a month might get someone a $1,000,000 10 year term policy, if the person qualifies for best rates (perfect health, clean driving record, no smoking). That will hold true for a 25 year old, for a 35 year old, or for a 40 year old. However, once a person doesn't qualify for best rates, or if one looks at a policy that is level for more than 10 years, forget about getting $1,000,000 of coverage for $28 or less.

Now I know that Areivim won't give $1,000,000 (except if there is R"L a death with 9 unmarried orphans and a widow), but looking at everything in balance and perspective, I don't see anything wrong with Areivim, and to quote from their website: "4) Areivim USA is not life insurance. Areivim USA has been established primarily as a charitable endeavor and its halachic status is like that of all tzedakah money collected from the public. In the event of a the passing of a member r”l, all contributions can be made with maaser money."

February 09, 2017, 04:36:10 PM
Re: *TIME SENSITIVE* How many Idaho potatoes are in a 5 pound bag? How many croutons come in an osem container?? I'm having lots of guests tonight and want to make sure I have at least 20-25 croutons per person. (Obviously a fat guest would need about 35-40 croutons).  ;D
P.s. I need an answer ASAP as I'm in the store right now and deciding if I need 2 or 3 containers...  ;D

February 17, 2017, 03:29:25 PM
Re: The New DDMS! Now I can't fall asleep. Watching for bugs. [ yes, this is a blatant placeholder for likes]. Let's break a record for the most liked post :-)
July 04, 2017, 11:27:17 AM
Re: Aurora, Storms, and Snowpants: An Icelandic Saga by Something Fishy, whYME, and ChAiM'l My OCD is so happy right now.

November 12, 2017, 07:05:04 PM
Re: Aurora, Storms, and Snowpants: An Icelandic Saga by Something Fishy, whYME, and ChAiM'l
My OCD is so happy right now.

Just to make your OCD happier...

November 12, 2017, 08:40:18 PM
Re: Site Suggestions I would hate that. Makes it difficult to see which thread you're clicking on.
February 20, 2018, 06:32:51 PM
Re: Jokes Master Thread The waiter comes up to the gentleman and says, "And how did you find your steak, sir?"

"I just moved my potato and there it was!"

March 07, 2018, 10:26:39 PM
Bad example - forgot about Adidas? 2nd - Adidas and UA are already successful athletic brands and there’s not much barrier to entry. If Nike decides to hike their prices and become uncompetitive they will lose market share very quickly. OTOH, Walmart is not an online success story yet, and the barrier to entry is extremely high. My argument above was that if Walmart online fails, Amazon will probably get hit with antitrust suit. Not necessarily will they lose though. Dark horse to be aware of: Google with their new Shopping Actions program can hit Amazon very hard if rolled out properly.

Ps. The Microsoft antitrust was that they bundled their own browser and made it part of the OS, other browsers were still available on Windows.
If you consider Adidas when evaluating Nike you should consider baba when evaluating amazon, pretty successful and established as well... I was just focusing on US competition.

And considering what Walmart and target already do in the online space you think that if amazon were to hike their prices and become uncompetitive they will not lose market share to the smaller ones? Of course they will, Walmart is as a competitive stick to amazon as UA is to Nike, in a way even stronger since there’s no brand loyalty involved.

March 29, 2018, 01:48:31 AM
And here I remember when Adidas and Converse were the $10 sneaker you bought in Caldor or Bradlee's.
Today you buy the knock off brand on... Alibaba

It was a global economy then and it is one now, just depends what you wanna look at

March 29, 2018, 09:55:26 AM
Re: Stocks
15% off Amazon with code AMZN when ordering through

March 29, 2018, 10:16:14 AM
They could but if they stop expanding and have a 20B yearly profit they will get a 10 or 15 P/E ratio with a market cap of 200B-300B and a 7% increase each year .. and they will reach the 1T mark the year Madoff leaves prison.... to justify current valuations and more they MUST continue expansion AND turn in profits
A 10 or 15 PE because they stop investing at the rate they currently do? are you kidding me??

MSFT runs with a 30 PE because of cloud, Amazon is killing it with cloud.

WMT is at a 30 PE because they’re maybe starting to get a baby grip in online retail, Amazon is hammered with antitrust for already owning that market.

And that’s not counting in their current edge in voice (without investing in it anymore) which is arguably the real next big thing.

I can go on and on, to put Amazons current state at a 10-15 PE is quite frankly ridiculous, they’ll get a few times that PE without investing a dime in the future.

March 29, 2018, 12:38:51 PM
I'm really sorry but MSFT P/E ratio is running mid 20's  just last year they probably had much lower profit due to tax law change so P/E ratio shot up but its in the twenties and this is a company with BBBIIILLLIIIIOOONNNSSS in cash vs amazon has a fraction of the cash and much more debt
It was a typo I’ve edited it since.
Their PE is 28ish and the latest move was after Morgan Stanley stated that the stock is a ticking time bomb due to their super successful cloud business.

March 29, 2018, 02:18:38 PM
love this comment
Give it a like!
Think about it, i don’t post that often, and [therefore ] I only have 12 likes, so by you giving me another one, you boost my count with a whopping 9%! Talk about having an impact in life.

March 30, 2018, 12:19:43 PM
Im on tapatalk. But when i get to my computer i will!
Your impact will be smaller now..
opened in browser just to like

March 30, 2018, 12:35:57 PM
Re: Woman kept off flight for not having middle name on ticket
I thought Dan tells everyone to just make up birthdays because no one cares.
I know he definitely advocates doing it with babies.

Someone just showed me some document that had a field for "current date of birth". I guess in today's day and age, when nothing is binary and everything is fluid, a DOB can change based on various factors.

April 11, 2018, 03:41:15 PM
RIP Sprint.
What happens to current Sprint customers?
Lots of money/favors still has to be shuffled around between lobbyists and regulators before it gets approved and that becomes an issue.. until then you can enjoy all the sprint dead spots on your current plan at your current rate.

April 29, 2018, 02:19:44 PM
Re: US Politics/2016 Election Pick Your Poison Master Thread
It makes sense that you can relate to the D complaints. They are making straw man arguments.

May 24, 2018, 09:23:29 AM
GAMBLING ON ISREALI CRUISES Does anyone have any good kosher food cruise recommendations for the gambling addicts amongst us?
June 10, 2018, 01:25:57 PM
Re: Looking for a mini pool for kids
only 2 left

June 11, 2018, 06:44:11 PM
Re: Sprint Unlimited Kickstart Plan $15/month is the free plan still on?
if yes how long do you need to be at a different carrier?

June 11, 2018, 06:46:13 PM
Re: Buy $150 in Best Buy E-Gifts, Get a Free $15 Best Buy Promo Code how do isee my bestbuy cards i purchased

June 11, 2018, 06:48:20 PM
Re: Airline Gift Cards And Vouchers Master Thread i havec all the platinum amex benifits looking to sell
June 11, 2018, 07:09:12 PM
Re: Sprint Unlimited Kickstart Plan $15/month when does it end
June 11, 2018, 07:20:16 PM
Re: Sprint Unlimited Kickstart Plan $15/month what is the best plan to buy for a few minutes??
June 11, 2018, 07:20:40 PM
Re: Sprint Unlimited Kickstart Plan $15/month can i come with my own phone
June 11, 2018, 07:20:59 PM
real estate brokers any brokers looking for salesman
please post if you pay salary ans well
and if part time is an option???

June 11, 2018, 07:22:17 PM
Re: Sprint Unlimited Kickstart Plan $15/month
Is it worth it to lock this in vs. Getting free service for just a year?
get both

June 11, 2018, 07:32:53 PM
Re: Prison
One kills em slowly one kills em fast. Same difference. חוטה ומחטה
Trying to throw CM for a loop?

June 18, 2018, 02:25:04 AM
Re: HTTPS for the site?
@BAHayman I hope that you ran repair.php to overwrite all urls, I believe that you did just double checking.
Nope I haven't run repair_settings.php yet. Which urls need to be overwritten?

June 19, 2018, 06:40:20 PM
Re: US Politics/2016 Election Pick Your Poison Master Thread
You don't seem to understand it is a given the workers will get screwed.
It is like saying lets get rid of discrimination laws and hope for the best.
Then the worker will find a boss who will treat him better. The employees most protected by unions are bad employees who don't do their work well, and should be fired but union regulations protect them from being fired. Good employees will find good jobs under an employer who is willing to pay them well and treat them well, instead we're all stuck paying the extra costs for employees who don't do their job well.

July 03, 2018, 10:44:34 AM
Re: KSML (Kosher Airline Meals) Master Thread Stogel shouldn't bother making kosher for Pesach meals. Definitely not ra'uy l'achilas kelev.
July 04, 2018, 10:01:25 PM
JJ1000's 10,000 Post Featuring: A day in the life of Dan, Giveaway, & More It's hard to imagine I joined DDF over 10 years ago, of course this was after I made the first comment on DDMS 14 years ago and joining ctown forums after that.

I really can't begin to count the memories I have here on DDF, one that comes ot mind is the first major DO where @Dan @AsherO @BrooklynCPA @Mikeoracle @Smirk @MOSES @whYME @yare @Avid Reader @Chachem Balaileh @mancunian @yid @SuperFlyer all had an amazing time.

Picture of the DO:

Back at that DO no one really knew who I was, besides that I was the guy who started the jokes thread, which I must say was one of my finest additions to DDF ;)

Since that DO I have made countless friends and received countless favors from DDF members, who truly are like family.

Some that come to mind.

@rots5 and @moish putting me up in Israel while @moishebatchy offered my friends and I extra sheets for our stay, this was of course when we went with the first El AL glitch tickets. @SamKey For hooking up his apartment for Pesach and @Emkay for some awesome kugel, that I am pretty sure had an ok hechsher. @Chaikel for setting up a sweet Jamaican honeymoon.

@steve2 and the fights other new comers used to love to pick like @AJK when he was a total troll back in the day and @HelpMe who IMO had no idea what he fell into when he got here, and I'd like to think was very happy that he stayed.

@TimT is always there to offer some advice and is obviously the best searcher on DDF, @AsherO and @aussiebochur used to be that helpful guy until he got too busy for us ;)

Of course there was @JEWDA who it's still hard to believe isn't here anymore, going to his widows house the day after my Lchaim/vort with my then fiance will always be very special to me. The way DDF comes together when someone is in need (@SBS thread) is so heart touching it's hard to explain.

@mileagejunkie @Marco Polo @myi @YossieW @stooges44 @davidmal @Yaalili @B.D.Da'ehu @ben89 and of course @Davidthebest are my 100 HT club peeps, and have helped ignite the great deals we post every day to help tens of thousands of people save (and maybe spend) money every day. I really appreciate every deal that's sent to us and that's posted on DDF.

I couldn't possibly remember all of the countless nights I stayed up to argue with someone that was wrong about the most random things imaginable. @churnbabychurn @ExGingi @aygart @ChaimMoskowitz and of course many others can always be counted on for some good popcorn when it's needed. And @sky121 can always be counted on for a balanced and positive view on any subject.

Some dude coming along looking to sell a stinky old fish tank has drastically improved the trip reports and photography skills of DDF, hats off to you @Something Fishy.

@DH Data Recovery practically owned the tech deals on ddf at one point, and he @chevron and @txtmax4  are always good for a wine recommendation.

Wrigley softball DO with @SrulyS @Moes Tavern @Redbull3 @MosheD @EJB @chucksterace @Bentch @grodnoking @AJK @Yitzshpitz @Dan@Yodai Dooma @ShmulieCFS @JTZ

One day I may even meet @henche though that is likely IMPOSSIBLE.

Big shoutout to @BAHayman, @Eli, and @Suave for making DDMS/DDF able to run and be what it is today thanks to them!

The first DDF shidduch was super cool @Lou Bob @MC to many more, spending shabbos together in Aruba on the Hyatt Price Mistake was awesome.

Crazy to imagine there are over 300 members with 1,000+ posts so my apologies, I'm sure I missed many memories.

I made a thread asking what I should do for my 10,000 post, and I will try to do most of them below.

Enjoy :)
A typical day in the life of Dan:

Some names and identifying details have been changed to protect the privacy of individuals.

Dan wakes up from an amazing night's rest on his W Hotel mattress. and tell his Echo Dot which he got for free to turn on the Breville Coffee Maker plugged into his smart plug.

Get into hisNissan Altima and take the quick 2 minute drive to shachris.

After davening, @AJK texts Dan that AA has a Price Mistake to LA in F for $5, if they buys it in the airport and flies today. Naturally Dan just heads straight to the airport and boards the flight to LA. On the plane there is a dog next to him, which was strange at first until he realized it was just @meshugener flying in F as well.

In LAX Dan visits the United lounge, which he has free access to with his lifetime membership and his JMPRCC. He picks up his rental from Silver Car and heads to Tierra Sur for the Lunch DO.

In LA @Yehoshua @Cholentfresser @Yaalili @PlatinumGuy @yehuda @D93 @etech0 @ilherman and @David Smith all meet up for the DO.

All of a sudden Barto walks in and instinctively, the group makes a beeline for the door. But before they can bail, he stops them...And says he planned the AA Price Mistake in order to get a face to face with Dan after all these years.

Barto has realized after years of being the bad guy, he just wanted to hang out with the cool kids on DDF from the olden days like @Drago @Saver2000 @Cbs @Q274 @MarkS @aussiebochur , @chuchem and @myb821, he said even though it's @noturbizniss but he left his old job and as he was leaving he reinstated all the damage he's done over the years, returning millions of miles to their rightful owners.

Everyone was very happy and had drinks all around as well as
grilled to perfection.

After Lunch Dan drives back to the airport and rushes to catch his flight home as he realizes it is almost time for his UPS delivery. On the plane he uses the on board Wi-Fi to make some posts and read DDF (this is actually what takes up 18 hours of the day every day, besides shabbos).

He makes it home just in time to receive his UPS delivery of US Mint coins. He had set up delayed delivery back in 2009 and every day since then he has been receiving a $10k shipment of US Mint coins shipped via the UPS Method. To date this has netted a cool 30,000,000+ SPG points.

At the end of the day he reflect on life and remembers what is really important and what he is thankful for.

Now it's time to count to 10,000 and fall asleep.

(This is a fairly typical day)

Just some simple tricks for car rental status.

You can get free Sixt Platinum status when you sign up with this link. Once you confirm your email address you can login and instantly get your card online that shows you as Platinum.

Then match that status to National and hopefully get Executive elite, possibly Executive. (Can also apply here directly for executive)

Then email Hertz Simply enroll in the Hertz Gold Plus Rewards Program then provide proof of your identity and proof of status with other car rental companies via email to

And apply for Enterprise Platinum here.

Avis you can try via social media or calling sometimes.

Fell free to add more matches in the comments.
A quick chazara of all my posts: Your attitude is what decides your mood, not what's going on. You can have a trip ruined if something goes wrong, or it can become one of the most memorable trips of your life. Roll with the punches. Always have a healthy dose of cynicism. Understand that someone with beliefs to the right of you or the left of you aren't wrong, just different, a rainbow would be pretty ugly with just one color. Enjoy life and always cherish what's most important to you, and try to keep that in mind every second of every day.

As a last note I'd like to do a small giveaway. just comment on this thread and I'll choose one winner to get a Google Home Mini and another winner to get the best card games IMO being Codenames and Monopoly Deal.

I can't thank DDF enough for giving me all the opportunities life has to offer, from making friends, traveling the world, to supporting my family, I couldn't do any of it without this truly amazing community.

Just to end off with a special thanks to Dan for starting it all and giving me the opportunity to grow the site and live the blessed life that I do.

July 09, 2018, 12:46:34 PM
100 Hat Tip present from Dan (it’s awesome) I haven’t had time yet to do what @davidmal did but this will do for now. Huge thank you to @Dan for this awesome amazing present that you brought over. It’s hard to get dan to come to your house but when you bring him Quaker oatmeal squares from Canada that’s a different story. Totally unexpected and unnecessary but thank you so much. So can anyone guess how much the amazon gift card was? Hint: Dan doesn’t play games.
July 11, 2018, 09:12:12 AM
Re: Excel Help and Problems

How do You add a number if first and last arent the same?

Code: [Select]
Code: [Select]
=IF(OR(B3<>B2,C3<>C2),A2+1,A2)Note: it doesn't actually check for unique, just if it's the same as the row above, so your data needs to be sorted

July 16, 2018, 06:43:05 PM
Re: US Politics/2016 Election Pick Your Poison Master Thread
Trump did a very smart move
Trump is a complete idiot. He makes me look like I am on diet with all the crow he has been eating.

July 17, 2018, 03:10:07 PM
Re: Sprint outage in Brooklyn? More newsworthy when Sprint has an innage ;)
July 17, 2018, 11:50:34 PM
Re: US Politics/2016 Election Pick Your Poison Master Thread

July 18, 2018, 08:13:21 PM